In my early childhood I was raised near Flomaton, Alabama. I remember when I was around 11 or 12 I was attending Sunday School at the First Baptist Church in Flomaton. I really appreciate the Baptist in regards to the teaching that one needs to read and Learn the word of God. It was from the study of the word of God that allowed me to accept the full gospel message of the bible. It was Sunday morning just before class that I walked up to my teacher and asked about a scripture I was having a problem with in the book of Mark. It was the following scripture Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. I looked at the teacher and asked “What does they shall speak with new tongues mean?” He examined the whole chapter and replied, ” I do not know but I will ask the Pastor.” Weeks later I went back up to the teacher and asked if he had found out about the scripture and he looked at me and said, “You don’t curse or talk nasty anymore!” Well at 12 that answer seemed feasible, but years later I happened to attend a Pentecostal Church and saw and heard them speaking in tongues and how their lives were changed after receiving the Acts 2 experience. Well I did not become one of them but I did believe they were correct and later witnessed to my wife about this experience. So when we came to America and I was discharged at Eglin Air Force Base I decided to take her to visit a Pentecostal Church in ort Walton Beach, Florida. She thought they were crazy and said I wont be going back to one of those. Years later she did go back on a Sunday morning in Pensacola, Florida and when I got off duty as a Police officer I came into the house and she ran up to me and informed me that we were going back to one of those Holy Roller churches. I looked at her and asked her, “What’s wrong with you? “She said well I went back to one this morning and I felt something there I have never felt before and we are going tonight. We went to Church that night and when the altar call was made we both were feeling the power of God all over us. She looked over at me and said let’s go down to the front and I crossed my arms and backed up and said No I am not going down there. She went and within 10 minutes she was filled with the Holy Spirit and was speaking in tongues as the Spirit of God gave the utterance. 3 days later she called up a sister in the church and told her Dot, you know what happened to me the other night? Dot said yes you received the Holy Ghost. Carol said well I am still doing it. For the next 2 years I turned away from going to church and made it hard on Carl to go, but one night while getting ready for work God literally spoke to me and it scared me to death. I fell on my knees and began to repent, For 6 months I sought for what Carol received in 10 minutes. After being filled with his Spirit God changed my life. Later after many of my 3 person Trinity friends kept telling me I was wrong going to a Jesus only church, i began to pray and ask God for guidance and let me know who he really was? One day at dinner I bowed my head to pray and God spoke to me as I bowed my head and said,” God’s all over the world havea name, What’s my name? I spoke out Jesus, and it all unfolded in my mind that Jesus Christ was the Father in creation, the Sonin redemption, and the Holy Spirit that had come into my life. Not 3 persons but 3 manifestations. I knew then that God was in Christ and all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him. Now read my story of how I came to Jesus Christ.
Genesis in the bible is considered the beginning. So I have called this first chapter Genesis for my beginning.
On August 2nd 1934 Adolph Hitler assumed the position of Führer(Supreme Leader) of Germany. Almost instantly he began to rid Germany of any Democracy that they held. From the time that he assumed the position at Supreme leader he began to rid Germany of the freedoms that she had enjoyed in the past. The most horrendous thing about the rise to power was the fact that even theChristians of Germany helped to make his rise to power successful. Between the time that he became the Führer (Supreme Leader) and his invasion of Poland 3rd September 1939 the Winds of war began. It was during the ending years that I was born. As I got older I learned how some of my Uncles had been called to fight against the Germans in WWll and some of them had lost their lives. It was during the Winds of War on June 5th, 1938 that George Clifford Duke was born in Georgiana Alabama. Now you might think I was named after the city of my birth but no I was named after a tent revival evangelist. It is sometimes laughable how some parents come up with names for their children? My parents were George Douglas Duke and Elnora Brooks Duke. I remember my mother telling me how I came about my middle name. If she had named me after my father altogether I would have been a junior. Well she did use his first name but she told me about a Evangelist that came to Georgiana. Every now and then she would attend his meetings that were being held in a Tent . Well she was so impressed with the preacher that she gave me one of his names. Clifford was that name and that is the reason today I am not George Douglas Duke Jr. I have always wondered if my name had been recorded in heaven before I was even born because later in life I would turn to Jesus Christ and become a preacher of his word. The word of Truth. Jesus is that word and he is truth.
