Prepared by Hugh Keedy and Jessie Bennett
Co-directors: Bethesda Museum
Annie Lou McCord
My early life in Detroit
I was born in Marshall County and raised there. I met my husband in Detroit. He was from Williamson County. I had an aunt, Uncle Raymond's wife, who was on vacation out here. She was 19 years old and had a 19 months old little boy and twin girls. Some of the family had brought her down and when she had to go back to Michigan, they insisted that I go with her to help her with the babies. I went and I stayed. That's how I got to Detroit. I got a job and worked up there for a year in S.S. Kresge's, which now is K-Mart. I enjoyed the work. It was in a Jewish community. Nothing but Jewish people, and they were all just as nice as they could be. I went up in 1937, married in 1938, and stayed in Detroit for ten years.
We had to leave Detroit on account of my health; I couldn't stand Michigan. I was kind of dreading coming back because I didn't know anybody. We had gone to Detroit and stayed ten years, so when we came back I only knew my husband's people and a few people right around there. So, much of what I know is what has been told me. One thing--I had always heard that Little Texas was rough and Cross Keys was rough and drank a lot and gambled a lot. Well, back in those days they did everywhere, to some extent.
We came back and stayed six months over at Eagleville. We ran a store for Mr. Crosslin over there. He had a new subdivision built. We got a house that wasn't even finished and lived there six months. We came back to Eagleville in July, and in January we moved up here and rented from Miss Fannie Anderson for ten years. Then we rented on Pull Tight Road for two years and then we bought this, the old Irving house. [Jean Sander's interview includes more about this.]
My son had two Guernsey cows that he milked and sold cream when he was just nine or ten years old. That's how he got his start, milking and a little runt pig in a tobacco box that T.R. Clendenney gave him. He had nice brood sows and had three litters of pigs, so he got his start to buy his first car when he was a kid.
Then when my grandkids came along and started to school I was grandma Hargrove and I'm still grandma Hargrove to Hickman and Ronny and Josey Spears and Kenny Daniel and all them boys who used to come and play with our kids. All the school boys and little girls would come and play. They still come and eat with us occasionally and bring their babies when they have a baby and all that. I've got some of the baby pictures hanging around now of the kids to who we are still grandma Hargrove and pappy.
The Cross Keys store
I believe it was a Turner that built the log store, the first one. I think Joe Trice got it, and then Trav and Bud McCall bought from him. Then T.R. Clendenney bought from him.
I don't know when the store was built but I know it started out with a log store down back of James Trice's yard, toward Bethesda a little bit. The old rocks were still there and there was an old dug well here. That was the first store. I think an old Mr. Turner had that store--maybe John Turner. [Jessie: Harry Grigsby and John Williams had the store there in the thirties, but that was later.] Wilton Johnson was running it, and we took over from Fulton, well actually Joe Trice. Fulton just run the store. We started in 1947 and went for 10 years. We sold out to William Marlin and they sold out to Hugh Hawkins, I think, and then he sold to Robert A. Flippen. Later Robert A. had the store torn down and built a new one. He was in the old store at first. There was a big water tank right at the back door. [Jessie: there were old logs out on the front porch that we all used to sit on.] Robert A. must have built his store before the other one was torn down, because he would have had his stock to move. [Jessie: it was in the late '50s.]
We came in 1947 and bought the store. It was run down. There wasn't anything in there, much. Very little was there when we bought it because they were going to get rid of it and they let the stock run down. I had never clerked in a country store; neither of us knew a thing about it. We had a lot of learning to do. I did some crazy things. I think Jessie's mother could tell you a lot about our running the store.
This was a big two story building where the two pine trees are at James Trice's house now. It was in the road, almost. It had an upstairs to it, and that's where we kept the stock. As we needed it we would bring it down. We found a lot of old shirts with what years and years ago they called celluloid collars. I think you buttoned it in back and then you snapped it on. We found a bunch of them. We found a lot of bills from whoever had run the store in years before, up in the logs upstairs. There were bills where they had took eggs to Nashville. Back then you hauled them on a wagon. And, they would sell meat or hams for ten cents a pound, eggs for a nickel a dozen, and such as that.
