The war in Europe and later the war with Japan ended while The Orphan was finishing Idlewild Grammar School. The world changed from one of rationing, war bonds and fears for our soldiers’ lives to a world of optimism and happiness. The
world also turned to a frenzy of rebuilding and taking advantage of the rapid new learning from the war effort.
On February 20, 1946, The Orphan returned from his sixth grade class at Idlewild to an empty home at 2106 Trimble Place. Lost and confused, The Orphan waited in fearful trepidation for any family member to show up.
Finally, The Forbidding Giant arrived and announced to The Orphan,
“…You have a baby brother…!”
The Orphan was stunned and confused. Where had a baby brother been acquired? The Orphan shouted to The Forbidding Giant,
“…Where is my Mother…?”
The Forbidding Giant answered,
“…She is in the Baptist Hospital where she had the baby…” The Orphan was in a panic because Hospitals were where people went to die and why would his mother go to a Hospital to get a baby?
The Forbidding Giant sneered and laughed,
“…come on, Son, you knew that your Mother was pregnant…”
The Forbidding Giant was wrong because The Orphan did not know what a pregnant was and loudly asked,
“…When will my Mother be home…?”
The Orphan was not yet the suave sophisticated worldly person he would later become. In fact, The Orphan was naive to a fault. The Orphan remembered once having been slapped and rebuked for saying the word “pregnant” and was told it was a “…bad…” word that a boy should not say.
It was a long time before The Orphan was to figure out the nefarious things that would have had to happen for The Mother to get “…pregnant…” The Orphan could not remember the girth of The Mother changing nor did he fully understand the process, although understanding the process would soon begin to
fascinate him. The Orphan was kept in the dark about many things so that he would not know important things --like what pregnant meant.
The Mother returned home with a new brother named David Ray Frazier who was of little use since at first he seemed only be a conduit to turn perfectly good white milk into disgusting smelly wads of yellow stuff while periodically making annoying noises.
Nearly twelve years of age difference made David Ray more a toy than a companion.
The Orphan was to pile presents on the brother and take him to many places when he was little. Later, after David Ray learned to walk and dog the heels of The Orphan, a strong bond of love was formed between them that was intense until The Orphan was deported from home to college when David Ray was only
six years old.
The next school for the Orphan was Fairview Junior High where there was a different teacher and classroom for each subject. The Orphan continued to collect knowledge for The Real Granville to store for use in some as yet undefined future. However, The mainstay of the “formal education” of The Orphan was
books and reading. So, the adventures of The Orphan at Fairview Junior High were mostly attending classes.
Most of the adventures of The Orphan were in the things The Orphan did outside of Fairview Junior High rather than happenings at school. The Orphan discovered another kind of school called “the school of life” taught by an “informal education” of learning from personal experiences.
The Orphan was always “…sent to church…” The Orphan was born not only a Mississippian, but more importantly, a Southern Baptist and -- of course -- a Democrat.
The form of Southern Baptist that The Orphan was born into was “…witnessing, foot washing and revivalist…” Southern Baptists were absolutely sure that their way to believe was the only way to believe, with many denunciations of “…papists who worship idols...,” “…them Mormons with a bunch of wives…,”
“them…Church of Christers…who don’t use music and who yell at their preacher…” and all “other” religions.
There were two churches near the Orphan.
One church, south of The Memphian Theater and west of the intersection of North Cooper Street and Union Avenue, was Union Avenue Methodist Church. The other church, just east of the same intersection and on the same side of the street, was Union Avenue Baptist Church.
Two churches so near each other with almost the same name led to confusion for The Orphan. The Orphan was always efficient and when “…sent to church…” attended the closest one, which was Union Avenue Methodist Church.
Since The Orphan was at this point unaware of any of the Baptists’ teachings about which churches had correct beliefs and which had not, and because The Orphan did not attend Union Avenue Baptist Church, The Orphan was blissful in his ignorance.
Because of this inadvertent mistake, The Orphan was exposed to other views and other friends. The Orphan established a social life.
The Orphan met many new friends at Union Avenue Methodist Church – although most of them were girls. There were “…get-togethers…” hayrides, morning Sunday School, Training Union (night Sunday School), Bible classes, etc., and these provided ample opportunities for what was to become a favorite pastime of
The Orphan – meeting girls. This was the best part of church.
