In Sketches of a Small Town…circa 1940, Clifton K. Meador, MD, tells stories of his life growing up in a small cotton-farming town in the Deep South during the 1930s and ‘40s. Full of fascinating characters and entertaining tales, his memoir captures the sights and sounds, people and places, and hopes and dreams of this remarkable era.
For Meador, Greenville, Alabama, was a rich environment to grow up in. Although times were tough, segregation was strong and small-town life was simple, his memories shine with the wonderful, hilarious, and quirky aspects of that time and place and the experiences that shaped him into the person he is today.
Sketches of a Small Town…circa 1940 recalls days when boys made up their own fun and all the mad mischief that followed. It tells stories about discovering girls and how “sex education” consisted of a penny-for-a-peek in the school cloakroom. Birth control was the fear of hellfire, damnation and syphilis drummed into young boys from an early age, with Rev. Ralph Morgan’s overzealous, detailed descriptions of the titillating temptations they must resist as further confusion.
Mainstream morals and gentle manners share the stage with voodoo superstitions and elaborate pranks in Meador’s world. He charms us with tales of friendship, fast cars and fried chicken and tells of local sharecroppers and tenant farmers who purchase what they need from the general store “on account,” that is, “on account of I don’t have any money.”
Written with humor as well as with love and respect, Meador’s reminiscences are snapshots of a place and time, devoid of clichés or pining for the past, brought to life in the hands of a skilled storyteller.
“What we have here is a poignant, very funny, yet respectful look back at small-town life and characters in the Deep South in the ’30s and ’40s, pre-prosperity, before it was a recognized condition. Meador is a Mark Twain without the river and a Garrison Keillor without the snow... and Baptists instead of Lutherans. I loved this book.”
freelance writer, humorist, and former magazine publisher