The boys loved the stream that flows in Clinton Mill neighborhood

I was one of those boys who spent many days playing in the somewhat polluted water of that stream.

Once upon a time there was a stream that began at the corner of Jefferson and Gordon streets at Clinton Mills and flowed for a distance past a spring, hewn out of rock, and on to a larger stream known as Beard’s Fork Creek. The stream was a favorite place for boys who live on the mill village, also known as the mill hill. I was one of those boys who spent many days playing in the somewhat polluted water of that stream. I grew up before the advent of antibiotics and I reckon it is something of a miracle that I did not die of some dread disease never reaching adulthood. There were one or two places in the stream that were almost deep for a few strokes of swimming. Swimming wasn’t the only thing we engaged in as we spent hour upon hour fooling around there on summer days. We caught tadpoles and perhaps a few minnow. Some little frogs and toads and we killed snakes. From time to time when we killed a snake we rolled it just to find what it had been eating. To roll a snake we would find a piece of wood to serve as a rolling pin. Then we stretched the snake out on a rock or other flat service and used the stick to roll the snake much as your mama rolled out her biscuit dough. The process was effective because what ever the snake had been eating came out one end or the other. Tadpoles, frogs and minnows and the like. You must give mill hill boys credit. They knew how to entertain themselves. The spring was something of a special gathering place on Sundays for men who worked in the mill. Finer people never inhabited this planet. I read on Facebook of a man, who during his boyhood, got a part time job at a service station. The owner had certain instructions regarding the granting of credit for his new employee. The new employee was given permission to grant credit to any person asking if the person worked in the mill. Everyone else asking credit had to be referred to the station owner. That “everyone” included preachers, lawyers, doctors, policemen, and anyone else who did not have lint is his or her hair. It is truly doubtful that many mill workers ever knew that they were held in such high regard. The spring mentioned here was, and still is known to old folks, as Pucketts Spring. It still flows although it has been spoiled by “progress.” It is situated off the north end of Sloan Street and to the right. I suppose it is difficult to access the place now days. On Sundays when I was a boy the place was something of a spa or recreation area for men who worked in the mill. Fixers, doffers, sweepers, weavers, carding machine operators and hour hands gathered there to relax, drink and sell home brew and bootleg and play poker. These good men, no women seemed to be allowed, were apparently oblivious to the half dozen or so little old boys were hanging around. In retrospect, it seems to have been and ideal place to unwind from five or six hard days on the job. I can see some things now that I learned at Puckett’s Spring that never occurred to me then. There is merit to being employed and doing your job well. The Sunday visitors to the spring were family men who did their best to support families. Then I am convinced that the spring area provided a setting for some real relaxation. I think that I became aware that it is possible to have a good time without conflict. A little money changed hands on those afternoons but I never heard harsh words or saw any fights. And I think it could have been in the vicinity of Puckett’s Spring that I first learned that there is more to birds and bees than feathers and honey, if you catch my drift. At least once a month I drive around the streets where I grew up and through Calvary Cemetery where a sister of mine is buried. She was about four years old when she died of pneumonia several years before I was born. That mill hill is a special place for me. (Bobby Meadors is retired unit administrator at the Clinton armory of the SC National Guard. He lives in Clinton.)

My Clinton News

P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

 

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