My Dad’s Early History

family3Back row Unknown 2nd Geneva, Edward, 1st Bill, Bessie Swain.

Bill Swain, my dad was born in 1924, fourth of seven children born to Eddie and Mettie Swain.  Eddie’s father, Thomas Swain owned a blacksmith and farm and was fairly prosperous.  His business was lost during the depression.  As he lay on his deathbed, in his delirium, he kept telling  his family he had hidden money under his bed.  None was ever found.  Poverty-stricken like so many others, Eddie made his way as a sharecropper,  moving farm to farm, hoping for greater opportunity.

Sadly for the family, Eddie died after four years of suffering with a brain tumor, leaving Mettie with five children under sixteen.  Much of the last couple of years, Eddie was either hospitalized at the Confederate Memorial Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, or in his mother’s care at her home.  His mother was willing to care for Eddie when he needed her, but did nothing for Mettie or the children.  The only help Mettie could count on was from her brother.  Brother Albert provided her a house and garden place on his farm when she wanted it.  Mettie was restless, sometimes moving away.   Bill was thirteen when his father died, Edward, sixteen.  Both boys had already taken to working away from home, more for something to eat than money.  They knew they needed to “get their feet out from under Mama’s table.”  If they didn’t havea place to live and work, they’d take a day’s work at a time, for what they were fed the day, or if they were lucky, a bag of meal, a half-bushel of beans, or some corn to bring home.  Bill lived most of the time with his Uncle Albert, taking work on other farms as well when he could get it.

Bill snagged his first paying job at fifteen as night-watchman on a drilling rig.  He was big for his age, able to pass for eighteen.  The site wasn’t too far from home.  He get hungry and slip home nights for something to eat.  From there, he went on to construction and operating heavy equipment, which he did till he went in the Navy during World War II.  He enlisted in the Navy, because he never wanted to be hungry again.

to be continued


A drunk staggers into the confessional in the Catholic Church. sits down and goes to sleep.  The priest on the other side of the screen waits a minute knocks, waits, then knocks again.

“There ain’t no point knocking no more,” said the drunk. “there still ain’t no toilet paper”

I Want It! I Want It!

imageI was an acute hemodialysis nurse for thirty years, caring for thousands of patients over that time.  The most important thing I learned was listen to your patient.  I’d cared for Miss Ann for many years, through numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, and procedures.  Prior to this admission, she’d told her husband, “I don’t ever want any more surgery.”

Unfortunately, this time she was in ICU on a ventilator and couldn’t speak for herself.  She appeared to be unaware of what the doctor was explaining to her, so he asked her husband for surgical consent.  Sadly, her husband refused, citing Miss Ann’s intention not to have surgery again.  Meanwhile, behind the two of them, Miss Ann was frantically waving her arms trying to get their attention.  She wanted surgery.

Miss Ann got her surgery, recovered, and did well for quite a while after that.

Long Lost Treasures

Eddie SwainI’ve recently been writing about my paternal grandmother, Mettie Knight Swain, whose life I didn’t know nearly so much about as my mother’s family.  I reached out to my cousins who were kind enough to send me pictures.  I am grateful to receive these.  Pictures can tell you so much more about a person than you’d expect. The man in the hat is my grandfather, Eddie Swain, Mettie’s husband.  He died of a brain tumor at the age of forty-two.   The family picture is one of the earliest I’ve found with Eddie and Mettie Swain and their three children, Geneva, standing left, Parnell, and Edward in Mettie’s lap.  They had four more, Bill, Bessie, Esther, and Ola Bea.  This photo would have probably been made about 1922. Continue reading

Joke of the Day

funeral cartoonA funeral service was being held for a young woman who had just passed away. As the pallbearers carried the casket out, they accidentally bumped into a wall. They heard a faint moan come from inside the casket. They opened the casket and found that the woman was still alive! She went on to live 10 more years and then died, and they held another funeral for her. While the pallbearers were carrying her out, her husband yelled, “Watch out for that wall!”