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Old age memories can be amazing

I chuckled the other day as I related to a friend that right before 2020 dawned upon us my mind was carried back to a school desk in Miss Laird’s fourth grade class right before we got out for Christmas break. I can remember clear as a sunlit day thinking to myself how amazing it was that when we came back to school it would be 1950. What some stuff that has gone on in those 70 years … and the 10 years before in my lifetime so far.

I have a faded photo of my fourth birthday party down in South Linden that I can recollect so vividly with Baby Fab Little sitting right next to me on those old porch steps, and there sits my best friend, Melvin (before he was Moose) Glass, Jimmy Roberts, Jimmy Glass and Kenneth (before he was Hardrock) Gunter, all of those buddies having left this earthly sphere, but not my heart or memory bank.

Much clearer than last week, memories of living through World War II pop into my mind’s eye frequently, especially in these latter days. Men walking the streets of Linden in uniform, the beautiful lady who rented our spare bedroom while Daddy was off in the army, that lady named Christine who was the first girl to steal my heart, although her future husband, Tap, was off in the navy, and even remembering Boy Scouts pulling wagons of scrap metal they collected for the war effort.

Shoot, it is as though it were only yesterday in my memory, seeing my newly born baby brother at the hospital in Selma, and I was only three and a half at the time.

I have to admit that Feb 9, 1940 is a pretty snowy memory, but I can picture it because Daddy talked about the day I was born bringing in the biggest snow storm this state had seen in many a day. Sometimes I admit I get a little mixed up as to what I really remember, and why I think I do just because my hero, Tom Boggs Sr, was such a vivid storyteller, and I hung on to all those words from 1940 until he uttered his last words to me minutes before he passed to glory. Those simple words were, “Hey, Son.”

I just stopped writing a moment to let that “Hey, Son” greeting … and final goodbye, settle in my heart, and then came precious recollections of Miss Linden of 1933, my mama, who everybody knew I simply called “Ma.” You know, I don’t remember many of her actual words, but what I hold dearest is the memory of her beautiful smile, and her heart of service, not only to her family, but to so many others. I will forever hold the picture of my ma’s smile as she looked back at me from the car as Daddy was driving her to the Selma hospital for a simple operation. I planned to drive up to see my 54 year old ma after the surgery the next morning, but the Lord called her Home on the operating table, and I’m sure heaven smiled when she arrived up there.

All these old, old memories actually seem clearer in my aged memory bank than some of the things that happened last week. Some of you know what I am saying, and you younger readers will find out in due time. In the meantime, cherish the memories you are making now, and hold them in your heart.

Think about walking with a childhood friend, and discussing the important subjects of the world as I am right now thinking of Moose and me sauntering over to Indian Mounds close to the Bogue in the ‘50s deciding what food we liked our mamas to cook, when we would go fishing, if it was time for two 13 year olds to go out for the famed Red Devil football team, and other such matters of state.

— Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times and a native of Marengo County. His column,“Days Gone Bye,” appears weekly.

(This article column appeared in the Wednesday, January 8 issue of the Demopolis Times.)