PART 6: Lloyd Kellam Remembers
George & Tommy’s Shocking Car; Saved by Herbert Bull

January 5, 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.  

I left out a lot of things that I’ve forgotten. One is that some of the people that I know that have passed through here. The one that comes to my mind, I wrote it down tonight, was I can remember coming out of Daddy’s store when it was next to Wilson’s and walking down toward the bank and lo and behold this big convertible pulled up. I can’t remember what kind it was. A guy got out and opened up the door on the other side and a little guy got out in a uniform, about that tall, and it was the Philip Morris man. Do you remember who that was? He spent the night at McCarthy’s Hotel.

I think back about what went on. George and Tommy had an automobile, I don’t remember what it was, it must have been about ’20. ’23 Ford Town Car. But they had it hooked up, no not “hooked up,” they had it wired up! So that if you walked up to it and put your hand on it, it would shock you! The only way you could get in it, would be to jump up on the running board and you could hold on to it because then you weren’t grounded. But they would fool you sometimes. They would tell you it wasn’t on and then all of a sudden they would flip that switch. They had another little boy around town named Kelly; he lived out on Hollywood Farm. He did the same thing to his car and I can remember it. He’d call me over, “Lloyd, come over. Get me a Coke.” And I’d go get him a Coke and hand it in the thing and when I handed it in, it would set that thing off!

Talking about characters, I had numerous lives. I’ve different friends for different things. I used to get on my bicycle sometimes, but most of the time would walk out to Amos’ house, which is about a mile and half or so, just to play ping-pong. We’d play ping-pong all day long. All of a sudden it comes to me that Amos made a cake out there one time. What did you put in that cake that was wrong? He said he put in pancake mix!

[Amos:] He said it was good! Wanted to know what the recipe was. They put that in the Northampton Times!


One of the other things I’ve written down here, I’m bouncing around a bit, but I’ll give you just a little last flavor. There was another business at Kings Creek called “The Bloody Bucket.” You remember that? I think Mr. Spencer had part in that at one time, didn’t he? Next door had it. Anyway, talking about football and transportation, one time when we were like juniors in high school, we played Mathews County. The school evidently didn’t have enough money to get a bus to carry us over. Cape Charles itself didn’t have a school bus. We had to borrow buses from the county or make some other arrangements. Sonny Spencer’s father got his fishing boat and we went down to Kings Creek and got on the boat and he took us on his fishing boat to Mathews County. We played football and came back in the middle of the night on his boat. They wouldn’t think of doing that now! But we had fun. Cheerleaders went along with us.

Another thing, talking about catching the train going to Wilmington, it may have been the year before, but it could have been the year we beat Northampton 93 to nothing, the townspeople took up a collection and leased a Trailways bus and bought us tickets to a Philadelphia Eagles game in Philadelphia. We had 50-yardline tickets and during the halftime they announced this feat that Cape Charles had beat its rival 93 to nothing. Some guy behind us said, I know something about Cape Charles, it was a black guy back there. And when we turned around it was Roy Campanella. Roy Campanella, I found out here the other night, had some connections with Cape Charles. He married a girl — Joynes.

I’m about out of little things to tell you. I’ve written down here that one time when, I guess the feeling I would have to say, and I think most of you would get, is that our parents didn’t worry about us. Mine didn’t worry about me. I had certain things I had to do and I had to be at certain places. If I didn’t do those things or be in those places, I got punished. But in between that, if I had a job to do at 10 o’clock in the morning and didn’t have another one to do until 3, I was on my own. Go in Cape Charles wherever I wanted. And I did. I went anywhere I wanted to go. And in the summer time, we’d go to the beach in the summer time. One time there was a sailboat in there and it was a rather large sailboat and guys were playing around it. I couldn’t swim. I was in the water about up to my knees. And this guy said, “Everybody jump on board and I’m going to take off.” So I tried to jump on board and couldn’t, so I held on. Guys were holding on to the sides. I started looking and guys were peeling off, and they were peeling off. I was beginning to get scared. Finally, when I didn’t see anybody else, I figured I’d better get off this thing or else it’ll be over my head. And I got off. And it was over my head and the damn boat’s going away. Well, I went down and came up and went down and came up. I said, “Father Miller, take care of it. What’s my mother going to say now.” Well, Herbert Bull happened along and he grabbed hold of me and brought me in. Saved my life. Well, I don’t know if anybody’s ever saved your life or not, but I was probably 10 years old and until I graduated from high school, or until Herbert Bull left Cape Charles, he drank many an extra-thick milk shake and never paid for it! Grace, is that your brother? Well, Herbert saved my life, he’ll tell you. I had to share that with you, I’m glad I did if you were here.

This is Part 6 of 7 of Mr. Kellam’s reminiscences.  Click for Part 1,  click for Part 2, click for Part 3, click for Part 4 click for Part 5.)





Comments are closed.