When the going gets tough, the tough get going – the smart find an easier way. THEY DRANK – And some really drank! It seems that in the period of time leading up to the turn of the twentieth century, men fell into two camps – the teetotallers and the drinkers.  (Note - some of the teetotallers made what the others drank!) As had been done since the beginning of time, most men – and woman – worked at demanding physical labor for long hours each day.  And at the end of the day it was not unusual for the men to gather at the local pub or, as it was called in the South at the time, the local beer joint, to sip a few cool ones.  Potters in general and the Browns in particular did partake.  Any way you cut it, many of my male ancestors would fall into the category of “alcoholic”.  There was, however, a matter of degree.  Grandpa loved his beer.  Every day after work he went down to the local beer joint and had a couple of brews.  He came back for dinner and then went back down again to have a couple more, brought 4 or so home and sat eating peanut butter and crackers and argued with the radio - and later the TV - news while finishing these off.  (I got to have a Pepsi with my peanut butter and crackers.  :) On Saturday night he would bring home enough to last him ‘til Monday.  Yet, only once did I see him in a condition I would call drunk.  There was a large gathering of kin in Arden for some reason and someone had brought some hard liquor, something Grandpa rarely drank.  He, and several others, got a snoot full. This beer drinking was always after working hours, never during the working day. The exception was when Uncle Jay would go delivering pottery.  I used to love going with him because I knew that about every hour or so he was going to stop and have a beer - and I would get to have a Pepsi.  He had regular places he stopped on every route and everyone knew him when he walked in.  That was what it was all about – the beer joints.  It was a place much like “Cheers” on TV – everyone knew your name or at least knew your face.  As you walked through the door everyone would acknowledge you were there. This was before TV – social clubs for the more well-to-do and beer joints for the masses were the norm.  It was where they socialized, got their entertainment and much of their news of the world.  And it was a male thing.  Other than an occasional bar maid - which was usually the wife of the owner or the owner herself - there were no women there. Dad followed in their footsteps of loving his beer – having been in the Navy just adding to his habit.  He would have several beers or drinks of something harder every afternoon after he quit working – never during the day. But only on rare occasions did I see any of them drunk. That can certainly not be said about some other members of the family.  Several of Grandpa’s brothers were certified alcoholics and drank everyday.  Some would go weeks  without having a drink and then go on a binge for as much as a week or more at a time, drinking up every penny they had and coming back home only after they could find no one to buy them another drink. My cousin, Jerry Brown down in Hamilton, Alabama, says his Dad would leave him, his Mother and brother to fend for themselves while he was off drinking.  He and his brother went to the school well before anyone else arrived to start a fire to warm the room for a few dollars a month to help them buy food. My Great Uncle Otto and his son, Jimmy, were also hard core drinkers.  Jimmy died at an early age due to complications of alcoholism and Uncle Otto of the same not long after.
BROWN’S POTTERY - from the inside