HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY

Lacoochee


A Young Boy’s Penalty for Cussing

By ARNO SURLS WEBSTER

In the 1930s, photographers, came to Lacoochee every month or so and took pictures “door-to-door” as did other salesmen trying to make a living. This is one of those pictures, taken in about 1931. It is of my brother, Willie Mason (Bud) Surls standing in front of our house in the Cummer housing quarters. He looks a little teary-eyed because he just got a “whippin’”! He was playing with our mama’s treadle sewing machine and when it pinched his finger he shouted, “I said whoa, dammit!” Mama (Helen Surls) heard him and gave him a lick or two for cussin’. About that time the photographer came by and took the picture - I think it cost Mama ten cents. Afterwards, Mama made him a butter and sugar sandwich “with a “nop” (top) on it - two pieces of bread being a particular treat in those early depression days. That evening, I told Daddy (Bill Surls) my version of the event: “Bud was playing with the sewing machine, which he wasn’t supposed to do, hurt his finger, then Mama gave him a whippin’ and had his picture taken and gave him a sugar-bread for cussin’.”

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