Days Gone By - stories from the past

My first job at Sylacauga cotton Mill – with [rare film footage of Avondale Mills in 50’s]

[Many people in the Sylacauga area around the time of WWII can probably relate to this story.]

As told to Donna R. Causey by  Pearl Mims February, 2014

The first job I every had was at the cotton mill in Sylacauga, Talladega County, Alabama when I was only seventeen. My sister Evelyn and I got jobs there through a neighbor. We were living in the small town of Weogufka, Alabama on a farm.

One day a man came by to visit Papa and told him that he could get jobs for us at the Mill  (Avondale Mills in Sylacauga) where he worked if he’d allow it. Evelyn and I were excited about the opportunity and of course jumped at the offer. Papa thought about it awhile since we were only teenagers, but he finally agreed.

Short film on Avondale Mills in the 50’s

Older employees left for better paying jobs during WWII

It was during war time (WWII)  and many people who had been working at the cotton mill, left for the better paying jobs at the new powder plant down the road in Childersburg. This left Sylacauga Cotton Mill short-handed so they started hiring teenagers to replace the workers, who’d left.

We found out later that the man only needed us to ride with him to share the gas expense of driving to the Mill. It worked out pretty well for all of us, though.

Buses sent to pick up young workers

Soon there were so many teenagers working at the mill and many did not have transportation so the Mill had a bus service pick us up. Buses went all the way to Chilton County, Alabama to pick up people. That is where my future husband, Norman Mims lived.

I met Norman at the Mill and we were soon dating. He told me that I’d never have to work another day if I’d marry him. “Course, I had no intention of stopping work. In fact, when I married him, I was planning to go work at another job.”

Shortage of housing

We looked for a place to live. There was a shortage of housing due to the powder plant employees moving in. We found a nice new duplex, with a big room that served as bedroom and living room. It had a two eye heater to cook on and the bathroom was off the screen porch in back. The rent was only $4.00 but Norman didn’t want it. He said he wanted to buy us a house.

Finally, we found a newly built house. The man said we could have it and would only have to take up the payments in exchange for Norman’s car. Norman was happy to find a house he could afford so he bought it. There was only one problem. There was no running water to the house so it didn’t work out well for me. I had to carry water for over a year. This was especially hard since we were now also expecting our first child.

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Alabama

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Discordance:: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) (Tapestry of Love) (Kindle Edition)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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