The Lewisburg paper not long ago had a whole section of 50th anniversaries, people who had been married 50 years. One of my cousins was one of them, and he had in his write-up that they walked about three miles to what they called a rolling store. It traveled the roads in what was either a converted school bus or a big old truck. They carried their eggs in buckets or something to sell them but they got turned down. He said, " I've been feeding them to the hogs; I can't take them to Nashville. They are flooded with eggs at two cents a dozen." They needed to sell them to get a 15 cents a pound of coffee, maybe. And, the prices have changed since we had the store, ha, and they'll change before somebody else gets in there, I guess.
We were general merchandise. We had over the counter drugs: aspirin tablets, BCs, tonics, and all that. Clothing, all kinds of dry goods, shoes, ammunition. Mr. Joe Trice couldn't handle dynamite in Franklin but we could out here in the country. So, through him we furnished the electrical company the dynamite. We didn't keep the caps there, so there wasn't any danger. He wanted us to, but no, I didn't want that.
We had stamps and of course paper and envelopes. A lot of the school girls--I won't call their names--had their boy friends. One of them lived in Florida and her daddy and mother didn't want her corresponding with him. But, she'd leave her letter there and I'd stamp it and put it in the mail for her. There were just so many things like that.
We had a community of good honest people. Jessie can tell you we had good honest people as far as paying their debts is concerned. I don't know otherwise. I know one man, when we went out of the store owed us $1.83. He wasn't a big spender. He bought what he had to have and he didn't let it run over too long.
Now, we carried so many people a year, many people. Take Uncle Will; he had sheep, goats, cattle, tobacco, and hogs and was always selling livestock. He would run his bill for the whole year. He didn't want to see a ticket on that livestock--nothing. He would haul cottonseed to the mill, and get cottonseed hulls to feed his cows. Sometimes Lee, his son, would go with him to help load his stuff. They would go at night and get in line to get the hulls in Nashville. When the end of the year come we had a settlement. We kept up with everything and there was never any complaint. We'd give him all the bills at that time, but I don't think he could read anyway.
One time a man owed us four hundred and something dollars, and it come out in some odd cents. He came back and said, "I believe you made a mistake, Miss Agnes." We kept little tickets, you know so I said, "well, let me go over it." I took them to the kitchen down at the house and set down where I wouldn't hear all the talking and noise at the store. I went over it once and it came out fine. I went over it twice, and the third time I had made a three cent mistake in that. He thought I had made like a couple of hundred dollars. But, he didn't get ill about it because somebody had just missed figures. The tickets-- you'd get one and I'd keep one. That's the way that was.
We had a few drifters, just a few. One time a man lived in the neighborhood, but he didn't belong in our neighborhood, let's put it that way. This was a close knit neighborhood. He wanted some gas and cigarettes, and when I went out to pump his gas I saw that the car was full of clothes in the back--boots and everything. I guess he thought I saw that. He wasn't sharp or he wouldn't have said a word, but he said, "I'm taking a bunch of my clothes to the cleaners." I said to myself, "yeah, you're taking me to the cleaners, I guess." He was headed to Detroit, right then. He didn't pay for the gas or for what he already owed. We had a few like that but they didn't belong in the community.
People would come at night and sit around and say, "you should get this, you should get this, and you should get this." So I decided on two of these [suggestions] at one time. One of them you may not remember, a tonic called Wampool. All older people used to take Wampool. It was a spring tonic and they just had to have it. It might have had a little kick to it, I don't know. Somebody was wanting us to stock Wampool. Owen Farrar took it, and I remember a lot of the customers--Lee Crafton, and Uncle Modee Crafton, Mr. Will, and a lot of the older people took that. And at the same time another farmer said, "well, I know what I need and use a lot. You need to get some twisted clevises." I was raised on a farm, and I kinda' knew what they look like. But, I wouldn't know what they were for--something about harness or hitching up a plow. I always had to write the orders out for Johnny, who went to Nashville a couple of times a week, and sometimes more often than that if he had livestock to haul. He got to C.B. Ragland and he was reading the order off. I had down "twisted Wampool." He said he didn't bring me back either one. That was one bad mistake I made.
