Back in our early school years down at Jollyville, we rode the bus back and forth to school.
A family, The Koepecke’s, had moved in not too far out of Jollyville. It was a place that is now part of the Balcones Country Club. This family were poor, you could tell. Kind of looked like they came in there straight out of the Grapes of Wrath movie.
We got home from getting off the bus one afternoon and headed straight for the horse pen. About then the Koepecke’s old rattle trap station wagon came up the driveway. Kenny and I had no idea what it was all about, but that ol’ momma went to the front door where she and Bonnie Gay, my mother, conversed for a little while. there must have been eight or ten children with her and they were all milling around and chunking rocks. There was an abundance of rocks to throw down on that place.
The ol’ momma finally rounded all those kids up and they headed out. We had stay down at the pens, as it wasn’t anything we needed to be involved in up at the house. In fact knowing it was the Koepecke’s made us not want to go up there. They just weren’t kids we wanted anything to do with.
A while later when Cecil Lewis arrived home from worked we were still out in the pasture riding horses. That was a time in the early 60s that we had a contract to break shetlands for a feller from Elgin. We’d keep a half dozen or more that were in some stage of breaking and training them to ride. So it kept us busy most of the time. Kenny & I were both probably pre-teen at this time. After Cec went in the house for a bit, he hollered for us to come up there.
He didn’t ask any questions, he just jerked his belt off and went to wearing us both out. After that all settled down we found out that the ol’ Koepecke woman had come down there to say that I’d been picking on Jean, the girl my age, on the bus. I denied it, for good reason. Because I hadn’t. I wanted to stay as far away from that girl and her dirty little sibling as I could.
It didn’t matter what I said, it wasn’t gonna un-whip me. As for Kenny, he didn’t understand why he got it too, because he wasn’t even accused. Cec said, “it’s more about knowing to act right on that damn school bus and don’t have somebody coming down to the house and even saying we did anything”
I’m still not sure that was very sound parenting, but that was his logic when it came to matters like that.
Those people moved on before to long but I don’t remember Jean ever looking me square in the eyes after that. To which was fine with me.
The old round us up and give us both a whoopin lasted a while longer, until we got up a little bigger and wouldn’t take it any longer. Then we’d over power the old man and put a stop to all that nonsense. I don’t think Cecil Lewis ever enjoyed that part of it, but we didn’t like gettin our butts tore up either.
I never claimed growing up in Smithwick (and Jollyville before that) was easy, but there was always a good lesson to be had.