The reason I was born in Georgiana is that it is the nearest town to where my Mother and Father lived that had a hospital. The Duke plantation was miles back into the woods. And no we did not have any slaves! As a matter of fact my grandparents and family were the slaves themselves farming the land. Granddad had around 18 kids. I asked once why did he have so many kids? I was told that in those days people that had farms had a lot of kids to help them with the farming and the chores. After they had grown up most of the Duke family still lived somewhere close to the plantation. I don’t remember very much about the earliest days after my birth as many of you probably don’t, but there are sections in my life that even at a early age still lies in my memory. I guess that the first thing I can remember was having my first photo taken. I remember playing on a tricycle and then the photographer taking me into a room and tossing a rubber ball to me. He tossed the ball to me several times and then it went under the bed and got lost as he told me he was unable to find it. He then asked me to sit on a stool for my picture. I guess he was playing for the sake of getting my attention in order to get me to listen to him and follow his instructions. Years later when I looked at the picture my mind would be taken back to that first memory.
In the picture I had on a pair of short pants and very blond hair. Also I noticed how fair in complexion I was. Being fair in complexion later caused me a lot of grief because as I got older I began to freckle and other kids would make fun of the freckles It was not long after the picture that I remember moving away from the plantation into Georgiana and living there in the town.
II-THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Wow the great thing about living in the town was we had a pump for water and it worked all the time. Back at the farm we had awell with a bucket on a rope. Also beside the house there was a huge tank that caught the water when it ran off the roof. This water from the tank was used for our bath which we took at least once a week. There was a large tub that we would fill with the water from the rain barrel. Oh doesn’t this bring back fond memories? We would let it sit in the hot sun to warm up then get in the tub and bathe. A Lot of difference from today. OH the good old days don’t we all desire and long in our heart to go back to them? After moving into town we would often go back to the plantation to visit with Grandmother and Grandfather Duke at family reunions. As I have mentioned my grandparents had had about 18 kids and some of them had died after birth and some had died in the war. When we would all get together at their home, the grown ups would all eat first and if there was anything left the kids would come in and eat. If they ran out of food which they did every time I can remember going there, then we would have to wait and they baked some biscuits and made some grease gravy. Most of the time that was what I had. One morning after we had stayed the night I got up for breakfast and Granny Duke told me she did not have any eggs. Well I had seen a large basket of eggs under her bed earlier and I looked at her and blurted out that I knew where there were some eggs. She asked me where? I said Granny they are under your bed in a basket. She got really mad at me and told me to eat my gravy and biscuits. I later came to find out that Granny saved those eggs for selling where they would be able to buy flour and supplies when they went to town. We did not have cars at this time so we either walked, rode a horse, or horse and wagon to get to town. Normally Saturday was the day that we would go to town and since the trip was long we would get all the supplies for the week.
Sunday was a great day to be at the farm especially when all of the other Aunts and Uncles would come with their kids. All of us kids would get together and play on the horse drawn wagons without using the horses. Some of us would pull the wagon while others would ride. when we came to a hill we would all leap on the wagon and coast down the hill . Sometimes this did not work very well. Matter of fact last time I remember we all hopped on as the wagon as it began to roll down the hill and suddenly the kid holding the tongue let go of it and the wagon veered to the side and crashed, turning over dumping all of us. One of my cousins limped a lot after the crash. I guess he did not land correctly like the rest of us. Good thing he did not land on his head. Now this is a good reason for my being like I am today? Right?
Another way we would have great fun was with cardboard boxes getting inside and rolling down the hills. That was just about all that we had for our toys in those days. The older boys would maybe have a sling shot and if they wanted to be mean the younger kids would get pelted with peas.
