The Story of my Life





Joe Williams Loller




© Copyright 2013 by  J. Richard Loller (son)



 

 

Building levee on Mississippi River, 1930s.


I was born January 4, 1903.

My life has been a merry go round. There has been aldered (sp?) times in it and critical times.

So to start we will go to where I was born in a 3 Room house, with a kitchen and living room and a hall, across the hall was the bed room. There was a fire place in the living room. The house was in a apple orchard in a place call Big Creek.

My critical time happen there when I was 3 years old. My sister and her friend, had some dolls and they had bottles with play medicine in them and they was jimsonweed weed seeds for pill. I must have thought them candy for I got a hold of some of the seed and ate them and my mother said I turn black from the poison, Dr Bolton came and use a stomach pump and save me from death.

Then we move to a place call Lucy, I was 4 years old then. I remember that move for it was in the Spring of the year, and there was a mud hole along the dirt road where the road curve along side the R.R. For about 50 feet the wagon was in there up to the axles. Water and mud, the first thing I saw when we got to the house was our old refrigerator setting on the front porch. This house was a 2 room affair with a porch across the two rooms and from the porch you went into the dinning room and kitchen there was there was 4 room all to gather. There was a chimney in between the 2 bed rooms use fire wood 3 ft long.

Lucy was a pretty good town then there was 5 stores in Lucy, G G Crenshaw & Brothers, M. A. Gilisppie, Sykes, Alen Winne, A. C. Jamison. The Post Office was in A. C. Jammison Store at that time, then it move to Mrs Sykes store.

The Lucy school was a old frame building with 3 rooms and a old belly coal stove in each room. I did not like school much and I used to get quite a few lickings from the teacher. The older boys was all ways putting me up to do things I should not; I think after the 4th grade they built the new school. I don pretty well at school until the 8 grade, then the First World War came along.

I was too young to go the war so I went to work on the aviation field they built at Millington Tenn. Same place the Navy has now only they were south of the road. I went to work as a water Boy at 1.50 per day. There was about 50 of us water Boys at work up there in June they put some men carrying water and paid them 3.50 Per day so one hot day at 1pm all us Boys Struck and they fired us.

So I went to work for a contractor Brown Disunion Co. at 3.50 Per day. Me and my Dad would get up at 5 A. M. and walk to work. It was 4 miles up there. Some time we got a ride home; I would have to Trot to keep up with Papa.

From there I went to Nashville Tenn with the contractor and work up there until the War was over.

There was not any Romance in my life until I was in my 20 years. I work on the RR when I was at home after that as a section hand. I. C. R.R. I went to Helena Ark on the Saint Frances river and went to work for Mr Jimmie Rodgers, a big contractor. I drove a wheeler Team and Mr Rodgers would let me muck Stumps when it was too wet to drive the mules so I made pretty good money.

I got tired of the life in the camp and came home and went to school for a while then the fever to go hit me and I went back up to Hickman Ky. To Mr. Rodgers camp and this time he had all 4 mule wagon teams to drive so I drove them and watch the Caterpillar Tractor. Every time something happen to it I was right there to see how to fix it. The mechanic was a man name Edd Clark. He was a man from Cuba TN not far from Lucy so when he quit Mr. Rodgers and I started driving the Tractor.

We moved from Ky to Lake Providence La. Then we had 2 Tractors and they got another boy from Lucy, Minor Pannell. I was not satisfied with the pay they were paying me so I quit and came home.

I went to work on the R.R. And work there for a few month then I went to Memphis and Morrisston Tractor Co game me a job as Parts Boy and General Flunkey at 3.50 Per day. I work there for about 6 month then Eldorado Ark. Wanted 3 tractor operators at $175.00 month; so I went to Eldorado Ark and work over there about 2 years and left there and came back to Memphis and stayed here for 2 or 3 month.

My first Romance started in Miss. I was in love with a Girl and thought she was in love with me, But one night I had a date with her and she Told me she could not go with me; and would not say why; so I got mad and took her Brother and we went to Longview Miss and got Annie and Gertrude Linsey and went to a show. When I came back the other girl was waiting up for me and at 12 o'clock at night she told me she was going to marry another man. It hurt me a lot, but I stood up to our bargain in the beginning that each one of us ever seen some one else we like better that we would tell the other. Any way I had to move on from there.

So I went 50 miles from there and got a job in French Camp Miss. My stay there was short 2 month for the winter set in and we could not build any road; so I came home and was not home but about a week before a boy friend of mine wanted me to go to Fla. With him. At this time there was a Real estate Boom in Fla. So I agreed to go with hm; I could get a Job any where but the boy was not as Experience as I was and all the contractor did not need him so I could not take a job unless they would give him one.

We worked for his uncle for about 6 month then a construction company gave me and him a job at Dade City Fla. New Road Building. This was 1925 until 1927 when I came home.

I went to work for the Highway Dept on Old no 3 High Way, with Mr Williams Henderon. I work there until 1928. About Nov 30 I receive a wire from the United Fruit Co wanted to know if I would take a job in Tela Honduras C.A.

O Boy I jumped at the job for they were hard to get then. So I sail out of New Orleans in Dec, my first ocean voyage. There was 80 college students on the boat going to Havana Cuba for holiday and when the boat sail I had one dime. That night they had a crap game in the salon. I won $40.00 with the Dime, and in Havana the boat crew wanted Whiskey for Christmas and I was the only passenger going to Honduras and they hired me to bring packages of Whiskey on board the boat. My state room has 36 package of Whiskey or Wine in it by the time we left Havana. But by the time we got to sea the packages begin to disappear out of the room.

