Lloyd Kellam’s Final Words: Daddy’s Punishments


January 12, 2014

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  The Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  In 2002, as one in a series of lectures sponsored by the Cape Charles Library entitled “The Way We Were,” Cape Charles native Lloyd Kellam shared the following account.  In 2012, funded by a grant by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the recording, along with 14 others, was transcribed. The Historical Society has now made it available for readers of the Wave.  All the transcriptions are also available for reading at the Museum.)  


One of the other things, and this is to tell you how my childhood was, didn’t have anything to do with Cape Charles, sort of like what my parents were like.  Like I said, I was born in a store and had jobs to do and if I didn’t do certain things on time, Daddy would punish me.  Mother would usually punish me and Daddy would talk to me.  If things were important, Daddy would start to punish or if I spoke back to him, he would punish me.  And if I’d say, “I think Daddy that’s too strong,” whatever he gave me, he doubled.

I can remember one time I was supposed to have gotten the Eastern Shore News from the post office right after school and then I was on my own.  Like I told you, once you did your job,  then you were on your own.  But I stayed too long.  And when I got home, I went by the post office and they weren’t there.  When I got to the store, I said, “Daddy, the Eastern Shore News wasn’t there.”  He said, “I know.  I had to hire somebody to go get them.”

“Who’d you hire?”  He said, “Herman Etz.”  I said, “Gee, Daddy, you take his money out of my money.”  “Worse than that,” he said, “I’m going to punish you. You can’t go to the movies, you can’t have your candy, and you can’t leave the house for a week.”  And I said, “Daddy . . . ”  He said, “Two weeks.”  I said, “But Daddy, “Guadalcanal Diaries” is on at the movies.”  I never will forget that.  He said, “Four weeks.”  And then I said, “Can I read the funnies in the newspaper?”  He said, “Eight weeks!”  And I had that more than one time in my life.

At one time, he started out at a month and he got me up to three months in a hurry.  That’s because I had the big bicycle that I told you about with the big basket.  George used to run away, my little brother George, used to run away.  I’ve often said that if I was going to write a book, the title would be, “My Brother Was an Only Child.”  Because Mother always had a soft spot in her heart for George because he was the baby.  But George would run away and wouldn’t mind.

This particular time, it was supper time and he wasn’t home.  Mother said, “Lloyd, go get him.”  And I said, “All right.  I’m going to take my bike.”  “Fine.”  Well, I chased him down Pine Street.  I saw him down there, he was down somewhere around Tazewell and Pine.  When he saw me coming, he was right out in the middle of the street.  As I got closer to him, he started running.  I was in that big basket bicycle and I was going after it at a good clip and the little sucker stopped and I ran over him.  I had to pick him up and put him in the basket and bring him back.


I got him back home.  Mother, who had been standing there watching me run over him, said, “You shouldn’t have done it.”  And I got talking and Daddy said, “One month . . . ”  He never had to say what it was, it was always the standard.  No candy, no movies, no whatever for a month.  I got three months out of that one.

I am going to leave on this note and stop in case you all want to ask some questions.  That particular bicycle, I used to leave it out in the daytime in between the bank and Daddy’s store.  I would park it up there and leave it sideways.  And a storm came up this particular day.  Daddy said, “You’d better go put your bicycle away.”  Well, for me to put my bicycle away, I’d have to go down Pine Street to behind the bank.  There was a little alley there between that and Chesapeake Hotel.  I’d have to go down that alley, then I was behind Daddy’s store.

Well, the Army Navy store was over next door and it had a porch that hung and I could put that thing under the porch, so it would stay dry.  I said, “Daddy, it’s a storm coming and it’s going to lightning.”  He said, “Don’t worry about it, son, lightning’s not going to strike anytime soon.”

I said, “How do you know.”  He said, “When you see the flash, count 1, 2, 3, 4 — and when you hear the boom, that’s how many miles it is away.”  So I got thinking, I was standing out there.  He said, “Put it away because it’s going to get ready to rain.”  And (makes sound), I saw that lightning and started counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, boom!  I then hopped on that bicycle and I pushed it, I just hopped on and kept pushing it all the way around the bank.  I got all the way right to the entrance behind the post office and just got in there and Boom! Boom!  I dropped that bicycle!  I wouldn’t go back out and get it and got punished for that.

Anyway, I don’t have much else to say, except that was my childhood and that’s what Cape Charles was like.  One more thing, I do have one more thing, and that is that lunch times Daddy had the store and we had the apartment over the store.  We ate in Daddy’s store.  I had the luxury of going in and eating at the store, not going home.  Most of the kids went home.  Amos ate at Savage’s.  He went in there and he was my best friend, and he ate over at Savage’s and I was jealous.  One of the reasons I was jealous was because I thought Savage boys had the best spiced ham and cheese sandwich there was!  They had a way over there of making a sandwich that was about this thick.  Remember that, George?  They were never as good as Daddy’s.  I hear you still like spiced ham!

This concludes Mr. Kellam’s reminiscences.  Click for Part 1,  click for Part 2, click for Part 3, click for Part 4, click for Part 5, click for Part 6.)




One Response to “Lloyd Kellam’s Final Words: Daddy’s Punishments”

  1. Klif Harrison on January 12th, 2014 1:42 am

    Please send me this article in email form.

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