Excerpt from A Raising Up--Memories of a North Carolina Childhood

To some, my story A RAISING UP may not be special, but it's special to me. It's a story of one family's struggle during a difficult time--the period from 1932 until the fall of 1945--the years of the Great Depression and World War II. It was a time when life was hard, but we were not alone in our struggle. Many families had similar experiences. A RAISING UP tells of our family's life in a cotton mill village. It was there, on a cold December afternoon in 1927, that I came into this world. I was born in the front corner bedroom of one of many company-owned houses that lined the row streets. I was the first of six children. In the spring of 1937 we moved about twenty-five miles to a farm in Rural Pender County, where I was quickly introduced to the mule and plow. Our farm home was a small, unpainted frame house with a tin roof. In this humble home, I was taught the value of hard work, truthfulness, and responsibility. Here, through good times and bad, our family grew ever closer. In this book I write of the Owl. Sometimes in my mind I picture his view as he made his flight through the night over a small farmhouse, its tin roof brightened by the moonlight. From time to time in the story, I also speak of angels. Could have been after the Owl passed over our hame and flew on through the night that a quardian angel came, hovered, and lingered a while. Who's to say? There in the house below, in a small bedroom, four brothers lay in one bed and two sisters lay in another, all trying to stay warm, each with his or her own special dreams. In another room lay the father and mother, ther father with his dreams of making it good on the farm and giving up the long ride back and forth each day to his job at the cotton mill. The mother's dreams were of seeing her children fed, clothed, and brought up the right way. Ispent eight and a half years in that little house and on that farm. In the fall of 1945, I left to seek my fortune. It's been more than half a century since I left, but memories of my childhood and the old homeplace still creep into my mind. My story may seem insignificant. But as the number of us plowboys dwindle, I thought I would write it--in tribute to my mother, and to all the families who lived through those times. R.C. Fowler December 1999

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