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Murray Memories
1930s and 1940s, Robert Green remembers growing up in Crandall.

My early years growing up in Crandall, Georgia
by Robert Green.

In 1938 my mother, Ethel, Step-father J. P. Hampton and I moved into an old two-story house owned by Jim Poteet. The house was on the Old Federal Road just south of Arthur Wilson's Grocery Store on the east side of the railroad, across the road from where George and Rosa Hampton lived. They were J. P. Hampton's parents. The house, like most all other houses in Crandall did not have electricity, inside plumbing or running water.

Living conditions were primitive but we did not know it at the time. Our food came from the garden, a milk cow, chickens and hogs killed in early winter when it was cold enough to preserve the meat by grinding it into sausage or packing it in salt.

In late summertime of 1939 my mother enrolled me in the Crandall school located up the road on a hill east of Charlie Howell's residence. The school had one room where all three grades were taught, also a "cloak" room to hang our coats in the winter. The cloak room also was the place firewood and coal was stored to provide heat in the winter. Water for drinking was obtained from Charlie Howell's well. The water bucket and single dipper was placed in a sand box on top of a large table on the front wall of the room. No inside toilets were available. I do not remember any outside toilets either. The boys and girls made individual trips to the wooded area behind the school. The teacher was Ms. Macie Jackson, who owned one of the only cars seen in Crandall. I remember one time she got the car stuck in the mud trying to climb the hill and my stepfather, J. P. Hampton, pulled her out and up the hill with his mule team. One other thing I distinctly remember on the first day of school was when Marie Cantrell brought her daughter Cathryn to school she cried and as I remember she was taken back home only to return awhile later. Cathryn and I were only 5 years old at the time and were the youngest in the class. Other classmates were Ralph Weaver, Wade Martin and Jackie Hickey.

The combination seat/desk was wide enough for two students. Jackie Hickey was my seat mate. When we needed to go outside to the toilet we were instructed to hold our hand up and ask Ms. Macie if we could "be excused". Jackie was apparently too bashful to ask in front of all the other kids so he wet all over himself (and me) sitting in the seat. I also remember Jackie did not bring anything to eat for his lunch on a few occasions so I would take him down the road with me to my house and my mother would give us both something to eat. One other thing I remember about Ms. Macie Jackson and the Crandall School is a picnic we had outside during the summer school. The very first banana I can recall eating was at that picnic. Ms. Macie was a wonderful teacher who cared about her students. She will always be remembered. On one occasion I remember we had a large snowfall during the night leaving over 8 inches of snow on the ground. Despite this I tried to walk through it to get to school but got no further than the front yard.

A year or so later my step-father, mother and I moved south of Crandall on Highway 411 to a large house owned by Graver Bates. The house was located adjacent to a place of business called the "Rock" because it was made of rock. We later moved out of this house to a smaller house located in the middle of a field, where we grew cotton and corn. My half-sister Rosie was bom in this house. Doctor Dickie from Chatsworth came to the house and spent most of the night there, until Rosie was born. My mother Ethel insisted on making coffee for Doctor Dickie and giving him something to eat.

In the 1940's Crandall had a post office located in the depot by the railroad tracks. The Postmaster was "Miss Bob" Phillips. One thing I remember about "Miss Bob" was that she always bought a coca cola for herself each day from the store. Charlie Phillips would take the outgoing mail pouch and hang it from a pole beside the railroad tracks. When the train came thru Crandall the bag would be "caught" by a man with a long pole who would also throw Crandall's mail off the train. Charlie would retrieve the mail bag and take it into the Post Office to Miss Bob.

Also during the 1940's Crandall had a Planer Mill which processed lumber to be shipped out by train. Lee Cantrell was a foreman at the Mill. My step-father, J. P. Hampton, worked at the Mill for 50 cents per hour when not working crops on the farm.

While living in Crandall, Dunn's store was our source for items needed. Our available money to buy things was about $200 per year. The store was the place where school kids waited on the school bus in the morning. I remember trying to decide what to do with my twenty cents lunch a moon pie and coca cola with it or save it for the school lunchroom. Once the kids began school at the Eton Grammar School the school would accept two eggs in exchange for lunch. I used this opportunity on several occasions when money was short. One problem with this is getting the eggs to school without breaking them while in your pants pockets, which would leave you with a real problem.

We also lived on Harley Plemons farm there in Crandall. I remember working in the fields during the months of May, June and July during the heat, drinking warm water out of a jug carried to the field and picking cotton in the fall. A sawmill was set up and operated on the farm for about a year back in the 1940's. This provided work for the local farmers.

I attended Dewberry Baptist Church in Crandall, was baptized September 9, 1946 in Mill Creek south of Crandall just north of Morris Phillips farm. I also attended Summerour Methodist Church a few times. I distinctly remember attending two military funerals at the Summerour Cemetery where two World War II Soldiers killed in action are buried. One name I remember is Ralph Leverette whose parents lived across the road from Dunn's store. I remember a flag with a star on it hanging in their window. Ralph, a crewmember on an Army Air Corps bomber, was killed in a plane crash at Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia, February 12, 1944. He was only about 21 years old.

Others I remember from the 1940's in Crandall were "Brother" Poteet and Boyd Hansird. I also remember only two or three people in Crandall who owned an automobile. It was fun riding on a wagon pulled by our two mules.

Note: This article, one of many by people remembering life in Crandall, is from a book titled History of Crandall, compiled by Emily Phillips Cogburn, 2010. It is used here by permission of both Emily Cogburn and Robert Green.

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