After the beginning of the war there became many openings for jobs for everyone as many of the men were called into the service and sent overseas. Women began to take their places working in the factories making things that were needed for the war. It was the war that ended the dreadful recession. It was during this time that My dad went to work for the Louisville & Nashville railroad and much of his work was out of town so he was away most of the time. Because he was working for the railroad his job was essential during the war and he was deferred from having to enter the services. Well that’s what he told me. As we now lived in Georgiana Alabama and his work was normally in Mobile Alabama or Mississippi we would not see him for long periods of time. In 1944 he moved us out of Alabama to a place called South Flomaton, Florida which was just across the state line from Flomaton, Alabama. I remember the home that we lived in very well even to this day. There were My Mom and my brother Bob and two sisters Dorothy and Doris. Well after Dad had moved us to Florida he stopped coming to see us and Mom eventually found out that he had another woman in Bay Saint Louis Mississippi who he had been living with when he was not at our home. The house he moved us into was a small shotgun house that had 4 rooms. If you do not know what a shotgun house is, well it’s a house where all the rooms are in a straight line and you have to walk through each room to get to another room. After Mom and Dad’s divorce my Mother had gotten ajob at the Navy Yard in Pensacola and would travel back and forth every day to work. The journey was 50 miles each way. It was near the close of the war and there was a lot of jobs for anyone available to work. There were quite a few that made the trip from the area and one of the local farm and dairy owners supplied a truck for them to be able to travel in. Each one paid for the trips by the week and one of the drivers was named Glenn McDavid. After Mom had been divorced for awhile she and Glen began to see each other. It wasn’t very long afterward’s that they got married.
III-THE BAD OLD DAYS
After the marriage it became obvious that Glenn was an alcoholic. He would go out and drink and come in drunk raving and a ranting. If Mom said anything to him he would curse her and many times hit her. I remember that it got worse and we would have to leave the house when he would come in and stay in the fields till he passed out or went out again.
One night while Mom was in the hospital in Century, Florida Bob and I was home alone and we heard Glenn coming. We could hear him talking to himself out loud so we knew he was drunk. So we climbed up into the loft to hide from him because we never knew what type of mood he would be in when he was drunk. It was either drunk or overly sweet, fondling, or cursing and swearing at us. That night I remember him coming in calling for us. We stayed up in the loft and did not answer. Finally he must have went to bed but because we were so scared and did not want him to know we were hiding in the loft we just stayed up in the loft the rest of the night. The next morning we climbed down, dressed and went to school. Well the hospital was just across from my school and when the recess period came I went across the street and found the window that was near Mom’s bed. It was open and when she looked down at me she squealed what’s happened to you? She got up out of her bed got a wet cloth and soap, reached out the window and began to wash me off. Apparently from sleeping in the loft all night the black coal soot in the attic had gotten all over me. Afterwards I remember the owner of the hardware store calling me sooty when he would see me. As a matter of fact I kept that name for a long time. Later in life I was able to rid myself of the name by cleaning myself up.
During this time in my life I remember we had very little money and we ate a lot of things that I do not eat today. Tripe was cheap and it on the menu, a free bone from the butcher shop to make soup would be our Saturday meal. I remember many times though running out of food and we would try to find some bread and put sugar on it if we had any. On Thursdays they would have a cattle auction nearby and I would take a large pot and after everyone had eaten they would allow us to take what was left. Sunday we might have a chicken and when there were no visitors I would be able to eat the thigh. If we had visitors I got the back. Listen I know how to make the best of eating the back of the chicken. When I finished there was nothing left but the bone. Them bones them bones them dry bones now hear the word of the Lord. I ate the gristle and the lights. I think of many times of the little girl that said Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.
We all would have turns washing dishes and doing chores in the house. One of the chores I had to do at home was to keep Glenn’s shoes shined. He had a nice shoe shine box and as I was always looking for a way to make money. One day I told Glen that I would like to go downtown and shine shoes. I asked if I could use his box for this and he said yes. I took the box and would walk around town asking people to let me shine their shoes. I remember once I asked a man if I could shine his shoes. He looked at me and said oh NOOOOoooo the last time you shined my shoes you got shoe polish on my white socks. I pleaded with him to let me shine his shoes telling him I would make sure I did not get polish on his shoes. He finally relented and I got down and started polishing his shoes. Guess what happened? YES I got polish on his pretty white sock. Some how he did not see me do it so I was able to get my money and take off.
