When you grow up in a southern Mill Village, no one tells you that you’re poor. Amid the struggle for survival, we youngsters were naive in a way that shielded us from the ugliness, the unfairness of life. We were accustomed to eating pinto beans, fried potatoes, cornbread and buttermilk three times a week, and we came to believe that these meals were the norm. We weren't wise to planned menus, salads, and the food groups. We were unaccustomed to traveling anyway but on foot, rain or shine. We were sheltered.
I learned lessons the hard way, through experience. Now, as an adult, I realize the unfortunate circumstances my parents and others endured, and I’m amazed at the way they managed to shield me from our poorness. Psychologists and historians say that mill villagers were exploited for the sake of financial gain of the more powerful and wealthy. Perhaps, but lasting lessons in life rarely come easily, and social change creates powerful growth tools.
Atco, short for American Textile Company, is a Mill Village in Bartow County, Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachians in North Georgia. Planned on 600 acres and founded in 1903, Edward L. McLain, from Greenfield, Ohio, wanted to ensure he had enough fabric and a stable workforce for his horse collar fabric mill. McLain built a village of about 100 little white bungalow houses with front porches and intricate banisters complete with a school, park, ball field, swimming pool, grocery store, and a clubhouse. It was a perfect, tidy package, complete with workforce when the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased it in 1928.
When my mama and daddy were married in 1944, they sharecropped for my grandfather on acreage he owned in Adairsville Georgia in north Bartow County. My grandfather, who, according to my mama, married a local widow after my grandmother died, was a pretty mean-tempered man and an alcoholic. My grandfather eventually lost his land. I will always remember my mama saying the only thing they were able to take with them other than their clothes, was a plastered, guilded mirror that had once belonged to my daddy’s mama before she passed. I still have the mirror.
The natural place for them to find employment once they left the farm, was the Goodyear Clearwater Mill in Atco, in ‘town.’ Most of my mama’s and daddy’s families already worked in the mill, relocating there after, they, too, had left tenant farming. They obtained employment and set up housekeeping in the Village. My mother was the oldest of 6 children, and I’m sure they were glad “Sis,” as they called her, was closer to the fold. My daddy had one brother, Uncle Ben and one sister, Aunt Katie. Every one of the adults in both families worked in the mill and lived in the Village. Both extended families were emotionally close.
For a time, my mama and daddy shared a four-room house, a sort of duplex, with another young married couple. Eventually, they bought a more private 3-room, single-family house, with bedroom, kitchen, and living room. Life was good. It was the post war era, the economy was booming, and they were proud to have work. Their combined income in 1953 was a bit over $5,000. They had a new baby after 10 years of marriage. Being poor back then wasn’t all bad. There were hundreds of other families living in the village that were just like us.
One of my lingering memories took place at one of the several 3-room houses they lived in. I’d been outside playing with the other neighborhood kids. I couldn’t have been more then 3 or 4. I went inside to have lunch, and all we had was bread and a bit of A-1 sauce. My mama made me an A-1 sauce sandwich. I loved it. No sandwich meat, no peanut butter, no milk, just bread and this liquid sauce that had some flavor. I cringe when I think about it now, but then, it was great. For years after I grew up, I loved A-1 sauce on my meat. I couldn’t eat anything else, and having it gave me a sense of comfort. Life in that 3-room house was wonderful for me. I haven't figured out why we had A-1 steak sauce but nothing else.
Mingling and friendships in the Village evolved with close neighbors, those on the same street or just across the street. We celebrated everything. Birthdays were a big deal. There were kids of all ages everywhere, and when one of us had a birthday, it was a day filled with cake and homemade ice cream. The cold concoction was churned by hand for hours, while we took turns sitting on the ice cream churn to hold the top in place. We would sit there until our bottoms were frozen, and even though the situation eventually became uncomfortable, there was always a constant stream of kids waiting to be the next sitter. To this day, nothing tastes quite as good to me as churned ice cream. But the new electric ones aren’t nearly as fun, and for some reason, the treat doesn’t taste nearly as good as it did back then.
When I turned 5, we moved to a new, bigger house that my parents bought. Unaware that the Goodyear family had deftly manipulated them into home ownership, they worked hard and paid their mortgage of $33.75 a month. I’m unsure whether or not their 7th grade educations made it possible for them to read the contract, but it turned out well. I remember the new house seemed huge, sitting high on a hill, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room, on a back street. My Bigmama had lived in the same house in 1943. Still only about four blocks from the mill, and much smaller than I remember, 32 Wingfoot Trail became the place where, to this day, my heartstrings are tugged.
