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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Childhood stories

Posted May 16, 2011 7:57 a.m. EDT
Updated May 16, 2011 10:12 a.m. EDT

What is your most interesting childhood memory? It can be funny, poignant or life changing. Please share. 

Veteran Raleigh attorney Sam Johnson recently sent me a copy of his book A History of My Journey. It contains some wonderful memories of his life growing up on a farm in Sampson County. Sam was born in 1927 and recalls summer trips from the farm to Carolina Beach where his uncle owned a large cottage. I loved the story about John Henry Burnett: 

“He had a large eight bedroom oceanfront cottage with big porches. He enjoyed surf fishing and would wade out into the ocean wearing a shirt and tie and long pants. I never saw him without a tie.” 

It was hard work back on the farm. Sam Johnson remembers how his father got a jumpstart in the morning: 

“It was customary for my father to occasionally have an eye opener in the early morning hours. He would take a sip of white lightning from a jar out in the barn followed by a swallow of water. There was no other alcohol drinking the rest of the day.” 

The book also contains a poignant story about the depressed economy and Sam Johnson’s mother Katherine giving as much as she possibly could one Sunday at church: 

“The memory of my mother placing a nickel in the collection plate is fixed in my mind. Her hands were rough and gnarled from hard work in the field. When I make significant contributions as a successful adult, I think back about her sacrifice and effort.” 

I thank Sam Johnson for his terrific book,  keen memory and colorful stories.  What about your stories?