Everyday of my senior year I traveled the following route: 1- high school for three hours, 2-stop at the store and eat with Aunt Lottie, 3- on to Vo-tech for classes, 4-back to the store to work. Mom and dad expected the route to be adhered to as though it were church.
On a Thursday, I left the high school and went to the store. I ate my usual chicken soup and a Dr. Pepper. Aunt Lottie and I talked. After the usual thirty-five minutes I left and went to school.
Unbeknownst to me, two men had been observing our store (casing the joint) for a couple of weeks. After I left, they came into the store. They proceeded to beat Aunt Lottie with an ax handle. Now, Aunt Lottie had a HUGE hairdo and it took a lot of beating. She realized she was dying and managed to fall over the safe at floor level to protect the money. The robbers grabbed the cash register and ran.
Immediately on the scene, a neighbor realized Lottie was dying and rushed over to my grandmother’s home. My mammy (who had inoperable brain cancer) came over and sat on the steps to send people away. As they had torn the phone from the wall she called for help before she walked over. I still cannot believe she walked over to protect the store or had the presence of mind to call the sheriff’s office.
Ambulance was dispatched. My three uncles had also been called and were in hot pursuit. I am ashamed to say that they beat the robbers after they crashed on the courthouse lawn. The robbers later told the judge that a train hit their car. Which is weird because there was no train in the area. The judge was worried the police had roughed them up. The robbers were worried that my uncles would come back to finish the job.
Before the trial one of the the robber’s father came to try and make amends. He began by saying how sorry he was and how it was a shame that Aunt Lottie would not be able to testify against his son. My mom stopped him and explained that Aunt Lottie was alive. Her big old hairdo had protected her head.