An Ordinary Man: The Autobiography of Harold Cunningham
We lived on Vincent Street not far from the Buffalo Bayonne. I can just remember
another kid by the name of Tommy Watson who lived down the block from us that I
played with. In those days our parents didn‘t worry too much about their kids playing
There was a vacant lot across the street from our house where my brother who was about
14 years old played baseball with a bunch of other boys. My dad always liked big cars
and he had a big old yellow Buick convertible in the back yard. I would play in it once in
Dad was working in another town for the Humble Oil Company on their fleet of trucks.
He was working underneath one of the trucks and when he crawled out from under the
truck the door was open and he struck the back of his head on the corner of the door. The
injury was greater than anyone thought at the time. Later, as time went by he developed a
blood clot and it caused him to be paralyzed on his right side. After that he couldn‘t work
and the Great Depression was setting in, so he lost the house.
My mom‘s mother lived on a farm with a first cousin of ours named Alton Blundell. She
had helped raise him from a little child since his dad, Uncle Johnny, had died.
Mom got all of our belongings packed up to leave Houston. My mother‘s brother, uncle
Matt, came down with an old Model A Ford truck. After everything was loaded onto the
truck, we drove away from our house in Houston and the last thing I can remember was
my dad sitting on the front porch waving bye to us. My mother, uncle, and two sisters
rode up front while my brother and I rode on top of the furniture back to my grandma‘s
place at Thompsonville, Texas.
• • •
My grandmother had this 210 acre farm where she had two houses. There was the big
house and then the little house where the hired help live. ?We was poor? as the old saying
goes. We didn‘t‘ know it and we were as happy as the richest kids could be. This is where
I lived when I started school. We lived in this old house for about six years.
Sometimes before my grandmother Blundell died, all of her offspring gathered together
for a reunion at my grandmother‘s house. She had a large house it had a porch full length
front and back with a hallway down through the center of the house connecting them
My sister and I were the youngest to attend. I got into a lot of trouble that day. First there
was a little girl there about three years old. I think she was a third cousin. She got my
marbles and put them in her rubber panties. I pulled her panties off to retrieve them. That
was my first spanking that day.
The ladies were making all these nice pies and chocolate was my favorite. The pies were
sitting on a shelf by an open window so I slipped up by them and stuck my finger in one
of the pies which was chocolate and got me a taste. Mom knew who the culprit was so
here came another spanking.
The kids were the last ones to get to eat so when it came time to eat and after we had
finished eating our dinner we got our pie. There was this first cousin of ours named Earl
Blundell who was sitting next to me. He was already a grown man and I didn‘t like him.