I could keep you here all day and tell you those funny things as well as about it the business end. Another time I had down "rat tail comb" on an order. You remember, when you get a permanent, they used a comb that had this little long end, to twist your curl with, I guess. I never had but two permanents in my life, so I wouldn't know that I knew what you used it for. When he was giving the order out and he come to that rat tail comb, he didn't call it off. He came back and I said, "where is my comb; everybody is wanting a rat tail comb?" He said, "I was afraid to ask for it." Ha! There were a lot more things than that, but those two things I will never forget.
Everybody helped us in telling us what would sell. So we ended up being a general merchandise store, from farm equipment to house furnishings. We bought C.B. Ryan and so many different ones their furniture when they got married. We had cosmetics, we had men's clothing, shoes, piece goods, and all the sewing needs. The school girls would stop when they had a sewing project, you know. I remember May Alice Giles was a very best one to wait on because she let me suggest her sewing projects at school in home ec.
We had feed, fencing wire, you name it. We had two old gas pumps. They were electric, but before that you pumped it. [Hand pumped the amount of gas into a glass container at the top of the pump and then drained it into the car's tank.] I think one of those old pumps is still around there maybe. We had gas and oil. There never was but one man that asked me to put his oil in; they were all real nice. One man parked completely across the road and wanted me to check his oil. It was so thick it looked like mashed up coal; it was so thick it wouldn't run. I said, "you need a quart." He needed five quarts or whatever it took for a change.
The candy was kept in a big glass case, and on top of it we had open boxes. I never did see but one child take candy. This child--I won't call any names--didn't have to take it. She could have bought all the candy she wanted. I knew what kind she wanted; she wanted Hershey bars. They were very thin. But, instead of her telling me what she wanted, she wanted to get the sack and get them off of the top herself. They were just this thin, but I watched her one day and she had them about that thick when she put them in her little nickel sack. Instead of getting one she had a stack of five. I just walked around real kind and said, "do you want to pay me for all that candy." She handed me back four of the bars. I think I did her a favor by calling her hand., and I never did think I was being mean to her at all. After she moved to town I thought about Roses and a lot of those dime stores that might get into trouble if I hadn't talk to her.
We burned a big pot bellied stove with coal, a big tall thing. We never wanted for home cooked food. You remember, Jessie, how I used to cook it. I bought a flat bottom iron kettle. I would put my meat in the bottom, my green beans on top of that, and let that cook a while. Then, my squash, my okra, my onions, whatever I wanted on top of that. Then I would have a good supper. One pot. It was really good!
We didn't play cards at the store but they did at Bethesda all the time. It wouldn't always go right down there. I didn't want anything that would be an problem. You know you can get pretty wrapped up in a card game. Then I didn't want to have to walk around them either.
The shelves went nearly to the ceiling. We didn't have ladders that rolled like in some places. You could take something and reach up or you could just climb up there on a box or crate. A lot of the little things that happened in the store I will never forget. One little feller kept eating grapes one night till I thought he was going to be sick. Everybody was around the heater and he was in back. His daddy or momma finally noticed him and said, "where are you getting them grapes?" He said, "well, Agnes has got plenty of them!" Lot of kids were funny. We got grapes and bananas in Nashville. Oranges, apples. Never will forget another thing. Two ladies--old maids--from Bethesda came. They bought their flour from us and their winter goulashes [overshoes]. It was close to Christmas time. Miss Lorenne Bond went back--we kept the fruit and all the furthest away from the heaters--and got some fruit and stuck it up to Mary Bond's nose, said "don't that smell good?" and laid it back down.
We had a box full of all kinds of ice cream. Then the big ice storm in January 1951 made our lights go off for 14 days. We had to dump all the ice cream on the garbage heap across the road. If we could have put the box out on the porch it would have been all right, but we didn't do that.
