Lonnie Cletus, son of Jacob Alphonso Bernhardt, used to attend a school house that was located on Webb road, down in a slight creek valley just before you reach the Lyerly’s residence. You can still see it from the road but it is just a skeleton of a building now and nearly covered up with vines and weeds – in fact, it looks like it is ready to collapse. At the time that this school was built, a small spring lay just north of the school house but it was not usable. All age levels attended this school but the older the boys were assigned to carry drinking water in buckets from the Webb’s place, a homestead about ½ mile up the path which included a small store. While they were on the water runs, the boys would buy candy for a few pennies and then carry it back to the school in a small bag (along with their water buckets, of course).
Grandpa liked to slip some of the girls candy that he had bought. One little boy, named Willie Hill, talked sort of like the Buckwheat character on the Little Rascals shows. Lots of his consonants sounded like “t”. Willie was jealous and whispered to my dad one day that if he didn’t share some of the candy with him, he was going to tell the teacher that the boys bought candy at the store and didn’t just go only to get water.
It didn’t take long for my dad to fix that scene. He took the wrappers off of some of his own Grandma’s chocolate-flavored Ex-lax and put it in a small brown paper bag. In the morning after the boys had gone for water and returned, Willie approached him and threatened dad again. So dad was extra generous this time and gave Willie the entire bag of “candy”.
When the class returned to the schoolhouse from recess, Willie asked the teacher to be excused. Confused, the teacher asked Willie why he needed to be excused because they just got back from the afternoon recess. Willie replied, “When you totta toe, you totta toe” (when you gotta go, you gotta go) and ran out the door. Last thing the students saw was Willie running with his pants half down going around the flag pole and heading for the woods. Dad said that Willie would not eat anything he was ever offered after that episode.
Story told to Stan Sebastian by Oleba Bernhardt Sebastian