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November 7, 1976

Looking Back Over 80 Years

June 26, 1890 in a home near Dresden, TN Mary Jane Mitchell, as was accustomed, was up at 4 o’clock in the morning doing her chores, prepared breakfast, and cleaned up the house.

A little before 7 she began to feel pains and she called Lucy Hatfield (Mama’s cousin) and Aunt Sis Walker (my Daddy’s sister). About that time there was a little cry. A baby boy had been born. That little baby was me. My next of kin began to pick a name for me and pretty soon all agreed I was to be called Roy Earnest.

Nearby was a creek that had a sawmill near by where my Daddy worked when he wasn’t home farming. That was in Weakley Co, TN, near Dresden, the county seat.

When I was six years old my Daddy moved to Paragould, AR where he worked for the lumber company, the Rape Lumber Company. We moved from Paragould to Searcy, AR. Then January 5 we moved to Mt. Pisgah.

My first playmates were Governor Hatfield and Governor Hatfield’s cousin, cousin Lucy Hatfield and my Father’s brother’s boy, Indian Mitchell. I (my) grandmother was part Indian – Choctaw, I believe. We played Mumple Peg and marbles and evakay. Cousin Lucy’s husband was quite a bit older than she was and his health was in such a condition he couldn’t be left alone. So my mother would spend quite a bit of time with her.

We lived within walking distance of Cousin Lucy and about ½ mile from Aunt Sis.

Aunt Sis was a Christian woman. The day we left TN we had Dinner at her house. When we started to leave her house, she took me in her lap and as the tears rolled down her cheeks she prayed God to take care of me. Some people I have met have had a lasting impression on my life. One woman in particular. One day I stopped at a café to have lunch and this woman was operating this eating-place. She was in her thirties. She was so nice and cheerful. I made it a habit to eat there as often as possible. Her husband was the grippiest person I’ve ever known. He would get up griping and go to bed griping. I asked her one day if she could take care of a

I have been a shut-in since that time. I always try to be cheerful and thank God every hour for being so merciful to me and blessing me with the most wonderful children that anyone could have and grandchildren are so wonderful to me and also blessed with so many friends who have prayed for me.

I went to on term of school before we left TN. When we moved to AR I started to school at Center Hill. The schoolhouse burned down after I had been going there for about one month. I was so glad that the schoolhouse burned up I could shout with joy.

Then my Dad moved to Mt. Pisgah (White Co, AR)

Until 1908 when my mother lost her health. The doctor told him he thought if he would take her to Heber Springs the water from the spring water might help her a lot. So we moved to Heber Springs and lived there until 1911. We moved to Quitman, AR 12 miles from Heber. We lived there until 1912 when we moved to Medalia where we lived till 1916. We moved to Clinton, Van Buren Co lived there until his death in 1918. He was buried in Bradley Cemetery near Clinton. My mother died 3 months after my father died. On Jun 2, 1818 I married Myrtle Nicholson. I was varying a star mail route from Clinton at that time.

Then in 1908 we moved to Heber Springs, AR, then in 1911 we moved to Quitman, AR. Then in 1913 my dad moved to Medalia (Pryor Mountain) in 1913 I went to Bonham, TX. I worked for a contractor who lived in Sherman, TX. His work was in both Bonham and Sherman.

I taught school at Center Ridge School. My favorite student was Gene Jane Hooten and her twin brothers George and Riley. Janie married a friend of mine, John Jackson. We are still very close friends and we visit them real often.

I joined the Methodist Church at age 15. I worked in the church as a teacher and Superintendent of Sunday school.

A friend of mine Johnnie Williams joined the church the same time I did. He was the world’s biggest liar. At times I would get out with him for telling lies. He finally made a Baptist preacher. I hope he has quit lying. I used to tell him, "John, you would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than to stand on the ground and tell the truth."

Our first child was born in Clinton, AR. I wanted a girl so God blessed me with a girl who has been a joy and pride of my life. Then we had three boys in a row and then the last one another girl.

