It's unfortunate that so many of our numbers have died and their stories died with them. So if we are to learn what life was like as a mill worker, it's up to those of you who are still with us to tell us about it. Tell us about the long hours, the challenges in rearing a family, the times when food might have been scarce, and the strikes and the hardships they caused.
Also tell us about the good times you had while a mill worker and there surely were some good times. There were sports of all kinds, "picture shows," picnics, swimming in rivers and lakes, hiking - 'especially fun to hike to Monte Sano Mountain, skating on the roads and sidewalks and later at the "Y," Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, county fairs, sitting on the front porch watching our friends and neighbors walk by and who sometimes stopped by to "sit a spell," churches that had planned activities for the families, and our schools in which there was fun to be had too.
If you don't feel like writing your story, please tell it to either a relative or friend who can pass it on to us. Please don't think that your story isn't important because it is. No other story can be exactly like yours. If your relative has died and you can remember some of the stories you were told, then please - you do the telling. If you need to talk with someone in the Rison-Dallas Community to tell us a story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make the necessary arrangements.
I remember some things that my mother told me about working in the mill. She said that:
Near the end of her life she had "chronic bronchitis;" another name for it was emphysema. While my mother smoked for a portion of her life, I wonder if the many years of exposure to cotton particles in the air in the mills was a contributing factor to her lung problems. Her death at age 70 was cause by a pulmonary embolism or blood clot(s) to the lungs.
Following high school graduation in 1947 and while waiting to hear about a college scholarship, for the first three weeks I worked in the spinning room in Dallas Mill for Pru Rigsby helping to tear down the spinning frames, replacing and oiling all the connections, putting them in new condition.
Earl Bowers, who worked in the front office, asked me to work in the mill's cafe on the main floor. For about five months, I assisted the cook, making coffee and sandwiches. About 1:00 or so in the morning I would walk through the mill with a huge warp box to gather empty drink bottles to take back to the cafe and put them into empty cases.
For about six months, I replaced the cook who was fired for fighting with a mill worker. I left the job at the mill because it seemed that it would definitely close because of an impending strike.
In early 1948, I left the mill to work at the GENESCO shoe plant.
I joined the Air Force in September 1948.
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