The Goodyear Service Pin used in our logo is courtesy Jerry Bell. The pin belonged to his dad, Adolphus. R. Bell.

03 January, 2011

"My 19th (Dec 22,1949) Year In A Nutshell" (Jack Bryson's Story)

MY 19TH YEAR – IN A NUTSHELL……
Joyce Millsaps Bryson
DECEMBER 22, 1949 MY 19TH BIRTHDAY CAME & WENT WITHOUT MUCH FANFARE. BECAUSE IT WAS SO CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS IT WAS NOT CELEBRATED. GROWING UP THE 4TH OF 6 CHILDREN TIMES WERE HARD AND I DON’T REMEMBER EVER RECEIVING A BIRTHDAY PRESENT UNTIL MY 20TH WHEN MY FUTURE BRIDE GAVE ME A BIBLE. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I DID THAT DAY WAS GO TO MY JOB ON 2ND SHIFT AT THE GOODYEAR COTTON MILL IN ATCO. IT WAS STRENUOUS WORK BUT IT PAID WELL. I NEVER CONSIDERED GETTING ANOTHER JOB BECAUSE MY DAD HAD WORKED IN COTTON MILLS SINCE HE LEFT THE FARM WHERE HIS DAD WAS A SHARECROPPER. I WANTED TO BE AS TOUGH AS MY DAD! 

I HAD A HAPPY LIFE IN THE GOODYEAR VILLAGE. GOODYEAR OWNED THE WHOLE VILLAGE INCLUDING THE CHURCH BUILDING, SCHOOL BUILDING, SWIMMING POOL, TENNIS COURTS, BASEBALL FIELD, AND THE CLUBHOUSE, ALL OF WHICH EMPLOYEES AND THEIR CHILDREN COULD USE FREE OF CHARGE. THERE WAS ALSO A PASTURE JUST OUTSIDE THE GATE WHERE EMPLOYEES COULD KEEP A COW (MY FUTURE FATHER IN LAW WHO PASTORED THE ATCO BAPTIST CHURCH KEPT ONE) AND THERE WAS A FERTILE PLACE BEHIND THE CHURCH WHERE EMPLOYEES COULD HAVE A GARDEN. MY DAD PAID 25 CENTS PER ROOM PER WEEK FOR OUR 4 ROOM HOUSE. THEY DEDUCTED THE $1.00 PER WEEK FROM HIS CHECK. THE POLICEMEN, YARD MEN, HOUSE MAINTENANCE MEN AND THE LIFE GUARDS AT THE SWIMMING POOL WERE ALL ON THE GOODYEAR PAYROLL.

GOODYEAR ALSO SUPPLEMENTED THE GA. STATE TEACHERS PAY AT THE SCHOOL TO INSURE HAVING THE BEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTY.

I PLAYED PITCHER AND OUTFIELDER ON THE ATCO TWISTERS BASEBALLTEAM IN THE NORTHWEST GEORGIA TEXTILE LEAGUE. WILLARD NIXON HAD GONE FROM THAT LEAGUE TO THE BOSTON RED SOX AND RUDY YORK, MY FRIEND, PLAYED FOR THE BOSTON BRAVES FOR MANY YEARS. I LOVED THE GAMES AND TRIED OUT ONCE FOR THE ROME RED SOX, WHICH WAS A MINOR, MINOR, MINOR PRO TEAM. I SIGNED AS A PITCHING PROSPECT AND WENT TO ROME AND RODE THE TEAM BUS TO NEWNAN FOR A NIGHT GAME. I HAD A BAD FIRST START THAT NIGHT! IT WAS A LONG RIDE BACK HOME AFTER JACK COLE, THE OWNER ASKED ME TO COME BACK NEXT YEAR WHEN I HAD MATURED WITH MORE EXPERIENCE. THAT ENDED MY BASEBALL CAREER BECAUSE ON OCT. 31, 1950 FIVE OF US GOODYEAR BOYS LEFT THE COTTON MILL BEHIND AND JOINED OUR UNCLE SAM. THE NEXT BASEBALL SEASON 4 OF US WERE LIVING IN BUNKERS IN SOUTH KOREA SHOOTING BACK AT THE NORTH KOREANS WHO WERE SHOOTING AT US. 

THE ATCO TWISTERS BASEBALL TEAM WAS ALSO MY JOB-SAVER. OCCASIONALLY I WAS ENTICED BY A PRETTY GIRL TO MISS WORK ON FRIDAY NIGHT TO HAVE A DATE. WHEN SOMEONE MISSED WORK THEY CALLED A PERSON WHO KNEW THE JOB AND FILLED IN WHEN SOMEONE WAS ABSENT. FRIDAY NIGHT WASN’T AN EASY NIGHT TO FILL SO THE SECOND TIME IT HAPPENED MY BOSS, BOB HENDERSON, TOLD ME MONDAY WHEN I REPORTED FOR WORK JUST TO GO HOME. YOU’RE FIRED! WEDNESDAY HE CALLED ME BACK TO WORK BECAUSE THE BASE BALL MANAGER, GEORGE JOHNSON, WANTED ME TO PLAY ON SUNDAY. I THINK THIS HAPPENED 6 TIMES, BUT I CAN’T VERIFY IT BECAUSE IT NEVER GOT ON MY RECORD. 

