To the Editor: Thank you, Locketts

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I’ve put off writing this because it brings back a lot of painful memories. The nightmare in Charlottesville the weekend of August 12 changed all that.

My family lived just off Route 250 not far from Greenwood. Dad worked at Cockrell Chemical Co. One day in 1963 he went to work—”late on a Monday morning.” He did his normal routine up on the tank—except someone had already done it while he “was not there.” The tank exploded—blew him off the ladder onto concrete. Chemicals damaged his eyes. He had a wife with four children and another on the way. No income, no groceries.

And all of the sudden, EVERY FRIDAY we had company. A black man that Dad worked with at Cockle—Lucian Lockett and his wife Minnie, along with their young son (Bucky?). They brought BOXES AND BAGS of food. Every Friday. For I don’t remember how long. They kept us from starvation.

I’ve spent 31 years in factories and I understand better now that (hopefully) Lucian and Minnie didn’t take us on completely by themselves, and perhaps there was a pass the hat around the factory thing. But all my days I have known that if not for Lucian and Minnie Lockett we would have starved to death. They shaped my world in ways a lot of people should experience.

Though Lucian and Minnie are likely long dead (as are my parents, Hiram and Louise Meadows), to any of their descendants or relatives, I never forgot what they did for us. Thank you. God’s got you.

And now we have Charlottesville. The bitter, the hatred, the arrogance. They quite obviously haven’t had as many cold, hungry, Virginia mountain, “when will this end” days that I had. Lucian and Minnie Lockett were my heroes. This thank you is long overdue.

And to Bucky: remember they would put sheets over the clothesline like a tent, for us to camp out. After darkness descended, the fear of bears would run us back indoors, every time. Laugh with me.

Janie Meadows
Four Oaks, NC

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