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Monologue with Buck Weatherford

Weatherford, Buck
Weatherford, Arin
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures
Buck Weatherford talks about playing "cops and robbers" while living in a mill village.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Arin Weatherford interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
BW (Buck Weatherford): We grew up in a mill village with approximately 150 family units. There was always a lot of children around, any of them boys around the same age. Most of them, most if not all of those, had bicycles. In the summer we all gathered at a two story we called 'The Hall.' Upstairs was a large open area with a basketball court and a stage area on one end, and ping-pong tables and shuffleboard courts and board games on the other end. On the ground floor of The Hall was five shops where many of the villagers did their shopping. Anyway, there was benches and trees in front of The Hall. And after supper and before dark, many of the boys would gather on their bikes and divide into teams to play cops and robbers. The village proper was the boundary for the games. The village was divided in to large blocks. Each blocks had 16 homes, eight on one street with the backyard going back into a service road where garbage trucks picked up the garbage once a week. For each two houses in the back, next to the service road was a coal shed. Each house had one half of the shed when years earlier coal was delivered upon request for heating purposes. Also each house usually had a clothesline where clothes were hung to dry on washday. Usually these clothes, usually these clotheslines ran from the coal shed back towards the house. One evening after we had divided sides and the robbers got their customary five-minute head starts, the cops went looking for them. When located the robbers would try to beat the cops back to The Hall thereby escaping capture. If the cops managed to touch them before they got back to The Hall they were captured and the game was over for them. One evening, just before dark, I was a cop and spied a robber and gave chase. The robber took to one of the main roads of the village and I was gaining quickly on him when he decided to turn down one of the service roads behind the houses on one of the blocks. I was really gaining on him then and ready to reach out and touch him when he took a sharp left turn as we were about to pass between two of the coal sheds. I had to go straight between the two coal sheds and then took a hard left to cut him off. As I turned left I heard a gurgled yell, followed by a thud. Then I saw my friend's bike past in front of me with no rider. It rolled on through the back yard of one of one of our neighbors and crashed into a side ditch at the edge of the road. I looked back to see my friend Delano lying flat on his back and clutching his neck. Of course I went immediately to tag him and thereby capturing him and then I asked him what happened as if I didn't know. When he decided to evade me and leave the surface road and try the short cut through a backyard he had forgotten about the clothesline right in front the coal shed and had practically hung himself. When I discovered he was going to be OK I went on back up to The Hall to boast of my capture and then tell how it happened. When Delano came back to group two days later, he was still the butt of many jokes and as he put it, "Sore as hell all over."