I did well most days and normally made enough that at the evening time I would take some of the money and go to the local café and buy a big plate of French fries. Later some of the local older boys thought that I was making a lot of money doing it that they all got boxes and began walking around town trying to shine shoes. One day when I came to town with my shoe shine box the local police chief came to me and told me that I could no longer shine shoes on the street. I asked him why and he told me that because all of the local boys were doing it that they had had a lot of complaints because they would pester people while they were walking and people complained. Well there went my money and my lovely French fry meals.
EARLY WORKING YEARS
Even though I had worked as a shoeshine boy for quite some time I really began working later on. Today they have laws on kids working and I am so glad that back then there were no laws to hinder.
Around 1949 Bob my brother was able to find a job working at the local movie theatre and once a month they would deliver calendars’ to homes showing what would be showing during the month. One day he asked me if I would like to make some money helping. I remember Sammie Jackson the owner taking us to different areas and we would walk the neighborhood dropping off the circulars. I worked a bout a week and when we were finished he paid me and there I was holding my first dollar. Wow! I felt rich with that dollar in my hand. I loved going to the theatre and after a few months of working for Mr. Jackson he asked me if I wanted to help at the theatre sweeping up in the front and in the vestibule. A couple of years doing this when I reached 12 years of age he allowed me to bean usher and clean up after the movie had ended at night.
I can barely remember my older sister being at home. I do remember her working at the train station restaurant and dating a fellow by the name of Narvel White. He must have had some money because he was the first fellow that she had dated that had a automobile. It was a Ford convertible and they would go out and sometimes pass the house while we were sitting on the porch with the top down. Well they ran off and got married and moved away to Pensacola Florida, about 40 miles south of where we lived. Every now and then I would be invited to take the greyhound bus with mom and go visit them.
Once just before we had decided to travel down to visit I remember someone speaking about them getting religion. When we arrived to spend the weekend with them I realized that Dorothy had really changed. She did not wear make up and she wore dresses that were a lot longer than she use to. When we arrived we found out that there was a tent revival at the church she attended in Ensley. Well we all got ready and went to the revival. The people acted a lot different in this service than I had been use to. They were a lot louder in their worship and some of them made funny talk when they prayed. I did not understand it but really thought it was strange.
After living for some time in the house in South Flomaton Mr. Harold McCurdy who owned and supplied the truck for traveling back and forth to Pensacola for the workers offered Glenn a house he owned on his farm. He had 2 small houses that he had built for workers. One of them was vacant and he offered to let Glen rent it. We moved into the home and there I spent many years of my life on the farm next to the railroad track. Boy when those night trains came by they shook the whole house. One night I was awakened after the train had gone by. It was storming outside, the lightning was ferocious. I was scared to death and I remember getting up kneeling by my bed and praying. I did not know how to pray or what to pray. I remembered a prayer that I had heard once and I prayed that prayer. I lay me down to sleep, I pray my Lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake I pray my Lord my soul to take. It must have worked because after that I felt peace and was able to go back to bed and go to sleep. After that I began to go to the First Baptist Church in Flomaton when I could get a ride. The problem was getting a ride. A walk would have been about 4-5 miles and Mom would not let me walk that far. But God does know our needs. I would say that God supplied my need.
One night I was cleaning upstairs in the theatre and lo and behold I was startled when I looked down on the floor and saw a $ 20.00 bill laying there. In those days that was a whole lot of money. I picked it up and then began to debate whether I should pocket it or turn it in. I was really tempted to keep it and say nothing, but then a small voice inside me said turn it in. Mr. Sammie Jackson could have placed it there to see how honest you are. Well I listened to the voice and gave it to Mr. Jackson who told me that he would hold it for two weeks and if no one claimed it I could have it. Well this was the beginning of a very dedicated prayer life. I prayed for two weeks for no one to claim that twenty dollar bill. When the two weeks were up Sammie Jackson handed me that money and I was the happiest person alive. I knew what I would do with the money. I went down to the Western Auto hardware store and purchased my first ever bicycle the western flyer. I then went to the shoe shop and bought my first ever brand new pair of shoes. This truly was a blessing from God and a answer to need. Back in those days kids went barefooted most of the time. I remember how hard my feet would get. I could walk on pebbles just like I had a pair of shoes on. But it was glass that wreaked havoc. Many times I would step on a piece of cut glass while walking barefooted and end up with a cut foot.
