Living On The Edge

NOTE: IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME HERE, SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO START FROM THE TOP!

I finally got kind of used to literally living over the edge of a river, but anytime there was a thunderstorm, I just knew the place would fall in the river! George had a boat and we’d go on rides often. I always wore my life preserver, and I got to drive sometimes. I got to love the wind and the salty smell of the air. It was taken for granted, living on the water then. While I enjoyed it immensely, I didn’t appreciate it like I would now. Part of me will always be drawn to the water, particularly the ocean.

Another thing I loved to do was stay up late. I still do. George would let me stay up with him some nights It was our tradition to make toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Nestle Quik chocolate milk. Most of the time I wouldn’t make it to morning, usually falling asleep by eleven. It was supposed to be fun, but George was easily irritated. Especially when it was a kid doing the irritating. You had to sit there quietly and let him do whatever it was he doing without bothering him. The slightest peep at the wrong time and it was immediately to bed. He would make me feel like I had done something extremely bad by his loud overreacting. One night when Big Charlie Smith was also spending the night, I dared to wear a long tee shirt with a belt around it, you know, like in Peter Pan! I even had a wooden sword. George immediately thought it was a dress and berated me for being a sissy. I probably embarrassed him in front of Charlie too. I was ordered to bed and to take that “homo shit” off. By this time of the evening, he was pretty drunk and smelled like the forbidden room, so I should have known better. On the lighter side of staying up late, my favorite memory of staying up late was when Mama, her friend Wanda and me watched the TV movie The Count of Monte Cristo. I was laying under the coffee table and Mama didn’t catch on until it was too late, and she let me stay up to finish it.

The forbidden room was downstairs next to the living room and the snake bathroom. George was an alcoholic of Barney Gumble proportions, but pot was his love at this point in his life. George and Clarice would disappear into the room downstairs for long lengths of time, leaving me alone with Susan and Robin, and it was always followed by that smell. One time I decided to play “Throw the Shells At The Fish Tank” game resulting in a cascade of water and guppies spilling onto the carpet. They came running out to see what I’d done, but George, after seeing what happened, was surprisingly not angry. He was actually comforting and told me everything was okay. He must have been REALLY high. Also, I shouldn’t have been left alone that long, I was only five! Turns out George and Mama were growing their own weed in that room, for their own use and to sell. I was forbidden to go in that room EVER. I didn’t, but I sure remember that smell. When George was out of the business and the room was finally deemed open to all, I was so excited to be able to go in. Imagine my disappointment when all that was in there was washing machine parts and fishing tackle all over the place.

1983 George Fish
Tell me George isn’t high as hell in this picture!

In addition to Playboy magazines, empty beer cans, incense and full ashtrays, there had candles lying around everywhere.  These were not any ordinary candles, these were homemade candles! Clarice and George were into making their own candles. This was another aspect of their hippie personas. I loved the smell of them, I can almost smell those candles like old rose could smell the linens on the Titanic. They were made with Gulf Wax paraffin blocks which were melted with a colored wax, poured into molds and cooled.

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Most mornings, I would sneak into Mama and George’s bedroom in the mornings as they slept away their hangovers. I’d go through whatever boobie magazines George had and look through their vinyl record collection. He had one record that scared the shit out of me: The Moody Blues: In Search of the Lost Chord. The music didn’t scare me, the cover did. George did explain to me once how it wasn’t scary and what it represented. Yeah, I’m surprised he took the time too. But interestingly enough, George referred to the album as In Search of the Lost Child. So, there is that. It’s all very similar to Stewie being scared of the album cover of Queen’s News Of The World on Family Guy.

stewie

This is also about the time the weekly parties began. George had a large number of friends who would often come over to drink beer and get high. These fine people included the likes of Richard Sears, Cheryl Ladd (not her), Charlie Smith, couple Curtis and Jane, and some guy they called Latt. There was also John Hasty. John, or Haste, as George would call him, was always up for a party. For some reason, George had no problem picking up the tab for him. Literally until the end he paid for this man’s party because George genuinely enjoyed this man’s company, which was fine. Being the biggest loser and addict in the city was fine by George. It shows the hypocrisy of George that he showed his hoodlum friends more respect and love than he did me. I guess George WAS a “Harper Valley Hypocrite”.

These parties would go on all night and usually lasted all weekend. I actually enjoyed a lot of the partying, as it took George’s focus off of me. Sometimes these parties were at other places like the Forest City Gun Club of which pretty much every Davis and splinter families were members. In addition to the skeet shooting machines and the club house, there was a big lake. There was a dock there and we would go and picnic and fish. One particular day, John Hasty decided to try out a bow and arrow and shoot one of the ducks in the lake. Of course, he succeeded with the cowardly act but the duck’s body was far from the dock. Cheryl Ladd and Haste decided they both should jump in to get it. I supposed they were going to eat it. George once tried to say this didn’t happen, but Haste remembered. Cheryl Ladd came around less often after this and eventually stopped until one day we came home to find her waiting outside our house, crying. I don’t know what happened or why, but I never saw her again after that. I liked her, I hope she’s okay. We would continue to go to that lake, or “The Gun Club” for many more family holidays to come and they are mostly good memories. George even took me skeet shooting once and I think I impressed him with my aim.

