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Martinsville High School Alumni
Class of 1972 Reply  |   Post Message  |   Message List
view from another Side - 2
12/08/06     russ nester  (1972)      russnester@msn.com
Anne and the rest. I have enjoyed reading your stories of those years and they seem to have been sensitive to all of us. And it is touching to know that those friends and foes of that period still carry this luggage. For me, not from Druid Hills or South Side but the North Side, we were the ones I believe Anne was speaking about in her clothes and stuff discussions. You may have been sheltered, but I believe I would rather call it "planed" is your life. We all were put together but brought all different childhood lives,historys and stories to the table. Things that you didn't see were poverty, but then it really wasn't catagorized as such. Just "didn't have much". Many of the children on the North Side had little and I would say few of their parents had elementary school education, much less high school. But that being said, it was a good place to grow up and my fondest memories are those that were before high school. By the way, none of us at that time had anything, so we were not aware that we had nothing. I am sure that you will recall my family was very large with lots of brothers and sisters. We were lucky to be in the haves section of the have-nots area. LOL. I remember once that a girl from a family that lived across the street came over and asked to borrow my mother's hair brush. My sweet mother loaned her the hair brush but asked her to keep it. But you see that these were some of the folks that lived around us, we didn't make fun of them, we felt for them and really tried to help them as much as we could. And perhaps some of the clothes that were being warn that you saw may have came from my mother giving away our old clothes. But I promise you, they were very clean old clothes. My grandfather was the Sherrif in Fieldale for a number of years, so us ending up on the North Side (Jones Creek) is I guess another story. But I am happy for that and it created an unsustainable drive that I carry with me today. I am proud of our Uncle and Cousin that followed in my grandfather's footsteps.

But as you can tell by my words, like John Wells, it was not a race issue for the children of this area, it was more desire for acceptance into the world of the havers. At high school, to the best of my memory, all the kids from my part of town tried to fit in. Sure there were a couple of exceptions, but that was true in all the "Sides". But some really couldn't. To much dispareity between the haves and the have nots. And for the fighting thing, if it happened it was not a black/white thing or a white/black thing. It was a white/white thing or a black/black thing. Mark Cartright and Joey Hundley (God Bless His Soul) about killed each other in a locker room one time. But lets take that for example; had these been the fellows from the have nots - they would have been expelled, probably forever. I guess, luckily, those guys probably just got a talking to. I would even venture to say that had it been two black guys fighting for the kill, they too would have probably recieved a "don't do that again." I hope all this doesn't ruffle any feathers. Thanks be that my life has turned out pretty good and my endevors have been relatively sucessful. Had it not, I may not be able to remember this time with such a smiling face.

Good luck, best wishes and Merry Christmas to you all, every one of you. And a special Hello to all my childhood friends.

Russ Nester

ps: if my writing is not up to snuff, I don't blame my high school english teachers, especially sweet Mrs. Richardson who was truly a wonderful teacher and lady.

if someone edits this writing, please do not remove or change the truths or the intent. thanks
 
12/11/06     John Wells  (1972)      johnnywells@earthlink.net
Re: view from another Side
----- Original Message -----
From: John Wells
To: russnester@msn.com
Sent: Saturday, December 09, 2006 10:10 PM
Subject: Thanks for your comments on the Mavahi race-relations stuff



Hello, Russell. I don't know if you remember me from Mavahi.

I remember you from the Black Knights city-league football team in 1967. . . . I was a pretty good lineman on that team, played tackle on offense and end on defense, I made the big play against the Blue Devils to thwart their potentially-winning drive (deflected and then recovered little ol' Robby Leisey's lateral pass) and we won the league. . .You were a linebacker and running back.

I remember also the Cartwright/Hundley fight in the locker room, I was there, I was terrified that one of them would get killed, and under no circumstances was I going to get in the middle of it.

Times have passed since then. I was a star volleyball and softball player through the 80's and 90's, retired only recently because of crippling injuries. I am doing well now as a historian in Richmond, two books published, and thriving.

Good luck, best wishes and Merry Christmas to you all, every one of you. And a special Hello to all my childhood friends. Salute, a cent anni!