The school bus sometimes let off a bunch of kids at the store. They picked up a bunch in the morning, and let them off at the store a lot of times while they went on up to Pull Tight and turned around. They could get a cold drink, a nickel cold drink back then, or a nickel popsicle, or a nickel little cup of cream. We always enjoyed the kids, and occasionally I have one tell me something I did back then. Not long ago Joe Farrar did something for me, and I was thanking him for it. He said, "I can never do enough to pay you for what you did for me when I was growing up." He said every time that I gave my boy David a clean handkerchief in the morning and his mother could not find one for him, I would give Joe one too. And, if Mike Trice's shoes were untied, I tied his shoes. I polished shoes. I furnished Kleenex. I helped with the lessons while waiting to be picked up. Lot of times I would help Mike. I wiped noses and furnished paper some too. But I enjoyed every bit of it and they haven't forgotten it either.
There have been a thousand little different things that have happened. I got blamed for a few things when it wasn't my fault. One time a man came, and his wife was home with a little baby; they had a bunch of children. He had a little tiny toddler with him, a little girl. It was cold weather and the little girl didn't have enough clothes on for that. He would go out the front door occasionally to the front porch. Then he would come back in and leave the little girl out there. I knew it was too cold for that little girl and I went and got her. He gave me a good cursing for making her cry. Well, I brought her in and she was afraid of me. Just little things like that.
Our hours of operation were unpredictable. People started calling us if they had a calf or something go off. One of Shiney's uncles would come ahead of time and say he was going to have a calf about so and so to take to Nashville. He'd want a stand of lard--that's fifty pounds--and he'd want to get that lard now, when that calf was two weeks old, and not pay until we sold it at four or five months old. And, he would want that lard with no interest paid on the price. They would get us up anywhere from four-thirty or five o'clock. Shiney would take the truck and go to loading up livestock. Here one thing, and something else another place. I would have to get up and do at the house what I could get done, and then get ready and come on up to the store and open up. If it was summer time I didn't have to build a fire, and that made it a lot easier.
I had regulars that come every day and sat all day. Herman Anderson was one. Herman was working on a project he had from Oak Ridge. He knocked the lights out in this whole community, even up on that hill back of where Shela Bennett lives. They said if he could just bridle that and get it together like he was trying to do, he could furnish Williamson County with electricity. He wouldn't tell you nothing. He would come up there and sit. They didn't bother anybody. Herman would come up the road when I would be sweeping the front porch. He would come in and set on a keg and bend over; you couldn't see what was in his hand. He would sit there, and he might not go home for lunch. He would sit there all day. That kinda got on your nerves a little bit. Herman was smart as he could be, a really intelligent person, but he couldn't finish a project, you might say. He didn't talk much but he was nice mannered and smart as he could be. [Note: Herman attended Bethesda Community Days on August 27, 1996 and was still working on inventions.]
We tried to close maybe at nine. Roy Creswell was the last one out the door at night. Few had televisions back then. T.R. Clendenney had one, Scott Reed had one, and we did. Some of them would want to go down there and watch the wrasslin'. I didn't care for that fake wrassling in the first place. Then, we'd get to bed maybe at ten o'clock. It wouldn't be maybe an hour till somebody would be hollering, and they would need ten or fifteen or twenty dollars. We had it at the house at that time. They would be out and need a cab fare or something. One night it was one o'clock in the morning and it was the judge out of Franklin and some friends. One of the women fell off the back porch when she started out. I could tell you a lot; if I was educated I would write a book!
We were lucky. We were broke into only one time. We slept in the room toward the store. They went under the floor and sawed a hole with a keyhole saw. It wasn't a very large hole. The thing was, they sawed in under the stair step and then had to make a second hole. The store was above ground at the back enough so kids could crawl under there. They sawed under there; sawed two holes. The front door didn't lock; there weren't too many locks on places. You barred doors any way you could. We had like a buggy axle. There was an iron latch thing on both sides of the door and you just put that axle through there. Well, we never did see that any more. They took it and threw it somewhere. Everybody was looking for it. You know how people used to walk through the woods and through the fields, up and down the roads. Everybody walked. But, they broke in and the only thing they did was drink a bunch of cold drinks, eat off of a whole stick of baloney, and wrap up, I reckon, in some yard goods. I don't think they even took cigarettes.
