Waking Mother

Mother and Daddy worked at a textile mill in Gastonia when I was growing up. Mother worked the night shift, and Daddy would wake her as he left for the second shift. My sister Janice and I were not allowed to wake Mother during the day however. It was a strict rule with unpleasant consequences. I think parents were much stricter in the 1950s.

Janice was 4 and I was in the second grade when it happened. I came home from school one day, and Daddy had already gone to work; Mother was still sleeping; and Janice was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere. I was sure she had been kidnapped! I knew what to do, because I had seen things like this on TV.

We didn't have a telephone, so I walked to a store down the road, called the police, and reported that my little sister had been kidnapped. "Where are your parents?" the officer asked. I said, "Daddy is working and Mother is sleeping."

He told me to go home, wake Mother and ask where my sister was. "I can't! She works on the third shift, and I will get a whipping if I wake her up." He insisted that I go home, wake Mother and call him back if she didn't know where my sister was.

To my surprise (and great relief), I didn't get a whipping. It turns out that Janice had gone to spend the night with family friends. I was married before I ever got the nerve to tell Mother what I had done

Diane (Trammell) Ledford, Gastonia, Rutherford EMC

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