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The Old School (Sample)










R.B.Bailey Jr





Did you build your “dream” clubhouse or fort, when you were a child? I didn’t exactly build mine, but had my first when I was 8. I remember my dad building it for me, when I lived with him in Florida for a few months. It was build up on 4×4 posts…one end open, facing the trailer that we lived in.


I don’t ever remember that fort, or any other structure I had dreams of, getting me into trouble…especially like the characters in this story get into.




























Chapter 1

John was the oldest of three children; his brother was two years younger, and his sister, eight years younger. Sam and Sara were about the best brother and sister a boy could have. Living out in the country as they did in the 1930’s, they spent all of their time together. Their parents were George and Mary Murray, second-generation farmers who migrated here from the Carolinas.

George liked his whiskey and stumpwater, Mary liked baking cookies and raising her children. Mostly alone, when George was on a drinking binge. The farm was about 40 acres, plenty of room for livestock and crops. John and Sam would help their pop tend to the animals seven days a week. Hired hands would work there during growing seasons, so you could say they lived pretty well.


John was an adventurous young man, roaming the hills and hollers around the farm every chance he got. His younger brother Sam and sister Sara were usually right along with him on every adventure. Every boy, especially a country boy, likes to have their own “place” or clubhouse in the woods, and John wasn’t any different. In the summer of 1939, the three roamed the woods until they came up with the perfect place for their clubhouse. It was weedy, but with a few small saplings, just starting to take root. The size of area was about the same size as a house, or maybe the schoolhouse that John and Sam go to.

“Look at all these weeds, John!” Sam said as he kicked at the briars and brush around them, “It’ll take us forever to get rid of this stuff!”

John laughed, “Don’t be such a crybaby…right Sara?”

Sara kept sucking her thumb, with Mr. Buttons, her teddy, clenched tightly in her hand.

“I’m not a baby!” Sam pushed at his brother, “I can do anything you can do, right Sara?”

Sara nodded.

“We better head back towards the house, it’s getting’ late.” John says as he puts his arm around Sara’s shoulder, and leads them back to the house.

Sam follows behind, but takes glances back to the spot where their new clubhouse will stand.

Chapter 2

All the way back to the house, the brothers were planning the clubhouse already. John thinks it should have four rooms; a room for each of them, and a main room. Sam liked his brother’s idea, but hoped they could have a porch, too. Little Sara said nothing, but smiled when she heard that she could have her own room.


The children walked across the yard, took their shoes off on the porch, and went inside the house. Inside, it was the country home you would expect. The furnishings weren’t very expensive, but nice. Lots of pictures of the Murray family, past and present adorned the mantle and almost every flat spot in the living room. The aroma of fresh baked cookies rafted through the house, making anyone who walked in, wanting to go straight to the kitchen. There was usually music playing during the day, from the local station, or Mrs. Murray was humming in the kitchen. There was an antique standup piano in the parlor, where the family would gather with neighbors on occasion, before George’s drinking got out of hand, and neighbors quit visiting quite so often.

“Did you boys feed the goats?” Mary asked as she came out of the kitchen drying her hands, “Your pop will be home…”

“We did it first thing!” Sam spoke up, and then went past her to the kitchen. Sara and her teddy follow.

“Where have you been off to, today?” Their momma asked.

“We went lookin’ for a place to build ourselves a clubhouse!” John smiled, “We found the perfect place!”

“You better talk to your pop first.” She warned, “He doesn’t like the three of you, especially Sara, wandering around in the woods too far from the house.”

“We’ve been extra careful!” John promised, as Sara and Sam came running back into the living room, “But we need to talk to Pop about borrowing some wood and stuff.”

Mary rubbed John head, “You’ll have to see what kind of a mood your pop’s in when he gets home.” She knows that if he’s been drinking, her kids are going to be very disappointed, and probably insulted at the same time. George wasn’t exactly versed in delicate language…he just said what was on his mind. If you didn’t like it…fuck you.

George rolled into the yard around 6:30, just in time for dinner. He was actually sober, which gave the kids a small window of opportunity, yet. Mary and Sara had set the table, and everyone sat down to eat. They usually had chicken on Saturdays, complete with buttermilk biscuits, gravy, and lots of vegetables. George had a big appetite, and loved his wife’s meals.

“How was your day, boys?” Their Pop said as he pushed some gravy around the plate, then in his mouth, “What did you three get into?”

“We’re going to bui…” Sam blurted out, but John shushed him, “Pop, we need a favor.” John started, “We need some of the old lumber behind the barn…the old wood that you got from the Blake down the road.” The Blakes were a family who lived a couple of farms down the road from the Murrays. Mr. Blake had build a new barn last summer, and sold the old lumber to George. “I’m using that lumber…what did you want it for?” He asked.

“Well…” John began, then gave a glance to his momma, “Sam, Sara and me want to build a clubhouse.”

George quit chewing his food, then looked at their Momma, “Build a clubhouse where?”

John turned around slightly in his chair and pointed towards the back of the property, “Out in the woods behind the field.”

Sam looked at his Pop, then Momma and Sara…who was wolfing down her chicken without a care in the world.

George picked up his fork and began eating, “Those woods are too dangerous for you young’uns…especially Sara…”

“We’ll be careful!” John promised, giving another glance to his Momma, “And we’ll watch out even more for Sara!”

George stopped eating again, laid his fork on his plate, and laid his forearms on the table, I know you boys are getting to the age where you want to see the world…and that’s fine. But Sara has no business up in those woods. She can stay here with her Mama, and play house on the porch all she wants.”

“But Pa, we do everything together!” John begged, as everyone else continued with their dinner.

“No Sara! Period! You can build it without her, or all three of you can play house on the porch…do you understand me?” George glared at John, “And you can’t use my lumber.”

George continued eating, and nothing else was said for the rest of the meal.


“But Sara has to be with us!” Sam whispered to brother that night, as they laid in bed. The window was open, and you could hear the crickets on the hot summer night. The boys had a small fan on their desk, but weren’t allowed to use it during the night.

“You heard what Pop said…” John whispered back, “We’ll have to think of another way to get Sara to join us.” John’s mind had been racing since Dinnertime, and his Pop’s words echoing in his head, “We don’t have a choice but to build the clubhouse without her.” He reasoned, “She’s not much help, anyway.”

Sam lay quiet.

“We still have to find something to build it out of.” John thought aloud, “Pop’s lumber sure would have come in handy.”

“Maybe we can make it out of trees!” Sam said in excitement, almost loud enough to be heard in the next room.

“You mean logs?” John corrected him, “Pop’s got an ax in the barn…we could try it, I suppose.”

Sam had a big smile across his face now, “We go back up there tomorrow!”

“After school.” John added, “We’ll hurry home, get our chores done, and head out to the woods.”

“We need something to cut the briars and weeds, too.” Sam figured, “I think Pop’s got a sling blade in the barn.”

“Let’s get some sleep…we got school tomorrow.” John said, and rolled over with his back to his brother, and went to sleep.


The Old School (Sample)

  • Author: R.B. Bailey Jr
  • Published: 2016-12-23 02:35:08
  • Words: 1495
The Old School (Sample) The Old School (Sample)