Jumping off the roof into the river was also a common occurrence at a George Party. It didn’t matter that the screaming drunks had to fly by my window with each jump, I was terrified by the thought of being in that water. What horrors were in there?

During one party, I fell onto the brick patio and hurt my knee. Really hurt it! I couldn’t walk. I really couldn’t walk! George wouldn’t stop the party though. No sir. He told me in-between long drags off his Winston, to be a man and walk it off. He said something about being be a pussy, as he swigged off his Pabst blue Ribbon (he would switch to Budweiser in a few years). I crawled around for a week before I could walk again. George thought that I just wanted attention and he would accuse me of this many more times for much less offences.

With all the spooky, not quite traumatic, experiences involving open water, I was terrified to swim. It didn’t matter if it was a pool, I was sure I’d drown. Summer came around and George decided to send me to YMCA Camp. It wasn’t explained to me what it was, I was just put on a bus and told to have fun. I was terrified. I didn’t know anyone and I was sure I was going to drown when they forced me to get in the pool. I saw kids doing archery, and was sure I’d have to have arrows shot at me. They had refreshments for sale, but I wasn’t given any cash (Surprise, surprise). I waited in the line and asked the kid if I could charge my Coke. I was so thirsty. He said no kind of mean like, but then had a change of heart and gave me the Coke. I did like the arts and crafts stuff. I made a keychain with beads, you know, for all my five-year-old kid keys. By the way, five years old seems really young to be alone at camp. It wasn’t an overnight camp and I’d take the bus to and from each day. I hated it so much, and thought I had to go there forever. I finally started hiding from the bus and pretending I missed it. I guess mama and George got the hint, because I didn’t have to go back. I also had to really poop once while waiting for the bus and had my second experience of number two outdoors.

1975 Steve Robin Couch
I’m telling Georges brother Steve that I refuse to go to camp!
1975 Barrett Sussan 1
Susan says to stay home! No camp!
1975 Barrett
No Camp? Okay!
1975 5th Birthday
Its my 5th birthday
1975 Barrett Ken Vicki Lee George
5th bithday with Ken and Vickie Lee Kenuckle. The headless adult is George.

One good side effect from George’s partying was getting to meet and know the Kicklighter-Smiths. I think that’d be a great name for a country band – “Ladies and Gentleman, let’s hear it for Kicklighter-Smith!”. George’s good friend Charlie Smith had married Lex Kicklighter and she came with her two young-ins Pam and Charlie. I got so excited whenever I heard they were coming to visit. They lived in Dublin Georgia, and Lex’s parents lived in Savannah and the kids would stay with their grandparents more often than not. Sometimes Big Charlie and Lex would show up without Little Charlie and Pam and it’d break my heart although this happened more when we got older. Sometimes I’d get at least one of them and I never had so much fun as when they were around except maybe with my cousin Summer. One time they showed up late with Pam. I had already gone to sleep, but Mama woke me up to play. I think we played Laverne and Shirley somehow. I’m sure I was Laverne. Their mom, Lex, had excellent taste in music and whenever I hear Steely Dan or Tina Turner I think of her. I loved talking music with her once I was old enough to get into music. This family was always there for me and have even opened their home to me at one point. I love you guys, always. Thank you, Charlie, Lex, Charlie and Pam, you were more family to me than most and I’ll never forget your kindness.

2015 Lex
Lex Smith (Kicklighter)
kicklighter Smith
L-R Big Charlie, Lex, Little Charlie, Pam
lex charlie
Lex and Charlie Smith
pam charie
Little Charlie and Pam.
pam charlie s
How I remember Pam and Little Charlie the most.

 

1975 was also the year I started school. I went to kindergarten at Wilmington Island Presbyterian with Ms. Tink as my teacher. Many of the other kids who went there also followed kindergarten by going to Savannah Christian School including a fellow student named Russ Beets who is now an openly gay lawyer in Atlanta (Hi Russ). I loved to do arts and crafts since before I can remember (I know I’m saying that phrase too much, but it comes up a lot when doing a memoir). Each month we would have a construction paper cutout for our name plates that we would color and cut out. I was always very proud of mine and was very careful to cut it out exactly. Also, school room clay was an important tool for my art time as I made many a perfect clay snakes that year.  I remember at our graduation we put on a show with some delightful old racist southern songs. ”Oh Susannah”, “Dixie”, all your basic Civil War era tunes. Mama did confide in me that Ms. Tink had contacted them to tell them I had the highest IQ in the entire class, and that they usually don’t tell parents these things. I also have some Stanford Test results from tests taken during 2nd, 5th and 8th grade where I was performing way above my grade level. Despite these results, I never did good in school for pretty much my entire academic career, and it drove George crazy! Much more on that late

1977 2nd grade Stanford scores
2nd Grade Stanford scores
1980 5th grade Stanford scores
5th Grade Stanford scores
1984 8th grade Stanford scores
8th Grade Stanford scores

I can kind of see why it pissed him off. I was a smart kid I suppose.