The backside of the Village was a great place to grow up. Situated on one of the bordering streets, our house was one of the nicer ones. Painted crisp white, the front porch was banistered, and the back porch had been enclosed making it possible for us to have an indoor toilet. The bathroom space could not have been more than 3 x 3, with a curtain for privacy instead of a door. The step up to reach the commode was high enough that, as a youngster, I had to be lifted to reach it. We bathed in a huge metal tub in the kitchen that was filled by hand with water heated on the stove. It wasn’t until years later that the old closet toilet gave way to a new bathroom. The house lighting was strung on cords from the ceiling with bare light bulbs turned on and off by a pull string. The inside walls were plaster, which was a step up from the narrow beaded board that walled some of the first houses. The floors were covered with linoleum connected by metal strips that ran across the room where the flooring strips met. The living area and one of the bedrooms had small coal fireplaces that had been vented for gas space heaters. The kitchen had a gas heater that was vented through a wall, but was not housed in a fireplace. On cold mornings, those space heaters were a fast way to warm a hiney when I jumped out of bed in an unheated room and ran to the kitchen to dress and have breakfast before school.
The kitchen, as it is now for many families, was the hub of the house. My mama washed, ironed and starched everything we wore and everything we slept on, even our pillowcases, in that kitchen. My daddy would bring inside two big washtubs that hung on the walls outside our house and roll our wringer washer from the back porch into the kitchen, so she could do the laundry. The washer sat in the middle of the two tubs. One was for washing, one for rinsing. Each piece of clothing was scrubbed by hand on a washboard, fed through the washing machine wringer, and into the rinse tub. Many times, she caught her fingers in the ringers. She’d do the laundry, hang it outside on the clothesline to dry, bring it in, sprinkle it with water, and place it in the refrigerator so it wouldn’t sour. Even in freezing weather, we’d have to gather those stiff, frozen clothes from the clothes line. Our hands would be red and achy from the cold. She was adamant and obsessive about clean, neat clothes. The living room was used for company only and was as sacred as the knick-knacks displayed on my mama’s coffee table. The kitchen was used for family.
Every Saturday, mama would begin her house cleaning. Every piece of furniture we owned was dusted, piled on top of the sofa, the kitchen table, and the beds. She meticulously mopped and waxed every floor, and then we replaced the furniture. I hated this ritual. But I loved coming home from school in the spring when she had all the doors opened, the breeze was blowing, and I could smell the clean. Smell is a powerful memory tool.
Most families in the Village didn’t own a car in my early years. We didn’t need one. The company store was about six blocks from our house and closer for most. Adjacent from the mill and at the front of the Village, the building that housed the store also had a post office, a luncheon counter and a drug store. On the same block was Mae’s Beauty Shop, the barber shop, the pool, the school, and the ball field. The park was across the street from the mill. Everyone walked everywhere. Hoards of people walked together to and from the mill to work their shifts. When a discussion arose about anyone, he was always associated with a particular department at the mill. “He works in department 4-x, or she works in department 4.” These days, we know that the mill owners had a more sinister reason for the planned community being self-contained, but I never remember anyone complaining about it.
Each block had a dirt back alley. I’m sure there was a reason an alley cut the blocks in half, but I don’t know what that reason might have been. In later years, when cars began to appear on the scene, some used the alleys as driveways. The streets were so narrow that parking on them created problems. And many years later, they were convenient for trash pickup. But the ‘back alley’ was well known for other things.
At 6, I learned to drive a stick shift. My dad would let me sit in his lap and we’d maneuver our old Ford up and down that back alley. He’d work the pedals, and I’d change gears. What fun! I’d be willing to bet I was the only 6-year-old in the Village who could almost drive.
But when my daddy died, my mama didn’t know how to drive. We had upgraded to a 64 Comet with winged taillights, but it was still a stick shift. I knew we were in trouble when my mama got behind the wheel to take us to Mae’s beauty shop, and the car choked and sputtered, throwing me into the dashboard. She was still learning to drive, and we weren’t driving the back alleys; we were on the public street. What a ride! I tried to tell her I could drive a stick shift, but she’d have none of that. Thank heavens my Uncle Charles helped her buy an automatic. He saved me.
