Everett Childs

                                                                                                English 55

                                                                                                May 2, 1934

A-

 

Autobiography

 

            I was born at Sturgeon, Owsley County, Ky. December 7, 1902. My mother was a tall brunette of English decent. My father was a short, fat Irishman, whose ancestors settled in Virginia and later crossed the mountains into Kentucky. Most of my characteristics are inherited from my mother, with the exception of my stature.

            Soon after my birth my parents moved to Shirley, Indiana, where my father procured a position in a glass factory as a glass blower. He did not stay long at this position, however, because of the menace to his health. From there we went to Kings Mills, Ohio. He worked for the Peter’s Cartridge Company for almost five years. Several of his partners were killed by an explosion and he was severely shaken. He could never bear to enter the factory after that.

            We then moved to Hamilton, Ohio and I entered school. His work for the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Traction Company was commendable and we lived there for eighteen years. I liked to go to school, and I studied hard until I reached the fourth grade. Very few of the pupils liked the teacher, Miss Bruning, and I for one, detested her. Before the year was over, I played truant at every opportunity, consequently I was not promoted. The next year I went to a different school where I make passing grades with all ease. My father promised that I should join the Boy Scouts if I were promoted. I became a scout and experienced some of the most enjoyable incidents of my life. I learned things about nature that I could never have learned in a school room.

            I progressed rapidly until I was promoted to the seventh grade. Again I did not like the teacher, refused to study for her, and would not recite when I was asked questions easily answered. I continued in that grade, playing truant much of the time, until the eighth month of school. My father and mother tried to encourage me, but to no avail. I was hired as usher at a picture show and ended, I thought, my educational career.

            Six dollars a week was small pay, and I was determined to earn more money although I was very young. Through my fathers’ influence I was placed in the machine room at the Champion Coated Paper Company at twenty-seven dollars a week. I saved most of my money because my expenses were not very great. My work was not hard and I enjoyed it. I intended to learn the art of making paper, and tried to do everything I was capable of doing to show that I was really interested. I knew that it required many years of experience, but I wanted to be ready if ever the opportunity should arise.

            We lived only one square from the Lane Free Library, and seldom a day passed that I did not go there to read. I became interested in the “Book of Knowledge” and read every volume. I was interested in scientific magazines and newspaper. I read very few novels because I did not care for them.

            One day the steam line from the boiler room burst, causing all the paper machines to cease running. They did not start again for three days. On one occasion Mr. Forshey, the machine tender, asked if I had ever been to Berea, to which I gave a negative answer. He had heard a great deal of the college located there and hoped to visit it some day. After talking a good deal about school in general, he said, “Kid,” that being my nick-name, “why don’t you go back to school? Think of all the years you will have to toil here before you can realize anything from it. Before you can handle a job like mine, you’re ready to be cast out as too old to work. I wish I had my life to live again; I would not be a paper-maker. You had better begin to think of your future.” After that we talked a great deal about school, and I began to wish that I had not been foolish. My classmates had graduated from high school, and some were attending college. I envied them. I was rather old to enter high school, but I was resolved to do it. I didn’t think I looked so old.

            My parents were very happy when I told them that I was going to enter school again. My father offered to pay my expenses, but I would not allow that. I entered the Berea Normal School, and at the end of the second year received my first certificate which enabled me to procure a position as teacher. Dean McAllister helped me get located in Harlan County which, at that time, paid more to teachers than any county in Eastern Kentucky. The next two years found me teaching in Owsley County. The following year I returned to Harlan County as principal of a mining camp school at a nice salary of $160 per month. By that time I felt that I needed a change in occupation and returned to Hamilton, Ohio. I was manager of a grocery store for The Kroger Grocery and Baking Company for a year. I then sold insurance for the Prudential Insurance Company until I felt the depression cut my sales to practically nothing. Then I returned to Kentucky to teach again.

            During the time I taught, attended school, or worked elsewhere. I devoted much time to the reading of newspapers, magazines, and occasionally a book. I like to read about current happenings much more than studying literature, more especially the lives of writers. I enjoy radio programs; especially speeches and good music.

            My pet hobby is collecting old or rare coins of which I have several. I experienced considerable grief when my wife unthoughtedly spent two very rare half dollars not knowing their value. It was some time before I discovered their disappearance and I was unable to find any trace of them.

            I enjoy teaching school, but it is too confining to suit my nature. I like to be outdoors, and I enjoy traveling. I hope to procure a position that will enable me to travel and see some of the wonders of nature. My greatest ambition is to realize the fulfillment of my dreams for my son, who is now two and one half years of age. I want to be able to offer him the best education possible, and then let him specialize in some particular field of his choice. I can only hope that his choice will be wise and for the betterment of the mass of people at large. What greater ambition could a father hold for his progeny?

 

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  Transcribed by

Douglas Mason Childs

the son of

Maurice Clark Childs

the son of

Everett Childs

on Christmas Eve 1998