The middle girls

March 18, 2014

These two daughters, Bessie (1911- 1992) and Lorene (1913 - 1969) of Josephine Odom Bass and Joe Bass were married and raising their own children by the time Josephine and Joe died.

Bessie Ruth, as most people called her, was my mother. She married Algia (Buddy) Lindsay at the age of 19. Bessie and Buddy were married Jan. 18, 1930. They made their home on the Lindsay family farm in the Land Of Goshen, near Suttontown.. My grandfather Algia Arcastus Lindsay, and wife Lona Weeks Lindsay Weeks provided them with a four room house near by. Here my mother and father began their married life. Daddy worked at his older brother Newton’s hog slaughtering and meat packing operation, as did several brothers. Uncle Newton was the father of Elmon Lindsay, who recently died, receiving a very good tribute in The Sampson Independent.

Mother and Daddy lived in Goshen on his fathers farm for about three years. Here I was born April 30, 1931. I was born at home, with Dr. Wilkins of the Grantham community in Wayne County making the delivery. It was here, mother grew butterbeans around the porch, and as a two year old, I pick these beans until I had enough to eat. Today butterbeans are my favorite vegetable. Fried chicken cornbread and butterbeans make a fine dinner. I got my foot caught in the porch door going to pick butterbeans. I call the scar, which is still on my foot, a butterbean scar. I also have a strawberry birthmark on my neck. Maybe that is why I love fruit and vegetables so much.

Dad decided he wanted a business of his own around 1933. He rented a store from the Bowden family on Highway 701, approximately three miles from Goshen. He operated this country store for about three years. My sister Willa Dean was born here in 1934. In 1935, Namon L.Daughtry, (grandfather of Clinton mayor Lew Starling ) offered Daddy a store he had recently built, a mile north on Highway 701. Daddy accepted the offer and rented and operated this store until his death in September 1977.He tried many times to buy the store from Mr. Daughtry, but he was not interested in selling it. Here my brother Curtis Ray was born in November1935. We lived upstairs in a four room home over the store. The home had no plumbing , no electricity or bathroom, no closets, and no heat. We three children shared a bedroom. We hand-pumped our water, heated the water on a wood stove, later oil. We bathed in a large tin tub on Saturdays. We did “bird baths” Monday - Friday and full bath on Saturday. My mother scrubbed my dirty neck so hard I thought the red strawberry birthmark was from her hard scrubbing. We lived happily under these hardships , not knowing any difference. It was not until 1955, Mother and Daddy built their all brick dream home in a field next to the store. They purchased a half acre from Namon L. Daughtry. There are many fond memories of growing up living over a country store. The night vigilantes, men of the community, gathered at the store with their guns seeking to find a black man who had broken into a white woman’s home and attempted to rape and steal from her. The many salesmen calling on Dad, and then challenging him to a game of checkers. Dad was always up to the challenge, and usually won. I would watch intently, and learn a few good moves, but I never beat Dad at checkers. Men would gather around the “pot belly” stove in the evenings, and tell tall tales, talk about the weather, tell jokes, but I never heard them gossip. One evening the store was full of men, joking, telling stories, joking around when Glenn King challenged me to climb upon a fifty gallon molasses barrel sitting and straddling the barrel, then lean over and touch the spigot where molasses was released to customers bringing in their containers. As I did this, he gave me a big whack on my rear. The stretching to do this had tighten my pants to the very end. The men got a good laugh. I got a red butt and somewhat of an embarrassment. A few months latter I returned a similar ” trick” on him. He was at the store parking lot changing the fan belt on his automobile . He was bending way over the motor removing the worn belt . I saw my opportunity . He threw the old belt to the ground and began stretching to put on the new one. I pick up the discarded belt, and as his overalls were the tightest , I gave him a whack that stung more than the hand that hit me the month before. I also remember when Highway 701 was being paved for the first time. My responsibility was to hand light all the kerosene lanterns for about a half a mile in front of the store every day at sunset. I could write a book of memories on living over a country store. May be another day in time.

I entered Louisburg Junior College in September 1949, not because I wanted to, but because my father wanted me to get an education beyond high school. My formal education ended in June, 1951 when I joined the Navy to keep from being drafted by the Army. Joining the Navy right out of high school is what I wanted from the beginning, but attending College came first with Dad. I served four years in the Navy with assignments to the USS Alstede a ship that hauled everything you would find in a grocery store. We made many 14 day voyages from California to Japan and Korea. Never stopped over in Hawaii or other exotic Island. My first Christmas away from home was when we landed in Sasebo, Japan Dec. 25, 1951. The Red Cross gave us all a pocket comb and a paper back book to read. We stayed 10 months while supplying battleships, aircraft carriers , and other vessels with food off the coast of Korea.This operation would last for two to three days. We enlisted sailors worked in the freezer cargo compartments, holds of our ship at 20 to 30 degrees below zero loading meats into nets for transfer to the deck.The transfer of cargo to warships usually took place after midnight to avoid enemy fire. We would rendezvous with a ship at a designated time ,hook our ship lines with the other ship and make the transfer in the dark of the night. This operation took about half a hour for each ship. We could often see the bombs from our battleships exploding on the north Korean coast.