Lunch at the store
A lot of people ate lunch at the store. I think of Mr. Leslie Stevens., who ran a mill that ground corn for cattle and other things. He and his oldest son, Gene, worked all through the country up here; they went miles and miles. When they would come in the store, Mr. Leslie's eyebrows and his face would just be that thick in dust. I think that was not healthy. Gene, you know, didn't live long and Mr. Leslie did not live to be an old man. But, they worked at that. They would come in and eat. But, they would have to get their eyes and mouth clean enough to eat. And their eyes were usually just as red as could be. Anyway, they usually ate Viennas [sausage] and crackers.
I got to where I could cut a pound of baloney without laying it on the scales. It wouldn't be a fraction of an ounce different. Then, some wanted a baloney sandwich with cheese on it. I cut baloney until I didn't want to see it or smell it. Then, sardines--a lot of them liked sardines and a coke. Owen Farrar always ate sardines. [Jessie: I can see them under the old tree.]
Crackers were in two pound boxes at that time, but I can remember when they came in bulk. One time Grover Trice [Jessie's father] was in there, and Shiney was off hauling hay. I had David, my small son, and he got the crackers out. We had been having them in squares of four and these were single crackers. Grover told David he didn't want those old stale crackers--somebody else's crackers. It kind of made me mad. They were single and he thought somebody else had left them, I guess. Years ago crackers were in barrels, but we didn't have them.
Most everything was in kind of bulk. You took your own containers to get so many things. For vinegar, you had to take your vinegar jug. When I was about six years old and my brother seven, we had to walk about two miles to the store. My mamma was home with three little ones. Cecil made me carry that jug all the way because I couldn't say vinegar, and he was going to make me ask for vinegar.
Those nickel sticks of peanut butter and big old nickel sticks of candy were ten or twelve inches long--nickel sticks of candy. I had an uncle who came out one time when we all had whooping cough. He wanted to take us to the store and my mother didn't want us out, but anyway, he insisted. He walked with us to the store and got us all a big stick of that candy and we just about eat that stick before we got home. But, it cured our whooping cough! It sure did. We were all so sick with that candy. We got over that whooping cough. I think he knew what he was doing!
The local bankers
Another thing, too; we were bankers. Jessie Bennett knows that; Charles wouldn't have married her if we hadn't let him have the money to get married. Ha! Ha! He wasn't the only one. I could start naming them, but they always paid us back. Not a one of us beat us as far out of borrowed money, not a dime. Way later, one of them got mad one time. He was a dancer. He and his daddy and his brother all liked dancing. He 'd come by one Saturday afternoon with tie waving and white shirt, all slicked up and wanted ten dollars. Well, he didn't stop back by to repay. We let a few weeks pass and when I was sending out some bills, I sent him one. I didn't send out bills for a long time, and then I got to sending out some bills. We got all kinds of answers back from them. He came in when he got that bill. He came in that front door and back to where the register was, plopped that ten dollar bill down and turned around and never said boo to me or nothing. I had sent that bill and his wife got it; he didn't want his wife and Miss Lizzie, his momma in law, to know about it. I had a few that borrowed money to go to Krogers and trade.
The community fund
Another thing while I was in the store. We kept the flower fund, for when somebody in the community passed away. Everybody was good about that. I kept it up for the whole ten years. I had a notebook that I still have in the cedar chest. When somebody in the community passed away you put down who it was and dated it. Anybody that came in who knew him, or didn't even know him, would give a quarter or fifty cents. Usually it was a ten dollar wreath back then; it would be about $35 or $40 for the same thing now. I took care of that fund. Sometime there would be money over, sometime there wouldn't be enough. But it would always balance out, until toward the last. The community seemed like it was thinning out; some of the older ones were passing away and these young ones didn't have the money.
A stupid prank
We had a few pranks pulled on us. Mr. Fleming Williams, who was later our sheriff, was our gasoline man at one time. It was kind of a stupid thing to do, to tell you the truth. You wouldn't do it now. Here comes this man in with his collar turned up and black glasses and cap down over his head. He came back and sat down on the old bench by the heater and looked around a little bit, but didn't look up. He sat there and sat there. Grover Trice got up and went back to get close to the front door. Others got up and went real close to the front door where they could get out. He sat there with that big old coat on. He had to finally let us know who he was. That was so stupid to do, because he could have got shot. Some of them kind of gave him a little rough talk about it, and said he should not have done that.
