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a memoir waynee flynt


Keeping the Faith



Keeping the Faith
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
a memoir

Wayne Flynt

The University of Alabama Press • Tuscaloosa


Copyright © 2011
The University of Alabama Press
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0380
All rights reserved
Manufactured in the United States of America
Typeface: Minion


The paper on which this book is printed meets the
minimum requirements of American National Standard
for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for
Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Flynt, Wayne, 1940–
Keeping the faith : ordinary people, extraordinary lives,
a memoir / Wayne Flynt.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-8173-1754-6 (cloth : alk. paper)
ISBN 978-0-8173-8596-5 (electronic)
1. Flynt, Wayne, 1940– 2. Historians—Alabama—
Biography. 3. College teachers—Alabama—Auburn—
Biography. 4. Alabama—Historiography. 5. Alabama—
Social conditions. 6. Alabama—Politics and government.
7. Education, Higher—Aims and objectives—United
States. 8. Educational change—United States. 9. Auburn
University—Faculty—Biography. I. Title.
E175.5.F59A3 2011
976.1′063—dc22


For all the Flynts, Roddams, Moores, Owens, Nunnellys, Dosses, Duncans,
and Cadenheads who have their own stories to tell, and especially for David,
Kelly, Sean, Shannon, Dallas, Harper, and Ambrose Flynt, who will both receive these stories and add their own to the treasure of the ages.



Contents
List of Illustrations ix

• one •

Ancestors, Real and Imagined 1
• two •
An Alabama Childhood 36
• three •
Discoveries and Awakenings 60
• four •

Going Home 83
• five •
Sweet Auburn, Stormiest Village of the Plain 123
• six •
“Sweet Auburn, Loveliest Village of the Plain” 149
• seven •
“Where My Possessions Lie”:
Writing about Ordinary People 173
• eight •
Democratizing Learning: University Outreach 198
• nine •
“The Lord Is the Maker of Them All”:
Black, White, and Poor in America 209
• ten •
Reforming American Education 240


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contents

• eleven •
Principalities and Powers: Battling for a
New Constitution and a New Politics 276
• twelve •
In the Eye of the Storm: Auburn University, 1989–2000 290
• thirteen •
“Ever to Conquer, Never to Yield”:
Inside the Auburn Tigers, 1977–2005 321
• fourteen •
Valhalla on the Plains 351
• fifteen •
Ken’s Barbeque and Other Third Places 384
Acknowledgments 399


Illustrations
Mom, Dad, and me (at three months old) 3
“Papa” John Roddam, my maternal grandfather,
and his mistress Carrie Spraul 8
My paternal grandparents, aunts, and uncles 12
Dad and me during an oral history recording session 16
Dad on a motorcycle behind his best friend, Buck Cherry 20
Mom and Dad in 1943 22
Dad and me in 1943 23
Mom and Dad just after their marriage in 1938 26
Mom at age twenty-four 31
First-graders dream dreams, and I dreamed lots of them 38
Rev. Eddie Martin speaking at Dothan High School 42
My fox terrier, Buster, and me 45
My Pinson cousins and me 47
Anniston’s Parker Memorial Baptist Church 54
Dartie and I leaving Parker Memorial Baptist Church
on our wedding day 77
W. T. Edwards and me, winners of an award for excellence in teaching 89


x

illustrations

My sons and me on the Samford campus 100
Our sons and their wives, with Dartie and my mom 122
A troll with appropriate advice on my schedule book in 1992 127
Spoof of the Auburn family 357
Bobby Lowder depicted as Tolkien’s ring-obsessed Gollum 359


Keeping the Faith



• one •
Ancestors, Real and Imagined
I was born on the fourth of October 1940

at Rayburn’s Clinic in Pontotoc, Mississippi, weighing a robust eight and a half
pounds. Some cultures put great stock in numerology, believing that dates and
numbers affect or even determine destiny. I’m not sure dates are determinative,
but I do believe they are important.
The year of my birth divided two of the most important epochs in human
history. The Great Depression lay on the back side. The front end would feature the deadliest war in history. Perhaps if my parents had known what was
coming, they would have taken the advice of the kindly physician who had
warned mother not to have any more children after a daughter was stillborn.
The cataclysm of the Great Depression should have been enough for a couple
barely out of their teens who knew deprivation firsthand. They also knew war
had already erupted in Asia and Europe. My parents’ choice to bring new life
into the world anyway gave firm evidence of their indomitable spirit and confidence in the future.
Many couples were not so bold. Children born between 1930 and 1945 represent one of the smallest demographic niches in the twentieth century. In addition to smashing the economy, the Depression seemed to have destroyed all
hope in the future. As a consequence, my tiny cohort of the population lived
our lives in the crease between two optimistic generations, largely ignored by
advertisers and purveyors of popular culture. If the generation that followed


