Clarence Poe Carawan, known mainly by everyone as "C.P.",

was born August 19, 1914; and passed December 12. 1969.



 Dad was born and raised in Swan Quarter, N.C.. The busy ferry to the Outer Banks leaves this small farming/fishing town. He grew up on a farm, but spent

his summers shrimping in Pamlico Sound on a shrimp trawler his family owned.

Pamlico Sound lies between the mainland and Cape Hatteras.


 We loved our trips from our home in Camden, S.C. to stay on the family farm with our grandmother Mable, especially at Christmas. Dad had three brothers;

Milton, Leland and Junior who also lived on farms in Swan Quarter.

Talk about lots of family, with lots of kids, and lots of fun.


                                       JOHN LELAND CARAWAN, JR. (1920-1975)

                                       MILTON O. CARAWAN (1911-1978)

                                       CLARENCE POE CARAWAN (1914-1969)

                                       LELAND B. CARAWAN (1908-1971)









This is the home my family moved into when we moved to Camden, S.C.

in 1950. My twin brother and I started first grade here. Recently

noticed it was for sale. Seeing this photo brought back many

fond memories. It looks exactly as I remember.



Growing up I remember dad sharing his love of wildlife. He would point out different birds and their habits, identifying their calls. One time, for several evenings, I kept hearing a certain beautiful bird call coming from woods at the end of a dirt road. When dad got home I told him about it and we listened for a while and finally heard it. He told me it was a wood thrush, and was one of the most enchanting bird calls that you would ever hear. To this day, I never hear a wood thrush call without thinking of that incident we shared together...many years ago.

I remember one particular night during the winter of 1956, I was on our back enclosed porch with windows that ran all the way around. All of a sudden I saw something white swoop past a window. I grabbed a flashlight and walked out in the back yard. Shining around up in the trees I soon spotted a large white owl resting on a tree branch. I could not believe my eyes! I knew that in my "Golden Book of Birds" there is a Snowy Owl. But they live way up north!


After a few minutes the owl flew away. I told my dad about what happened and he didn't have a lot to say at the time. I am sure that he knew their range was way up north. But, a couple of weeks later my dad came to me and said he had just read an article in a newspaper which said that the population of lemmings, a small animal which is the main diet of snowy owls, was drastically low. This had caused the owls to move way out of their range searching for food. It said they had been seen as far south as northern Florida. Dad then said, "So son that was a snowy owl that you saw! I am sorry that I had any doubt about it."

Southern Flying


Another time dad brought home a couple of baby flying squirrels that someone had found. He made a large cage for them with branches inside for them to climb on and a large can for them to sleep in. They had free run of the house. Jumping from the top of window curtains and gliding to the sofa. Hiding pecans all around the house. 

They were great pets!


Dad welded a long metal frame which held a green plywood top for playing ping pong. It was placed on a screened-in porch, which meant no bugs or mosquitoes during the summers. The whole family enjoyed this activity for many years, both day and night.


Dad was also a very good cook, and had his own special dishes which he prepared from time to time. When peaches were in season he would spend a whole weekend slicing and cooking peaches in their own thick sweet syrup, and then canning them in Mason jars by the dozens. He would set aside plenty for the family, but then shared plenty with friends and neighbors who looked forward to them year after year. 


I fondly remember many trips to the seashore in order to go "crabbing" which is much more interesting than fishing. Dad loved all these times together. And of course, after boiling...the crabs were delicious! Eaten right out of the shells.



Dad and my mother divorced in 1958 after about 23 years of marriage.

He had a drinking issue which, to his huge credit, he

completely overcame in his later years.











This is what a man in a movie theater restroom

told me after asking me if I was C.P. Carawan's son.


Growing up I remember trips my dad made to

The US Patent Office in Washington, D.C. working on patents.



Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and grinders, to produce precision metal parts. The machinist refers to blueprints and performs the same machining operations that were used to create the original part in order to create the replacement. On Atomic submarines the Machinist Mates can make anything the submarine may need for repairs. Which includes any machine part.  


