It was 1977…
Today, I made a trip back to the home place with Mom. After visiting with family we went to The Shack BBQ for our evening meal, (it was 4:00). Driving back through Talladega, I decided to take a detour. Driving to the northwest side of the town I turned down Adams street. When I turned down that street, I noticed Mom perked up a bit.
Now that part of town is not the same as it was years ago. The Piggly Wiggly is closed. Other businesses are closed. Many houses once in their brilliance now are empty and quiet and beyond repair.
As we drove down this street we got to the one lane bridge…now closed, and gone.
Mom said turn left…she knew where we were.
The Cotton Mill.
For over 30 years she drove from Munford to this plant to serve as it’s secretary. As we approached the plant…the excitement of being here turned to sadness. The gate that you stopped at and she would press that button to let you in was non-existent. Half of the plant was physically gone, windows broken and the door missing where once her office was.
She pointed put every bit of the operations of that plant just like it was yesterday (she has been retired for nearly 30 years.) The spinning rooms, the lab, the white line, where they brought the goat hair in, the cotton was brought in here.
But now it’s gone…
While it is sad, I must tell a rather humorous story.
For years, each summer I worked with my Dad on his Tom’s Potato Chip route! I loved being with him and meeting other people. My junior year was completed and I was looking forward to going to work with Dad!
One evening I came home, and Mom said, “I’ve got a job for you!”
I said, “”I’ve got a job with Dad!”
“Oh no!” she exclaimed, “I have a REAL job for you!”
“Where?” I asked hesitantly.
Excited she replied, “At the Cotton Mill”
“Insert music that causes panic and anxiety in this space as a 16 year old screams “NOOOOO!”
Needless to say, I had no choice in this matter..(sorry kids, I didn’t argue with Mom, and neither did Dad!)
I took on my work with pride, I showed up and changed into my blue striped coveralls, put my lunchbox in my locker and punched my time-card.
Then I did my job…sweeping the floor. From 7am to 3pm. It was hot, dirty, stinking.
I got so dirty my Mom did not recognize me!
But I met some of the best people that I have known.
Many of my life experiences were learned in that 3 short months of The Cotton Mill.
Now you might say only 3 months?
I was summer help….but there were occasions it felt like 30 years!
It turned my heart to further my education. Not just graduate High School.
When I saw the plant today, even my heart sank a bit…I remember getting my first REAL paycheck from the secretary of that plant.
She looked at me and smiled that smile and said “thanks for working for us!”
I love the way she will tell me today, “Thanks son, for working for the Lord!”
Still seeing that smile!
Thank God for that Cotton Mill…(to be continued)