No Hill Too High for a Stepper: Memories of Montevallo, Alabama
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Born during the Great Depression, Mike Mahan was in many ways a very lucky boy. His parents, a barber and a beautician, owned their own shop and home, always providing ample food, clothing, and warmth. No Hill Too High for a Stepper is not, then, the usual story of economic or family struggle, but rather a celebration of life in Montevallo, Alabama, during the thirties, forties, and fifties. It paints excellent portraits of unusually supportive parents as well as of other family members and townspeople, creating a detailed sense of small-town life during this period. At the heart of this book is an absorbing depiction of an irrepressible child and adolescent who approached all of life with a great sense of wonder and who meant to live it to the fullest. Throughout the memoir, the reader comes to see the richness of this life and the pride with which Mahan remembers it.
McMillan, Joan 8 McMillan, Malcolm 68 McMillan, Norman 8, 9 McQueen, June 106 Merchants and Planters Bank 187, 201, 266, 284, 290, 306 Meridian, Mississippi 16, 17 Meroney, C. L. 86 Methodists, Methodism 29, 71, 76, 175, 257, 263 Mexico 70, 73, 307 Middle Street 108, 113, 121, 129, 258 Miller, Harry 23, 60, 170, 173–175 mining 25, 35, 97, 109, 154 Miss Lilly (fisherwoman) 239 Mitchell, Dr. (dentist) 110, 244 Mitchell, Eleanor 132, 133, 157, 259 Mobile, Alabama 45–46, 50–51, 51–53,
anything to Tootsie. Dad loved Tootsie and Sister as if they were his own daughters. His will stated that when he died the house on Shelby Street would be shared equally by the two girls and me. Tootsie on Dog River. One of the highlights of my Mobile visits was going to Captain Hargrove’s Dog River cabin. Tootsie married Sidney Hargrove, whom she met while teaching in Mobile. The two were wed in a ceremony at the Methodist Church in Montevallo, and I remember distinctly the rice showering
Street, too. When its bells were rung modestly on Sunday morning, I thought they sounded tinny and greatly inferior to those at the Methodist and Baptist churches. But still I thought the place superior. Perhaps it was distinguished by the people who belonged to it. I would see Dr. Harmon, president of Alabama College, getting out of his long black car and entering the church with great dignity, and I loved watching the Presbyterian college girls, dressed in hats and gloves, strolling down the
Mr. Tidwell. Billy’s classmates were up in arms about his punishment, thinking it grossly unfair. Billy’s vocabulary outstripped that of most of the rest of us. Once I was on the glassed-in back porch of the infirmary with Billy when he looked down to the pasture where the college’s cows grazed. He turned to me and said, “Behold yon quadrupeds.” I guessed what he was talking about and retained the word long enough to tell my friends what he said. Soon the story circulated throughout town. Billy
Johnson, my drinking mentor, and Johnny Litton, a Wilton resident experienced in all the ways of consuming the “nectar of the gods.” I asked the Tri-Delt to dance. Sister had taught me well, and I could tell how impressed she was with my jitterbugging and bopping. I thought others were watching in admiration as well. I was getting a nice buzz from the beer, but I wanted more than a buzz so I excused myself and went down to the basement for another beer. As I left the room, I noticed that the