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geneous that whenever a new child appears on a school program, one of my aunts or cousins is sure to remark in aggrieved tones, “I declare, seems like I know hardly any of the children in this school anymore.” Though she is able, of course, not only to identify every other child on the program and in the audience, but to tell you all about their parents \(because she went to too, on both sides. While not exactly isolated, perhaps, our community is deeply wrapped up in its own affairs almost to the exclusion of all outside happenings. At a morning coffee klatch there was much hilarity about a maiden lady who, upon being asked to lend her support to a certain candidate for the school board, replied that she didn’t have the time because she was too busy writing the president and all her congressmen advising them how best to fight communism and otherwise conduct our foreign policy. As far as most people hereabouts are concerned, Washington, D.C., even . though cursed frequently, might as well already be on the moon, and the idea that a private citizen might influence our government’s policies by the expression of his views is considered laughable. As for illiteracy, it has disappeared for our children and most people of my generation, but my own father, a native of this region, had only three or four years’ schooling at the most, and all his brothers and sisters were in the same boat with him. The Negroes of his generation for the most part do not even know for certain how to spell their own names. Mrs. June Oliver, juvenile officer of Panola County, a few miles south of here, says that from what she has seen in making her rounds in the poorer homes, Negro and white, the people she works with are only now at the educational level achieved some 30 years ago by the farm communities of her original home in the upper Midwest. BUT DON’T YOU GET LONE-LY, I am often asked. Sometimes, yes. But no more than I did in the city. I long ago stopped spending my time in coffee klatch circles, revolted by the malice of the gossip and its deadening small-mindedness. Of course, I welcome witty conversation, a good political gab-fest, or colorful story telling, and I was pleased to discover that the Negro woman, Josie, who sometimes irons for me, though barely able to write and not very positive about the spelling of her surname, has a talent for reminiscing aloud in pithy and highly expressive language. These spells come on her while she is ironing, and time and again, for a whole morning, she has kept me entertained; her tales, like Shahrazad’s, flowing one into the other almost without break. There was the saga of Big Sara who sold moonshine for a living and who could whup any deputy sheriff in the whole county, and how she took a deputy who was trying to arrest her and “whupped him and wringed him out like a dish’ cloth and mopped up the floor with him. He crawl out the door on his hands and knees and don’t come back till he has a whole carload of deputies and the sheriff, too, with him. “Big Sara, she lay on the floor, perten’in’ like she was knocked out, and the sheriff, he kicked her behin’, and says, “This is Sheriff R of Marshallget up you nigger bitch and come on to jail.’ Sara, she come up off the flor, swingin’, and shoutin’, ‘Don’ care whut sheriff you is from wherer se gonna mop up the flor wit’ you, too.’ “Th’ sheriff, he whomped his blackjack up alongside Sara’s head, but all the same, it take him an’ three deputies to knock her out an’ haul her out to th’ car.” Next Josie fell to recalling what hard times there were when she was little; how her mother would be down with a new baby, no food in the house, and her father off nobody knew where. Then she and her sister would walk to my grandmother’s house and ask for work to do. “Miz Fannie, she set us down in the kitchen and feed us a big meal. Then she send us home with buckets of milk and eggs and butter for momma and the little chillun. Hadn’t been for Miz Fannie, they was times when we mebbe starv’ to death.” Josie and her younger brother, she said, used to watch the fire under their daddy’s still when he was in a working mood. She told me how to go about making the best quality moonshine and how to add the proper amber color by cooking oak leaves in the distilled corn liquor. “Wouldn’t drink nobody else’s,” she told me, “might poison you, ‘cuz they don’ care how dirty they is. But I kin make good, clean ‘shinewon’t give you no headache atall. Sure wish I had some now,” and she ran the tip of her tongue around her lips wistfully as she continued to run the iron up and down the clothes. Once, she said, she and her brother were watching the fire while their daddy slept nearby and some deputies sneaked up on them. “My brother, he holler ‘run!’ and I took off and jumped the fence but he wen’ under the wire and got hung up by the overhauls.” “What did they do with him?” I asked. “Nuthin’,” she said. “They jus’ shake him up a little an’ laugh an’ let him go. They was after Poppa. Poppa, he waked up an’ seen whut happen an’ he run over to Miz’ Fannie’s and ask your Uncle Joe to save him. Mister Joe, he tell him to never mind, to go on to the jail with the deputies, and he come an’ bail him out. An’ thAt’s whut he done.” The family, she said, was better off after her daddy went to the pen because then the welfare lady came and investigated them and said it was all right for them to receive aid. September 6, 1963 13 AMERICAN INCOME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF INDIANA Underwriters of the American Income Labor Disability Policy Executive Offices: P. 0. Box 208 Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, President