Petey Bob Starts to School
and Falls In Love
Copyright 2016 by Paul Marion Fleetwood
I was born near the beginning of the great depression in the Ripley
County, Missouri, about ten miles North of the small town of
me Paul Marion after my uncle Paul and my dad Marion. This
seemed to be quite normal and satisfactory until I got old enough to
start saying words. Then for some unknown reason everytime
would call me Paul, I would say uh-uh Bob. Well this went on
for some time according to mom until she and Dad just gave up and
started calling me Bobby.
there. They still wanted me to be named after Uncle
His nick name was Pete. So I got stuck with the name Petey Bob and it
stuck with me all the way through Grade School.
When I started to grade school my first time, I had to walk about a
mile to the one room school house "Lone Star East".
My first teacher was Mr. Rogers whose first name was Mansell.
When I stood next to him I just came up to his knee. He said
was afraid that I would break my neck when I looked up at him but we
got along alright and he started me off in the Primer. I
mastered that pretty soon and was reading quite well before they put
me in the first grade.
meantime though I
fell in love with another first grader. Her nickname was
"Toad". Her real name was Lois but we always called
her Toad. Fortunately she was bigger than I because I needed
her to protect me from the bigger boys who liked to pick on me.
One day during recess just as the books bell rang, I took Toad by the
hand and we stood behind a tree for a few seconds as I repeated the
poem I had just learned. "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, had a
wife and couldn't keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell and
there he kept her very well". Well, it was just true love
after that but alas it didn't last very long. My family moved
about 60 miles away to the swamps of Northeast Arkansas.
There were times though that we would return to Missouri to visit my
Grandma and sometimes I would see Toad. But mostly I would
see her dad when we went to town. He always scared me because
he had a crooked finger that was bent up at about 60 degrees. It was
his pointing finger and he would point the crooked old thing at me
and act like he didn't want me to see his little girl.
I remember one day while I was in town standing in from of Lee's
store when he was there shopping for supplies. Most of us
country people would buy groceries and dry goods and so forth at
Lee's store. It was a big brick store that was two stories
tall. He kept lots of carpets and furniture and stuff
so it had that smell about it. I was pretty familiar with the
upstairs though because that's where the bathroom
Well anyway I got up enough nerve to ask Toad's dad, Mr Davis, if he
would deliver some candy toToad and he finally agreed to do
Then I went in to Lee's and bought a nickel's worth of candy
I divided it in half and gave half to him and I kept the other half
for myself. You know I never did find out if she got the
but I always figured she did. But I sure enjoyed my share!
One day my dad took me with him to the grocery store. The
clerk asked him what my name was. Dad told her "well we
used to call him Petey Bob but when He turned 12 we cut the Petey off
and now we just call him Bob.
Arkansas I didn't expect to ever attend Lone Star East again, but
several years later and after several more moves, I ended up there
for the last 6 weeks of my eighth grade. In those days we
graduated from the eighth grade before going to High School.
teacher then was Miss Helen Boshears and there were just three people
in the eighth grade. For our celebration we three graduates
Miss Helen went on an outing and a picnic down by the creek and had a
I dug out my old
graduation report card and sure enough I graduated as Bobby instead
of Paul. I think maybe I have a split
Sometimes I feel like a Bob and sometimes I feel like a Paul.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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