John Wells, Mavahi '72
johnnywells@earthlink.net
12/11/06     Former MAVAHI student     
Re: view from another Side
Russ Nester very well said my friend.
12/11/06     Terry Love  (1972)      terrylove@asiteam.com
Re: view from another Side
Russ,



It's a fellow Northside boy, Terry Love. I read your "view from another side" email with great interest. You are right. I didn't know that I didn't have anything until we got to Jr. High!



I hope you are doing well. I live in Greensboro. What about you?



Kind Regards/Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Terry L. Love
12/12/06     Jeffrey Belcher  (1976)      jrb@lee-mcshane.com
Re: view from another Side
Hello Mr. Nester:

I don't know if you know me or not, but we are cousins, to what degree I am not so sure. I read your article and it was to the point. I was a southside boy and grew up with the working class of Martinsville and Henry County. There were the haves and the have nots for sure. Definitely an almost "cast" society in M'Ville at the time. However, I belive "cast" societies are sometimes self-inflicted wounds. With this being said, I absolutely "treasure" my time growing up in Martinsville. And not to brag, I think that it helped me a lot. I have been fortunate to travel, mainly in the military, and feel that where I was from always benefited me in many ways.

On another note, you speak of your loving mother. She was that for sure. I will "never" forget speaking with her when she came to my house when my dad died (Lynwood Belcher). They were first cousins. I asked her how in the world she managed so many kids in your small house. She said it was a joy and if she could have, she would have had even more children. What a great attitude. Tell all your brothers and sisters I said hello. Take care cuz!
12/12/06     Russ Nester  (1972)      russnester@msn.com
Re: view from another Side
Jeff, thanks for the response. And you are right, we are cousins from the Snow Creek Area. I still go to the old family grave yard, when I get back to Martinsville, where our early ancestors are burried.

You know, even our house didn't seem so small at that time. Four bedrooms but only one bath, you can imagine what mornings were like with all those kids chasing around to get ready for school.

When I responded to Anne's notes on racism, I meant to reply instead of post a new discussion. Oh Wells. But my memories like yours are kind from that period of time. It was a bit before you, but once upon a time on Christmas Day poor kids would line up infront of the old Court House and get gifts. I never got in the line; I felt like I had enough I guess. But there surely was a line, and it was mostly white kids. I guess the South Side kids would have to carry their presents back across town, North Side kids only had to usually make it to the bottom of Liberty Street, (which was actually quite a distance for a kid), and the Fayette Street Kids had the closest walk at that time, I think. But these were children between the ages of 5 and 12 walking miles to get a present under the old Court House Chirstmas Tree. And for some, it was the best gift they recieved, maybe the only. Factory pay wasn't hardly anything and back then most women didn't work. But as ages have past ,we all have our poor stories to tell and few blieve what we say to be true. But I sure miss the Martinsville Parades.

Racism, back then, and today, is a way of trying to say you are better than someone else because of your race. Back then, from my Side, I was just trying to prove I was as good. I believe the thought was then that most people would end up in the factory anyway. And maybe in a way like Anne, I too, was being brought up in a bubble.

Thanks again for the reply and Merry Christmas Cuzz and all my other cuzzes and the rest of you Martinsvillians.

12/24/06     Anne (Dunn) Causey  (1972)      Adcinsc@aol.com
Re: view from another Side
Hey Russell, Terry, Johnny (you'll always be "Johnny") and the rest of the gang -

Great insight and thoughts from all. I've really enjoyed reading your thoughts, memories, etc. And yes, Martinsville was a town of the haves vs. the have nots. I guess that part, I always knew. But your feelings of wanted to be "accepted" really shocked me . . . and then . . . made sense outta' some things.

My first ex (LOL) was working and going to college and he came home to tell me he had invited a co-worker over for dinner. It turns out, his co-worker was a guy we graduated with. I remember after dinner, he made the comment, "Gee, I always thought you were one of the popular girls." Of course, I cracked up and said, "No, I wasn't what you'd consider popular by Martinsville standards. I just had a big mouth!" LOL

He laughed and said, "You're just really down to earth though."

It got me to wondering how many people saw me the way he saw me, and how many great friendships I may have missed out on because of preconceived ideas and my teenage (dare I say it???) . . . insecurities.

