My father would have been eighty-three years old today. The fourth boy of George and Florette Sayles Strickland, Norman grew up on the family farm outside of Chase City, Virginia. When the eldest brother, Sidney, got to seventh grade, George decided to buy a bus and transport his children and those of his neighbors into the city schools. Within a few years George had at least four buses and was responsible for closing several area one room school houses.
During high school Norman drove bus #3; his pals Charles Duckworth and Grayson Mullins also drove buses for my grandfather. Charles related in a June 8, 2010 letter that all the guys had nicknames — Norman was “Chick”, a kick off from Strick; Charles was “Duck” and Grayson was known as “Moon”.
After Chick, Moon and myself had finished our school routes, we each had two routes, we would gather in one of the buses to wait for the bell to ring. On one morning it was noticed that I had on mismatched socks. The three of us decided to wear our socks mismatched the next day. We did and with in a few days all the high school was dressed in mismatched socks.
My father was a good kid, quiet, reserved and never in trouble. In fact, those are adjectives that probably described my dad every day of his life. Norman was also responsible, smart, caring, and ever ready to lend a hand and share a smile —
a true friend to a host of people.