I have always admired gloves – their style as well as their ability to keep hands warm, dry, clean and safe – whether for dress, weather, gardening, or cleaning the kitchen.  Gloves were a fashion accessory long before my time, of course; but in the 1950’s and 60’s they were definitely part of any woman’s dress ensemble – in cold or warm weather.  Even as a very young girl I always had white cotton gloves to wear to church on Sunday.  By high school I owned various colored gloves to match certain outfits. Gloves ranged from wrist length to above the elbow, depending on the attire and the event. When I first donned an elegant pair of long white gloves that extended above the elbow to wear with a sleeveless evening gown I felt positively regal! (Even now you can hear me sigh recalling this moment in time……)

I especially loved leather gloves.  There is nothing quite as exquisitely soft as a pair of kidskin gloves – however, owing to their expense; I could only admire my grandmother’s.  Once when I was elected to the Homecoming Court Mama bought me a pair of brown pigskin leather gloves that buttoned at the wrist with a brown pearl button.  I felt very chic!

The only down side of gloves for me was my short stubby fingers which rarely filled out the pinky finger of my leather gloves – and sometimes even the glove’s ring finger was a bit lacking.  I was always left admiring folks whose long tapered fingers made their gloves look so classically graceful.

Gloves I know the least about are boxing gloves.  My cousin Tommy had a pair but he wouldn’t let me wear them and I had to pretend I didn’t give a fig!  But the truth was I really wanted to try them on and punch something – just to see what it felt like.  And, strangely for a little girl, I knew quite a lot about punching because I watched the Gillette Friday Night Fights!  Every Friday night I used to snuggle up on my daddy’s lap to watch the boxing bouts.  Daddy would talk about the various fighters, explain what was happening, and critique their moves as well as the referee. Sometimes he would become animated as he watched. His large muscled arms would move and flex and occasionally he would utter a groan or an exalted “yeah!”  It was dramatic and lively and I loved it!  What I didn’t know as a little girl watching those fights was that he had been a boxer himself. 

Eventually I came to know this fact although I’m not sure how.  Perhaps he or Mama told me at some point but it certainly wasn’t because he ever talked about his career.  In fact he said next to nothing on the subject.  What I know is that sometime after his high school years Daddy began boxing.  He was sponsored by a well to do gentleman from Zebulon, Mr. R.H. Bridgers (who was mayor of Zebulon at some point).  He went on to New York to fight professionally as a heavy weight.  I have pictures of Daddy in the boxing ring looking muscled and handsome but very serious, his gloved fists raised and legs ready to move.  I asked him once why he quit boxing but he frowned, shook his head, and said that “everybody in that business is not on the up and up.”  The end.  I didn’t ask again.

A few years ago Tim Richardson, a fine fellow from Zebulon that I have known most of my life, asked me if I had a picture of my dad in his boxing trunks. I said “yes” I did.  Tim said he’d like have one to hang out in the building behind his home where he houses a ton of memorabilia.  I was happy to accommodate.  I like knowing that someone else admires my daddy as much as I do.

Tim is a couple of years older than me, attended the same school, and married one of my classmates (Sandra Chamblee).  He’s a nice guy – well liked in the community. Tim is also quite a character – full of fun and with a good sense of humor.  Here’s what Tim had to say to me when I delivered the framed boxing picture to him:

“You know, I worked for your Daddy one summer.  Wallace Pearce was a fine man.  And he was strong, too!  And worked hard!  One time I drove one of his dump trucks over to Wendell like he told me to but when I was backin’ under the shelter there I didn’t account for the height of the truck and I tore the roof of that shelter clean off.  Lawd! It like to have scared me to death!  Your daddy was a big man and I was kinda scared of him. I thought I was gonna have a nervous breakdown while waitin’ for him to get there to pick me up.  As soon as he got there I started sayin’ “Mr. Pearce, I’m so sorry. You can take the cost of that shelter out of my pay.”  But your Daddy put his big arm around my shoulders and said, “Boy, that’s why I got insurance!”  And that was the end of it.  He never said another word about me tearin’ that shelter all to pieces.”

“I know somethin’ about your daddy boxin’.  When folks come ‘round here and see this picture of your daddy I’m gonna tell them what a great boxer he was – and that he could’ve been a really great boxer.  My daddy had seen your daddy box and followed his career.  He told me one time that Mr. R.H.Bridgers said ‘I could take Wallace Pearce and whip the world.’  You know he never got knocked out and most times could knock the other guy out by the third round. That summer that I worked for him I asked him about his boxing days and he said ‘listen here. I’m gonna tell you this and then I don’t ever wanna talk about it again. They asked me to throw a fight – they wanted me to lose on purpose. But I got in that ring, punched the guy out, took off my gloves and threw ‘em at ‘em, and said ‘I’m goin’ home!.’  And that’s just what I did.’  After that he never said another word about boxin’ to me and I didn’t ask.  Your daddy was a fine man and he didn’t want nothing to do with somethin’ that was dishonest.” 

I know this statement to be the absolute truth – without a shadow of doubt!

As a boy my daddy was daring and mischievous. He grew up in the country and ran wild over the fields, woods and river.  The games he played with his brothers, cousins and friends were often rough and dangerous. He got into his fair share of scraps with his brothers and schoolmates.  And he got into more than his share of trouble at school.  Even so he managed to learn the lesson of fair play and truth telling very early on and he developed a moral compass that never veered from True North. It guided him through his whole life.

When I think of boxing gloves, I think of my daddy as a strong, capable young boxer who wore those padded leather gloves proudly – until he couldn’t.  Instead he put on a badge of honor and left those gloves behind.


  1. Your dad was a truly admirable man! Thank you for telling his story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was truly my honor and a pleasure. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your father was an upright, honorable person. He wanted nothing to do with a rigged game. By the way, I also used to watch the Gillette fights on the tube. Those broadcasts were an American institution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was indeed a fine man. Thank you. And thanks for your comment on the Gillette fights. I never knew anyone else who watched them – but I remember the crowd of folks there on the tube so I knew there were plenty of someones somewhere who were watching. I had never thought of the program as an “American institution” – your perspective is illuminating!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Judy says:

    That is an awesome accounting of a fine man. I’ve experienced his love & laughter & he taught me a few lessonsbalong the way, too. I’ve seen that picture & he was a mighty handsome man, that Wallace Pearce 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my friend. I had a mighty big heart that embraced so many. Thank you for reading and remembering.


  4. quiall says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your father!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. catterel says:

    A very moving tribute to your father.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. heimdalco says:

    Your dad sounds like a wonderful man … & honest. In reading this I thought about your interest in boxing & how it brought you closer to your dad. Sitting on his lap watching boxing was a closeness that apparently sparked your interest. When you see boxing gloves you always think of him … his strength, his integrity & the love you had for each other. A lovely story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed he was wonderful and honest – probably the most honest person I’ve ever known. Thank you for reading and responding. Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How fortunate you are to have had such a wonderful father!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was, indeed. Thanks for reading. 🙂


  8. Your papa sounds virtuous, and yes, you were most fortunate to have his guidance. I like gloves too. And I have a few pairs of boxing gloves for kickboxing! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! How cool – kickboxing! Impressive.
      Thank you for reading and for your response. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.