I wasn't born in Martinsville, so I don't have the growing up experiences you guys have. And as an outsider . . . maybe that's what I spent so much time doing - trying to "fit it" . . . to be accepted. And, of course, I probably tried too hard.

I could write more . . . but Santa needs to get the presents under the tree. And don't tell me there is no Santa . . . because when you quit believing . . . he quits coming! LOL

Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks again for sharing your memories. It's been a rather nice Christmas present.
Blessings to all,
Anne
01/18/07     Nelson E. Smith  (1969)      fearless0351@aol.com
Re: view from another Side
Wow...what great memories you all share. I too was a Northsider from birth, first going to the old North Martinsville school for 2 years (I lived 2 houses from the school) then onto Clearview. As I told another Northsider on here when he whined about what you all call "haves/have nots", I considered all of my fellow students as as friends, regardless of where they grew up, their wealth or lack of it, etc. I often wondered how the Nesters managed with all those kids in that house, but they did. I like to think all of their kids turned out ok. Gary was a classmate of mine from Clearview thru high school and Ben was in band with me. I too played city league football for 4 years prior to high school (Rams...our team was undefeated my last year under the direction of Coach Husky Hall). Ben probably remembers me well because I loved to blitz the QB, causing them to lose their helmet in the process. Some of my fondest memories tho were those spent at the playground on Franklin St.

Hope all had a joyous Xmas and have a super new year.

Russ: Many of my ancestors/family came from the Snow Creek area as well (i.e Smith/ McCrickard/Oakes). I have made many trips to there visiting cemeteries and such for my genealogy research.
01/29/07     Kathy Pitts Dorough  (1972)      kpdorough@yahoo.com
Re: view from another Side
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's stories of race relations & haves vs have-nots when we were in school. I came into 8th grade straight from a university town, where my previous school was very international, due to the university community. (I learned to wrap a sari in the 7th grade from a friend's mother.)Mavahi was a complete culture shock to me, and I'm not sure I ever quite got adjusted. I do remember that we had a boatload of extremely talented, thoughtful people who were determined to make that junior high & high school work in spite of the enmity of the community around us. Once I moved to Atlanta, got married, and compared notes with my husband's experiences here in Georgia, we really had a unique experience at Mavahi. Yes, there were tensions & problems. No, everything didn't exactly go swimmingly. However, when others around us were having riots or, at best, just de-segregating, we truly integrated. I remember John Childress considering taking Lajuana Easterly to the prom, simply because no one thought she should sit home alone. I remember the class of '71 meeting irate parents at the school door & sending them home when class elections didn't go to suit the Mulberry crowd of parents. The Class of '72's senior play party was held off of Fayette Street, and everyone came without hesitation. On the other hand, my husband saw fights on a regular basis, experienced times when there were riots in parts of downtown Atlanta, and couldn't believe the tales I told him about Mavahi.

I think the distinctions between which sides of town were considered the haves & the have-nots was, indeed, much more marked, but I can tell you from experience - I lived in a have area simply because it was the first really nice house that my parents found & liked - and, while Karen & Kristy & I were comfortable, we were, by no means, in the lap of luxury. I sometimes felt, when I was new to Mavahi & figured out that there were some very large distinctions between certain areas of town, that I was being judged by the friends I made when I first arrived, and what part of town they lived in. That may have been a misconception on my part, but the feeling was there, nonetheless.

All things being equal, it was a heck of great ride for high school - no ride is perfect, and the bad must come with the good - & I wouldn't trade it for anything.
02/01/07     Anne (Dunn) Causey  (1972)      Adcinsc@aol.com
Re: view from another Side
Hey Kathy -

What Senior Party on Fayette Street????? LOL I remember going to David Eanes party out in the country . . . one wild party! I figured there had to be more parties going on, I just didn't know where.

Your remarks about your husband's memories versus yours, are like mine with some of the people on the Race Relations board. They pretty much believe I lived in a bubble . . . I keep telling them I'm definitely a TRUE BLONDE!

I do remember other schools having problems - but we seemed to get through it together! What a group of kids. I never realized how blessed I was to grow up there.

So you're in Atlanta? I'm a hop-skip-jump from you - upstate SC.