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ours was the baby boomers, ours should have been called the “baby busters.”
The Big Band music that we loved gave way to rock-and-roll. Movies, clothes,
cars, even popular religion, moved in strange and, to us at least, problematical
new directions.
Looking into the rearview mirror of history was sobering to me. A Pontotoc
County minister wrote President Franklin Roosevelt to describe conditions in
his rural parish five years before I was born. Pontotoc County, he wrote, was a
land of small farmers, 80 percent of them tenants and nearly all of them in debt.
Most received less than seventy-five dollars a year for their cotton after paying
off loans. “We as a people have pride,” he concluded, “and the landlords have
tried to care for the tenants.” Though farmers fed families from their fields,
they had no money for clothes, medical care, or emergencies. Drought had cut
their cotton production by half, and they were desperate. Barely had my parents moved to this forlorn place than they welcomed me into the world.
Mom had complete confidence in Dr. Rayburn and his clinic. But after a
difficult delivery, when he announced that she had a “fine baby boy,” she could
only manage strength enough to inquire whether or not I was pretty. (Would
any physician tell a new mother her baby was ugly?) Photographic evidence
contradicted his tactful reply. She did not get to hold me because she was sick
with malaria. Dad had to write birth announcements while Mother spent a
week recovering in the hospital.
Economic necessity required Dad to return to his sales route, and Mom,
after a week’s visit by her mother, was left alone with me. The only material
evidence of the change in their lives was a photograph of me, wearing a handmade apron, being held by my father and then by my mother beside his Standard Coffee truck.

Flynt-Owens Ancestors
For people so poor, mythic ancestors constituted a treasured legacy. To my father, Flynts were embedded in the history of Great Britain like veins of quartz
are embedded in rock. Flint, a Norse word for fine-grained, hard gray rock that
when struck produces sparks and shatters into sharp cutting edges, is not only
an accurate geological description but also a fine psychological depiction of the
people who bore the name. They tended to be hot-headed, their honor easily
offended, and their response violent to sharp blows. Much of what I learned
about the early Flynts involved their participation in violence of various kinds,
beginning with the Hundred Years War between England and France. In 1415,


ancestors, real and imagined

3

Mom, Dad, and me (at three months old), photographed separately beside Dad’s Standard Coffee Truck, their only means of transportation, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, December 1940. They had no local friends to take a picture of both of them holding me,
so they took turns with the camera. Flynt family photo.

the year of the great medieval Battle of Agincourt, King Henry V’s army contained an archer named Thomas Flynt.
The largest concentration of Flynts (and also the home of my maternal Roddam ancestors) was an area along the English-Scottish border referred to in
British history simply as “the Borders.” Prolonged and terrible violence raged
through the area of Lancashire and Yorkshire on the English side as well as
across the border in Scotland for three hundred years after 1300. This terrain
furnished the killing fields for the Wars of the Roses as Yorkists and Lancastrians contested control of England. These counties also straddled the invasion routes along the North Sea through which marauding Scot and English
armies tried to control the island. Violence finally became so endemic that the


