Page 26 - Autobiography of a Law School
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Wanting a Seersucker Suit, 1933-1952

too poor to farm. The crop failure didn’t matter because there was
no market for picked cotton, and I doubt the venture paid for seed
and fertilizer.

         Luck turned briefly in our direction when the Highway
Department condemned a few acres of the farm for a paved road
connecting Nacogdoches and Cushing. The award enabled us to
build a small, but clean, two-bedroom house on the new highway a
couple of miles from Cushing. A local carpenter, Kinch Parker,
salvaged heart pine lumber from the old house and used it to build
our new, spider-free, two-bedroom home, along with a tiny rent
shack and outbuildings. The smell of honest sweat and sawdust still
revives my memory of Mr. Parker and his two sons sawing and
hammering on the house I would live in from 1936 to 1952. It was
built to face the new highway, leaving its backside staring at the old
road and the railroad beyond it. My classmates laughed at the
backward-built house for several years before the new highway
made sense out of its orientation.

         In 1937, a benevolent uncle sold or gave us a few dairy
cows to improve our chances for survival, and for a year my mother
ran a one-woman dairy. Seven days a week, she herded and milked
reluctant cows, separated cream by hand-crank, and carried heavy
five-gallon cans to the road to be picked up by the local milk truck.
I was only four or five years old, but the dairy smell still keeps me
from drinking the white liquid. The dairy business and its meager
income ended when my mother twisted her back chasing cows. For
a year, she could barely walk, let alone herd and milk cows. I
became her legs as well as my dad’s for a year until a chiropractor
finally relieved her sciatic nerve pain.

         Dairy farming requires dependable workers, and we had
none. We traded our milk cows for an equal number of mixed-breed
beef cows with modest hope their calves, fattened on summer grass
and sold on the hoof, would produce a profit. The Depression price

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