We got a surprise visit from Granddaddy Bill in October. Barney and Phyllis were there too, but all eyes were on Granddaddies’ new wife and my new grandma, Marilyn. Marilyn Kicklighter (no relation to the Kicklighter-Smiths) was from Greenville Georgia. She was tanned to the color and texture of brown leather. She smoked cigarette after cigarette using those disposable filters you put on the butt. They weren’t working because her voice had the resonance of a cheese grater. God forbid she laughed as it always turned into an uncontrollable coughing fit. Her hair was a tight curly perm that she gave herself once a month. Marilyn had three kids all with the same exceptional class as her. They would all show up at some point to borrow money or sleep over. Southern trash is a good way to describe the four of them: Marilyn, Rhonda, Timmy and Tony.  There’s a reason I am this harsh about them, and it will be coming up in the future.

I was only five, but I loved her right away since I didn’t know any better. She always called me “Grandson” when talking about me to Granddaddy. This was the first time I had seen Granddaddy since mama and I left with George. I wouldn’t leave his side and it was the best few days in a while. I also became closer to Barney that visit. He was the closest to my age and made a pretty good playmate. Barney ended up staying with us through the New Year and had Christmas with us. Santa brought him a tacklebox and fishing pole and I got pretty much everything on my list. If you notice on the actual letter to Santa, the Raggedy Anne Clock I wanted was changed to a Bugs Bunny Clock. I’m sure Mama did this to protect George from anything not normal. Otherwise, George did his usual Christmas transformation from Monster to Santa and was as jolly as he was every Christmas while I lived with him.

On the Christmas tree this year there were a few new ornaments. Beautiful felt birds with feathers and sequins that Grandma Gloria had made for each of us. George’s was green, Mama’s blue and mine was yellow. I can see them when I close my eyes, they were so beautiful, especially to a Christmas obsessed 5-year-old. Gloria had also made them for all the extended family. I don’t know what happened to those birds, but I don’t remember them on the tree past this house and the next. And speaking of our next house…

 

UP NEXT …. The Yellow Brick House

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For inquiries contact Barrett@BarrettDylanDavis.com

KICKLIGHTER-SMITH FAMILY PHOTOS COURTESY OF PAMELA JEANETTE KICKLIGHTER

Gallery

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS Can’t Hold Us LIVE FOR REAL THIS TIME

The official iHeart footage with my personal iPhone footage around 3:10 picture in picture.

I don’t own the rights but I’m sure they wont mind. I did help Ben with his stage dive!

Check out the video to see!

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS Can’t Hold Us LIVE FOR REAL THIS TIME

I’m The Blacksheep Of The Family

BarrHello to my eight loyal readers! I know it’s been a while since I posted a new chapter in my life I call BLACKSHEEP. I think I should jump ahead and let you all in on something about my time with George. It’s the horrible thing I did that was the final straw for him… enough to disown me and apparently talked most of the rest of his family into doing the same.

This was in 1986. It was right after my first year in public school. For the first time since I started going to school, I actually had some friends. Of course, I didn’t get an allowance. I guess I was expected to fund finally having friends on my own. George was cheap. He was also stingy and nasty about money. If you didn’t “earn” it, you didn’t get it. Earning it for me was usually wheel barrowing tires from the marsh. Someone had dumped all these tires into the marsh years ago before anything was on the property. I’d pull them up by hand, mud and crabs and all! I’d get twenty-five cents a tire.

So here it is. What I did that cost me my family. To turn me into the family Blacksheep.

I stole three hundred dollars from George when I was seventeen. Three different times I took the keys and went downstairs to the office where the days take from George’s laundromats was kept until it was counted. Each time I did it, I took around a hundred in ones. George had  always insisted it was more like seven hundred total – Sorry, I’ll take the blame for the admiringly horrible thing I did, but not someone else’s. You see, I don’t think I was the only one else who dipped into the till those few weeks – Phyllis and Rad lived there too and I know for a fact Rad had gotten in trouble for stealing. Phyllis has always complained George wouldn’t give her clothes money for herself. We all had reasons – not to justify it, but to explain. I am in no way trying to make stealing a good thing, its abhorrent to take something that isn’t yours. A horrible act, especially when there are victims. Innocent victims I didn’t think about like Georges business partner and friend James Rowell. That was his money too. He was never vindictive and was always kind to me. Before and after the big theft. I’m sorry, Mr. Rowell.

Anyway, now well go back to little Barrett and his adventures. I hope that by the time I’m done telling my tale, it will make a little more sense why I did what I did. I hope that you’ll see I am not a horrible master mind thief with a thirst for dollar bills that I’ve been made out to be by some family members. I was just a naïve, scared kid who needed direction and real parenting. George was not only an ignorant racist and misogynist, but he was also anti-sematic. My own father figure racially stereotyped me on the fact that Jay, my real father, was Jewish. George was so dumb, he thought I was out for HIS gold or something equally ridiculous…I don’t know. He was a redneck, looking into facts wasn’t part of his way. He once said he was surprised I didn’t get a new social security card – what the fuck, George! I was just a kid in a small southern, religious town who wanted to be an actor when he grew up. I feel that George was never fully there for me. I don’t think he had any intention of being a good father to me. He was never my daddy, for sure. I was tolerated like a school pet hamster is tolerated. In his mind, I was always wanting something, to buy something – like a stereotypical “Jew” in his mind, I was greedy and if I didn’t “earn” whatever it was I wanted, I didn’t get it. Usually I wanted money to go roller skating, you know, horrible entitled child that I was.