I HAD ATTENDED CASS HIGH SCHOOL UNTIL I DROPPED OUT, OR MAYBE I SHOULD SAY RAN OUT. OUR PRINCIPAL “POP” HASTINGS HAD A REPUTATION FOR PADDLING BOYS WHO WEREN’T DOING THEIR BEST IN CLASS OR PLAYING BASKETBALL. I DID NEITHER. AFTER EXPERIENCING ONE OF HIS FAMOUS PADDLINGS AND ANOTHER FROM MY DAD WHEN I GOT HOME I WAS TRYING MY BEST TO BEHAVE. A FEW MONTHS LATER SOMEONE FLIPPED A GIRL ON THE BUTT IN THE HALL AND I MUST HAVE LOOKED THE GUILTIEST OF THE BOYS BEHIND HER SO I FOUND MYSELF ON MY WAY TO HIS OFFICE. AS WE PASSED THE FRONT DOOR OF THE SCHOOL I DARTED OUT. I RAN MOST OF THE 5 MILES DOWN HIGHWAY 41 TO THE ATCO VILLAGE AND HOME. THE NEXT MORNING MY DAD TOOK ME TO GET A SOCIAL SECURITY CARD AND TO THE MILL TO GET A JOB. THEY WERE GLAD FOR HIM TO SIGN THE PERMISSION FORMS FOR A STRONG TEENAGER TO WORK. I REGRETED THE CHOICE I MADE THAT DAY UNTIL I GOT A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA FROM CASS HIGH SCHOOL THROUGH THE GEORGIA VETERANS HIGH SCHOOL TEN YEARS LATER.

WORK IN THE MILL WAS VERY HARD.. BALES OF COTTON WERE BROUGHT TO THE OPENING ROOM, THEN TO THE PICKER ROOM WHERE IT WAS PROCESSED INTO HUGE ROLLS. IT WAS THEN SENT TO THE CARDING DEPARTMENT WHERE IT WAS PROCESSED INTO DRAWING CANS, THEN TO THE DRAWING FRAMES THAT MADE IT INTO ROPING. THERE IT WAS CREELED INTO SLUBBER FRAMES AND THEN RUN ON LARGE WOODEN BOBBINS. IT CAME OUT ON THE INTERMEDIATE FRAMES WHERE THREAD CAME OUT ON A SMALLER BOBBIN. IT RAN FROM THESE BOBBINS TO SPEEDER FRAMES WHICH RAN IT TO EVEN SMALLER BOBBINS AND FROM THERE WAS DOLPHED OFF. WHEN FULL THE BOBBINS WERE TAKEN OFF AND STACKED INTO METAL BOXES WITH WHEELS AND ROLLED TO THE ELEVATOR TO BE TAKEN UPSTAIRS TO THE SPINNING DEPARTMENT FOR FURTHER PROCESSING. AT ITS LAST STOP THE THREAD WAS WOVEN INTO FABRIC WHICH WAS SHIPPED TO THE GOODYEAR RUBBER PLANT IN AKRON OHIO WHERE IT WAS PUT INTO THE FINISHED PRODUCT, GOODYEAR TIRES. 

I WAS A SPEEDER FRAME OPERATOR. THE FRAMES WERE ABOUT 50 FEET WIDE WITH ONE LINE CREELERS ON THE FRONT AND 3 LINES BEHIND. ROPING RAN THROUGH THE SPEEDERS TO MAKE APPROXIMATELY 90 BOBBINS OF THREAD. I KEPT THE FRAMES RUNNING AS SMOOTHLY AS POSSIBLE TO KEEP THE THREAD FROM TWISTING, BREAKING, OR GETTING KNOTS. IT RAN CONTANTLY FROM ONE SIDE OF THE FRAME TO THE OTHER SO I RAN CONSTANTLY KEEPING IT RUNNING CORRECTLY. THE LINT IN THE AIR WAS SO HEAVY SOMETIMES WE COULDN’T SEE THE HUGE CLOCK THAT NORMANLLY COULD HAVE BEEN SEEN FOR 100 YARDS. THERE WERE HUGE HUMIDIFIERS WHICH BLEW MIST ALL THE TIME TO MAKE THE FRAMES RUN BETTER. ROLAND BEARDEN SPENT THE WHOLE SHIFT MONITORING THEM AND KEEPING THEM RUNNING PROPERLY. IT WAS ALWAYS SO HOT IN THE BUILDING THAT I NEVER FINISHED A SHIFT WITH A SINGLE THREAD OF DRY CLOTHES ON MY BODY. WHEN MY DAD AND I WALKED A FEW BLOCKS HOME IN THE WINTER TIME WE ALMOST FROZE 

