Memories: Hard times and a yard sale thief


I am so sick of hearing the same pitiful tale from every black person who runs for office: “I was born in a house with no electricity, no running water, I had to work in the fields and pick cotton, blah blah blah.”

Well, welcome to the real world. Back in the 1930s and ‘40s that was a sign of the times.

I was born in a house with one light bulb in the living room. The only way mother had water to cook with was when my dad ran a water line and a pump from a spring a half mile down the road (my dad could fix anything).

Our half-bath was way out in the back yard: it was a two seater, and you had to look down to make sure a snake wasn’t down in the poop below. There was always a fear of getting bit by a spider or snake, and when you finished your job, we couldn’t afford toilet tissue so we used sheets of paper from the Sears catalog. Bath time was under our one faucet on the back porch.

Summer break was to work in the fields and pick cotton, corn, tomatoes, all vegetables, then we had to can them in jars. No trip to Florida, just work.

Our refrigerator was the spring across the road. We didn’t have money to go grocery shopping. We did have a man in an old schoolbus that came by once a week, and we would swap eggs for butter and flour for bread.

My mom washed clothes in a washpot out back with a fire built under it. You scrubbed them clean on a washboard, hung them on a line to dry. When we drank milk, it was from the cow that mother milked in the morning. Buttermilk was made from an old churn that rocked back and forth.

We did have a school bus that came by, but if you missed the bus you had to walk three miles to get to school.

Our house caught on fire from the wood stove, and if you had a nearby neighbor, they helped put out the fire. No such thing as a fire department.

My mom thought it was a good idea to move from the Tennessee backwoods to Georgia. She loaded up furniture, and the cow got the prime spot near the cab of the truck. She drove over a mountain when it was so foggy you couldn’t see the road in front of you.

One man at a store where we bought gas told her don’t try to drive over that mountain. She was ready to leave the backwoods for the city, so we went over the mountain.

We moved into an updated house with a well and septic tank in the back yard, and, yes, the septic tank drained into the well and my brother nearly died with yellow fever.

I often think of the hardship my mom went through to raise four kids, no washing machine, no running water, no electricity, no refrigerator, milking cows every day, chickens to feed, and, yes, we killed them for Sunday dinner. Biscuits every morning, no cereal.

So don’t sing your poor little tale of how poor you were, and expect people to feel sorry for you. That was the life of 99 percent of the people who lived “back then.” It was just a way of life for working people, who lived outside of the city.

[On another subject,] this is an open letter to a thief. I am 75 years old, had heart surgery last June, still trying to get back on my feet. My grandson and daughter set up a yard sale for me to try and make a few bucks.

A lady drove up and I asked if she needed help. She said, “No, just looking.” I turned to go back inside for a minute, looked up and she was stealing an original art work, priced at $50, an acrylic, modern art, two feet wide and five feet long, a frog at the bottom and a butterfly at the top, bright yellow and red colors.

She drove a four-door dark gold Chevy pickup. She was a 5 feet tall Hispanic woman with short dark hair, slender, late 30s. I yelled at her she sped off. So if you see this artwork in someone’s house or at a flea market, please contact me at

I have always said the lowest form of life is a thief or a liar.

LeGay Saul

Fayette County, Ga.