As you can see I could go on forever…and I will! But back to 1975

SOON

Barrett

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For inquiries contact Barrett@BarrettDylanDavis.com

I’m The Blacksheep Of The Family

A Spoonful of Whiskey Helps the Onion Go Down

Savannah Club Apartments to a wee one like myself, seemed like where id be living forever. I had my neighbors to visit, ice cream trucks to chase and lawns to poop on! Mama and Wanda were closer than ever, George was still nice to me and there was Grandma and Granddaddy!

We would visit Big George and Gloria Davis on a pretty weekly basis. Their youngest, Steve lived with them for what seemed like forever. Years later he would seemingly move in with us on and off periodically. Going over there was so much fun for me. There were always tons of sweets to eat and lots of toys just for the grandkids. Basically, going to Grandma and Granddaddy’s meant you’d be spoiled! There was a park directly across the street with a slide and swings and a merry go round. A little further down the street was Anderson’s Market. We Davis grandchildren walked to this neighborhood market/butcher shop what must a been a thousand times. Grandma or Granddaddy would make sure we had money for candy, ice cream and soda. We’d often take coke bottles with us to get the deposits back or exchanged for a new coke! They had an old-fashioned coke machine that you pull the ice cold bottles out of. In the south, you didn’t ask someone what kind of soda you wanted, you’d ask them what kind of coke they want.

“what kind of coke you want?”

“Sprite” “Grape” or even “Pepsi” was an acceptable answer.

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George and Gloria Davis’ residence on Alabama Ave as it looks today.
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The park directly across the street from the Davis’ Alabama Ave residence.
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What was once Anderson’s Market. What kind of coke you want?

George and Mama pick me up one evening after I had spent the day there.  Everything goes as usual with Granddaddy insisting I spend the night, me hoping I can, and George saying no. He didn’t always say no, but tonight there was a good reason. We start driving in a different direction than usual. We go over a few bridges and end up on Whitemarsh Island. We turn down a long driveway and end up at a house in a wire fence yard.

“It’s our new house, Barrett!” says Mama, she is visibly excited, and this immediately puts me at ease.

“Come look, Son.” George said. He called me “Son” a lot. In hindsight, it always seemed like he said it in a way to try and make it true, but it came off as more condescending. He used it most when trying to teach me some hick life lesson.

The property was beautiful! A huge yard with a huge Oak tree. It was covered in Spanish Moss and had a tire swing on a rope from one of its sturdy branches, and another tree just the right size for a four-year-old to climb and. George once told me it was an apple tree. It wasn’t. On either side of the gated yard, there was nothing but trees and a few houses for a far as the eye could see. The house itself was a cute one story with a big recessed front patio area that was bricked in including the ground…wait, what’s that?

…There was a stair case to the right of the house, it went down for about 20 feet and connected with a wooden deck. The wooden deck had a dock attached to it accessible by a wooden walkway. To the left of the deck was a door…the DOWNSTAIRS door into the house. The house was actually two stories and the entire house was on STILTS actually OVER the water that is Richardson’s Creek! You could navigate this creek to the Savannah River and then to the open Atlantic Ocean. It took me quite a while before I could walk up and down those steep stairs by myself – I was only four.

1975 House Susan Dock
Barrett holding Susan. AND THE HOUSE IS OVER THE WATER!
1975 October Barrett Swing - Copy
Tire swing and front of the house.
1975 Barrett Kindergarden
A good view of how far down the dock is from the bluff.

When you first walk in the house, you are in the kitchen/hallway area. The hallway leads to two bedrooms and there was a small area to the right that could have been a small living room, but we used it for a bookcase except Christmastime when the space is where our Christmas tree went. There was one bathroom for both bedrooms and it only had a shower. The bathroom with a tub was downstairs. There was a tile missing from the ceiling right above the back of that tub, and George told me how they found a snake skin in there that was freshly shed. Big mistake. I was terrified the entire time we lived there that a snake would come out of that huge hole in the ceiling when I took a bath. Either that or the whole house would fall in the river.

There are two sets of neighbors I remember. The first was an older couple who lived on the property directly south of us. I remember them as Archie and Edith Bunker 2, taking over from the couple back at SCA. To the south of them were the Kenuckles. There was the dad who’s name I forget. The mom, Rose, or as George called her, “Rose the Nose”. The daughter, Vicki Lee, was a year or younger than me. Then there was Ken who was my age. I thought Ken was the best, he was like a hero to me. I wanted to be just like him. For my fourth birthday present, he gave me a shirt with a “6” on it that was just like one he had. I was so happy! Later the next year in kindergarten, I would make a huge Valentine for Ken. I’m sure George didn’t care for that, and I’m sure Ken never got it, but Mama did save it.

1974 4th Bday
Barrett and his bestie Ken on Barrett’s 4th Birthday.
IMG_5441 (2)
The Valentine I made for Ken. Its really quite sweet.

Once I got used to the horror house on stilts, I loved being out on the dock. We could fish and crab right off of it. George eventually got a boat and we’d go for boat rides all the time. I always wore a life preserver an I loved to ride on the boats bow, especially when George would go fast and make the boat bounce.  Years later I would traverse these waters all by myself from a different dock. I was also already very influenced by music and would sing and repeat songs never knowing what they meant. Enter Jeanie C Reilly’s classic “Harper Valley PTA”. I loved it and sang it all the time. So much that once while we were all out on the dock having a nice Saturday, I said to George for fun,

“George, you’re just a Harper Valley hypocrite!”  it was from the climax of the song.

