Edda Fields-Black (EFB) and Samuel Black (SB)
SB: He worked late hours, especially in the wintertime, because you had to keep the pipes from freezing. And working in the boiler room is burning up hot. It’s probably over a hundred degrees down there.
EFB: Did he ever talk about what it was like to do that kind of work?
SB: He didn’t have to talk about it. Daddy would come home tired to the bone every night, and he would just fall out on the bed. And I remember climbing on top of him, and playing with his muscles. You know, there were times when he would ask us to rub his feet. Back then, we hated it. He’d be working sixteen hour days, and he’d take his socks off, you know, as you rubbed the feet, you know you hated to walk past the bedroom, because he’d call you in there, and ask you to do that. but looking back on it, his body was probably killing him, and he was being soothed by his little boys. You know, working all those hours, he didn’t have time discuss things. You had to get it right that time, and that time only.
EFB: So he was a stern disciplinarian?
SB: He was a very stern disciplinarian. Sometimes he didn’t have to do nothing but look at you, but you knew what that meant. For instance, I think I might have been about 10 years old, and me and a friend, our goal was to get a 16 ounce root beer and potato chips. So we went hunting for pop bottles,you know the pop bottles had a deposit on them, take them back to the store, and I didn’t have enough to get my treat, so i decided to take some of the store’s bottles, put them in my bag, and turn them in as my own. So all of a sudden I get this feeling come over me, and i look up, and standing in the window looking down at me was my father. and all he did was give the finger motion to come here. So i just walked out of the store, and he just said real quietly, ”Get home”. And so i turned and started to walk home, and he was walking behind me, and it seemed like the long march, you know, so we got home, and he asked me why did I do it. And I told him, all I needed was a dime, the chips cost a dime. So he said, the next time you need some money, you ask your mother. So I said okay, okay, and I’m wiping my tears and everything, and I walk over to mama, and I said mama, can i have a dime, and she said ”No”. And it wasn’t till after he passed that I found out we had credit at that store, and so my going in there stealing pop bottles could have ruined that whole relationship.