IN 1949 BOTH MEN AND WOMEN DID THE SAME BACK BREAKING TEDIOUS JOBS. THE WOMEN WERE PAID LESS PER HOUR AND GOT LESS INSURANCE COVERAGE AND SICK PAY. GOODYEAR AT ATCO DID NOT HAVE A UNION AT THAT TIME BUT WHEN A PLANT THAT WAS UNION WENT ON STRIKE THEY SHUT THE ATCO PLANT DOWN. THE WOMEN DREW LESS UNEMPLOYMENT BASED ON THEIR WEEKLY PAY. THIS WAS HARD FOR WIDOWS AND DIVORSEES WHO WERE RAISING A FAMILY. IT WAS REALLY AN IMPROVEMENT FROM 1914 WHEN MY MOTHER WENT TO WORK AT AGE 11 IN A COTTON MILL AND HAD TO STAND ON A BOX TO REACH THE MACHINES.

ALL THE EMPLOYEES AT GOODYEAR TOOK PRIDE IN THE FINISHED PRODUCT. NO ONE WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT PURCHASING ANOTHER BRAND TIRE BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY WERE THE BEST. IN 2004 THE GOODYEAR MILL CLOSED ITS DOORS. ANOTHER CASUALTY OF AMERICAN OUT-SOURCING. 

IN OCTOBER OF MY 19TH YEAR I MET JOYCE MILLSAPS. 

HER FATHER CAME TO PASTOR THE BAPTIST CHURCH IN 1948. I SAT ON THE CORNER AND TOLD MY FRIENDS I WAS GOING TO MARRY HER AS SHE DROVE HER CURRENT BOY FRIEND’S CAR AROUND THE VILLAGE. THEY HORSE LAUGHED ME! BUT IN THE FALL OF 1949 MY FRIEND WAYNE ROGERS AND HER FRIEND AVIS BARNETT SET ME UP WITH A DOUBLE DATE WITH HER. WE MET THEM AFTER THEY WORKED THE HALF-TIME CONCESSIONS AT THE FOOTBALL GAME. SHE HAD NEVER NOTICED ME ON THE CURB BUT THOUGHT IT WAS MY YOUNGER BROTHER CALLED “ CURLY” WHO HAD CALLED HER. SHE KNEW HIM AND THOUGHT JACK AND “ CURLEY” WAS THE SAME PERSON. SHE WAS SURPRISED WHEN I SHOWED UP, A FOOT TALLER AND I REALLY DID HAVE CURLEY HAIR. THE NEXT YEAR I GAVE HER AN ENGAGEMENT RING FOR GRADUATION. 

IT WAS AT THIS TIME I GOT INTERESTED IN GOING INSIDE THE CHURCH INSTEAD OF SITTING ON THE CORNER WAITING FOR THE GIRLS TO COME OUT. SOMEONE ELSE WAS COMING THERE ON THE WEEK ENDS WHO ENJOYED GOING TO CHURCH WITH HER. THIS ENCOURAGED ME TO MOVE FROM THE CURB TO THE PEW. THIS WAS AT A TIME WHEN THE ATCO BAPTIST CHURCH WAS CHANGING FROM A ONE-HALF TIME CHURCH TO A FULL TIME CHURCH. THE METHODIST USED GOODYEAR’S CHURCH BUILDING EVERY OTHER SUNDAY AND THE BAPTIST EVERY OTHER SUNDAY. THE YEAR BEFORE THE BAPTIST HAD DECIDED TO BECOME A FULL TIME CHURCH AND BUILT A PASTORIUM FOR HIS FAMILY WHEN THEY CALLED REV. WALLACE MILLSAPS. AFTER A FEW MONTHS THEY BEGAN HAVING SUNDAY SCHOOL IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING EVERY SUNDAY AND SUNDAY MORNING AND SUNDAY NIGHT WORSHIP THERE THE SUNDAYS THE METHODIST USED THE CHURCH BUILDING. THIS FORCED US CORNER SPECTATORS TO ANOTHER CORNER FOR A FEW MONTHS UNTIL I DECIDED THAT IF I DATED JOYCE, CHURCH WAS NOT AN OPTION. JOYCE AND CHURCH WERE THE TWO BEST DECISIONS OF MY LIFE. I WAS SAVED IN THE SCHOOL HOUSE DURING A WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER SERVICE DURING MY 19TH YEAR. SEVERAL YEARS LATER I WAS ORDAINED TO BE A DEACON OF THAT CHURCH. 

