My Mom worked long hours at the Company Store, my Dad was disabled and stayed home and took care of the house. I had certain chores I had to do but when I was not in school in the summer months I was on my own to do pretty much what I wanted to do. In our little town of Cass parents didn't worry too much about any thing happening to us in those days. The used to say every eye in town was watching me.
I spent a lot of time at Kane's Grocery, Johnny Varner who delivered groceries to people's houses would let me go with him I guess you could say I was his helper.
The owner of the store, Jack Kane used to go to Virginia once or twice a week to buy the vegetables for the store. One day I asked him if I could go with him. He said no I go to the produce market in the middle of the night so I do not come back until the next day. He said sorry I can't take you with me.
The van he used was like this van. As you see it did not have windows in the sides and no window in the back. While he was scurrying around getting ready I climbed in the back of the van. I crawled up behind the seats and laid down flat. When he came out to leave he didn't see me so off we went.
I laid there very quietly. After I figured he had gone to far to bring me back which my that time was many, many miles from Cass, I rose up and said Hi Jack. He told everyone it scared him so bad he almost ran off the road. Back in those days of course there were no pay phones along the route he was taking so he could not let any one know what was going on until he reached his destination.
My Mom came home from work and asked my Dad where I was. He said I have not seen him for awhile which was not unusual as like I said I was free to pretty much roam around town. But then it was getting dark and i was always supposed to be home by dark.
By this time my Mom and Dad were getting frantic. Every one they asked if they had seen me said no. After running out of options the called the State Police.
About that same time we had reached our destination and Jack was able to get to a phone to tell them I was with him and why I was with him.
I had been playing outside all day and my clothes were filthy. He took me to a friends house for them to watch me while he went to the produce place.
The lady fed me and washed my clothes and I slept until he was ready to go back to Cass.
I figured I was going to be in deep trouble when I got back. My Mom told everyone she didn't know whether to hug me or give me a good whipping. She ended up giving me probably the tightest hug I had ever received. I didn't get the belt or the switch but was not allowed to venture out of sight of the house for awhile. That was the worst punishment they could have given me. I guess I regained their trust for after awhile I was able to resume my normal activities.
I was about Carter's age about 8 or 9 years old.