cont. from last week


A writing by my mother, Alma (Lindsay) Paradise that she called
“My Key To success”

“When my husband and I were married he had one dollar and a half after paying for the marriage expense. He had a job for one dollar a day. That was from sun (up) to sun (down) on a farm. We had hard times, also some good times and a lot of love. We lived in a little two room shack and it was rented.
I have always lived a clean honest life but after God saved my soul and I became a real strong faithful Christian, things began to change. I read my Bible daily, seeking the truth and applied it to my life daily. I go to worship every Sunday morning and Sunday night. I go to Bible study and prayer meeting every Wednesday night. I have read the New Testament through several times so when someone is quoting the scripture I know whether they are telling it like it is or not.
“If I miss a worship service it is because I am too sick to go or some of my family is too sick to leave, because I believe in putting Christ first.
This all began in the depression days. My family never went hungry. We worked hard and raised most of our food. We planted but God gave the increase. As time passed things got better and better for us. (Daddy got a job as a truck driver when the Cumberland Mountain project started in the 1930’s. He was about 25 and mother was about 19 or 20 and this job was a Godsend for them even though they were then living in another shack on my granddaddy’s farm and being paid just like any other sharecropper.
When the hosiery mill started up at Skyline they both got jobs. Mother made $9 a week and paid a babysitter for us $5 of that).
One day a man came to my husband. He lived across the road from us.
He owned a grocery store and he was retiring . . . He said to my husband, ‘I’ve come over this morning to sell you my grocery store.’ My husband said, ‘I don’t have the money and am not able to buy it.’
He said, ‘I’m going to make you able. I know you will pay me.’ So we bought the store and did real good with it not to have been in business before.
We had bought the house we were living in after getting a better job at a factory close by. Wages had gone up to forty cents an hour then.
We had rented some cotton land and sub-rented it on the halves to a man to make a cotton crop on. We made two thousand dollars off the cotton crop that fall and we had saved five hundred dollars from work. It’s hard to believe now that houses were ever that cheap. (It had) five rooms, a back porch, a front porch, a rock terrace going from the back of the living room, a lot of trees and ten acres of land, a barn, three little two room houses to rent-for the twenty five hundred dollars we had. (this was the only house on the mountain that was not a “project” house. It was built by a Mr. Hodges who moved to town but I cannot remember his name.
I remember my mother saying, “Oh, it has French doors (into the dining room)!
The piece is too long to use here but she ended it with:
“We went from a two-room shack to an eight room brick home with two full baths, a dressing room, five closets, a hall, wall to wall carpet and central heat and air. We were able to work long enough to build a good social security and have a bank account for our later days.
We give all the credit and praise to our Lord who made it possible for a couple of kids with a dollar and a half and a strong faith in the Lord.”
Note by cs: The story of their success in life has always amazed me. They went to Skyline just two kids right off the farm but I can never remember a time they didn’t have ambition. My mother supplemented their meager salary by selling milk, butter and eggs. And at one time when we lived in the project house and they were working for a few cents an hour they took in a boarder, Mr. Grover Bell, of Section, for $5 a week. He got the best bedroom with the fireplace. He used to give me nickels to spell Mississippi and hippopotamus. I ran into Mr. Bell one day sitting in front of a grocery store with Mr. Marvin Campbell at Section, and he told me who he was and we shared our memories about those days. He remembered we never had one fried chicken, “Jess always had two,” he said.
To save $500 when you are making less than a dollar an hour blows my mind. But it is an example of how much difference ambition and a strong faith can make. Someone who lived there at the same time that we did said to me once, “Christine, y’all were the Jones out there, weren’t you?”
I guess by the standards of those days we were. Only because my parents always knew that God was in charge.

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