After getting my Western Flyer from Western Auto I was able to ride it to work, Church, and school. I then began to go to church on a regular basis. In church one Sunday Morning we had a evangelist. I had never heard a evangelist preach like him. I remember crying during the sermon and when he asked for those that wanted to be saved to come forward I made my way all the way to the front with tears running down my face. I stood there praying in my silent way waiting for something to happen. Well that was all! Nothing else happened. I waited and waited and finally the Pastor asked everyone who wanted to join the church to sign the register. It seemed like I had reached for God and he had dropped me. After this I began to read my bible as much as I could. One week I was reading the bible and came across this scripture: Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. I kept reading it but it did not make sense to me. Well when I went to Sunday school I asked the teacher if he knew what it meant to speak with a new tongue? He read the scripture several times and finally said No I don’t. I asked him if he could find out. Well I will ask the Pastor he replied. I waited weeks for him to come and tell me what it meant. Finally I went back to him and asked if he had found out about it. He said oh yes it means you do not talk nasty or curse anymore. Well it sounded good to me, but years later I would find out it really meant something else.
It was while we lived on the McCurdy farm that Glenn and Mom had twins. They named them Ronald and Donald. We grew up together rand I remember having to go out and get milk from the McCurdy farm for Glenn’s boys. It was a long walk across the fields to the dairy and then back to the house. After coming back with the milk I would ask for some and Glenn would never allow me to have any. I guess that he weaned me early. It was also there that I really started smoking a lot. I started off by stealing packs of cigarette’s from Glenn’s Carton of Camels. I do not believe he ever found out that I was taking them. I remember the first time I tried one I went way out in the field and found a low spot where I could not be seen from the house and lit up. At first when I tried to inhale it, I felt my lungs burning, but after awhile I was able to smoke like a trooper.
THE MOVE TO PENSACOLA FLORIDA
I was around 13 when we moved to Pensacola to the Pleasant Grove area and had to give up my job working at the theatre. Since the war had been over for a few years now Glenn was finding it harder to travel back and forth daily the 100 miles. Also Mister McCurdy wanted to discontinue the truck run. So he had found a small house as near to the Navy base as he could. I remember a lot of good times there when I was able to go out and roam the woods and the beach area. There was an old lighthouse on the reservation near us and a lot of us kids would go over and climb to the top. Doris my younger sister would go along if mom did not have her doing chores at home. On Sundays there was a large Baptist church and I would attend there. I got to meet a lot of people from the area. Glenn always appeared to be glad that I attended a Baptist church because as he put it that is where my mother went. I don’t believe I ever remember him attending but he thought it was great that I did.
It was not very long after we moved to Pleasant Grove that I finished Elementary school and began attending Warrington Junior High School. The school was around 4 miles from where we lived and I would have to catch the bus or ride my bicycle. Since the highway there was so busy Mom and Glenn did not want me riding so I had to go by bus. I became a crossing guard at the school and also tried to get on the football team. One day at sports I made a tremendous play in football and the coach came and asked me if I would like to try out for the team. I really felt great that night when I went home and asked Glenn to allow me to play on the football team. His answer shocked me when he said No. He told me that I would not be able to get home because practice was after school and there was no one to bring me home if I did not catch the school bus. I was really sad when I went back and told the coach that I would not be able to play on the team.