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border folk made war on themselves, raping, murdering, and robbing their
own people as well as invaders. Called “reivers,” the plunderers ranged from
the English Midlands as far north as Ayton, turning the terrain into a vast
battlefield for three centuries. These wars bred a race of hard, tough people
whose blood feuds, desire for revenge, robbery, and mayhem became the norm
among every social class from agricultural laborers to gentleman farmers to
true nobility. Unemployed professional soldiers, guerrilla forces, professional
cattle thieves, and gangsters (the term “blackmail” originated here) organized
a kind of rogue state
Thomas, the first recorded Flynt to come to North America, arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, on the ship Diana, in 1618. Family tradition traces Thomas’s
origins to Ayton, Scotland, at the northern edge of the Borders. Ayton is still
a lovely village on the North Sea some forty miles east of Edinburgh, with a
single traffic light. When fog and mist roll in from the ocean, they obscure details of the town as surely as genealogy confuses the origins of my family. What
brought Thomas to Jamestown is uncertain. It was most likely the prospect of
riches, although persistent family lore also connects him to scandal (some ecclesiastics accused his priest-father of watering down communion wine and
selling the surplus). He partnered with Sir George Northby of Yorkshire to
ferry poor Englishmen to Jamestown in his tiny ships, Diana and Temperance,
in return for grants of land, fifty acres per settler. By the late 1620s, Thomas
owned a thousand-acre plantation near what is now Hampton, Virginia, and
served in the House of Burgesses.
Gradually, some of the Virginia Flynts moved south to Wake County, North
Carolina, and from there to Monroe County in central Georgia. By the Civil
War my great-great-grandfather John Flynt owned a thirty-two-room mansion
at High Falls on the Flint River, farmed a small plantation with ten slaves, and
furnished seven sons to the Confederate Army.
My grandfather Julius Homer Flynt entered the world in 1868 amid widespread devastation, closed schools, and Reconstruction violence. Education
was a luxury the family could not afford, so he reached adulthood unable to
read or write. The death of his father and squabbling among his siblings sent
him on his way to Alabama, where he finally settled in Calhoun County. He
found work in an iron foundry on Cane Creek, which emptied into the Coosa
River near Ohatchee. It was while working there that he met the woman who
would become his wife, Annie Phoebe Owens.
Ten years his junior, Annie was the tenth child of Thomas and Reastria
Adeline (Addie) Nunnelly Owens. Addie died in childbirth when my grand-


ancestors, real and imagined

5

mother was born, and Thomas soon remarried and fathered eight additional
children. My aunt Lillie Mae, the Flynt family storyteller, referred to Annie as
“the last Owens in the first batch,” as if they were biscuits hot out of the oven.
The eighteen Owens children grew up at Greensport in a large house on the
Coosa River, where their father tenant farmed and operated a river ferry.
Privacy was beyond the provision of so large a family, so when Granddad
courted Annie, he did so in the presence of many of her siblings. When he finally transported her away in a borrowed buggy to their humble wedding, her
parents and siblings lined the porch to wave their best wishes. As he turned a
curve in the road that carried them beyond the prying eyes of his future inlaws, Homer leaned over to kiss his fiancée. Annie, startled by his presumption,
slapped him “good and hard.” As Lillie Mae explained, “Why he just thought
he had it made.” The new couple settled into the routine of sharecropping,
moving on average every 2.4 years until finally settling in the tiny hamlet of
Shady Glen.

Moore/Roddam Ancestors
Felix (Pop Fee to his grandchildren) Maxwell Moore, my maternal grandfather,
came from a modest family of obscure ancestry. His father died young, leaving
his mother, Amanda, to manage a farm of fifteen acres with her young sons.
Like the Flynts, they lived in a two-room cabin with an open breezeway or “dog
trot” connecting the rooms. Life was hard for most everyone in Alabama, but it
was especially challenging for a widow with seven small boys on a hardscrabble
farm. Fee was the most academic of the seven, finishing high school between
farm seasons and odd jobs. He was a prodigious reader and champion worker
of crossword puzzles. After graduation, he taught school while commuting to
nearby Howard College, a Baptist school in the Birmingham suburb of East
Lake, where he completed a degree in education in 1924. Certified as a teacher,
he followed that profession for fifteen years.
Like so many southern men of his class and time, Granddad drank too
much, which cost him his teaching career. Reports of his drinking circulated
in the Clay community where he was school principal. He confirmed the rumors by showing up drunk for a school trustee meeting. They fired him on the
spot, though he tried to preserve his dignity by telling them: “I’m damned glad
you fired me because I was about to quit anyway.”
That firing ended his fixed occupation and propelled him into a series of
short term jobs: carpenter; filling station attendant; rural mail carrier; Pinson’s