We would return to our home port, Oakland, Calif. while our sister ship would be replenishing the warships back in Korea. This exchange continued until the end of the Korean War. My final assignment was to hospital corps school in San Diego, Ca., then to Mare Island Naval Hospital outside San Francisco. Here I worked as a corpsman assisting doctors in delivering babies at this submarine base in Vallejo, California. Here is where I fell in love with the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco. One of my all time favorite songs ” I left my heart in San Francisco” sung by Tony Bennett still gives me great memories. I wanted to stay in the San Francisco area, attend college and continue my life in the bay area. Money was the factor that brought me back to the Tar Heel state. I felt I could not afford to attend college out there, so I returned home and enrolled at East Carolina.

I made contact with a boot camp buddy discharged from duty in Alaska on the same day. He was from Mississippi and we drove for three weeks, stopping over in Las Vegas, touring the Grand Canyon National Park and other interesting National Park sites. I arrived home after dropping off my Buddy in Greenville , Ms. in time to enter East Carolina College in September 1955. Here is where I made my first honor roll. At Louisburg College I did not apply myself in my studies. Here at East Carolina I studied hard. I had matured in the navy and wanted to get a college degree. It was in the Navy that I learned how much a college education meant. I would see young Naval officers ages 22- 25 report for ship duty, and begin giving orders to enlisted men that had been in the Navy for 10-20 years or more. The difference was being a college graduate. Many more benefits with a college degree.

After graduation I got a job with US Public Health Service as a disease investigator. After several state assignments ( NC, Ohio, New York City, New Hampshire, Michigan, Georgia and Washington, DC. ) I retired in November 1990, in Atlanta, Ga. After retirement , my wife Anna and I worked in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1993. I kept a journal of our long week end trips to other national and state parks, states, cities, and Canada. These journals were published in the Sampson Independent beginning in June and ending in September 1993.

Willa Dean, my sister was chosen third place in the Miss Sampson County beauty contest in 1953. She continued to receive beauty recognitions at East Carolina College where she was chosen to be in the May Day Court and parade. Willa continue her studies at Scarritt College in Nashville, Tenn. where she trained to become a Missionary in the Methodist church in rural Georgia. They were called US 2 missionaries , where they served for two years in a rural area that was in need of developing leadership in rural churches. She did this for two years, and then said yes to Haskell W. Smith when he ask her to marry him. Haskell was studying for the ministry at Asbury College in Kentucky. They married had 4 children. The first child drowned at two years of age in Alexandria, Va. He ,Kenny was playing outside in a courtyard with other children. Willa went inside for just a minute, Kenny wandered from the playground and was latter found dead in a very small ravine of running water. I shall always remember my brother-in-law thanking God for giving them this child for two years, while he was being lowered into its grave. Willa had her second son a few weeks later. He, Rodney lives in Fallbrook. California , graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, His wife , Koti is from Budapest, Hungary. Her daughter Janet graduated from Duke University and resides in Santa Ana, El Salvador with husband Evon Menjivar. Janet did have her own practice of Acupuncture in Washington, DC. Susan ,their youngest child graduated form Oberlin University in Ohio. She resides in Silver Spring, Md. She was a practicing attorney, but is now teaching adults, mostly Spanish, the English language. She speaks fluent Spanish. She is not married.

Curtis is married to Peggy Jernigan. She worked as librarian at Clinton High School until she retired in 1998. She now works part time at Sampson Community College. Curtis retired in 1996 from the NC Weights and Measuring Division of the Department of Agriculture. They have two daughters, Gina who works for the Commission for the Blind as a librarian. Her husband Phil Powell is a technical writer with Education Media Consultants living in Raleigh. Maria earned a BFA in Textiles from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. Her husband Dan Murphy teaches ceramics at Utah State University in Logan, Utah where they live with two children Collin, age 10 and Violet, age 6. Both children love to visit their Lindsay grandparents and go to Butlers Pharmacy on the square in Clinton for excellent ice cream. Enjoy playing around Fox Lake, watching all the wildlife around the lake. Sometime fishing and wading in the water.

Aunt Lorene, her husband Alex Tyner left Sampson County in 1947 for Erwin. Were there for a few years and then moved to Florida. Here they lived until their deaths. Raised three boys, Lacy who now lives in Mountain City , Tennessee with wife Nancy. Joe, the second boy ,and wife Patricia from Detroit, Michigan live in Chiefland, Florida. The third boy Nelson, named after the doctor from Clinton who delivered him. Bud as he is now called, resides on the Gulf coast of Florida. More information will be gathered on this family that moved to Florida , and seldom gets to the Bass family reunion, except Lacy, the oldest. He tries to come every year. Across the mountains, over the hills, and to the flatlands of Sampson County.