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Now and Then - Dr. Roger Branch Sr.
In praise of pockets
Dr  Roger Branch March WEB
Dr. Roger Branch Sr.

The first long pants that I wore probably were bib overalls. Among country folks, these were the typical garments worn by men and boys. I liked them because they were comfortable and provided several spacious pockets. Overalls had five or more pockets — two in front, two in back and one or more smaller ones on the bib — depending on the makers’ designs.

I needed spacious pockets to carry with me everything that I wanted to carry and as repositories for everything that I accumulated along the way. In keeping with my mother’s directive, there was always a clean handkerchief in one of the back pockets, beginning with my first day in school and lasting forever.

Front pockets might carry any of many different things: a pocket knife (usually a Barlow), marbles, rocks for my slingshot, firm fruit, pecans, dry peanuts or interesting things that I found and wanted to keep. I was not allowed to take my knife to school.

Smokers used bib pockets for cans of Prince Albert tobacco and cigarette papers, even packs of cigarettes when they were not working hard. Camels or Luckies did not fare well when invaded by sweat, so workers had to adapt. My maternal grandfather carried in his bib pocket a plug of chewing tobacco and a small money purse which he took out reluctantly. I used that pocket to transport precious BBs for my air rifle. I was a poor marksman with a slingshot, but sometimes carried one in a back pocket.

Overalls were my attire at Marietta School, a two-room, seven-grade country school, in first and second grades and at Cobbtown School, a grammar (seventh grade) school where I attended for my third grade and half of my fourth grade. Pockets were needed for marbles, army stuff and “found things.”

In the middle of grade four, we moved to a new farm in Toombs County and my parents enrolled me in Lyons School, grammar and high on the same campus, instead of Marietta School. There were more town kids than country kids and town kids were different. Most boys wore pants — not overalls — and tended to consider themselves as somewhat superior. For the first time, I was in a school not full of kin and neighbors.

Mother was adept at “noticing” things and bought pants for my school 

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