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postmaster; vegetable salesman at the Birmingham farmer’s market; WPA camp
guard; elevator operator; owner of a country store on the corner of Sweeny
Hollow Road and the Pinson–Center Point highway. He was also politically
astute and a fiercely partisan Democrat who loved Franklin Roosevelt. Among
his many friends he counted New Deal congressman George Huddleston of
Birmingham and a fellow member of Pinson Baptist Church, who used his office as county commissioner to obtain a Depression-era job for Pop Fee operating an elevator at the Jefferson County courthouse.
Though Mom was embarrassed by his local reputation as a drunk, she also
recognized the degree of difficulty that his life entailed and his service to the
Pinson community. He and other men hauled rocks from Turkey Creek to
build their house, the Baptist church, and Pinson elementary school. He was
baptized in the creek next to the Baptist church.
I remember Pop Fee as proprietor of Moore’s Store, built in 1938 after mother
married and left home. He sold his rock house on Highway 79 in the late 1930s
for $7,000, enough to buy land at the crossroads intersection and construct a
two-story building with service station/store on the bottom floor and living
space in the upper. Glass display cases seduced children with a dozen varieties
of candy. A large section of tree attached to legs provided a block on which he
cut meat. A stove toward the middle of the store invited men to sit on apple
crates and upturned wooden Coca-Cola cases to talk while devouring Vienna
sausages, sardines, and crackers. I remember my wonder at the stylish way
Granddad rolled cigarettes with one hand, opening the tobacco pouch with
his teeth, pouring some of the contents into his paper, rolling it, and licking
the edge of the paper to seal it.
Beneath the counter that housed his tall metal cash register, Pop Fee stored
row upon row of small account books in shoe boxes, each book with a family
name written on the spine. Inside the books he recorded credit accounts, sometimes paid when farmers made their cotton crops in the fall, but often left unpaid when crops failed and tenant farmers moved off into the night, debts forgotten as quickly as the names of the communities they abandoned. Granddad
was known for his easy credit and sympathetic ear for a tale of woe, which is
the reason he never made much money. He operated the store seven days a
week, with Sunday mornings the gathering time for white male customers to
sit on boxes beside the stove and ruminate about politics and sports while their
womenfolk and children attended church.
At age thirty-five, Pop Fee married eighteen-year-old Shirley Belle (Bell
in some records) Roddam. In Mom’s opinion, the further back in history you


ancestors, real and imagined

7

went, the better the Roddams got. They claimed pretentious origins, which
may have contributed to their animosity toward my grandfather. Their ancestral home was a castle in the village of Roddam, located in Northumberland
County, England, in the shadow of the Cheviot Hills that formed the border
between England and Scotland. Part of the contested English Borders, the area
was the wild and lawless equivalent of the land south of Ayton, Scotland, from
which the Flynts came.
The Roddams made unwise choices both in politics and religion. Sir John
Roddam died in the Battle of Towton, the bloodiest ever fought on English soil,
fighting a losing cause for the House of Lancaster against the House of York.
Late in the following century, Robert Roddam was persecuted for his “papist”
beliefs. The family’s Catholicism in a country trending Protestant, the triumph
of the House of York in the Wars of the Roses, and the general mayhem and
anarchy of these centuries triggered a Roddam exodus to America. Matthew
Roddam became the first of his family to move to the New World, settling in
the Roman Catholic colony of Maryland a few decades after Thomas Flynt arrived in Jamestown.
Other Roddams landed in Charleston, South Carolina, toward the end of
the eighteenth century from whence they made their way to Mobile, Walker
County, and Pinson, Alabama. Like the Flynts, Roddams furnished many soldiers to the Confederacy. By the 1890s they had settled on Sweeny Hollow
Road in Pinson.
My maternal great-grandfather John (Papa John as he was known unaffectionately by my mother and her siblings) was a hot-tempered scoundrel. He
made his living buying, selling, and trading cattle, and spilled his own seed as
promiscuously as the bulls he sold. Papa John married Sarah Elizabeth Self in
1894 but was no more faithful to her than he was to his three succeeding wives
(or perhaps four). Sarah bore him seven children, one of whom was my grandmother Shirley. Sarah’s sister came to help with the pregnancy and wound up
pregnant herself by her brother-in-law. Her child was the first of at least three
“outside” children, as the family referred to them, but there may have been
more. Papa John may or may not have married his longtime mistress Carrie J.
Spraul, a married and successful businesswoman.
Shirley Belle Roddam Moore (Mama Moore to the grandchildren) was as
tough as Pop Fee was gentle. The closest she came to being a dainty southern
belle was at birth when she was given that distinction as a middle name. Perhaps with such a sentimental, alcoholic husband, she had no choice. But her
family prepped her well in the ways of a harsh world even before she mar-