I remember pictures showing that in the 40's, when my older brother and sister, David and Gloria, were kids, dad made a small military jeep the two of them could ride in which was battery powered. Dad cut and welded the steel for the body and frame. Absolutely amazing! It looked like it had come off an assembly line.







Our move from Summerville, S.C. to Camden was because of dad's new job with this company running their machine shop. They had huge equipment and one of the reasons he was hired was because the company had ordered a huge shovel/crane, as large as a small house, from a company in France. It showed up in many large crates, and it was one of dad's jobs to assemble this machine. It didn't move on traditional treads but actually "walked". After dad put it together, which took months, and while moving it to a new dig site, it had to walk across a paved road and the weight cracked the asphalt from one side to the other. Of course the company paid for the road to be repaired.

 Every now and then my brother and I loved going out in the country with dad on Saturday to spend time at his work. We loved watching the earth movers and other heavy equipment. Particularly the huge shovel I just told you about! We also loved going through large piles of discarded rocks looking for quartz. Between the two of us, we had quite a collection. Dad would sometimes bring home very large solid quartz stones. What a treasure! The company had no use for them since they sold only truckloads of sand and gravel.


Dad worked for this company for many

years...until his divorce was final.





After the divorce dad moved back to Summerville and went to work running the machine shop for this company, which made bricks. The company had a large area right next to the building where dump trucks were constantly dumping the clay used to manufacture the bricks. A crew of about twenty men spent their workday loading their wheelbarrows and hauling them inside the building. There was a steady line of men coming and going. If it rained, they had to stop until the clay dried out. And production stopped inside when they ran out of dry clay for the recipe. The rainwater affected the recipe for making bricks and could weaken them. The rain of course was a big problem which could last for days, if not weeks.


Dad told me by phone that he had come up with an idea the owner was thrilled with and had already given approval for dad to construct it. Dad said it would take months to construct, and he couldn't wait for me to see it after completion.


When I did see it, the finished results were unbelievable. He had constructed very tall metal beams supporting a large corrugated metal roof on top. The roof way overlapped the area for the large piles of clay. So there was no way the clay could get wet from rain. The roof was high enough that the dump trucks could back under and dump the clay.


Attached under the roof was a very long beam on a track which allowed it to move completely from left to right over the yard. Attached to that beam, on a track, was a huge double scoop which could travel back and forth the whole length of that beam. All of this was controlled from one seat with hand levers. After the scoops had picked up a full load of clay from any spot in that yard, it was dropped on a conveyor belt which carried it inside the plant. A one man job.


I remember being so grateful that those twenty men now had the opportunity to do more with their lives than fill and haul wheelbarrows hour after hour, day after day. What a blessing!


What dad had constructed had a huge impact on this company's productivity, and therefore its profits. The fact that rain had no more effect, was a substantial benefit.


Dad worked for this company for quite a few years,

until he opened his own machine shop.





The summer after finishing High School, I went down to Summerville to stay with dad and work at his own fully equipped machine shop. He started teaching me how to weld, for which he said I was a natural. My dad and I shared a taste for Southern barbeque, so at least one day each week we would shut down for lunch and enjoy a plate at our favorite restaurant. Dad loved history, so every now and then we would go to some historical sight and explore together.


Right across the road from the shop was a Goodyear Plant which manufactured tires. One day, one of their trucks pulled in front of the shop and two men walked in to talk to dad. We then walked out to their truck and looked at what appeared like five metal "rolling pins". They said they were bearings in a large machine which were worn way down from use. They were getting ready to order five new bearings at over a thousand dollars each ( a lot of money in the 60's) and then wondered if there was anything my dad could do. Dad told them, " You can pick them up in a week and they will be good as new. It will cost you a total of $500. for the five bearings." Of course they were thrilled. They carried them into the shop and gave dad the exact measurements for new bearings.