My Bigmama, my mama’s mama, lived four houses from us on the same street. My Uncle Herman, my mama’s brother, and his wife, Aunt Nell, lived next door. My Uncle John, another brother, and his wife, Estie, lived on the lower side of the Village. Every one was accustomed to visiting via the back alleys. No one used the curbed sidewalks to ease from house to house. Those were used mostly for traffic to and from work at the mill. The sidewalks had a steadfast purpose…professional use only. The back alleys were used for personal travel.
The back alley behind our house separated a tract of land known as Trash Pile Hill from our back yard. Everyone called it Trash Pile Hill, but no one those days really knew about the consequences of having a landfill in your back yard. The Hill, as it was known, was inclined and relatively barren with the exception of several big oak trees. Most of it was weedy, filled with vines and a tall golden grass that swayed in the wind on windy days. We kids loved playing on that hill.
I got my first case of poison ivy bouncing on a set of old box springs that had been discarded on this Hill. Trampolines were non-existent to the Village kids, and we made do with what we could find. For hours a group of us used those box springs for fun. It had been covered with some mysterious vine that we’d pulled away from the inner rounds of coils. The next day I was so completely covered with blisters that my mama had to take a taxi to carry me to the doctor. He promptly sent her, not to the drug store, but to Owens Funeral Home, with a prescription. That afternoon and for many days afterward, I smelled of calamine lotion and embalming fluid. No one would play with me because I smelled so bad, but it was a sure cure. Those blisters dried up. To this day, I don’t go near any sort of three leafed plant that vaguely resembles poison oak or ivy.
As we got older, 9 or 10, we’d venture beyond the immediate edge of the Hill. Farther up, the vines gave way to that splendid grass that looked a bit like tall wheat when it turns golden. The fields of grass led to a more barren part of the Hill that plunged down a cliff. Beyond the cliff was a breathtaking site, and it was that time in my life that I realized that God must really exist. At the base of the cliff was a stretch of land that led to Petit Creek. The tree lined, winding creek snaked across the landscape, and beyond it was Jackson’s dairy. The dairy might as well have been on another planet. None of us younger kids were allowed that far out of the Village. It was no man’s land. The rumor was that the older ones had a cable strung across the creek and slid from one side to the other, avoiding snakes as they slid. We admired them for their fearless adventures. We were satisfied being the less fortunate younger ones, lying on our backs, hands behind heads, watching clouds pass. They always looked fluffier on The Hill, lying back, relaxing.
Neighborhood kids might have been short on bought toys, but we were big on imagination. Every year the vines and shrubs that edged the hill would grow out of control, providing us with great places to burrow out huts, playhouses, and forts. Tangled hair and scratched arms and legs were worth all that fun.
The Hill was also an attraction for other Village folk. Teenagers used it for a place to neck, drink and party. Liquor and beer bottles were commonplace among the other trash found beneath the tree canopies. On weekends, the Hill was a swinging place. Music blared, voices were loud, and more than once, I can remember my daddy having to walk across the back alley late at night to shoo away some of the partiers.
To supplement our groceries, the Villagers on our street would plant gardens on the Hill. YIKES! Rows of corn, tomatoes, and other summer vegetables were sowed and harvested using the Hill dirt. Year after year, families tested their farming skills. The work was shared, as was the bounty. Summer or weekend afternoons were spent around the wash bench - a concrete, pebble, and seashell bench that was a part of every yard - shelling peas and beans, shucking corn, and gobbling watermelon. These days, I wonder if the dump site had any effect on my mama’s, my daddy’s, and our other neighbors’ early deaths. When I visited the site after I’d grown up and moved away, a developer had built houses on the Hill. I felt violated. They’d taken my hill. It’s a bit of irony that a dangerous landfill could be, in the eyes of a child, such a beautiful and fairy tales place.
I don’t know of any family who had much for Christmas. For extra money, my mama baked cakes for the entire family. Hours of ice picking holes in the fresh coconut shells to drain the milk and pounding the shell with a hammer to loosen it, gave way to the moistest cakes I’ve ever tasted. No one could bake like my mama. Chocolate, coconut, and pecan-covered cakes lined our tables at Christmas. Modest means meant that Santa brought most of us one or two gifts. Goodyear furnished tickets for extra presents that were given away at the Clubhouse. Little did I know outsiders called the cherished give away, the Empty Stocking Fund. All I knew was that we stood in line with hundreds of other families, waiting to file alongside tables filled with toys…one side for girls, the other for boys. We got to choose whichever toy found our fancy. And as we reached the exit, at the rear of the Clubhouse, each of us was given a red netted stocking brimming with fruit, nuts, and candy. It didn’t take much to make us happy.
