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THERE WAS AN INTERESTING old man who lived in our section and who the neighborhood children called Greasy Mouth. He raised pigs and had a vegetable patch on the hills. He was an honest good old man. To this day, I don’t know why the children called him Greasy Mouth, but the name was passed down with each new set of children.
It was rumored that Greasy Mouth would catch you and put you in a sack. Of course, this was an absolute lie, but children delighted in running from him and giving the appearance to others that they were terribly frightened whenever they spied him.
One day, my cousin, Susie, my sister, Rhett, and I were out on the hills behind our house. Someone yelled, Greasy Mouth is coming! This caused wild consternation. Behind our house was a small stream where we once played in crystal clear water before the dirty suds from a laundry were diverted into it. No one saw Greasy Mouth. In fact, it was not necessary. We all began to run until we came to the stream. No one thought to cross as usual on the rocks. In a hurry, we attempted to jump across. My sister and I cleared the stream, but my cousin missed her jump and fell in, kerplop! She had come to visit us and was all dressed up. We were terribly frightened but somehow we fished her out and managed to get her up to the house where we took off her clothes. We toiled and worked over her apparel until we finally got them dried and got her presentable enough to go home.
Love, Rose Leary. Plum Thickets and Field Daisies: A Memoir. Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1996