I did win a competition as the top crossing guard and the highlight of the trip was to go with others from various schools to the Capital in Washington D.C. It was a great experience. Traveling on the train then being able to see the sights in Washington. We were taken to all of the places that we had heard about in history which included the Washington Monument and the Lincoln memorial. Also we visited the mint where we were able to see them print money. There was one problem that we had? They never gave us any samples. On the trip up to Washington one of the great things was that the hotels and the trains had toilets in them. Other than at school I was used to having to walk down the path to a toilet that had been dug in the ground and a small building built around it. Boy I use to be scared to death every time I would have to use one of what we called a outhouse. I was always afraid there would be a snake under the wooden seat and would get bit. There was no light and if you had to go at night in darkness you had to take a flashlight with you to be able to see. Glenn had a night pot in the house but did not want me to use it. If I did he would curse me out the next morning. He let me know that he had it for his boys.
Over the years things began to get worse at home. Glenn found out that mom was going to Pentecostal prayer meetings and he did not like it. He would try and get off work and come in early to try and catch her coming in from one. I remember him screaming, cursing her, threatening her with a butcher knife and her running around the house screaming. Many times she would cry out to me to help her. I was so scared to death of Glenn I would just hide away somewhere. This continued on until the day I left there. What finally caused me to leave? Well I had planted a garden in behind the house and was raising vegetables. I had spent a lot of time plowing and seeding and one day I came in and my half brothers Ronald and Donald were in there with the plow tearing up the plants that had come up. I was mad when I saw what they were doing, ran in the fenced in garden and took the plow away from them and tossed it over the fence. Well they began crying and ran into Glenn and told him that I had hit them and took away the plow that they were playing with. He came out to where I was standing in the garden. He would not allow me to speak, just told me to get inside the house that he was going to whip me with the razor strap. As I turned to go inside he struck me with his fist and knocked me down. I fell to the ground and mom ran out screaming for him to stop. He then took me inside and used the strap on me. Well that was the last day that Glenn would ever hitme. The following day after noon while Mom was away I took money from her money box that dad had sent for her to use for me and I left home.
I had thought it all out. I would go back to South Flomaton, buy a tent and live in the tent. Well I did just that. There was a large field behind my best friend’s home and I put my tent up. I was not there but a few hours and when my friend Hiram Johnson’s dad came in and found out what I was doing he made me come into his home. I did not know it at the time but he contacted my dad and told him where I was at. My dad sent him a railroad pass and had him place me on a train to come to his home. Well I had spent a lot of my life being hated by a stepfather and now I would learn how to be hated by a stepmother. She had once told me that if she ever found me smoking she would make me put the whole pack in my mouth and she would turn them around and make me smoke them from the lit end till they burned my lips real good.
On the train ride to his place I began to remember Florence his wife. She had red hair and a fiery temper to match her hair. I remember the times I had visited before and how she had treated me and my brother Bobby when we were there. I arrived in Bay Saint Mississippi and was met at the station by my Father. After I had gotten settled in the following day I had to go enroll in the school there in Bay Saint Louis. For the next couple years that I was there I found life just as miserable as it was under my Stepfather. Finally I decided when I was 16 to leave there. During these years, a person in Mississippi could get a drivers license at the age of 15. I got my drivers license and Florence my Stepmother wanted me out of the house so badly that she slipped mea railroad pass to be able to ride on the train. That night I caught the train back to Pensacola. When I arrived back my sister Dorothy allowed me to stay with her for awhile and I began looking for a job. I was able to finally get a job working at a bowling alley setting pins. I was not making enough money though to afford to rent a place. Apparently Narvel Dorothy’s husband felt like I had stayed long enough and asked her to get me to find some where else to live. I left her home and had no where to go. I did not have enough money for a place of my own. I had been going to the United Pentecostal Church in Ensley with them and so I would go to work at the bowling alley then in the dark of the night I would slip into the church and sleep on the floor. Wow I had become a real homeless person for real. Years and years later when I confessed to the Pastor, Robert Glass and told him that I would slip in the church and stay he looked at me and said Duke I knew you were, That’s why I would leave a window unlocked for you. Well staying in the church and working at the ally finally I had enough to rent a room in a boarding house which was real popular in those days. I had enough money to pay for a week and moved into a room near