The same dairy that was forbidden territory to the kids, delivered our milk several mornings each week. I would not drink white milk, so we always had a bottle of chocolate delivered for daddy’s little angel. I lived for that rich, chocolate milk. One day, the chocolate milk was not on the front porch. Daddy got up early the next morning to remind the deliveryman that we needed that chocolate milk. I had to have my calcium. The deliveryman insisted he had not missed a morning delivering it, and was a bit insulted that anyone thought he had been derelict in his duty. The second morning we missed the milk, daddy knew there was a culprit. He rose at 4 every morning for 3 days, bearing a shotgun, sitting behind a cracked front door, before he caught the teenage boy from the other side of the village stealing my chocolate milk. My daddy, all 5’7” of him, wielding a loaded gun, convinced the teenager that he should find his chocolate milk elsewhere. My daddy did not mind sharing anything we had, but stealing would not be tolerated.
Other than this incident, I believe crime in the Village was nonexistent. Parents were not concerned about dangers befalling their children. Even though the area was large, friends were made of those living around immediate intersections, street corners, and along the same streets. We played hide and seek and caught lightening bugs hours into the evenings, without parent supervision. In a house just across the street from the Church lived the Jacksons. Mr. Jackson had an enclosed back porch that was a small store that catered to the Village kids during the summer and after school. He had retired from somewhere, probably the mill, and we could buy candy, sodas, gum, and other treats just by walking in his back door and paying him. I always thought it was a neat thing to have a store in your house. Today, we are less trusting, and it wouldn’t be a neat thing at all.
We had free reign to ride our bikes and skateboards for several blocks from our homes. Huge oak trees lined streets and had roots that pushed the sidewalks upward, creating cracks that became a challenge to conquer on skateboards. Parmenter Street led to Atco Baptist Church and was about a mile long downhill run. Those of us who couldn’t afford skateboards from the dime store, made our own from recycled skate wheels and wooden boards. Competitive skateboarding began on Parmenter Street in Atco, Georgia.
I was one of the few who had a bike. My favorite was a blue speed demon with wide handlebars and a sharp chain cover. It had an extra seat over the rear fender for a passenger and brightly colored streamers that hung from holes in the handle bar grips. I didn’t have a horn, but made do with scraps of paper attached to spokes with clothespins. The flap, flap, flap drove the adults crazy, but all my friends thought it was a cool thing. Even cooler was my canny ability to ride my bike backwards, sitting on the handlebars. I tried this at 50, and somehow, it’s not the same.
The only crime was not having a bike or skateboard then and getting old now.
As hard as we kids played, our parents worked harder. The Village work ethic was unsurpassed. Shifts were worked 24 hours a day, five days a week. I am sure some worked overtime, but it was uncommon. Apparently, deadlines were always met. “Production” was important. More wages were paid when more production happened. My mama and daddy were never late for work. The mill whistle blew to begin and end shifts, and the sidewalks were always emptied of workers way before that whistle blew. You could set your watch by that whistle. Workers dressed neatly in starched, short-sleeved shirts rolled up at sleeves’ end or t-shirts, and cuffed work pants colored drab gray, green, or khaki or jeans. Others wore overalls. Most all the women wore print, cotton dresses. My mama’s hands were as callused as my daddy’s. Sometimes the tips of her fingers were raw and bled. Both parents of all of my friends worked at the mill. Usually, the mother and fathers worked different shifts to share babysitting duties. As we grew older, we stayed home alone – latch key kids. The only difference was the doors of our houses were not latched. Hard work like mill work, the kind that breaks your spirit, thankfully, is less common now.
Hard, blue-collar labor for low wages took a toll, but sicknesses and deaths brought out the best in everyone. When a death occurred, neighbors became family. Neighbors brought food for days. A common scenario was to have the dead brought home for visitation. Family and friends ‘sat’ with the body the evenings before the funeral service. Usually, the body lay in state in the living area at the same time the family was dining in the next room. When my daddy became ill in 1966 and was ill until he died in 1967, my mom had to quit work to care for him. Our neighbors bought our groceries, paid our utility bills, and contributed money to pay our mortgage. My family survived because our neighbors and the church cared. When he passed, we brought him home. This was tough for a twelve-year-old girl who’d been the apple of her daddy’s eye.