What happened next is when I realized George wasn’t always a fair man. He not only scared me, but disappointed me. He did what would become his “You think you’re funny? You don’t make me look foolish” chuckle. He often made this noise before declaring you’d done some injustice to his manhood or something equally ridiculous. He couldn’t take a joke, but everyone else was expected to.

“What’d you say”

“Harper valley hypocrite from the song. What’s a hypocrite?” I replied, immediately frightened by the tone in his voice.

He laughed and smiled – “oh that’s not a nice thing to say, even if it is in a song. It means someone isn’t nice or honest”. Make sure you ask me or your Mama next time if you aren’t sure. Okay?”

Only this isn’t what the asshole did. His foreheads veins started pulsing, you know, because he’d been done wrong, and he popped open a fresh Budweiser of many.

“Well why don’t you go inside and go to bed now. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

I was dumbfounded. Hurt. Confused. I had started to respect this man and he wouldn’t even let me talk to explain myself. I didn’t even know what the word meant.

“Inside! And watch what you say, boy” he might as well have said “climb into your shell, boy. I’m the boss”.

I cried myself to sleep while the daytime sun shown bright for everyone else in the world. This wouldn’t be the last time George broke me.

1974 July Summer Dock
Fishing off the dock. Richardson’s Creek.
1974 July Barrett Shark
Trembling next to the shark George caught.

There is one moment that was rather humorously life altering. One night just George and I are in the kitchen. George is a six pack in and onto something stronger. I was starving and asked George for one of the apples behind him.

“Those aren’t apples” he said. They weren’t. “You won’t like it”. I didn’t.

“I’m hungry. I like them!” I insisted. “Bite?”

“Sure,” George grinned, “knock yourself out.” And he handed me one.

I took a huge bit out of this apple only to be met with the taste of raw onion.

“Argh!” I spit it out into the sink. “Something to drink!”

“We don’t have anything but water.” George said, looking very amused.

“No, something else, please.” Like most children, I hated water when the possibility of coke was around.

“Here,” he said “drink out of here” he put a glass bottle out and held it so I could get a sip.

The fire that met my tongue was unbearable, especially with the raw onion minced in my teeth. George had had me drink a swig of his Jim Beam, right from the bottle.

I threw up and started crying. Mama came around and took me to brush, gargle and tucked me in to bed.

To this day, I despise onions. Cooked, cut up small, powdered, minced and especially raw onions. Nasty! However, strangely enough, in my drinking days, I never had any problem with Jim Beam.

Another weird tid-bit, is I remember always getting up in the middle of the night, strategically getting past the hippie beads that divided the hall doorway, and helping myself to some delicious butter, some lemon juice, and if I was lucky, some Pepto Bismal, out of the fridge. I didn’t need the Pepto, I just loved the taste of it. While it never made me sick, I did once say I was sick when George wanted me to eat my dinner of a bologna sandwich. We would be going to the drive in later, and I wanted a burger and fries from there. I said my stomach hurt, my plan being not to eat the bologna. Well George called me on that and said he’d guess I wouldn’t need anything from the drive in then. I was so disappointed. No soda, no popcorn, no candy and no delicious hamburger. Mama did give me one fry, although she did kind of show off that she had a burger and I didn’t.

We went to the drive in many times. I remember it was always R rated action or drama movies. Whatever George wanted to see, regardless that there was a four-year-old with him. We saw “Death Wish” there and I remember getting a feeling when I saw some naked men on the screen. Maybe that was my first tingling of sexuality.

We also watched a lot of television as a family. We started watching Little House on the Prairie in 1974 when the show started. As much as George was a bastard, he also had a rare soft side. Like with Christmas, Little House was special. He be crying at the end of episodes and just say,

‘That damn, Michael Landon.”

I agree, George. I agree.

In 2010 I wrote a fan letter to Katherine MacGregor, the actress who played Mrs. Oleson on Little House. About a year later in April of 2011 I received a response. There may be some spoilers for upcoming Blacksheep posts in my letter to her, but I’m posting this here for ya’ll anyway.

MacGregor1
My letter to Mrs MacGregor with her comments!
MacGregor2
Picture she drew for me. Look what she wrote about George!

 

Around September of 74, George came home with a puppy and a kitten! Not on the same day, but close. I guess he figured the step-father guidebook would say pets are the next step to winning over the child. The puppy was a mutt who was mostly black lab. I wanted to name him Bat-man, but George said I couldn’t, so I went with the next logical choice, Robin. For the cat, I went old school and she was christened Susan. In addition to them, I also had a pet chicken!

1975 Barrett Susan 2
Barrett and Susan around 1975
1975 Barrett Sussan 1
Barrett and Susan
1975 Oct Barnet Barr Robin - Copy
Another view of the dock. Robin is bottom of picture.
1975 Robin
Robin – Dog wonder
Inked1975 House chicken circled
Chicken coop entrance is circled

George had built a chicken coop under the house between the bluff and where the second story started. It looked like a cave to me. They did lay eggs and it was fun to find the eggs in the nests. I loved my chicken, Henrietta, so much that I brought her with me when I went on Romper Room! My first television appearance ever!

I know, everyone says they were on Romper Room, but I really was. Here’s the pictures to prove it!

