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The Pamlico never looked so beautiful

One of the darkest days in my youth was the night my Dad shared with us his decision to move our family to Raleigh! Wow! That had to be a tough decision for Mom and Dad to make knowing how it might impact our family. My Dad had an opportunity for a promotion and to accept it, he had to move.

I was in the third grade at that time and had my favorite teacher, Mrs. Sue Deathridge. If we moved, this meant that I would have to leave my neighborhood, friends and school. The fear of the unknown, yet the excitement of a new experience set in. Boy, was I apprehensive. But, like any other decision, it was not up to me.

Mom and Dad decided to rent our home in case we came back; also, this allowed my Dad’s uncle to keep his room. My Dad was raised by his uncle, and he was like a grandad to me (Ray Robinson). Our home was a wedding gift from my Mom’s father, and she did not want to sell, (women’s intuition and glad of it).

Raleigh was not nearly as big as it is today but still a city and the capitol of North Carolina. They had just started on the Beltway around Raleigh at that time. Their school system was ahead of ours, and they were reading two books ahead of us and writing in cursive. I had to practice at night writing in long hand, and with the help of Mom and Dad, soon caught up. This took a while, but by March I was up to date with my classes, yet still not accepted.

Once the spring got here everything Mickey and Steve had taught me about baseball came in handy. Still small in stature, catching a ground ball or pop fly was easy! My hitting was not the best but playing with much older boys made hitting difficult. Still, my skills were good enough to make the Pepsi-Cola LTHL Team and the only one in my grade to do so. Finally! Mickey and Steve Cochran had hit me ground balls ’til I had bruises, but was I thankful.

Rose Ann was younger than me and does not recall much of our experiences. One that I really enjoyed was the State Fair. Our school was next to the fairground, so when the train with the fair came into Raleigh, the children came to our school. The boys in our neighborhood tested the rides out on Sunday, and we rode every one. Once the fair started, Mom and Dad would work in our church’s food booth, so we got to go every night. I learned to love the midway and the rides it had, especially the Ferris wheel.

Meeting the children whose parents were in the fair was a treat! Some were workers on the rides and others were performers on the midway. They all had a story, and they captured my imagination as they told about their parents.

We lived in Raleigh for two years until my Father’s uncle passed away, and we returned home to Washington. It was bittersweet with the passing of Daddy Ray. Never thought the Pamlico would ever look so beautiful. Back to my old stomping grounds and more importantly, my friends and neighborhood!

The best of times, with the best of friends, in the best of places — Washington, NC!

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.