Little Bobby Tolbert

Remembrances of my childhood...

 I just remember a few things about Bobby Tolbert and our school days at old Rosemont Elementary School.  We weren’t close friends to the point that we spoke each day or were ‘best buddies’ or anything like that.  I believe he may have even been in a grade ahead of me, I’m not sure.  He didn’t have a lot of friends, was not as personable maybe as most the other kids, in fact I think he may have had trouble with the assignments, the teachers or maybe even school in general.  I never heard of him again after I entered Junior High so I don’t know what ever became of Bobby.

I just always knew him as little Bobby Tolbert

 He lived right up against the Beaver Creek Knobs just 3 or 4 blocks up in front of the school.  I don’t think he had brothers or sisters and there were no neighbors within 3 – 4 hundred feet or more.  The house where he lived was up on a rise off street level and I always remember seeing smoke coming out the chimney like maybe his mom cooked on an old wood stove or something.  I don’t believe electricity run up to his house and I don’t remember hearing any of the kid’s folks ever speak anything about him or his folks.  I just always knew him as little Bobby Tolbert.

I remember seeing him walking all alone

 I remember he never ate lunch in the lunch room with the rest of the kids and I just suppose he went home or carried a ‘sack lunch’ or something.  The one thing that makes everyone remember little Bobby for was the day he came to school smelling like a skunk.  Oh, he didn’t stay long, I remember seeing him walking all alone up Alder Street, which just ran for two blocks, from the front door of the school up to Windsor Avenue where he would turn to the right and go down Windsor for a few blocks before leaving the road and going up a foot path to his house on the little rise I mentioned earlier.   But back to that smell, I still remember it and wonder why he even came to school that day?

It just lingered in the halls...

All the kids and the teachers were wondering where that awful smells originated. I remember just hearing others say that little Bobby had been sprayed by a skunk. Well, Miss Bunn the principal said he would have to leave school because the odor was causing a great disturbance. I’d say it was, and the fact that he left the school alright, but, he didn’t take all that smell with him. It just lingered in the halls and in Miss Wilson’s third grade class. Some of my friends said it was making them sick and Mr Carriger, the janitor, tried to dust Bobby’s desk and he swept and used the dust mop everywhere Bobby had stepped as he walked into and out of school that morning.

I don’t remember ever seeing him again.

 The smell wasn’t as bad the next day.  Nor the next and everybody just didn’t mention it again.  All I remember was that suffocating smell that day, and accepting the statement I heard that little Bobby Tolbert must have been sprayed by a skunk.  What else could it have been?  Neither teachers nor students ever said one way or another what really happened that day the whole school stunk.  I don’t know if Bobby ever came back or not and I don’t remember ever seeing him again.

More by this Author

  • "Be'n Sick Just Ain't No Fun"

    In, "Be'n Sick Just Ain't No Fun", I try to relate that sickness even after childhood can derails plans and activities we have planned for our lives, even for writers...

  • Does Birth Order Really Make a Difference

    In, 'Does Birth Order Really Make a Difference' I pose a personal example of comparison. There are certain stigmas associated with birth order...

  • The Tree House

    In the childhood story, The Tree House, I try to convey a time in the early life of a young boy and his friends growing up in the early 1950’s in upper east Tennessee. A time of freedoms and carefree life styles...

Comments 21 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 6 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Poor Bobby, I know he must have had a bad hair day for sure.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

Thanks Fiddleman, I'd say he did...

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

From that day on, samsons, he must have been known as "Little Stinky Bobby Tolbert." Thanks for the fun read.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks drbj for you visit and comments...

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Samsons, this article made me think of how cruel kids are to one another in the formative years of our lives. I wasn't popular, or unpopular, I just was. The kids didn't give me a special nick name of cruelty like other kids had to carry life with, but I just didn't have any friends that I connected with and I find those years of my life just years when it comes to school and friends. I do remember that as kids we were cruel and I pity the hair lip and the ones with names that rhymed with something unpleasant as it was always things like that, that seemed to make or break a reputation. Quite sad when I think about it now, but it seems things run full circle as it turns out, at least for me, I don't care much for the social status that the proud still hold against the different folks in life, I find it strange, still after all these years, my class reunions happen 2 hours from here, I went once and found I was the odd man out in boots and Levis and a t shirt amidst the fine clothes and all the success stories that remind me of all the folks returning from Vegas either winners or at least broke even by having their trip paid in full by their winnings. I knew what I heard them speak about was all a smoke screen as I've lived life and I know it isn't all that grand and sweet for an entire bunch of people and was rather put off by all the glory. Like Bobby Tolbert I was a ghost in the crowd, not really remembered for anything and recognized by few that I had even been there at all, and I still get the annual invitation but can find no reason to go. Most likely like Bobby. I see folks enjoyed the funny side of your article but I wonder is it all that funny? I didn't worry with bullies or being the butt of the jokes for the most part I walked the halls a ghost remembered for nothing, and it is a position that I actually prefer, does that make cents? 50

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

samsons1: How nice after all this time for you to remember your friend.

Brother Dave.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks 50, I felt a tear well up as I read your comments and I agree life is to short to not try and find at least a little good in all who cross our paths. Your a good man '50' and I count it an honor to call you friend...

and thank you Bro Dave, memories can make you glad and a little sad all the same.

blessings to you both...

lifegate profile image

lifegate 6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


I always thought skunks were cute. I love the picture you included. But for cute things, they sure can smell. Thanks for the read.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks lifegate for your visit and your comment; I guess one could say that 'looks are deceiving'...

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

well another wonderful well written piece must have been a "bad day"

Kristeen profile image

Kristeen 6 years ago from Michigan

Poor little Bobby. We had a dog get sprayed by a skunk once and it was not pretty. It's bad stuff! It can make people sick too. It seems like it would have made Bobby sick himself.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

*thanks Rebecca for your comments, it was a very 'bad day'...

*thanks Kristeen, some did clam to be sick and nothing seemed to eradicate that odor...

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Enjoyable read!!!

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks carolina for your nice comment...

cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Great hub. I am deeply touched by the boy's story wondering what happened to him. Thank you for sharing this segment of your childhood days. Blessings to you.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks cristina327, for your sincere comments. I ask my sister about the family, she had heard of him, but don't know whatever happen to him.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

The thing that haunts me about your story is that the child never came back after that day. There is something rather strange about that.Was he ever declared missing?(I'm thinking he tried to wash in deep water to get rid of the stink.) Did the family move away?

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks bayoulady, for your visit and your comments. I never heard about him again, I ask my sister - she remembers the name but don't know what ever happened to him or his family. They must have moved, because another family moved into that house. It must have been about 2 - 3 years later. The family name was Moore, and there were two children my age, Paul & Mavis Moore, that went to school with me as long as I lived in Bristol...

bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA I said,it just seemed strange that that was the last time you saw him.

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee Author

thanks again bayoulady, strange(?) I don't think so, I don't know anyone who could get close to him or his family. Please re-read the opening paragraph...

Judicastro profile image

Judicastro 6 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

Here I am Johnny come lately, just now getting over to your side of town Samson dear! Oh I can so smell that skunk. Our golden retriever got skunked and poor girl she couldn't stand herself nor could we. Tomato juice but sure took a lot of it. Hey Samson when you get a chance stop by my hub and read my last hub I wrote on 10/10. When I mentioned it to Quill he said he hadn't gotten the notice and I'm thinking you didn't either. Thanks once again Samson for a great read!

I'm with you Bayoulady, does seem strange, poor bobby!!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article