Mama, Clarice, was intro fitness and worked out a gym called Jerry’s Gym. It was on Victory Drive and was behind a Burger King. It was comprised of two gyms, one for women and one for men. This was the 70s after all. Well my mom met a nice lady there named Kay Winslette. Turns out that Kay is THE Ms. Kay from Savannah’s version of Romper Room. Ms. Kay pulled some strings and I got to spend two weeks on Romper Room! I would be on during Halloween, so I’d get to wear my costume on air on one of the days. I would wear my latest Mickey Mouse costume, as the Mickey Mouse costume I wore last year was passé now! This year’s model had Mickey in a sorcerer’s hat. I also got to hold the flag for the pledge one day. Henrietta made her appearance near the end of my stint on RR. She was a huge hit in the chicken wire cage George made for her. I loved being on RR. I felt like a real television star, like Bobby Brady!

1974 Barrett Christmas
1974 Christmas with Santa
1974 Dec Wagon gate
I got this wagon from Santa that year. Also looks like I got horse shoes too.
1974 Xmas Barrett
Decorating the tree. Check out those pants!

Christmas was a wonderful time, as Evil George goes into hiding and Fun George comes out. It was the first year I got my picture with Santa, I wonder who he was? Also, this was the first New Year’s Eve where I understood what was going on. This year would be at home, but most years after would be as big affair as Christmas Eve was. The Davis’ knew how to celebrate holidays!

And just as soon as 1974 started, it was 1975 –

And OMG, I’ll tell you about the Forbidden Secret Pot Growing Room!

 

To be continutated

Barrett 4/28/17

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For inquiries contact Barrett@BarrettDylanDavis.com

A Spoonful of Whiskey Helps the Onion Go Down

Treasure Trove Of Pictures!

Hello reader (there is at least one of you) – I just found a huge envelope of old family pictures that I had thought was missing. I’m scanning them and will use them when the right story time arrives.

I also made a new logo for the site. I thought it would look bigger on my header. Heres the full size one. I used all the school pictures I have. I’m only missing 9th and 11th grade photos, but I’m not even sure one was taken those years.

black dark

Here are also a few new pictures from the times I’ve already written about, including a rare one of all the Brinson’s together!

And all the Brinson’s together. Probably the last time we all were.

1970 ALL BRINSONS 1970
From Top Left – William Barney “Bill” Brinson, Faye Brinson, Marsha Brinson, Clarice Brinson From Bottom Left – Barney Brinson, Phyllis Brinson, Barrett Brinson

and for even more fun, heres all my school pictures I used to make the new logo!

Come back, there’s lots more stories and they get racier!

1975 Kindergarden Ms Tink
Kindergarden Ms Tink
1976 First Ruth Pierce
1st Grade Mrs Pierce
1977 2nd Mrs Holly Lantz
2nd Grade Mrs Lantz
1978 3rd Patricia Mouchet
3rd Grade – Mrs Mouchette
1979 4th Janice Stevens
4th Grade Mrs Stevens
1980 5th Ann M Frech
5th Grade Mrs Frech – my favorite teacher ever!
1981 6th Mrs Ellen Crisp
6th Grade
1982 7th Julianne Rossiter
7th Grade
1983 8th Mrs Williams
8th Grade
1985 10th Grade 15yo Patricia Thompson
10th Grade
1987 88 Senior Year
Senior Year

See yall soon

Barrett

April 17 2017

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

Treasure Trove Of Pictures!

Our House

Barrett

Granddaddy Bill was my hero at the time. When he was around, I felt safe and at home as much as a 2-year-old could. Every afternoon meant more candy from granddaddy! The green and red peppermints and also wrapped sour balls. Seeing a bowl of sour balls brings back memories to this day. In the mind of an infant everything must seem so permanent. Like if we could remember back in more detail, we would feel as thought time went by really slow. I was enjoying my slow life of milk bottles and sour balls. Mama, Phyllis and Barney along with Granddaddy were the only life I knew.

Then along comes George Davis. I don’t remember the exact first time I met him, but the day Mama and me left Nana Avenue with him sticks with me.

“It’s okay. We’re going to go live with George in Savannah” Mama assured me with a smile. I looked up at him, a menacing form towering over me with his arms crossed in defiance of only he knows what. Smiling, at least.

I was scared, but didn’t cry. I was worried about how our stuff was going to get to Save Anna. Did George know about spaghettios? When did I get to come back here? To Orlando and Barney and Sissy (I called Phyllis ‘Sissy’ for years). To Grandaddy and daily sour balls.

Jump ahead a few weeks – George, Clarice and Barrett (Now Barrett Steven Davis) as George had adopted me legally) moved into Savannah Club Apartments (SCA) – The Cabrini Green of Savannah. Candyman. Candyman. Can…

… I had my own room! There was a fish tank, and lots of candles. Also in the living room was a giant black and white chair that spun around and around! It was very hippie! There was a nice stereo with a turntable and a nice selection of vinyl records! Savannah Club Apartments was actually a housing development and the apartments were actually small homes. The kitchen was old school with basic sink and fridge and a gas stove and oven. I do remember Mama cooking in the broiler. I think the gas might have been leaking a little bit, because whenever I smell an unlit pilot light, it reminds me of Mama cooking.

