The Red Jeep

To my brother Eugene Pierce

From Louise Pierce Lloyd

This story is not about biking but there is no way I could write this story without talking about my brother’s love for biking. You see my brother is talented in so many areas. He started biking long before he could purchase his red jeep. As siblings we used to compete with each other all the time. I wanted to ride his bike and he would not let me. He would take off fast down the dirt, country road, but I had long legs, and I would run after him with a pocket full of rocks! I cannot remember if I ever hit him.

My brother has owned motorcycles, trucks, cars of every kind, a tractor, wagons, horses, lawn mowers, and tobacco slides. He had a white mule and metal roller skates (another great story about him). As a young boy, Eugene learned how to carve cars from wood scraps. Grandpa Pierce may have helped him learn this craft. He would haul dirt to build a road to race his cars. He made his own baseball bat and ball. He and his friends played ball in the cow pasture and they used the cow pods as bases. I wanted to play baseball but “girls were not allowed”! I used my pocket full of rocks! My brother, Eugene, was innovative and an entrepreneur at a young age. He would carve wood cars and sell them to his friends at recess. He would often make enough money to buy ice-cream at school. With a nickel, he would buy his ice-cream! Back then, a nickel would go a long way.

Eugene is a great storyteller and I have enjoyed connecting with him through the years by listening to his tales. I don’t want the happy times to be forgotten. One of those memories is our day with Eugene and his red jeep. He took us on an adventure in his red jeep down memory lane. We visited our old home place by way of the school bus route to the school in Kenbridge, VA. I remember Mr. Gee, our bus driver, and how he must have put up with us all those years. We rode over bushes and through the marsh in his jeep with no way to turn around. We had to keep moving forward. We were no spring chickens, and we have lived long past the medical average of life expectancy despite our health concerns. We listened to him share stories about corn fields he plowed with a single plow. I glanced down at my cell phone and we had no cell phone service. I began to worry because no one knew where we were going! Walking was not an option. In our silence, we pondered all of these thoughts until we saw a road ahead! This road led to the farm house!

Getting back to the main road, we took a deep breath and got the color back in our faces. We carried on with all the tales of the people as we rode by many abandoned or empty houses. We began to talk about the family that lived in one of the houses that our dad built on the farm and the family that lived down the road and how I helped deliver the twins by heating water on a wood stove. We shared many stories. One of my favorites was how we learned to drive in the cow pasture. We visited the Perkin’s home, the graveyard, and the church on the corner. The red jeep travelled well on the main road. Bumping along as we travelled the pathways we knew as children and remembering tales of childhood brought such joy! We recognized where our old house had been by the large oak tree and the crepe myrtles. Our mother, Veora Pierce, always had a beautiful flower garden.

We continued to share memories….(I copied from my mother’s writing.)