Sleeping with a dead body in the next room was not easy. Tradition and old wives tales were abundant and rampant in our Village. Funerals were not exempt. I overheard my Bigmama warn my cousin not to let my cats in the house, for fear they would have their way with the body in the casket. If this was not frightening enough, everyone thought I should ‘touch’ him, so I could avoid any bad dreams that might happen because of my loss. It did not work. I am certain these beliefs and traditions were common for poor southerners, and time honored, but I have long since cast them aside.
Alcoholism was prevalent. All of the male adults in my family were either alcoholics or ministers. I am not unfamiliar with dysfunctional family situations and the manner in which the dysfunction manifests itself, but weekends in our neighborhood were filled with liquor drinking fellows. They had worked sober all week. They were all a good sort, a fun-loving group, but they were drunk all weekend. The women in my life, for the most part, ignored them and this part of Mill life.
Being blue collar did not mean one had to remain on the bottom of the totem pole at the mill. Advancement was possible for male family members. More aggressive and more determined men became supervisors. Supervisors were provided opportunities for housing that lined the streets closest to the mill. These houses were more spacious, one block from the park, the mill, and all other amenities. Usually supervisory positions were held until death or resignation.
Just adjacent to the Village, close enough, but not a part of it, were the ‘Boss’ homes. Huge, white planked mansions with grand staircases, expansive yards and driveways with new cars, sat on a hill overlooking us. These people did not mingle with the mill workers, and in my 21 years of life in the Village, I never had an occasion to meet a boss or his family. Their children did not attend the Village school, and the mothers did not shop at the Village store. They were the elite, the aloof, and in charge. My parents gave them a reverence, and never a negative word was muttered about them. Class distinction was not only common among outsiders, bosses and mill workers, but also among mill workers and their supervisors. And it lingered. For years, after I became an adult, a stigma was attached to growing up in Atco.
The Church was a big part of Village life. We were Baptist. Girls had G.A.s Boys had R.A.s. Vacation Bible School lasted two weeks during the summer, and we always had Kool Aid and cookies for a snack. We kids walked in droves to Sunday school, clad in our Sunday best. My mom wrapped my dimes for tithing up in a hankie and knotted it, so it would not be lost. I never remember my daddy attending services, but my mama did. She tried to keep me from wiggling in my seat as I sat beside her by drawing bunny rabbits and making goblets out of Juicy Fruit chewing gum foil. It worked sometimes. Other times, she drug me outside and whacked my backside. The Church family and the religious upbringing of mill village children was every bit as important as their education.
Atco School, when first built, educated first graders through high schoolers. There were two magnificent staircases at either end of a wide hall that led upstairs to an auditorium, complete with a velvet, heavy, burgundy curtain that drew closed to hide the stage. By the time I had turned 6, the high schoolers had been relocated to either the City or the County School systems, and only the elementary and primary students were left. Each room in the school housed one grade. Music was taught upstairs in the auditorium; I learned “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Frerer Jacque” in that auditorium. For the primary grades, the restrooms were in the back of the classroom, but for the older students, restrooms were in the basement. The earliest and most traumatic experiences of my life happened in the first grade room in this building. During the middle of reading Dick and Jane in Mrs. Shellhorse’s room, I had to pee. My mama did not allow me to interrupt adults, so I was afraid to ask her if I could use the restroom. When I could not hold it any longer, I wet my pants. It was not a good beginning. I still fear people will remember.
Sometimes we would feel brave at recess, venture downward to the bowels of the basement, and check it out. If it had rained recently, earthworms would be everywhere, crawling in from big floor drains. The cafeteria was a small room at the front of the building. Cooking facilities were minimal, so every day we had our choice of hot dogs or hamburgers…no veggies, and white or chocolate milk. We loved lunch. Sometimes a change was needed, and in those instances, we brought either brown bag lunches or our lunch boxes. The girls were not allowed to wear pants. On one occasion, I told my mama the teachers had changed their minds and said it was ok, and I wore my new pants set. I lied. Of course, the third grade teacher, who now I realize wasn’t one of my favorites, called me on the carpet, in front of everyone, and embarrassed, I lied again…telling her I didn’t have any other clean clothes. My mama would have been humiliated. I never again that year wore pants, and I try not to lie now.