1973 Barrett Blocks SCA
Have some block cake while we watch tv!  SCA

 

1973 Barrett SCA
Pretending to smoke because I’m cool. Dont smoke kids. SCA

George was a pretty cool guy to me at this point. He would take me riding on his motorcycle, and even got me my own helmet! He and Mama were quite the hippie couple! Mama had long, straight brown hair and big, beautiful, hazel brown eyes. She wore lots of halter tops and bell bottoms and things with fringe. George had a longer haircut than most non-hippie men of the time and had a nice JC Penny wardrobe of hippie shirts and slacks. Paisley and colorful and actually pretty stylish. Unfortunately, the cool clothes and the peace and love attitude was temporary.

1973 Barrett Clarice Smoke
Pretending to smoke with Mama SCA
1973 Barrett Sleeping Weird
I sleep weird too! SCA

I got to be quite the wanderer on that street in Savannah Club Apartments. I must have watched Mr Rogers because I decided to go meet my neighbors. I went door to door and said hello to everyone that answered. I’d even go “visit” certain neighbors who were receptive. There was a house with about half a dozen middle age hippies living together, and a house with a couple I was convinced was Archie and Edith Bunker from “All In the Family”. I was given candy, lunches, Kool-aid and once a Hershey Bar of my own from the house hippies, which must have clued in Mama. She explained that we couldn’t visit people we didn’t know and how some people aren’t nice to little boys. She and I walked house to house to apologize and meet the neighbors for herself. My street bestie, Wanda was one of them. Wanda and Clarice became instant best friends and their relationship lasted up until 1981. George didn’t like her.

Chasing the ice cream truck was the highlight of my days on that street. As soon as you heard those musical chimes playing “Pop Goes the Weasel”, you knew it was time to roll! No worse feeling than missing the ice cream truck. A chase that ended in failure also ended in tears.

I got my first eye scar around this time. I was playing with the two kids who were siblings, Michelle and Chris. For some stupid reason we decided to play catch with a coffee can. Now coffee cans in 1973 were heavy tin cans sealed close with lead. You had to use a can opener to get the top off resulting in jagged edges. Well, I missed and the can hit me in the face, it just barely missed poking or slicing my eye open. Blood poured from the cut and my nose. George and Mama came running and took me to the emergency room. I got some stitches which I was terrified of, but they actually didn’t hurt much. I have a scar by each of my eyes, but I don’t remember which one was scarred when.

One particularly embarrassing event happened when I got back from one of my walks to greet the neighbors. I believe I had just visited Edith and Archie and I really had to poop. Well I got home to find all the doors locked – front and back. I knocked and got no answer. Oh shit! I’m gonna poop! If I’d know the phrase then I’d have said I was crowning. I knocked again. Banged as hard as a 3-year-old could, actually.

“Mama, I have to poo poo!” I tried yelling through the door. No answer. I wondered if she went somewhere or if she was taking a nap.

I’d seen dogs pooping around the neighborhood and they didn’t have to go inside to do it. So, I copped a squat and started doing my business. Unfortunately, a woman who I didn’t know was walking by and called me an animal. I remember trying to explain myself, but she probably only heard baby talk. She walked away mumbling to herself and soon after that one sided conversation, Mama opened the door. I went running up to her, crying and told her what happened. She comforted me and apologized. She said she would never lock me out again and I could tell she felt bad. But soon enough, everything was forgotten and the day went on. Once I was a little older I realized that the reason the door was locked was because Mama was smoking pot. After the yard poop incident, they smoked in the bedroom. I always smelled it, but I never got a contact high that I can recall…Dude. Mama and George smoked weed daily/nightly to borrow from a Monkees song title. When I smell certain strain of pot, I am often reminded of certain events or things I can trace back to the parents smoking – smelling for research of course. Marijuana was a staple for most of the adults in my life, but alcohol was the real problem. Both the Davis and the Brinson families have alcoholism in their blood. I have no idea about the Kaminsky’s, but I’d assume there was a problem from what little I know.

I met Georges mother and brother at this apartment. For some reason, George had kept me and Clarice away from his family. Gloria, his mother, pretty much insisted, so George let her come over for my third birthday party. Steve, George’s younger brother, drove Gloria over. She and Big George, George’s dad, lived nearby with Steve. Mary and Ivy, George’s sisters, had already married and moved out of the house. Ivy had a daughter already named Summer. Gloria, or Grandma, as I would come to call her, smelled nice and was super friendly and grandmotherly. She brought me a gift, but I can’t remember what it was, but she always gave thoughtful gifts and I’m sure this was no exception. I never questioned why these people weren’t around before and it didn’t dawn on me to call George “Dad”. Ever.

My first Halloween with Trick or Treating was amazing! I couldn’t believe the concept of free candy! My first costume was Mickey Mouse! Talk about foreshadowing. I still have the same costume (same type of costume, not the actual one I wore) as part of my Halloween decorations. I always took picking out my costume as a big deal, in fact I still do to this day.

1973 Barrett Halloween
SCORE!

Christmas 1973 at SCA was the first one in memory that I really understood what occurred. Santa sounded too good to be true, but George was actually a huge fan of Christmas-time. He loved everything from the decorations to the carols to the food. Traditionally we would go over to the Davis’ home on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts to each other. Then Santa would come that night to our individual homes. That would start next year, but this year was just at the apartment with Mama, George and me. While 99% of the time he was a cheap tightwad worthy of the name Scrooge, at Christmas, he was very generous. I can’t remember a year we didn’t get what we wanted. If only he behaved a fraction of this way the other times of the year.

