Updated September 12, 2010

Joel Waterfield remembers Aunt Hettie and Simpson Neck.

Aunt Hettie was a Waterfield. She was the daughter of Lydia Lyza Litchfield Waterfield. Married to Colonie Waterfield. Hettie was the twin of Minnie Waterfield Jones, both born June 23rd 1899. Sisters to my Father, Herman Alton (Jack) Waterfield Sr. and my Uncle Milton Wright Waterfield. Aunt Hettie was the Mother of Melva White Tillet, Alston White, Jean White Smith, Rondell White, Marvin White, and June Fay White Cason. They lived approximately a little more than a quarter mile up the lane to the neck.

The old farm as I remember was about 50 or so clear acres. In its hey-day it was really pretty. Had a great deal of fancy wood work, scroll work, dental mouldings sometimes called gingerbread facias, on the porch. There was a seperate building for a kitchen with a raised walkway to the house. When I visited the kitchen was used for storage. The house had no plumbing, and no lights. There was a dip well beside the house. Later during the the 1950s they had a hand pump placed in the house where the kitchen was relocated. The wood work in the rooms in the house had 2" tounge and grove wood ceilings. They were absolutely beautiful. The had a two seater Out-House and a Chicken house south east of the house and a pole barn north east of the house. Later the seperate kitchen was torn down.

I have many fine memories of that home. From hog killings, feeding the Chickens and Turkeys, Pulling weeds in the field and going down to the wharf at Cason Point. I remember fondly Aunt Hetties four inch high yeast rolls, Marvin and I would make a breakfast of them by sopping warm cream Aunt Hettie had just pasturized. It was a simpler and more innocent time to live. We didn't have much but we had more than we have today. Peace, Quiet, Common Sense, and a Caring for each other.

Once you passed Aunt Hetties Gate, the lane continued north up Simpson Neck until it ended on Knotts Island Bay. Wild Pigs roamed the area, so youngsters like myself and Marvin were not allowed to go there. Heard some scary stories about the Neck.

One story Marvin White told me: he told me he was up the neck with his father one time and he saw this wild pig. His daddy told him to stay in the cart. It was a single horse and cart. He said the old pig was snorting and pawing the ground. All of a sudden someone came up on a tractor and that old pig charged that tractor biting the tires(Tars as we said in Carolina), and butting his head on the tractor as hard as he could. Marvin said he couldn't undestand that old pig didn't knock his brains out. "After awhile," Marvin said that the old pig finally gave up and went off into the swamp reeds. He mentioned, that his Father didn't ever have to tell him to stay in the cart again.

My Mother: told the following story- how true it was- I don't know. One time I told her that I wanted to see the "Neck." "She said You'll do no such thing, that place is full of snakes. I went up there once and I saw every kind-a-snake on this God's green earth. There were green ones, red ones, blue ones and some that coiled to strike if you moved. Some would even grab their tail and begin to role like a wheel and chase you. Yes-sir you can just forget goin -up that there lane to the Neck. I never asked again. What is funny, my Mother loved to look at snakes later in her life. Every place she visited that had a snakes on display, we had to stop and allow her to veiw them.

At the Gate to Marvins House, They had a duck pond (as they called it). It was about a foot deep at the deepest, unless there was a Nor-easter. That would push Knotts Island Bay up the inlet and put the neck under water and Marvins lane at his gate under a couple of feet or more of water. We would make boats out of old shingles, cutting a square opening at one end and stretching a piece of old red rubber bicycle inner tube across it and pointing the front. We would wind another piece of shingle in the band of rubber . They would take off across that old duck pond ah flying. We stayed wet and muddy most of the time when I would visit during the summer.

Also Marvin and Rondel White showed me how to correctly pole a boat . With the eel grass so thick it was easier to pole a boat rather than row or use an outboard motor. With the sandy bottom and placing a pole just a little ways on an angle under the boat, you could move right along. Much faster than rowing. Also until they began to manufacture "Weedless" props on outboards it was near impossible to run one in certain sections of the shore line.

My father would tell us Ghost stories once in a while. One I remember went like this. He said Popa Etheridge would take him and my Mother for a ride in his horse and buggy to Paul Jones store for a treat. He said one night they saw this dog lying on the side of the road. "As we approched him that old dog raised up and began to chase us. Well that horse became afraid and began to bolt. Well that old dog with slaver dripping from his mouth began to try to leap into the buggy. "I belive, " he said, that damn fool dog would have leaped into the buggy if we had slowed ah bit. Several times his breath curled the hair on my neck. One time he grabbed the back seat and bit a plug from it. Finally he gave up. Never saw that old dog again. Good damn thing, I was about ready to jump off that old cart and chase him. He would then start laughing and say "Now Twasn't that thar ah guud-story."