  • WE COULD LEAVE THE HOUSE AND NO ONE WORRIED ABOUT US BEING SAFE….WE LOVED THE TOBACCO BARN…STAYING UP LATE WITH DADDY CURING THE TOBACCO. THE CREEK .THE OLD SAWMILL….TREES YOUNG ENOUGH TO CLIMB AND RIDE TO THE GROUND.
  • WE LOVED HEARING DADDY MAKING A FIRE IN THE COOK STOVE AND GOING OUT SINGING TO MILK THE COWS AND FEED THE ANIMALS!
  • WE LOVED LYING IN BED WITH WARM COVERS UNTIL YOU COULD SMELL HAM OR BACON…..HOT BISCUITS WITH HOMEMADE JELLY….
  • THE WOOD STOVE THAT WARMED THE KITCHEN!
  • THE YEARS PAPA LIVE IN THE OLD CABIN FIXED UP FOR HIS BEDROOM….HE WAS PART OF THE FAMILY…WE LOVED HIM.
  • SOME THINGS WE REMEMBERED BUT DID NOT WANT TO BE PART OF……THE BIG BLACK POT WITH THE WATER BOILING GETTING READY FOR THE CHICKENS WE WOULD HAVE FOR SUNDAY DINNER..
  • WE OFTEN HAD COMPANY ON SUNDAY OF KIN WHO CAME TO PICK VEGETABLES AND EAT GOOD COUNTRY FOOD.
  • THE WELL WITH THE WOODEN BUCKET ….THE WASH TUB YOU BATHED IN AFTER DRAWING AND HEATING THE WATER ON THE WOOD STOVE.
  • IN 1941 THERE WAS NO ELECTRICITY …NO TELEPHONES..
  • AN OUTDOOR BATHROOM WITH TWO SEATS….KEPT AS CLEAN AS A HOSPITAL ROOM.
  • THE CHICKEN WITH ONE LEG THAT BLEW AWAY IN A STORM!
  • OUR DAD WITH HIS WOOD WORK….
  • STRIPPING TOBACCO WITH NEIGHBORS HELPING IN A PACKING BARN
  • HAVING A SHED BUILT THAT OFFERED AN OUTDOOR SHOWER FROM RAIN WATER
  • A WASHER – FINALLY ….HANGING OUT CLOTHES—CLOTHES LINE
  • MAKING PLAY HOUSES IN THE WOODS…
  • SHIRLEY GREETING MY BOYFRIENDS AT THE DOOR
  • BOYS PUSHING THE BUS IN THE DITCH WHEN IT WAS SNOWING AND WE HAD TO WALK HOME. DEAR MR. GEE
  • MARY AND LLOYD DECIDING TO FARM…THEIR TWINS AND STAYING WITH US…..SHE GREW CUCUMBERS TO SELL
  • LLOYD IN SERVICE – MARY STAYING WITH US.
  • ADELL AND SUDIE….THE PERKINS….THE LITTLE CHURCH
  • HOG KILLING….PIG BLADDERS
  • THE OLD BARN WITH THE HAY
  • HAVING A TOMATO BATTLE….WITH MY BROTHER
  • THE WHITE MULES
  • ALL THE TALES

WE THEN TRAVELED ABOUT A MILE UP THE ROAD TO THE PERKINS HOME PLACE…PASSING THE HOME OF THE GEE’S AND CALLENHAMS.

THESE WERE FRIENDS AND HELPED DADDY A LOT ON THE FARM.

 THE WIFE HELPED MOM IN THE HOUSE.  SHE HAD CHILDREN SHE WOULD BRING ONE AT A TIME TO PLAY WITH US.  I NEVER UNDERSTOOD ….MAYBE MUCH LATER WHY MY FRIEND I HAD PLAYED WITH COULD NOT HAVE LUNCH AT OUR TABLE. THEY HAD THEIR OWN SET UP…

AT THE PERKINS GRAVEYARD ONCE AGAIN WE HAD TO FIGHT THE BRIERS AND A GATE ALMOST FALLEN DOWN. WE PUSH AWAY WEEDS TO READ THE NAMES ON THE STONES!  WE REMEMBERED THE FUNNY TALES OF MRS. P WOULD LET MR. P BEFORE HE COULD COME INTO THE HOUSE. HE BLEW HIS BREATH THROUGH THE KEYHOLE TO SEE IF HE HAD BEEN DRINKING.  IT WAS TOLD IF HE GO FEISTY SHE WOULD TIE HIM UP AND IF IT HAD BEEN A RAIN SHE WOULD PUT HIM IN A MUD PUDDLE UNTIL HE SOBERED UP….WE LAUGHED BECAUSE WE KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY…..

WE DECIDED WE ALL HAD OUR BATTLE SCARS FROM GROWING UP ON A TOBACCO FARM BUT IF WE HAD TO DO IT AGAIN IT WOULD BE THE LIFE WE WOULD CHOOSE.

WE ARE BLESSED, WE ARE STRONG, WE ARE SURVIVORS, AND WE ARE BELIEVERS. WE ARE THE PIERCE FAMILY FROM LUNENBURG COUNTY BY WAY OF PITTSVANIA COUNTY.   MARY BELL, JOHN THOMAS, ADELL EUNICE, VIRGINIA LOUISE, ARTHUR EUGENE, AND SHIRLEY ANN. WE ARE PROUD TO BE CALLED THE CHILDREN OF GEORGE AND VEORA PIERCE. THERE ARE TWO OF US AND TOM STILL ROAMING AROUND SO WATCH OUT FOR US.  WE WILL BE IN A RED JEEP.

TO BE CONTINUED….

LOUISE

From left to right: Adell Eunice, Virginia Louise, Shirley Ann, Mary Bell, Arthur Eugene

All the siblings with mother, Veora Pierce.

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