The Orphan was a handsome lad who was well set up and well muscled – though thin -- from hard work both on the farms and in Memphis. The work ethic of The Orphan -- as well as his ready shy smile and politeness -- made parents of young girls look upon The Orphan with favor and without concern for their
daughters’ well being.
Alas, no one handled the well being of The Orphan as he was introduced to social parties, hugging and kissing on church hayrides and some almost religious-like experiences that were perpetrated by the young and newly nubile females. Even The Real Granville was of no help, for at that time, he had no
stored data about such experiences.
There was The Theresa, a tall willowy somewhat flighty blonde whom The Orphan met on a church hayride, who would invite The Orphan to parties. There was little learning directly from The Theresa (she was very willowy) but there was a smorgasbord of other young girls at these parties.
One of the girls in the smorgasbord was the best friend of The Theresa named The Gail, who, from the very beginning, provided an innocently intimate situation for The Orphan and was a great aid in the new experiences. The Gail was not willowy at all.
The Orphan began to drop in at The Gail’s home often – and was welcomed by The Gail as well as by The Mother, named Gertrude Constance Cox -- Connie to her peers (but NEVER Gert or Gertie) – but to The Orphan, “Mrs. Cox.” The Father, named Hansford Cox – was to The Orphan, “Mr. Cox.” For some reason, the
best friendship between The Theresa and The Gail became strained and The Orphan began to be invited to parties by The Gail. The Theresa remained aloof.
The Gail remains a special memory for The Orphan because she was a girl that The Orphan would seek out repeatedly over eight years.
After The Orphan had been attending the Union Avenue Methodist Church for some time, one summer The Mother of The Orphan sent The Orphan, with his “little sister” Romagene in tow, to ”…Vacation Bible School…” at Union Avenue Baptist Church where he did not attend Sunday School. Conversely, The Orphan did
not attend “…Vacation Bible School…” at Union Avenue Methodist Church where he did attend Sunday School.
There was much confusion at Union Avenue Baptist Church since The Orphan showed up at ”…Vacation Bible School…” at Union Avenue Baptist Church but was not a Sunday School member at Union Avenue Baptist Church. Being Baptists, Union Avenue Baptist Church permitted this unusual event.
There was much consternation at Union Avenue Methodist Church because The Orphan was not attending ”…Vacation Bible School…” at Union Avenue Methodist Church – but was attending somewhere else. Part of the confusion was caused by The Orphan’s explanation that “…his Mother made him…”
Imagine the confusion when two friends -- both Sunday School teachers, one Methodist and one Baptist -- while discussing the merits of their favorite students – said simultaneously,
“…how unusual, I also have a student named Granville Thomas Frazier…”
Calls to the mother of The Orphan created a meeting between The Orphan and The Mother where the confused story of The Orphan created open-mouthed amazement followed by significant denial that such a thing could happen.
Exorcism was discussed. What evils had The Orphan been taught?
The Orphan pleaded to continue Sunday School at Union Avenue Methodist Church so he would not lose his friends. Exorcism was again discussed.
The Orphan momentarily considered joining Union Avenue Methodist Church as a tactic. A frenzied scream from The Real Granville to The Orphan peremptorily ordered The Orphan to avoid exorcism, since the only possible thing to exorcise from The Orphan that resembled a demon was The Real Granville.
“…Orphan, see why you are an orphan. If they exorcise me, you will be truly alone. Agree to anything! Tell them you only believe in immersion. Do it now…”
To avoid exorcism, The Orphan agreed to abandon Union Avenue Methodist Church forever and to attend Union Avenue Baptist Church from then forward. Thus, The Orphan started another episode in “the school of life” that was taught by an “informal education” of learning from personal experiences at Union
Avenue Baptist Church.
The Orphan learned from the Baptists that Methodists were not “…saved…” because they were baptized by “…sprinkling…” rather than by “…total immersion…” as well as other blasphemous forms of critical rituals.
In spite of her heretic Methodist religion, The Orphan did continue to see The Gail all through the years of his life on Trimble Place in Memphis – except when he didn’t.
Every so often, due to the possessive nature of The Orphan, he would cause tears from The Gail after questioning The Gail’s fealty because of imagined breaches. The parents of The Gail and The Gail would then deport and exile The Orphan.
But during those exiles, The Orphan would discover sweet substitutes such as Ethel James Buck (“…The Blondie…”), Ramona Paul and others as he continued to broaden his education.