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“Papa” John Roddam, my maternal grandfather, and his obviously adoring mistress Carrie
Spraul. Flynt family photo.

ried. Just to survive as a female member of the Roddam family required that
a woman be strong as iron. And she was. Homer Roddam murdered a man
at a honky-tonk. Roddy Roddam (whose motto mother described as better to
“make a dishonest dollar than an honest one”) owned an auto junk yard that
allegedly fronted for stolen cars. He was killed by a Birmingham police officer
after threatening to take influential people to jail with him if convicted of auto
theft. James H. (Jim) Roddam served jail time for shooting a man and later
stole a safe from a whiskey store. He and his sons supposedly operated an auto
theft ring as well.
My favorite Roddam story involved Mama Moore’s 1949 Chevrolet, which
she proudly purchased late in life after learning to drive. Late one night as she
was reading a magazine, she heard her car engine start. By the time she opened
the door, the thief was driving off. She believed until she died at age eighty that


ancestors, real and imagined

9

one of her Roddam cousins had stolen her car. And when she used her insurance money to buy a blue and white Buick, she chained the car to the store to
prevent repetition of the crime.
Then, of course, there was her philandering, adulterous father, Papa John.
Once he loaned Pop Fee money to buy vegetables from farmers in order to sell
them at the county market. Instead, Granddad got drunk and either spent the
money on whiskey or was robbed (alternative versions of the story). Pop Fee
was sitting in a chair when he admitted losing the money. Papa John flew into a
rage and began beating my drunken grandfather while his children screamed.
Mom, only nine or ten at the time, tried to restrain Papa John, but he pushed
her down. Granddad’s face was swollen and lacerated from the beating. “I just
hated him,” Mom told me, the only time I ever heard her use those words about
a person. She neither forgot nor forgave. When Papa John died, Mama Moore
called her to relate details of the funeral. Mom refused to attend.
Mama Moore’s life was not easy either. A school dropout after eighth grade,
she supplemented family income by sewing clothes for women in the Pinson
community and making her daughters’ dresses. (During the Depression, she
sewed them from flour and feed sacks.) At night she worked at a bakery; during the day she ran a boarding house. Later she worked in the family’s store.
In her leisure time, she would crochet, embroider, play her pump organ, and
read (mainly “pulps” such as True Story, Modern Romance, and True Detective
magazines).
Two years after her marriage she bore the first of five children. Curt, her
second child, became mother’s lifelong project. He protected her when they
were children, and she reciprocated when they were grown. A skilled carpenter
and contractor, Curt left a legacy of finely constructed houses and businesses
across Pinson. He was, like his father, an honest, decent man with a drinking
problem. He fought his own special demons, not always successfully. Once
while attending Pinson school, Curt (already a muscular athlete) whipped a
fellow student. The boy had made the mistake common to fifth graders of teasing a child with problems. Curt was a mediocre student with a speech impediment. Finally, he had suffered enough verbal abuse and turned on his tormentor. After school when Mom heard about the fight, she searched frantically
for her brother to see if he was hurt. She was horrified to find him tied to the
flagpole in front of the school. She ran home crying and told her mother what
had happened. The two of them raced to the school where Mama Moore confronted the principal. She questioned his judgment and denounced his punishment. How dare he punish a boy for fighting when the child was the victim


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of endless harassment and teasing. And to tie him to a flagpole in front of the
entire community only multiplied his humiliation. “If you ever touch my child
again,” Mama Moore raged, “I’ll beat the hell out of you.” No one who knew
her doubted for a moment that she would have carried out her threat.
Curt’s three oldest children—Patricia (Pat), Arthur Curtis (Arthur), and
Jack Alfred (Toot, born December 7, 1941; it was Curt who delivered the message to Mom that he had a new son and that Pearl Harbor had been attacked) —
became three of my closest companions.
The birth of Ina, Mom’s little sister, was a source of pure delight for my
mother. The adorable baby with blond, curly hair was like a doll to her threeyear-old sister, and they remained close, lifelong friends. During the Second
World War, Ina married the boy next door, Leo Hagood. Their four children
(Jan, Joan, Leo, and Rex), together with Curt’s three oldest children, became
the surrogate friends largely absent from my life because of our nomadic wanderings.
The distance from Ayton and Towton to Shady Glen and Pinson was enormous, both in miles and psychic shock. The optimism of migration, increasing
prosperity, and social status before the Civil War gave way to social disintegration, declining fortunes, and debilitating poverty by the 1930s. In ways I did
not understand at the time, all these family stories made a permanent impression on me as a boy growing up. I would spend much of my fifty-year career as
a historian trying to reconstruct the lives of southern poor whites, to narrate
the travails of their lives, and to win for them a respectful hearing. Paralleling
my professional career, my avocation and divine calling involved various crusades on behalf of justice for the poor, both black and white. As my own family
saga revealed, their story was complex.

