- Jul. 7, 2017
BOBBY WATKINS GETS THE FIRE BEAT OUT OF HIM AT RED HILL SCHOOL
Probably the most infamous incident, for Ms. Bixie Griffith, my 5th grade teacher, within her “big stick” method of dealing with her students, was with Bobby Watkins and his firecrackers.
Bobby was in Ms. Bixie's 6th grade class in the year 1948-49, when I was in the 5th grade. Both grades were housed the same room in the northwest corner of the school building.
To bring firecrackers on to school property was a big no-no at Red Hill School, for obvious reasons. And to be in possession of them while on the school property was a serious offense. Periodic warnings were issued regarding their dangers, and especially against the possession of them at school. Somehow, word got to Aunt Bixie,( she insisted that all her students call her “Aunt Bixie,”) that one of her students had firecrackers in his possession.
So she calls the class to order and puts on her best good cop persona. “Now children we know that one of you has brought firecrackers to school today, which you know you are not supposed to do. Now I want the person that has done this to be sweet, and do the right thing, and bring them up here to me right now. If you do not, I will have to send you to the principal and it will be much worse for you.”
I think Bobby knew that several others in the class knew that he was the culprit and one of them had "ratted" on him; so he gets up and goes forward to Aunt Bixie's desk, puts his hands in both of his pockets, and pulls out two handfuls of cherry bombs and piles them on Aunt Bixie's desk.
“Now Bobby, make sure that is all you have in your possession.” Bobby reaches down and pulls out several more from the rolled up cuffs of his jeans. “Now Bobby, that was the right thing to do, and I am proud of you. But you know that Aunt Bixie has to punish those who break the rules. So go out side and break me off a limb of the willow tree in the back yard and bring it back to Aunt Bixie.”
Bobby dutifully turns around, walks out, and in a few minutes brings back in to Aunt Bixie a not very large switch for her. “Alright Bobby, lets go to the cloakroom. Children, remain in your desks. We'll be right back.”
So both of them disappear behind the walls of the cloakroom. In a few seconds we hear: “Now Bobby, bend over for Aunt Bixie like you are supposed to do.”
The next sounds are the whacks of the limb striking Bobby's butt. But then smoke starts rolling out the cloakroom doors on each end. Out comes Aunt Bixie, screaming, “Run children, run!” as she rushes out of the cloak room, out the classroom door, and down the hallway, to the rear courtyard outside entrance.
Bobby is right behind her, running and beating on the seat of his pants with the palm of his right hand with sharp whacks, with little smoke signals rising from the seat of his jeans between the whacks. Smoke is pouring from the seat of his jeans, sorta like a warplane that has had the fatal shot into the fuel tank.
The stampede,Aunt Bixie, Bobby, and the entire 5th and 6th grade of Red Hill School finally come to a halt in the court yard at the rear center of the building.
Bobby seems to have his clothing conflagration contained, with a large charred hole in the seat of his jeans. He later pulls his sweater down underneath his jeans to fill in underneath the area where the rear jean pocket and pant seat used to be. It turned out that Bobby had a rear jean pocket filled with strike anywhere matches. When the switch, with which Aunt Bixie was striking Bobby's rear jean pocket, began to rub across the match heads, that they would truly strike anywhere was proved with an impressive pyrotechnical display!
Bobby was the youngest son of Mr. Odie and Ms. Ara Watkins. They had two sons, Clifton, the older and Bobby. Ms. Ara was a Griffith, and her father, Mr. Freeman Griffith, lived with them in a house on the northwest corner of what is now Red Hill Road and Castaway Island Road. He was the son of a Civil War veteran and was up in years when this incident occurred.
When Mr. Freeman found out about the incident, as he sat on the front porch of their house, smoking his pipe, he is said to have remarked: “Well, I have heard folks say that 'that kid ought to have the fire beat out of him', but that is the first time I ever knowed of it happenin!”
Mr. Freeman died in the late summer of 1949 at the age of 81.
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Welcome To Red Hill Community Club
The Red Hill Community Club welcomes you to our page. We are people of the beautiful Lake Martin area of Alabama, as well as many living in other areas around our country, who are Preserving the Past, Providing for the Present and Preparing for the Future. We have just passed the 150 member mark and are growing monthly.
We have just completed our major current preservation project of putting a new roof on our almost 100 year old Red Hill School building.
Our current officers are:
President, Paula Castleberry; Vice President, Rosalinda Crum; Treasurer, Sue Roberts; Secretary, Raymond Hall; Maintenance Manager/Board Member, Ozzie Abel
Our Board of Directors are:Chad Moore, Chair of the Board of Directors; Bill Garnett, Board Member; Shirley Lett, Board Member; Doug Miller, Board Member
We may be contacted at:
3554 Red Hill Road, Tallassee AL 36078 Email email@example.com Phone 334-541-2474
A Little History Of Red Hill School
Red Hill School 1913
1st Row, left to right, Rear
Carl Kennedy, Talmage Nail, Cyrus Hornsby, Allen O’Daniel, Haigler Graham, Homer Hall, Elmer Dopson, Owen Threadgill, Vera Tucker, Minnie Allen Hornsby, Lois Kennedy, Claudia Jordan, Adie Taunton, Clarice Nail, Penny Mullins, Daisy O’Daniel, Myrtle Jordan
2nd Row, left to right
Chester Threadgill, Milton Griffith, Bertie Dopson, Bob Griffith, Grady Nail, Bill Taunton, Magdalene Taunton. Lillian Threadgill, Lucy Taunton, Vera Orr, Maggie Orr
3rd Row, left to right
Hiram Taunton, Roy O'Daniel, Bill Griffith, Claude Orr, Lucius Hall, Dee Griffith, Dalton Kennedy, Norman Taunton, Forrest Hall, Irvin Kennedy, Herman Dopson, Willis Hall, Fain nail, Felecia Taunton, Alton Tucker
4th Row, left to right, begins in front of Dee Griffith
Viola Taunton, Mildred Garnett, Rena Kennedy, Verna Hall, Billy Mullins, Alma Taylor, (unknown visitor in hat, cousin of Marie Hornsby), Minnie Lee Taunton, Velma Tucker, Lurena Griffith
5th Row, left to right, front
Gordon O’Daniel, Lamar Griffith, Palmer Taylor, Maynor Hall, Tennyson Dopson, John Griffith, Johnny Hall, George Tucker, Drew Hornsby, Raster Orr, Bill Joe Orr, Carlton Hall, Melvin Taunton, Lorenzo Griffith, Lander Griffith
My father is the tiny runt 4th from the right on the front row. I never knew him as he died when I was about 4. All my uncles are scattered amongst the multitude below.