My Third grade year was the last year the school was open. After this year we all had to make a decision to attend the City or County school systems, and the school sat vacant for years until a local theater group used it for their performances.
The pool was Olympic sized with two diving boards, a high dive and low dive. It was packed with kids every day of the summer. We treated lifeguards like bronzed Gods, and more times than not, they were chosen from outside the Village. In large groups, we would walk from the outer edges of the Village and stand in line for an hour before the pool opened, waiting to give the lifeguard our dimes and nickels to swim. The sissies’ parents escorted and stayed with them as they swam, but most of us walked there and back home alone or in groups. The big pool was for swimmers, and the baby pool was for the rest of us. Each one of us knew the rules and understood if we could not swim, the baby pool was where we stayed. I loitered in the baby pool until I was 7. I only ventured into the big pool after my cousin pushed me in, and I almost drowned. I did, however, learn to swim underwater quickly, gasping for air, when all I had to do was reach out and grab the edge of the pool to save myself.
We learned to use the high dive to do somersaults into the water, to do cannonballs, and jackknives. On July 4th, the lifeguards provided us with watermelons that floated in the pool all day, and when it closed, they’d cut them and we’d gorge ourselves. We never worried about the melons absorbing every bacterium the pool held. Every Friday, the pools were drained. The draining began shortly after the pool opened at 2:00 in the afternoon, and continued until the last drop was gone. We swam the entire time. Parents today would worry we would be sucked down the drain. Those were the days.
Recreation for the adults was baseball and softball, and for my daddy, hunting. The ball field was at the far end of the Village next to the school and pool. A wire fence protected the wooden stands from foul balls. My Uncle Charles was a local baseball hero. He was the Home Run King and a natural in the field. He was known through out the state for his ability and had an opportunity to try out for the minor leagues, but got drunk, missed the bus, thus missing his claim to fame. For years, he was chided about the incident, and finally became a minister to cope with his misfortune and our mill family dysfunction.
My daddy loved to hunt his bird dogs. For years, I called his favorite dog “Flesh,” not realizing until I grew older that his name, was in fact, “Flash.” Once when my daddy was cleaning his shotgun, he thought he had removed the shotgun shells. He had not. It accidentally discharged, killing one of my several kitties. I have an irrational fear of guns.
A Village cannot exist without a water tower. Ours was a stately mass of steel, built in the middle of the park, a short distance away from a glorious magnolia tree, directly in front of the mill. A ladder led to a circular deck near the top of the tower, and because the tower was unfenced, dares to climb it were common. Because my group of friends had to walk through the park to get home from school, we passed the water tower every day. One afternoon, the dare was more than I could resist, and I climbed halfway up the ladder before I froze. I began to cry, and my friends scattered, leaving me hanging there. When I was not home when I should have been, my daddy came looking for me. There he found me, crying, scared and stuck to the ladder high above the park. He climbed up, coddled me down, and never scolded me about my stupidity. I do not think he ever told my mama what I’d done, and I learned then that good friends are hard to find and harder to keep when times get tough.
I did not know we were financially poor until I went to high school. I did not know then that we were part of a plan that powerful and wealthy people schemed to benefit themselves, with total disregard for an entire generation’s well being. I did learn that the adults who I loved and admired taught me to be self sufficient, strong willed and determined during good times and sad times. Mill Village kids share an unusual bond, We were part of a time when dreams were sometimes all we had, and, if we were lucky, we figured out that everything turns out just fine when you learn a few simple things:
Homemade is best;
Relaxing makes things fluffier;
Clean is good,
Stealing is not;
Try not to lie;
We need friends sometimes, but we need family always;
Save something for future generations;
When opportunity comes knocking, don’t get drunk;
Relegate your personal business to the back alleys;
Sometimes automation is better than manual;
Never be afraid to ask for something you need;
There is no sin in being poor;
Gun safety is extremely important;
Saving yourself can be simple;
If you’re hiney gets too close to the heat, it could get burned, and
A little bacteria in the water won’t hurt you.
But probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s absolutely true what they say,
“It does take a Village to raise a child.”
We all should have been so lucky.