Anyway . . thanks for your input. Talking with people from MHS has been "real".
Anne
02/02/07     russ nester  (1972)      russnester@msn.com
Re: view from another Side
Folks, I tell you what, it is koul that we are all still kicking and have all these memories to share. Kathy, you are so right about the integration of the schools. Martinsville handled it all pretty easy at least from the eyes of the young guy from the Northside like me. I don't remember any rioting or anything, I do remember vaguely once my father had said a group of black folks had come down from somewhere up north and were trying to cause problems. If that were the case and if I remember that correctly, I don't think any of this leaked over into the school system until years later if at all. But if you look back now, you can see that times were changing all around us. I remember as a 7th grader at Clearview, if my memory serves me correctly, we students tried to get a teacher elected for Martinsville City Council - I think his name was Mr. Townsend, one of the greatest teachers and guys I ever knew who happened to be black. Unfortunately he didn't get elected, but it wasn't because we didn't try. At voting day, we kids were handing out all the voting brochures. This must have been in 1967. We were more anti-establishment living a youthful life of utopia. I was playing little league baseball for the kiwanis (white league) and frank's food fair (black league). I played with Lou Whitaker and Chucky and Joe Hairston and loved it over behind the Albert Harris High School. I wouldn't trade those memories for nothing. In the seventh grade Mike Pratt ('72), Charles Aaron ('72), Barry Riddle and I won a couple of talent shows at Collinsville High School in a rock and roll band called the "Believers" and we played at the 7th Grade Prom for an elementary school in Collinsville. I was on top of the world.

Then the 8th grade happened, and I met the Druid Hills group, and wow what a shocker. It was a territory that determined your place in life, not your abilities. What a shock for a person from the wrong side of town. No one had ever told me about this and I was completely unprepared. The entire education world at that time, through my eyes anyway seem to be caught up in the territorial determining blue blood stuff, quite a shocker for a 13 year old, and Kathy, you are correct, if you wanted to be thought as being koul, you had to ditch all your existing friends and get new ones from the other side. What stuff running through a kid's head. I wonder if other areas were the same at that time. It didn't seem so, later I had friends in other schools that didn't seem to carry the same baggage.

Anyway, enough, lucky for me, all this stuff has pushed me right along and possibly with the fear of failure and acceptance being so great a motivator. funny, i recon. When you go back to these particular years, you know all words to the songs and anyone remember the hot dog special, which was a restaurant across from the Mitchell Ford dealership near the center of town, behind the Rives Movie Theator. 2 hotdogs, ff and a pepsi in the bottle for fifty cents. what a deal!

If I bored you, excuse the wordiness. I would love to hear from Chucky, Joe, Lou, Steve or Cheryl, Shelia, Ollie, Ariel, or Linda and how they remember these times.

Best of luck and success to all of you and yours.

Russ Nester
02/02/07     Anne (Dunn) Causey  (1972)      Adcinsc@aol.com
Re: view from another Side
The Druid Hills Group???? OMG . . . you guys actually had a "name" for us??? LOL You know, I lived in the Druid Hills area (actually, off of Corn Tassel), and trust me - my family was NEVER considered "blue blood" - nor were many of the other families back then. I think that is why, when my parents made me go to Patrick Henry - in the long run, I was really thankful. The kids there were like the kids back in my hometown - just a lot of fun and down to earth. So yeah . . . Druid Hills was all about who was in and who was out. I figured if I was considered "out", I must be okay! ROFL (A sense of humor is always important!)

If you remember . . . DuPont was going strong. I can remember sitting out underneath the street lights in the summer at night, talking with my friends. And we would go up and down the street, point to a house, and say, "DuPonter . . . DuPonter . . . Principle (Mr. Cumberledge), DuPonter . . . DuPonter . . . DuPonter . . Engineer . . . DuPonter, etc. I mean, back in those days, DuPont did a lot for the growth of Martinsville, as well as the economy.

When the Reunion hits this year - what in the world will we talk about??? LOL Seriously, my brother went to his 35th year Reunion last year, and he sent me pictures. I was going to ask him who the teachers in the pictures were . . . until I realized all those "old" people were a year older than me!!! Obviously, I didn't say anything, 'cause I'm still alive! ;-)
Anne
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