Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Memories on Parade

Meet the Family

A Town is Born

The Growing McCullough Family

A Church Becomes a Reality

A Closing Word

The Man Called Guelcksie

A is for Arthur

The Coffin House

Poet and Philosopher -- Aged Seven

The Two Room School House

Open the Windows and Open the Doors

Sixteen Girls in White

Four Girls and Five Boys

The Poet in Hot Water

Windows Open for Edith

The Great Decision

Bo Peep




Arthur was a middle-aged man who lived with his wife and two small sons in the upper part of Alicia, but who was on duty at our house every day except Sunday throughout the year. He understood the machinery of the cotton gin, he knew how to repair, sharpen, and use all kinds of tools, he planted and took care of the garden (including the small plots planted for each child each year). It was Arthur who met the afternoon train on stated days with a wheelbarrow, to receive the big block of ice, wheel it to the pump and wash it free of wet sawdust and bagging, and put it into the ice box in the house. It was Arthur who built our seesaws, lawn swing, seats in the plum tree, brought buckets of water into the kitchen and poured it into the reservoir in the big stove.

If Mama said to us, "Tell Arthur that I want three fryers, with their heads off, by ten this morning." We ran to tell him, chattering as we ran, "Not Cock, not Cackle, not Speckle." But the choice was with Arthur. He had to take what he could catch after driving a flock into a corner. We accepted our losses bravely, thinking of the golden fried pieces that would come to the table on big platters.

Arthur burned the trash that was thrown through the side door, but he saved for us the occasional empty sugar barrel. When I see today's children dodging traffic on city streets while riding on skateboards, or hurling frizbees, I wish for them the unexpressible joy of rolling over and over in a sugar barrel on a well-kept lawn, safely protected by a pretty fence.

Truly, Arthur was a man for all seasons. He was nurse for Guelcksie in his last long illness in 1937.

Arthur fell from grace only once, to my knowledge. We had made mud figures of men and women and left them on roofing shingles to dry in the sun. When we ran to see them the next morning, we found that bits of mud had been added to give them realism. We carried them straight to our mother who made a correct guess. Arthur admitted his guilt when accused and she gave him a lecture that he could not forget.

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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Gladys McCullough Alexander: Looking Back At The Long Ago is published here with the permission of Ellen S. Wilds and transcribed by her, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."