Family Stories
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After the death of his wife George Ann, Willie would take turns ‘visiting’ his children and staying with them, usually for a month at the time. He always traveled by bus. He always had his old brown suitcase with him. What wouldn’t fit into the suitcase, he would wear. No matter what time of year it was, he always had on long johns, three or four shirts, 3 or 4 pairs of pants, a suit coat, over coat, socks, shoes, galoshes and a hat.

Once when he was visiting Berlie and Zula’s family, he found out Berlie had made some muscadine wine. He told Punk and Woodie to get him a glass. Punk went out to the smoke house and got him a glass of wine. He wanted more. After about 4 glasses of wine, Punk told Woodie to fire up the coal heater.  They shut all the doors, got the house heated up, not thinking about all the clothes he was wearing, and got him high as a kite. Berlie came home and asked what was wrong with ‘the old man’. They told him he had too much wine. When he went to bed, he lost control of his bowels and spent the night messing up the bed. Zula told them that if they ever did it again she’d rub their noses in it.


Thomas had an old car that he had rigged so that if he crossed 2 wires, it would shock the person in the backseat. They decided to get Willie into the back seat and when they crossed the wires, Willie had on so many clothes, he didn’t even feel it.


Once when he was staying at Berlie’s, he told Zula that ‘them beans woulda been better if you hadn’t used that same meat you used in that cabbage yesterday.” She told him ‘Pa, you know with all that meat we have hanging out in that smokehouse that I don’t have to do that.’ He kept on, and her and Berlie had words. The only cross words anyone remembers them having. She told Berlie if ‘he didn’t like what she served, he could pack his bags and go stay with some of his other children.”

It seemed he spent the most time between Lee’s and Berlie’s which was odd since they had larger families than any of the others.


Bill Joles remembers summers at his grandfather Lee’s when Willie would trip them with his cane when they would run past him.


Willie’s daughter Berdell was rumored to be having a long term affair with a local married man. Berlie caught him down there several times and every time he would say ‘Well Berdell, if you see my dogs, call me’.  Berlie told him he better not catch him down there again.  Well sometime after that, some men knocked on the door and when Willie G. answered, they grabbed him, blindfolded him and took him off in their car. They drove over towards the Tiger River between Whitmire and Chester, where they beat him and left him for dead on the side of the road. A milkman coming along that morning found him and took him to the hospital. Willie always swore Berdell had him beat up and wouldn’t go down there to stay anymore. I guess he was inconvenient for Berdell and her boyfriend.

Willie was staying with Berlie and Zula one time and she cooked some beans. He told them that beans were supposed to be cooked in an iron pot. Berlie went to the store and bought a iron pot for Zula to cook beans in. After Willie ate dinner, he never said anything about the beans. Berlie said 'Pap, you never said nothing about the bean pot' to which Willie replied 'it was alright but it's supposed to have three little legs on it.'

One day at dinner after devouring almost a whole cherry pie, Willie said 'that pie woulda been good if it had had enough sugar in it.'


Stories About Berlie and Zula


Recently, at a family reunion, all Berlie’s children sat around telling stories, reminiscing about whippings they all got.

Punk was about school age when she decided to taker her doll for a drive. She got in Berlie’s car and knocked it out of gear. It rolled down the hill, between a chinaberry tree and the smokehouse. The car ran into the wash table, knocked it over, and tore up all three tubs. She ran to Grandpa Stribble’s house. He told her to go home and bring him back the wheelbarrow or shovel, or something or other. She didn’t want to go. Woodie and Kemp were playing marbles in the back yard. Punk stood on one side of the road and begged Woodie to bring whatever it was that Grandpa wanted to borrow, and she wouldn’t . Berlie had awakened by this time, and came out to see what happened. Punk said that was the only whipping she ever remembered him giving her.

PK told about the time he asked Granny why someone else couldn’t wash the dishes. She beat him with a litered splinter til there was nothing left but a nub. Then she grabbed 2 pieces of firewood. He ran into the bedroom and hid between the bed and the wall. When he looked up, there she was. PK said that was the maddest he had ever seen her get and Berlie had to grab her arms to keep her from beating him worse.

Kimp went to dig out the creek so his ducks would have deeper water to swim in. He couldn’t do much digging barefooted, so he put on his brand new $20 shoes and ruined them.

Elise said she remembered being in the first grade and not wanting to go to school. She told George she was going back home. George told her ‘you better not, mama’s gonna whip you’. She went back and got her whipping, still had to go back to school, crying all the way. When she got to school, her teacher, Miss Brown, thought she was getting the ‘sick eye’ cause they were so red and made her wear an eye patch all day.

Bobbie hated going to school. She would throw her coat in the ditch by Uncle George Stribble’s house and go back home or tear all the buttons off her coat. Once Berlie told her to go out and dig around the onions so they would have room to get big and she mumbled something about an ‘old dog’ and got her whipping.

Once Margie was playing with Berlie’s straight razor and cut her neck. Zula asked her why she was bleeding, she said ‘I jumped off the coalhouse and did it on a nail.’ Zula told her to ‘come here and let me clean it up so you don’t get blood poisoning.’  She looked at the cut and said ‘you didn’t snag this on a nail, how did you do it?’  Margie went and got the straight razor she had hidden and got a tongue lashing she never forgot.

Elise got her ‘tongue whipping’ when she borrowed a friend’s two piece bathing suit. She got home, washed it out, and hung it out to dry. Zula asked ‘who’s bathing suit is that?’ Elise told her the story and got her talking to. Zula couldn’t stand the thought of all that ‘nekkid skin’ showing.

Zula had to take Bobbie to school once and when she saw the school officer that if she ‘didn’t go to school that man would lock her up’. Bobbie told her it ‘didn’t matter anyway, they didn’t put girls in jail.’

PK told the story about the time the family went to visit Margie in Charleston. Bobbie was asleep in bed when George came in about 9 o’clock. He wanted to know where everyone went. PK told him and they made Bobbie get up and all got in the car to head to Charleston. Bobbie wrapped up in a quilt like a mummy and got in the backseat. George tore off in the car, bouncing Bobbie into the floorboards. The car had a bounce to it as it was. He took off down Glenn Street and when they got to the curve, he run off the road and up the guy wire of a power pole. Once he got the car back on the ground, they stopped at the filling station to find they had to go back home cause the fenders were bent down on the tires. Bobbie was so wrapped up in the quilt, she couldn’t get out of the floorboard. They ended up having to carry her in like a rolled up rug. PK said he had never seen such a mad little girl.

Once, one of the neighborhood girls busted the eggs that Kimp’s ducks had laid. Bobbie picked up a brick and threw it, smacking her in the back of the head.

Another time a cousin made fun of Bobbie's coat on the way to church and Bobbie just pick up a brick bat and smacked her right in face with it.

PK used to deliver papers and Punk and Woodie would ride on the running boards throwing the papers. They say he forgot to tell them to jump off the running boards while running.

PK never wanted to get up so he would throw his shoe so Zula would hear it hit the floor and think he was getting dressed.

Woodie swears she never got a whipping... Yeah, right.