Gang Coming Together

      The first few days after we moved, I hadn't ventured out of the big court yard but I was out by the iron fence
one day when a little cotton-headed kid from up the street came by and asked me who I was and what I was
doing around there. I told him that it was none of his business. He told me that he would make it his business so
he came across the fence and we tangled up but neither one of us was big enough to hurt the other.
That boy was Bill Lemons and as time went by we became friends and laughed about that little incident.
He later was killed in World War II.
    Soon after my first meeting with Bill I started going outside the courtyard fence and met up with two more boys
about my age. They were the Mardis brothers, Herbert, Allen and Harvey. This meeting was much more peaceful
and we became friends right from the start, especially Harvey and I. They had not been living in town very long.
Before moving into what is known as the Thelma Dycus house on Court Street, they had lived on the island across
the river from Smithland. Their mother, Mrs. Mavis Mardis was my first schoolteacher.
     Just a short time after meeting the Mardis boys, I met up with another boy who lived in a big white house on the
corner where the Family Service office is now. His name was Jimmy Wilson and he had all kinds of funnybooks
which are called comic books now, and he had all kinds of Big Little books and lots of toys. He was a cool dude.
    Then I met a little big-eyed good-natured kid who lived in an old house on the corner where the drug store is now.
He was Jimmy Crawford but his nickname was Buttermilk and that's what he went by as long as he lived. As you can
see, the gang was coming together and in a few months school would bring a bunch more together because the town
was full of boys.
     In all the years that my dad was jailer, Livingston County was a wet county and there were several places in Smithland
where beer and whiskey could be bought legally and other places where bootleg could be bought illegally so this county
and town were extra wet. There was always a lot of action around the courthouse and jail. The jail always had several prisoners in it and my mother had to cook for them in addition to her family. It was funny to me to see the law bring in a
drunk and have to wrestle and fight and drag him inside the jail. Sometimes they would put up a pretty good fight.

(c) copyright by Melvin "Bubbie" Martin 2001