By the time I got to Casteo Honduras my dime had jump to 106.50. I had to spend Xmas in Casteo waiting for a boat to go to Tela. Boy the sand flys in that place was terrible; you had to sleep under cheese cloth to keep them from eating you up.

When I land in Tela my boss here is a Mr. Cobb. Superintendent actually. He give me a line about this and that so I get up at 4.45 AM. Take a train out to a place call Progreso Honduras in the center of the Banana Farms.

O Boy my impression of this country. I would have give it back to the Indians. We get to Progreso about 9 AM. The train stays there until 2 PM then goes back to Tela.

I meet all the office people and Mr Tallion take me and shows me the Tractors and tell me they want them all at work in 2 week. Can I do it. I said all I could do was try.

There was a English Negro in charge of the tractor so I told him to get some hemp and start the tractor and harrow moving. I 2 week we had all the tractor deliver to the different arms and some farms where I had 4 or 5 tractor we left a man to look after the up keep.

I stayed there until my vacation time 18 month later. I came home for 2 month, got married; one of those 2 week court ship marriages and the girl was not but 17 years old and she told me she did not marry me that she married the car and trip to C.A. So it went on the rock after 6 years.

She married my boy friend after she got a divorce and lives here at Lucy. She had a son by this marriage.

I am in Guatemala at this time when she divorce me. I meet a nurse in the hospital name Isabel Figueroa and we get married in Guatemala City in Sept 26, 1939. We come up here to the states and have 4 weeks here. She is sick with a baby and has to have an abortion. We go back to Guatemala and she get with baby again and when I am laid off she want to stay down there and have the baby in Ticquasate Hospital that that was arranged and she had the baby but she lost her life doing it.

The baby is a boy Richard Loller. My sister went own and got him. He was 2 month old when she got hm and brought him home to me.

One thing about getting married in Guatemala, you have to have a Birth Certificate or get 2 people to swear you are 21 years old. I had to hire a lawyer to get married; and if I had known it I could have went to Tequila Mexico and got married for $3.50.

One thing I can say for my Spanish wife, she was the best one. She treated me like I was a King; It spoil me.

My son was a little thing. When he got here my sister brought hm in a basket that Isabel had made to bring him home it. He had a hard time of it the first year he had Pneumonia and my mother and sister were keeping him and they were not very good at it for my sister was courting and she would leave him with Mama and she was too old to keep him.

So I was looking for a wife. I was going with a widow woman but she had 3 kids and I was not wanting her for she was cold as ice.

So one night I went down to Memphis to a lady's house that I used to live with and she was not home but when I knocked on the door, Miss Zadie Cook open the door. I know her from my first marriage. We lived out there in an apartment and Zadie and Mary Grissom used to come there to see Mrs. Wren. I was surprised to see her; and Mrs. Wren had told me that Zadie was engage to a Dr. I ask her about this and she said she was not Engage to any one, so I told her that I work from 3 to 11PM but would like to come and see her.

We made a date and I took her out and I told her that I sure was glad I found her for I have all ways like you and I am going to lay the card down for I got to get married and it has got to be quick. She said she was going on vacation for 2 week and she would give me her answer when she came back.

I brought her out to Lucy to see the baby and I think she like the baby.

So we got married at Hernando Mississippi On October 26, 1941.

Richard had pneumonia the first year. He got over that and we move to Gerard St. close to my work at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. The second year he had pneumonia again. I don't think the Dr thought he would live to get to the hospital. But he did and they put him in a Oxygen tent and he did not have any fever and the Dr. was worried and said if he only had a little fever the medicine would work and break the pneumonia. So me and Zadie's mother slip 5 drop of whiskey in his tea, and when the nurse took his fever that afternoon it had gone from 96 to 99 and the drug went to work and the next morning the Dr. told my wife the crisis had past and 2 days later he was well enough to bring home. That was his last sick spell; he was 2 years old at that time.

Well we moved out to Lucy Tenn. Bought a home out there. But we had not move until we was Bless with a baby Girl. She was born Jan 19, 1946. We name her Ann Cameron Loller.

Zadie has been a wonderful mother to the boy. I think she care about as much for the boy if not more than she does for the girl. The boy was a graduate of Vanderbilt College in Nashville.

The girl went to a all woman college in Mississippi, M.S.C.W. in Columbus Mississippi. The girl is married to Steve Beckham. She work for Baptist Children Home in Raleigh TN as a social worker. They live in Katherine Entrikin little house on Lucy Road. Steve does contractor work around his old stomping ground in Millington and Mempis.


The boy is married and lives in Nashville. He has 2 kids. His wife is from Rosedale Ms on the Mississippi River. River. He is a Editor for the Methodist Publish House. He won a Firestone Scholarship to Vanderbilt College, but I have put the girl through myself.

I have been slaving for Firestone Tire & Rubber for last 23 years.

I never had nothing as long as I was a Rolling Stone, but I have seen a lot of the world and learn a lot. I have my own home and don't owe anybody any thing. I retired on January 31, 1968, and have been trying to catch up on my work around here so I can do a lot of fishing....


Joe Loller died August 11, 1983



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