could give Noah Weaver a dime and he would give it back to you.
Give him a Jefferson nickel and he'd say, "No, thank you." But if
you gave Noah Weaver a buffalo nickel he would take that nickel
and put it in his empty Prince Albert tobacco tin. "You could give
him $50 and he would give it back to you," John Galure remembers.
"But if you gave him a buffalo nickel, he would keep that."
In strict parlance, Noah Weaver was a simpleton and a hobo, but
the community sealed any tears in the safety net he might have otherwise
fallen through. This was a time when people in small town America
took care of their own, and Noah Weaver was Little River-Academy's
Weaver might have been forgotten in time but for an account in Lois
Gainer's book, Lois Gainer Remembers. She wrote: "Weaver
was well known in Bell County and everybody's door was open to him,
whether they knew it or not. "To him, an open door policy meant
he could step inside and make himself at home. If he startled the
house's occupants, as sometimes happened, he would proclaim: 'It's
me! Your double cousin!' Noah Weaver was everybody's double cousin
. . .
Seeing Noah Weaver's name in print brought back a flood of memories
to Galure, who grew up in Little River. "Yes, he called every one
double cousin," Galure remembers. "But he had variations on that,
depending on how you treated him."
Boys who treated Weaver with warmth and respect were referred to
as "Double Cousin Good Boy."
To Weaver, Galure was "Double Cousin Good Boy John." "Some of the
boys picked on him and teased him," Galure says. "Those boys were
known as 'Double Cousin S.O.B."
Galure remembers Weaver as exceedingly polite, about 5-foot-8 and
a little chubby. He generally wore a khaki shirt and khaki pants.
Galure's mother would invite him to have dinner and he would accept,
but he never sat at the table; he took all his meals on the porch
steps. Galure's mother was known as "Double Cousin Good Lady."
A decade's difference in Mrs. Gainer's memories of Noah Weaver and
Galure's might account for some discrepancies He doesn't remember
Weaver ever stepping foot inside someone's house, even when he was
invited. Sue (Taylor) Russell remembers Weaver coming into their
house when she was a little girl, and startling her mother. She
told him never to do that again. He didn't. All parties agree on
one thing - Noah Weaver was exceedingly gentle.
"He carried a cane with him everywhere, and he might use it to push
away the boys who were teasing him, to protect himself, but I never
knew of him to strike anyone," Galure says.
The old community center, where Bliss Hall is now, was once a wooden
structure with front steps shaded by an old oak tree. Weaver liked
to sit on the steps in the shade and gaze across the street where
the old cotton gin used to be.
A block away and within sight was the store owned by R.N. Norrell
Allison. If Noah Weaver had a guardian angel, it was Allison. It
is believed that Allison paid for Weaver's headstone and that he
lived and slept in an old "shack" owned by Allison. Weaver never
initiated a conversation on the steps or on the bench in front of
Allison's store - to do so would be impolite - but he eagerly talked
with anyone who could be bothered to give him the time of day. Compared
to the fates often befalling the mentally ill and homeless in modern
times, Noah Weaver led a charmed life.
As Mrs. Gainer writes, "He was a real live hobo and we loved him."
Any doubts about the last statement can be laid to rest by Mrs.
Russell, who remembers when Weaver was put to rest. Mrs. Russell
remembers at Academy High School were excused from classes to attend