After they left, dad said, "Son, you're going to do this job." He then set one of the bearings up on a table between two vice grips. Each grip holding one of the pins on either side. Then he instructed me how I was to weld a bead down the length of the shaft of the bearing (about two feet) and then come back and weld another bead right beside that one. And then on and on until I had gone all the way around the shaft. Then I would start over again welding a bead down the shaft, on top of the previous welds, and then another bead right next to it, putting the new beads into the grooves left between the older beads, on and on till going around the whole shaft again. And then repeating the process over and over. All the while this was building the shaft larger and larger, with dad measuring every little while to see the progress. Finally, dad measured and said the shaft was done with welding since it was now much larger than the finished shaft would be.


So we took that bearing off and put the next one in the grips, and started the same long process over again. I was able to complete one a day, which altogether took five days for the five bearings.


Then dad put each very rough bearing on a steel lathe, and meticulously shaved it down, measuring after each cut, until he trimmed them down to the thousandth of an inch required for the precise measurement of a new bearing. The five finished shafts were smooth as glass.


When the two men returned to pick them up, they could not believe they were the same worn bearings they had dropped off. When they paid the $500. in cash, dad kept $200. for the business and handed me $300. for the job, and said, "That is for doing such a great job."


I worked for him that summer but then we regretfully came to the realization that he could earn a good steady income for himself. But, not enough to pay a good salary/benefits for another. So I moved back to Camden and began a new job, which I worked at for about twenty years, progressing up to Manager over Ware-house and Shipping.


Dad ran the shop successfully for

a few years...until his passing.





Looking back on this period in my life. Even though dad lived in another part of the state and therefore my brother and I grew up without dad in our everyday experience. I never felt like I grew up without a dad. I always knew that he loved and cared for our family. I felt that personally.


While we were in high school, my brother and I went down to stay with him for weeks at a time over the course of two summers. We had a blast! On one of these visits, Mr. Salisbury the owner of the Brick Corporation lived right across the highway from the business and he asked my dad if my brother and I could mow a large field next to his gorgeous home. The grass was waist high! So dad took us over and got the large riding lawnmower set up for us. The last thing he said to us before driving off was, "Leave the mower in low gear. You don't need to go any faster than that!" Of course the minute his truck disappeared out of sight, we mowed a huge winding race track, and took turns racing around it in high gear. But while my brother was racing he hit a hole and broke the front wheels axle in two. We dreaded having to tell our dad, but had no choice. I walked over to the shop and told him about the accident, of course without mentioning the speed. He did not react, but said, "Lets throw a welder into the truck and go fix it." When we got over to the field of course he saw the "racetrack" but said nothing. He welded the axle back together and said, "Now it is stronger than before the break! So you two boys can get the grass cut" and smiled as he said, "and leave it in low gear this time." Later he praised us for doing such a good job.


In explaining why my dad didn't over-react. I figure that dad saw he and his brothers doing the "racetrack" and "racing" under the same circumstances. Therefore there was no time for "preaching" or "hypocrisy." Just getting things "fixed" and then just moving on. Hopefully with lessons learned.


I remember dad told me about one of his most unusual jobs in his early days. He got a call from a bank president because the keys to the vault got locked inside and there was no timer. Dad said he took a cutting torch and a welder with him. In one spot he opened up the wall which covered the side of the vault. With the cutting torch he cut a round hole in the vault just big enough for him to slide inside. He had a flashlight and opened the door from the inside. He handed the keys back to the president and then welded the cut round metal piece back into the vault wall. The bank had the outer wall patched and repainted. He said it was the only time he ever "cracked" a safe.


I remember one time I was in the pool room one night shooting. I heard the pay phone on the wall ring up front but thought nothing of it. The owner answered it and called, "Bill it is for you." Answering I was touched to hear that it was Dad just checking with me to find out how things were going. We had a very nice, lengthy conversation.


I remember dad telling me once, "After the divorce, I used to worry about you two boys growing up and how you were doing. But I knew the dads of a lot of the kids you two went to school with, and I used to keep up with the two of you through them." Dad said that one of these dads told him, "You certainly don't have to worry about those two boys, I hear they can take very good care of themselves." Dad finished by telling me, "As your dad, I certainly loved hearing this!"




Even though this "dedication" was way over-due,

I have always cherished it...in my heart.










is published by




    William F. Carawan

     "Poetry Guy" 


All rights reserved

Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A.