Friday, March 13, 2015

Southern Pines Teen Shot in Hunting Mishap

Jimmy Hatch was the class clown.  For anyone that has known my dad over the years, I suspect that doesn’t come as a surprise. He has always had a great sense of humor and has never known a stranger. He had lots of great friends growing up.  Even after all these years, he still tries to keep in touch with several of the really close ones. 

James Vernon Hatch
One of his friends from school, went on to be the North Carolina Boy’s Champion Tennis player, in spite of some injuries he suffered in an auto accident. Another friend opened a coffee shop in Washington DC.  It was one of the early beatnik hangouts that became famous.   He knew Penny Fuller, although she was younger, who went on to become an actress and another classmate became a famous artist.  
His graduating class had 33 people. Sadly, only a small portion of them are still here today.

When my dad was a kid he hung out with his cousin David Johnson. They would get together and act out some of the old Western movies, where the Cowboys and Indians would fight each other. One of them would be up in a tree and the other would pretend to shoot him and he would fall out of it, just like the actors did. I always thought that they were lucky to not have killed themselves from the fall.

Dad played JV football until the day he got shot in the leg. What?? No Cowboys and Indians here. He was out at a farm, hunting with a friend, when they got separated. His friend saw some movement through the trees and thought it was a squirrel and fired a shot…right into my dad’s leg. That friend has since passed away but there were never any hard feelings between the two, and their friendship endured to the end.  Dad still has a big ole scar but it has never seemed to bother his gait.

Jimmy took all the required courses in school but his favorites were band and drama. He emceed the Junior/Senior proms, had the lead in the class play, played in the band at school, sang in a trio, and had a little band of his own with friends, called the Downbeats. He loved all these fun things and although he hated to study, he did graduate in 1954. 

Jimmy Hatch is on the second row, second from the left.  

His favorite teacher was Billy Williams, who he had for homeroom, chemistry, and biology.  She was also in charge of the proms. He said she was a great teacher, pushed him along, encouraged him to study (which was not something he wanted to do) but she would also let him get away with murder. He said they used to call her “Bat Cave”, (not to her face however), because she was from Bat Cave, North Carolina. Funny how certain teachers make a long term impact on your life. I have a few of those myself!

One of dad’s favorite memories is of Christmas. His mother would go all out. There would be lots of decorations, carols on the radio, and a bunch of presents. He said that being an only child, they spoiled him rotten. His mom always made fruitcakes during the holidays, too, just like my mom’s mother.

During the war years his mother’s job at the telephone company was considered essential to the war effort. She had to work many nights and weekends, so her time at home was precious. Dad's Grandma Hatch took care of him a lot during those times and he was crazy about her. Even though she would have to get a switch to him once in awhile, he still thought she was a wonderful lady. 

He remembers a time when they lived in Wilson, North Carolina, that they went to the Annual Tobacco Festival. There was a parade during these festivals. This particular year, Ava Gardner and Mickey Rooney were in that parade. Ava was from a town nearby and at the time, her and Mickey were dating. Dad said that his mom, Ola Mae, was beside herself because she was getting to see them. A wonderful memory for both her and my dad. 

Dad’s first job was at the Modern Market, working for Walter Emmett Blue, better known as W.E. He stocked shelves, took out groceries, swept floors, etc. He also worked as an apprentice electrician, at a radio station as a sports announcer, and for the water department cleaning and repairing water meters. He said his favorite job was the radio announcer because “you were somebody". He got a lot of attention from that job. He also wrote the football coverage for the local paper and that got him a lot of added kudos.  He loved his job at the Modern Market, too, and they promised him a raise to $100 a week if he would not go into the Air Force. I don’t think he ever got that raise…

Today's Terri's Tidbit:  Do you use Ebates?  If you order anything online, go to the Ebates site and order through them and a lot of stores will give you a percentage of your total back.  See their website here.  If you have a Tidbit that you think is worthy of sharing, just leave me a comment and I will try to work it into a future blog.  

1 comment:

Becky Hatch said...

Just caught up on your blog, and love them! Being a southern girl myself, I remember my grandmother cooking big meals for lunch, my grandfather owned a restaurant, and was never home in the evening. And now, I remember him pouring his hot coffee, made from a huge coffee maker, Bunn, I think, into his saucer and drinking it!
Thanks for the memories, love the stories!