Dad
My father was a perfect storm of a man. It always seemed appropriate to me
that he was born on April 9, 1917, three days after the United States declared
war on Germany. James Homer Flynt Jr. carried the DNA of his ancestors. He
instinctively gave off sparks when struck. And life struck him early and often.
Dad was opinionated, hot-tempered, emotional, occasionally profane, prideful, and possessed a sense of family honor that often got him into trouble.
Dad was also generous, friendly, never met a stranger, loved to talk, possessed an incredible memory (he recalled his exact salary in every job he had,
and there were lots of them), told the best stories, got over his fits of temper as


ancestors, real and imagined

11

quickly as he became angry, and possessed an encyclopedic collection of onesentence aphorisms.
In his early years, his temper led to fights. In his middle years he excused his
tantrums as a result of the chronic pain of his childhood osteomyelitis. But his
siblings, who did not share his pain, did share his temper. When in a rage, Dad
was not to be trifled with. What he often said about his brothers was equally
true of him: “He would just as soon hit you as look at you.” Though he was not
“bad to drink,” as we say in the South, when he drank, he was bad. Not bad
only in the sense that his temper could get the best of him even quicker than
usual, but bad in that he became silly and embarrassing. The morning after, he
was morose and withdrawn.
Despite his foibles and flaws, he was a wonderful father: protective, loving,
generous, industrious, smart, a superb salesman, absolutely loyal to his family.
The seventeenth-century poet George Herbert could have had Dad in mind
when he wrote that “one father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”
Dad was powerfully influenced by family, beginning with his parents and
extending to his siblings. Technically speaking, his name was misleading. He
was not really J. H. Flynt Jr. He had the same initials as his father but a different first name. Granddad’s J stood for Julius; Dad’s J was for James. Both were
known as “Homer” most of their lives. That two men so crippled by lack of
formal education should have borne the name of an eighth-century-BC Greek
epic poet/historian struck me as either shameless chutzpah, classic American
aspiration, or serious misidentification. Poetry was not their gift.
After Granddad married Annie Phoebe Owens on August 4, 1901, they
began the new century committed to the biblical injunction to replenish the
earth. Granddad left foundry for farm, and Annie recorded the births of their
eight children on the first page of their family Bible in simple, imprecise handwriting. My dad, the eighth child, was born on April 9, 1917.
Physically, they were not a matched set. Granddad was tall, standing sixfeet-five in an age of short men. Raw-boned and burned brown by the sun,
he was awkward and clumsy except around farm implements and livestock.
Annie (when Granddad was angry with her, he called her Phoebe) was a short,
strong, chubby woman with a cherubic face. Like her husband and children,
she worked hard in the fields, hoeing, chopping, and picking cotton. Despite
her nearly continuous pregnancies, she never missed working a cotton season.
She would carry the youngest baby to the field, deposit it under a shade tree
with the oldest daughter, and take her place in the long rows of cotton.
It’s a good thing her husband was cuddly and loving because she was not.


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My paternal grandparents, aunts, and uncles. First row (l–r): Annie Phoebe Owens
Flynt, Julius Homer Flynt; second row (l–r): Ann, Ora, and the family historian, Lillie
Mae; back row (l–r): Jake, Boyd, Claude, Walter, and my father, James Homer Flynt.
Flynt family photo.

Nor was she demonstrative except to Dad, whose illness made him a special
case. She ignored housekeeping for fishing in Cane Creek, sewing, making
white oak cotton baskets or chair bottoms, wandering in the woods with her
children, throwing sticks to knock down English walnuts and hickory nuts.
She would cut down cedar trees from which she whittled wooden plates and
goblets, and she made wooden toys for the children. As Lillie Mae explained,
“She could sit and whittle and let her house go. Now you never would do all of
this if you were in the house cleaning ’cause you can find [something to do] in
the house all the time. The house didn’t bother her.”


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