The Rock Lady
Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.
Entertaining three children on a newspaper reporter’s salary must have been a challenge for my mother.
We had friends with vacation homes at the beach and at the lake, and they invited us to go with them from time to time. But those trips were few and far between, so Mother created more economical pastimes for us. My brother’s interest in fossils and Indian artifacts was limitless, so often on Sunday afternoons, we would pack a picnic and go to Marion Junction, a small community just outside of Selma.
Marion Junction had roadside cuts rich in lime and a treasure trove of shark teeth. The teeth are relics from an ancient past when most of the southern half of Alabama was underwater. We would spend hours combing the banks along the side of the road for the prehistoric dental remains.
Other Sunday afternoons, especially in the spring when the fields outside Selma were newly plowed, we would hunt for arrowheads. Quartz arrowheads were common, but, on occasion, we would find coveted bird points and Clovis points to add to my brother’s growing collection.
One afternoon while we were scouring a field, some children from across the road came over to investigate our activities. We showed them the little spears we had come in search of, and our new friends began to search along with us. Mother told them she would pay them for the arrowheads they found---10 cents for common ones and a quarter for the special finds.
Those country children were set on becoming young entrepreneurs in the business of Indian artifacts. We would stop by their house, not much more than a shanty, every few weeks to see what they had collected.
When we pulled up in their yard, the children would rush out the door and yell, “Here come the rock lady!”
We would exchange their finds for the agreed upon rate. It was satisfactory for both parties and a grand way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
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–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Dilcy Windham Hilley
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