One Day in Alabama In 1934

“Sweet Jesus” screamed Peggy as the car slowly slid off the pavement,  bouncing over a series of ruts before coming to rest on one of those red-clay banks found along the rivers in Alabama.  Louise had been too scared to say anything as she and the bundles flew around in the car.  Now Louise screamed,  “Dear God, where is the baby?”, when she realized one of those bundles that had flown past her head was  year old baby Tommy who had been sleeping on the back seat. The two soon found the screaming baby who had landed in soft mud by the river bank.  He appeared to be unhurt except for being covered in red clay. By and by an old Ford flatbed logging truck stopped up on the road and the driver hollered down to where the two women were standing ankle deep in the red clay.

“Is that you Miss Peggy? “Are you all right?”

Peggy recognized Bobby as one of the loggers that sometimes worked for her daddy.

“Yes, we are OK, except for being down here.”, Peggy  yelled back.  Bobby and the loggers scrambled down and helped gather up all the dishes, towels, silverware, and clothes scattered around the clay.  The loggers went over to look at the car and decided it hadn’t been damaged in any serious way except it was down here and the road was up there.  The two woman walked down the riverbank to where it was almost even with the road and then walked back up the road and waited near by the logging truck while the loggers and some others who had stopped to help discussed how to retrieve Miss Peggy’s car.  They decided the most direct way would be best and attached a logging chain from the Dodge to the logging truck.  After her car was back up on the highway,  Miss Peggy had stopped shaking and was able to drive to her parent’s place.  Louise was still shaking but held the baby tightly.

The two women were driving from the navy base in San Diego, Ca where their husbands’ ship had been stationed to the new station in Charleston, SC.  The navy liked to move the fleet from the east coast to the other for a year or so then transfer them back to the east coast in the name of national preparedness. Consequently, the families moved with them. Those whose husbands had a good enlisted rating or were married to officers might travel by train for almost a week or they might take a steamship through the Panama Canal and on to San Diego, Mare Island near San Francisco, or perhaps to Seattle, Wa.  Shipping the family car was out of the question so many elected to drive the 3000 miles from one coast to the other rather than selling it. It was not unusual to pack those household essentials in the back seat of the family car and drive to the new duty station.  Louise and Peggy were young navy wives who were driving to Charleston, SC to join their sailor husbands and had decided to visit Peggy’s parents in Alabama.