1937 Flood Events

        The next year after the river front slid into the Ohio River was the great flood of 1937. I have already mentioned that we had moved in with the Burse Dunn family along with some others. Every home that was out of the water shared their home with the flood victims. We always had something to eat, but it was pretty scarce and maybe not what we wanted. I do remember eating alot of oats and getting very tired of them. It was very cold and a mixture of snow and sleet fell and froze solid on the ground.
        Some of us boys, including B.B. Dunn, Burse's youngest boy, went out in the hills looking around where we saw several men out hunting for rabbits or whatever they could find. It was so slick that you could barely walk and no one was doing any good with their hunting, but after awhile, we saw a man walking up this long steep hill coming toward us. When he got closer we saw that it was Bill Bellamy, a black man who had a restaurant down in town that was completly covered by water. When he came to where we were, we saw why he wasn't slipping. He had on baseball spikes and had the cleats filed real sharp and they dug into the ice and gave him plenty of traction. I might add that he also had a tow sack half full of rabbits.
        While we were out there that day, B.B. and I had our BB guns and we saw a dove land in a tree, so we slipped up on him and opened fire. One of us hit him because he didn't fly away so we kept on shooting until he finally fell out dead. We had always heard that doves were good to eat, so we decided that we would have something besides oats for supper. We took it home and cleaned and gutted it, put it in a pan of salty water to soak. That evening when we got our fire going, we went after our bird to do the roasting and to our dismay, there sat a cat that belonged to his sister, Oneida, with a very contented look and his sides all swelled out. That dude had just finished eating our supper and we got awful mad. B.B. was so mad that he tried to kill the cat with a highheeled slipper and probably would have if Oneida hadn't intervened.
        Behind Mr. Dunn's house there was a large outbuilding and some things from Bunton's grocery were stored in it. The door was locked but someone noticed a pretty wide crack in the wall and could see a crate of raisins just inside. For some unknown reason , there was a hole in the end of the crate. The temptation was just too great. We were so tired of oats that we had to eat some of those raisins. It was so easy to get our small hands into the crate and bring out a handful of those sweet raisins and that's what we did for quite a while. I don't know about the rest of the guys, but I ate so many that I got very sick and until this day, I don't like raisins.
        I went down to the water's edge one day just looking around to see the things that were floating around and there were sometimes things that would drift up close enough to reach. That day, I was lucky because I could see a quart can unopened and of course, there was no way of knowing what was in it because the label was gone. I fished the can out of the water and got me a can opener and couldn't wait to see what was inside. I opened it up and guess what.....It was full of delicious pear halves. They were cold and juicy and when I started eating them, I couldn't stop until I ate the whole thing. I know that I should have shared my feast with others, but I just didn't.

(c) copyright by Melvin "Bubbie" Martin 2001