My children are the greatest joy of my life and the grand children are the greatest. We now have a wonderful (great) grandson. We think he is the grandest grandson anyone could have. He says a prayer at the table when we sit down to eat.

I am a member of the Official Board of the First Methodist Church of Homer.

While I was in Bonham, I met a man from Dallas, TX who wanted me to go with him to Dallas and open a saloon. Again Aunt Sis’s voice seemed to speak to me plainly. Dear boy, don’t listen to that man. Remember my prayers.

Where my Daddy bought an 80-acre track of land. We lived there about 6 years. Then we moved to Heber Springs, AR county seat of White Co.

When we moved to Heber Springs, AR my daddy was with the lumber company for several years. Then he tried farming again. Our next move was to Clinton, AR county seat of Van Buren Co. My daddy homesteaded 50 acres of land near Clinton and lived there until his death in September 1918. He was buried in Bradley Cemetery near Clinton. At that time I was carrying a mail route from Clinton to Scotland. We worked for a lumber Company until 1922, then we moved to England, AR where I was overseer over a big plantation.

In June 1927 I had an attack of appendix and was operated on in Little Rock. In August 1927 we moved to Homer, LA where I ran a hamburger stand for 4 years. I worked for the Fair Store sometimes. Then the depression hit us and times were really tough. I worked for a service station for about 4 years and then went into business for myself operating a service station and grocery store for twenty-five years. Then I joined the police department. I was on patrol one year and then was transferred to the Sheriff’s department where I worked as a radio operator for 14 years. After suffering a heart attack in 1967 I had to retire.

Being a diabetic I was put on a strict diet – no sweets with sugar – only artificial sweetener to be used.

In 1976 I developed poor circulation and was sent to a specialist in Shreveport for a checkup, which proved, fruitless, expensive, and real painful.

In 1976 I was advised that my left leg would have to be amputated so Dr. Pat Gladney amputated my left leg which put a stop to my suffering any pain, but left me a shut-in.

We moved to Paragould – Green Co in extreme Northeast AR. There were several boys and girls living a few blocks of us. I do not remember any of their names but there was one little girl I liked better than any of the others. She was always smiling and got along with every one. Johnnie Williams, a boy about my age but he was the biggest liar I’ve ever known. I asked Johnnie why don’t you try telling the truth once in a while. He finally made a Baptist preacher.

Walter Gray was one of my best friends. He was a real buddy. He went to World War and was sent over seas to France. He married a French girl. She did not like America so she left him and went back to France.

We were 15 years old when we had our first date. My date was a big fat girl – weighed 190 pounds. She liked me very much, but she told some of the other girls that we ??? so the holes. I didn’t step in. I fell in. She wanted me to date her again, but I shunned her. She wanted to be funny.

When my brother Clarence was married I was in the wedding party. My partner was a girl named May Britt. The other boy was Walter Hall and his partner’s name was Annie Witt. I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever laid my eyes on. She lived in Quitman, AR. Later on I dated her for 4 years. She had a buggy and so did I. Sometimes we used her buggy and sometimes mine. She was a schoolteacher and knew just about everybody in Cleburne Co.

I was with her when I met Myrtle Nicholson. That was a case of Love on first sight. So I forgot Annie and gave all my time to Myrtle. That was in 1913. I went to Texas that year. I worked with a contractor in Bonham and Sherman. I came back home in 1916 (Christmas) and in June 1918 we were married and lived in Clinton, Van Buren Co. Mary Jim, our first child, was born in Clinton.

I was one proud father. I carried her everywhere I went. Even when I would go to feed my mules I would sit her in the trough while I fed them 10 ears of corn. She would laugh.

We moved from Clinton to England where I was overseer on a big plantation. We moved from there to Homer, LA in August 1927. In 1930 my wife bought a home here in Homer and we have been living in the same house 47 years.

Our children are all married now and we are proud of them. We have 6 grandchildren, 4 girls and 2 boys. They are all just wonderful. Now we have one great grandson and he really is the joy of our lives.