1973 Christmas Barrett
Loving the Holidays in my JC Penny Brady collection. CHRISTMAS TREE

Needless to say, I loved Christmas, Still do – I remember being fascinated at the wrapping paper and the ornaments on the tree. The lights and the smells, mixed with the taste of chocolate and peppermint. The music! I absolutely loved the record “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers. I’ve owned a copy of some sort my entire life including to this day! Record, cassette, cd and back to record. Also for some reason the song “Crocodile Rock” is a Christmas song. I think it must have played on a heavy rotation while were out driving at night looking at Christmas lights. Apparently, I drove George nuts by Exclaiming “CHRISTMAS TREE” every time I’d see bright colorful lights, and it didn’t matter what time of year it was.

wewishyoumeryxmas_conniff563
My favorite Christmas record!
1973 Christmas Barrett SCA
Opening up my Santa presents! Notice the Ray Conniff record in the top left!

 

George was always complaining I talked to much. Sorry, but I was a curious kid. He would always remind me later in life how I was always talking as a wee toddler, as if it was some sort of birth defect. He didn’t like kids around when he was partying with his friends, and would use any excuse to send me to bed early so the weed and beer could commence. I’ve wondered many times why he even got with Clarice knowing she had a kid, if he didn’t like kids so much. He had to know that having a kid would harsh his party-mellow. He was easily irritated by the slightest silliness or tom foolery and many times he seemed jealous about how happy I could be. How happy anyone could be.

I digress. As my alter ego, Tangent-man, I do that sometimes.  George was a pretty decent guy while were living at Savannah Club Apartments. I met my Savannah family (some of them anyway) and I learned to joys of Halloween and Christmas here. I made my first friend, Michelle, here. I also got my first set of stiches here. I chased my first and last ice cream truck here. I barely thought about Nana Avenue or granddaddy or Phyllis, Marsha and Barney. I was in Savannah now with George Davis as The Dad. Everything was comfortable here, until…

One night I’m told we are moving! George was also selling his motorcycle. Mama seems excited so I was too. It’s not too far from where we lived now, he told us, just across the bridge in Wilmington Island and on Richardson’s Creek (called that even though it was a river). There were kids nearby and a tree with a swing. We would have a dock and eventually a boat. It sounded great and the house itself…

Was horrifying! Okay not really horrifying, but the house was on stilts and jutted out into the river itself! I was convinced it would fall into the water, killing us all, but George assured me it wouldn’t. It didn’t.

1983 George Fish
It wont fall in. Only picture of George I have.

“To Be Contondered”

Barrett

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Our House

Nana Avenue

April 6, 2017

1970 Barrett Faye
Grandmom Faye clipping Barrett’s nails!

I remember living at the house in Orlando. The house was on Nana avenue. Id later return to visit and create some very nice memories, but not until a few years later.

Bill Barrett Faye
Grandmom looks tired! W/ Baby Barrett

Everything was fine here for a while. I remember mostly being in the kitchen – flashes of bottles being filled, memories of being fascinated by water flowing from one plastic cup to another. I remember tasting water and milk from those plastic cups. I supposed these are fairly normal first memories for anyone – getting to know all my aunts and uncle and my grandad and grandmom for the first time! Eating meals together…

BANG

Next thing I know, I’m being put in the kitchen by a friend of the family, as I was being carried away I saw two men pulling a table on wheels into the house. The lady who was the family friend was Rosie. She made me Spaghettios (I think), gave me milk and basically comforted me. I don’t recall how good my talking was yet, but I remember communicating.

“What was scary sound? Who those men?”
Rosie poured me some cold milk in one of those plastic cups. “Nothing sweetie, Its all okay”

My grandfather came into the kitchen. He was trying his best to smile, but he was crying. He came up and hugged me.

“Don’t cry granddaddy. Let’s all be happy. Okay?”

He tweaked my nose like he always did and attempted to smile. I’d never seen anyone cry like this and it scared me. What could have happened? Where was everyone? Mama, Phyllis and Barney came home and were already crying and screaming what happened. Obviously, someone had called them.  Marsha was living with Carter in Augusta but showed up the next day. I was luckily taken out of that situation and stayed with Rosie that night.

I’d find out as soon as I could understand such things, that my grandmom had killed herself while I was in the house alone with her.

Faye Raulerson Brinson put the muzzle of a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger.

Mental illness wasn’t accepted for what it is now. If she had the meds and therapy we have now, this wouldn’t have happened. Unfortunately, I find that I can say that statement about quite a few people in my life.

Clarice and Faye
Clarice and Faye circa 1968

I barely remember Faye Brinson, but I miss and love her almost as if she was a mythical creature.  My mama was given her name “Faye Clarice” which makes her special to me. Based on some of her early pictures, I think grandmom wanted to be an actress… That makes me feel good!

 

1954 Faye Posed
Faye Brinson Hollywood vixen?
1954 Faye Posed 3
Audrey Hepburn eat your heart out!
1954 Faye Posed 2
Faye Brinson, Grandma?

Barrett

To be continued

© 2017 Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Barrett Dylan Davis and Blacksheep with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Nana Avenue