downtown Pensacola. In the church in Ensley I heard about a job driving an elderly attorney around. I had a Mississippi drivers license and went down and applied for the job. Well Mister Holsberry hired me. I enjoyed working for him but it only lasted for two weeks. During the second week he had a farm north of Pensacola and I drove him to the farm where he was told that they had a load of cattle that needed to be trucked over to another area. He asked me to drive the truck loaded with the cattle and on the way as I was driving from the dirt road unto the Highway the truck bed turned over. I had to drive up a large hill to get onto the highway and turn sharp to the right. Well when I got to the top and turned right the cattle slid over to one side of the enclosure which caused the bed to tip over and fall off the truck. Cattle went everywhere. When Mr. Holsberry got to the scene he called the Florida Highway Patrol. As we waited I knew I was in for it if the Patrolman asked me for my driver’s license as they were no good with me working on a job in Florida. Finally the patrolman arrived, and my heart was beating fast waiting for him to request my license. When he saw what had happened he said well I don’t have to make a report on this as this is not a reportable offense. He said it only involved our personal property and that no other public or personal property was involved. He never asked me for my license and he got back into his car and drove off. Boy was Mr. Holsberry mad though. He had to get men out to round up the cattle and finally after a few hours we got the job done. I knew he was mad and I could not wait to get off work that day. It was the last day that I worked for him. I heard that there were construction jobs going so I decided I would try and get on as a construction worker. When applying for the job though I found out I would have to be 18 years of age. I was only 16 at the time. So I felt like if I had a Florida drivers license that showed me as 18 I would be ok. So I went to the drivers license Bureau and when I tried to apply for a license they asked me for my birth certificate or draft card to prove I was 18. I told them I did not have either. The License examiner looked at me and said Boy if you are 18 and not registered for the draft you are in violation of the law. I looked at him and shaking all over told him Sir, I will go down and register right now. Well I went home and spent the night figuring out what to do. The next morning I had it planned. I would go to the draft board and tell them I was 18 and wanted to register. I did just that. They did not require me to show a birth certificate so I filled out the paperwork lied about my age, got my card and away I went to the drivers license bureau, passed my test and got a license to drive in Florida. The next day I joined the union and went to work on construction. For the next 3 months I would work on various construction sites. One of the two most memorable sites I worked on was building the huge silo at Armstrong rubber plant and building the Woolworth addition downtown. Both involved climbing. I remember when they sent me to the Woolworth building I was told that I was to step out from the roof unto a lift that brought up material for us to use such as cement and block’s, they had been loaded in wheel barrows and I would have to get the barrow, pull it off the lift and take it to the builder. Most of what I was unloading was concrete that was sent up in the wheel barrows. It was a scary job because there was no siding around the lift. It was a whole lot scarier when I learned that the job I had been given was a job that the previous worker had died from. He had gone onto the lift and while trying to get the wheel barrow full of concrete off he slipped and fell over the side. When I was told this I acted gung ho like any other youth would and acted like it did not bother me. But as quick as another job opened somewhere else I took it.
One of the problems with working construction work was you would have a job one week and the next week you might not. So when I heard that there was a job at E.E. Saunders frozen food company I went down and applied for it. I got the job and began working in the freezer as a warehouseman. We had to wear parka’s and overalls to help us to stay for long periods of time in the freezer. I had been making $1.25 an hour when I worked construction work but when I hired in as a warehouseman I dropped to $.75 cents per hour. That was a lot of difference in pay between then and now. I can not find anyone that will work for me for $1.25 a hour now. The difference was I had a regular job and full hours weekly. When I first started the job I found out that it was a very strenuous job especially when you had to unload large trucks and box cars. A conveyor belt brought the boxes to you and you would toss the boxes from the belt to each other and stack them up into large tiers. I did not know it but the hardest job was the one next to the stacker. It was easy when he first started stacking but as the stack grew taller , he would have to then build a second stack and then would leap up on the lower stack to stack the first one up to a 16 foot ceiling, Well then you had to start throwing the boxes up high to reach him. Well you know where the group puts the new person on the job don’t you? Yes Duke got placed next to the stacker. The first week almost killed me but some how I made it. After two weeks I began to get muscles I never knew I had and as time went by I could stand with the strongest of them. Well after working as a warehouseman for almost a year I finally reached 17. Air Force time!