Pusserís younger years
By John Smith
December 12, 1937, marked the day of a legendary hero. Buford Hayes Pusser, the third child of Carl and Helen Pusser, was big all the way from the moment of truth weighing in at nine pounds, six ounces.
The Pusser family worked hard just to make ends meet with Carl working at a sawmill and cutting hair on Sundays for a nickel a head.
As Buford grew a little older, the time for first grade rolled around. Young Buford Hayes refused to enter classes at the Finger Elementary School. Buford told his mother he wanted to stay home with her until he was forty years old, then he would think about going to school. Bufordís mother had to force her young son to enter classes but Buford cried and cried and begged and begged until his mother gave in, removing Buford from school.
Bufordís mother made a deal with Buford. She told him that he could stay home one more year but next school term he had to go, regardless! The following school year Mrs. Pusser entered Buford in school at Leapwood, hoping the new school environment would help Bufordís attitude. Buford remained at Leapwood Elementary until finishing the fifth grade.
Helen registered Buford in the sixth grade at Adamsville Elementary hoping he would adjust well. Bufordís mother said her son rode the bus to and from school but even at the age of eleven he still didnít care too much for school.
When Buford was thirteen years old he was proud to tell his mother and father he had found a job working at a general store in Adamsville called Durenís. Charlie Duren had Buford doing anything from mowing his lawn to trimming hedges to planting his garden.
About the time Buford started his new job, Carl Pusser decided he could not support his family the way he wanted to so he found a better paying job working for a construction cleanup crew in Columbia, Tennessee, leaving Buford and his mother home alone to tend the farm. The two siblings, John Howard Pusser and Bufordís sister Gailya had already left home looking for something they couldnít find in Finger.
Buford and his mother worked together tending to the farm while Carl Pusser worked hard at his new job. One year later Carl decided to move the family to Adamsville. Young Pusser remained in school and upon entering Adamsville High School Buford took an interest in athletics exceeding well in football and basketball. During Bufordís junior year his grades started falling into two subjects. Buford decided to drop out of school and go to work for a pipeline company, leaving his mother disappointed, she agreed to let her son go and do what he thought he needed to be doing.
After a very short while Helen Pusser was very upset with herself for agreeing to let Buford go. She asked her son to come home and enroll back in school but Buford did not want any part of that. Bufordís mother decided to go the the library and borrow school books so she could study and learn herself hoping that one day she could help tutor her youngest son and help him graduate high school.
The young Buford Pusser found out what his loving mother was doing for him and decided very quickly that he needed to go home and do what his mother felt was best, to finishing high school. After graduation Buford decided he wanted to see the world. Still a teenager, Buford joined the Marine Corp. The Corp shipped the eighteen year old young man to Paris Island, South Carolina to do his basic training. Buford only spent 107 days in the Marine Corp since the military doctors discovered Buford has asthma, leaving Buford with a medical discharge from the U.S. Marines.
With Buford out of the marines, he had a new outlook on life. After returning home from South Carolina Buford and Billy Earl Christopher, a friend of Bufordís, decided to make a trip to the Bluff City (Memphis) to see Bufordís sister. While on there way home Buford gets his first taste of hospitals when he and Christopher were involved in a crash resulting in Buford being thrown from the vehicle suffering many injuries.
After spending forty days in the Baptist Hospital, Buford was released to go home. Less than two months later Buford found himself back in the hands of a doctor after being beaten half to death from four thugs at the state line. After the Doctor put 192 stitches in Bufordís head and face, Buford swore then he would get even with the state line mob someday.
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