Snipe Hunting in 1932
by Robert Shackles

Written to Becky Shackles:

July 28, 2001

Things started getting really bad for us in Sedalia when we moved from
Inghram street to 15th St.   To put this in perspective it was my first
year to start to school so I was six years old and your grandfather
Charles was 4 1/2 years old and the year was 1932.  Our father [your
great grandfather] Clyde Shackles had a job selling blankets but he must
have done poorly at it because he never had any money and it was the
first time we could remember being hungry most of the time.  We had a
round table in the kitchen of our 4 room house and on occasion Our
father Clyde would have enough money to buy some navy beans and our
mother Marie [your great grandmother] would cook them for one meal.  We
only had two chairs and our Father Clyde would sit at the head of the
round table and our Mother Marie would sit at the other end.  All us
boys Bill, Kenneth, Robert, Charles, Johnny Carl, and Richard would
stand at the table to eat.  Our Father Clyde would ration out the beans
to each one of us.  On rare occasion we would have a loaf of unsliced
Tastee bread to go with our beans and our father Clyde would slice off a
hunk for each of us. This was a real treat [bread & beans]  no
seconds.    I remember only one time we had icecream and your
grandfather ate it so fast he keeled over.  Another time while standing
at the table a mouse ran up his overall pant leg and he went wild
spilling his soup we were eating.
Money was something we just didn't have.  A penny was a treasure because
you could buy a bubble gum or choose from a big selection of candy
for a penny.  It was while we were trying to make money that we
learned to go snipe hunting.  Snipe's were cigarette butts that we would
hunt for along the streets in Sedalia.  We would take these butts and
remove the unsmoked tobacco and put it in a "Bull Durham" tobacco sack
and when we got a sack full we could sell it for 3 or 4 cents.  During
the depression most people rolled their own cigarettes. Our Uncle Earl
would always buy a sack of tobacco from us when he had the money.
Needless to say we were always walking the streets of Sedalia looking
for snipes especially Broadway the heavy traveled street.  Broadway at
this time was a brick street.  Your grandfather Charles was bowlegged
but he could keep up with us and he was a good snipe hunter. He always
shared in the pennies. One summer day he and I was snipe hunting on
Broadway and we were teaching another kid we had met to hunt snipes.
Your grandfather Charles spotted a pretty long snipe across the street
and told this kid to go get it.  This inexperienced kid  [being excited]
took off across the street right in front of a big old car.  The car hit
him with a bang and the big headlight on the car shattered where it hit
him and then the car ran over him.  The driver stopped as fast as he
could and when he jumped out of his car your grandfather and I took off
running for home.  The police came to talk to us the next day but we
said we saw nothing and could tell them nothing.  Sure,  we saw the
whole thing and your grandfather and I have always wondered what
happened to that kid.  After that we kept the snipe hunting to ourselves.