THE CHURCH WAS GROWING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS SO THE BAPTIST DEACONS AND METHODIST STEWARTS GOT TOGETHER WITH A PLAN FOR BOTH CHURCHES TO HAVE THEIR OWN PLACE OF WORSHIP. FRANK HARRIS WAS THE LEADER OF THE METHODIST GROUP WHO WANTED TO BUILD A NEW BUILDING. THE BAPTIST, LED BY ANDREW W. MULKEY WANTED TO BUY THE EXISTING BUILDING AND PUT A LARGE SUNDAY SCHOOL ADDITION ON IT. GOODYEAR GAVE THE METHODIST A TRACT OF LAND TO BUILD ON AND GAVE THE BAPTIST A DISCOUNT ON THE BUILDING EQUAL TO THE VALUE OF THE METHODIST LAND. SOME OF MY HAPPIEST MEMORIES OF ATCO IS WORKING AT BARBECUE’S IN WINGFOOT PARK AND GOSPEL SINGINGS IN THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM TO EARN MONEY FOR THE ADDITION. REV. MILLSAPS ENCOURAGED LOIS & EUELL BAGWELL, WHO WERE TALLANTED MUSICIANS WHO REALLY LOVED THE YOUTH IN THE CHURCH, WHEN THEY ORGANIZED THE ATCO BAPTIST GIRL’S CHORUS IN 1949 JOYCE & I BECAME FRIENDS WITH ALL 30 OF THEM FOR LIFE. I ENJOYED THE YOUTH CHURCH DINNERS AT THE BAGWELLS’ HOME AS WELL AS THE SILLY GAMES WE PLAYED AND ALWAYS THE SINGING. 

IN 1949 MY LIFE IN THE VILLAGE WAS A HAPPY ONE. MY DAD NEVER MISSED A SHIFT IN THE MILL, BUT HE NEVER MISSED A WEEK END GETTING DRUNK EITHER. BY THEN I HAD LEARNED TO STAY OUT OF HIS WAY WHEN HE WAS “LIKE THAT”. IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1951 WHEN I WAS ON A SLOW BOAT TO KOREA I WROTE HIM A LETTER AND ASKED HIM TO GO TO CHURCH WITH JOYCE AND MY MOTHER ON EASTER SUNDAY. HE DID AND WE NEVER SAW HIM DRINK ALCOHOL DURING THE LAST 32 YEARS OF HIS LIFE. MY MOTHER WHO HAD BEEN PARALYZED SEVERAL YEARS FROM A STROKE WHEN MY BROTHER BILL WAS BORN WAS WALKING AGAIN. MY BROTHERS ROLAND “CURLEY”, BILL AND I ENJOYED GOOD HOME COOKED MEALS AND CLEAN CLOTHES BY A WOMAN NAMED CASSIE WHO IRONED WELL (BUT SOMETIME DRIPPED A LITTLE SNUFF ON THEM). WE DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF CLOTHES BUT I HAD TWO YELLOW SHIRTS. THE SECOND TIME I WORE A YELLOW SHIRT TO JOYCE’S HOUSE HER LITTLE SISTER, WHO SAT BETWEEN US ON THE BACK STEPS, ASKED ME IF I ONLY HAD ONE SHIRT. I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE ENOUGH JUST BEING AT 

THE PREACHER’S HOUSE. I HAD A LOT OF EMBARRASSING TIMES BEFORE I LEARNED TO KID WITH THEM. THAT FALL, WHEN I ATE MY FIRST MEAL THERE, I USED MY BEST MANNERS AND TOLD THEM HOW MUCH I ENJOYED THE MEAL. PREACHER LOOKED AT ME AND SAID “SON, I’D HATE TO SEE SOMEONE EAT THAT MUCH AND NOT ENJOY IT”. GOT ME AGAIN! 

UNTIL I STARTED THINKING ABOUT THIS TODAY, I REALLY DIDN’T REALIZE HOW MANY IMPORTANT THINGS HAPPENED TO ME DURING MY 19TH YEAR. THE MOST IMPORTANT WAS FALLING IN LOVE AND ACCEPTING CHRIST IN MY LIFE. WHEN I CELEBRATED MY 20THBIRTHDAY ON DECEMBER 22, 1950 MY LIFE HAD TAKEN A NEW ROUTE WITH NEW MEANING. 

IN THIS VERY CHANGED WORLD 54 YEARS LATER, I HOPE AND PRAY THAT YOUR LAST YEAR AS A TEEN AGER WILL BE AS HAPPY AND MEMORABLE AS MINE WAS! 

P.S. FROM GRANDMOTHER….I THINK THIS IS A WASH TUB FULL OF WORDS INSTEAD OF A NUTSHELL! LOVE YOU!

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ATCO, Georgia, The Village by Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt and ATCO Kids, Individually, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at atcogeorgia.com.
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