Well, I was where I could put my hand on my gun--he wasn't going to rob us. I had a pistol behind the counter. When I would go down to Miss Fanny Anderson's to spend the night with her sometimes she would be alone. Shiney would tell me to stay at home and let Miss Fanny come with me, but I wasn't afraid. Anyway, I would push that gun and my money bag in that milk bucket and I'd go to the barn to milk, down across there. If anybody had seen me, I was going to milk. I never was really afraid while I stayed there.
The night prowler
One night, somebody was out at the road. David was at home that night. He was just a kid but he was big enough to have a rifle. He had his rifle laying under his bed, and he heard this man hollering "ho, ho" real loud. It was a moonlight night and I could tell he had on striped overalls, like convicts wore back then. I went from the kitchen to David's room. He had already heard him and I said, "now don't you get out of the bed, you lay right there." I said that I was going to look through the curtains and would not let him come on the porch or get in the door unless he tells who it is. He stood there and hollered a while and went on down the road. Several of these things happened but I wasn't too afraid.
Pull Tight Hill Road
Pull Tight Hill road was where it is now when we came. It used to go by the church up there and come out over on the Allisona Road, just about. That's where it should have always been. Mr. Sam Anderson, I think, was foreman over the roads when they built Pull Tight where it is now. It was dangerous even in horse and buggy days; it really was a dangerous road. It never should have been put around that hill. And they have signs now: Travel at your Own Risk, and One Lane. [They were put up after several cars got stuck and one went over the side of the hill following a winter storm in early 1996.] When you are coming toward Bethesda you are on the outside of the road. This couple that walks for their health up and down walk that because there is not much traffic. They said that back under that blacktop they put on there, that's all gone. The safe side is too bad for me; I don't want to go over it. I hope that some day they get a road through where it should be.
There weren't many phones back then. Very few phones. The store had a phone and Miss Fannie had one. All the traders would stop at the store: Horace Johns, David Ivy, Mr. Charles Rigsby, Jimmie Robertson, Bean Stephens, Mr. Quirk from Columbia, a whole bunch of traders. They would all stop at the store. I'll brag on myself a little now. They would say, "Come out here, Miss Agnes, and see what you think these shoats will weigh." I would say, "well, they look like they ought to weigh about 15 pounds apiece." Well, that's what they averaged out. One time there was a cow on the road, Mr. Trav's cow. I called him and said I believed he had a cow on the road, a calf like. I described it, "it's a Hereford, white." He said, "what size is it." He knew the sizes of his; he was in the cattle business next door and across the road. I said, "well, it will weigh 450 pounds." It weighed 455.
Another thing I had to do was a lot of hay hauling back then. There were a lot of dairymen around here. You remember [Jessie] Earl Harris and a lot of dairymen. That is about a thing of the past if it wasn't for the Bonds. Anyway, my husband did a lot of hay hauling from Indiana and Ohio and different places. I had to figure that hay, and you've got to get it down to the pounds when you are hauling. It was baled then, not rolls like today. I learned how to figure that; if it was $20 a ton, I learned how to figure the price per pound. They hauled a lot of logs. The sawmill was somewhere down here around Bethesda, at Jimmy D. Bennett's, back in there. In school we didn't have to figure board feet of lumber and all that from the size of a tree and the length of it. I learned that. Mr. Hugh Hawkins helped me to learn the figure a corn crib of corn and how many barrels were in that crib. I had a lot of help. I had to! Once I could get it going it was all right. I had to do all of that.
It was a general store. We had sheep bells, cow bells, cooking vessels. A girl was in the store--a lady from out at Beech who was visiting some relatives around here, from Michigan. I had cooking vessels and she said she worked at the plant where that was made. We had just about anything you could think of. If people asked for it we got it. We had shelves all the way except at the back and front. Then we had counters about so high. Mr. Ed Biggers made us something like a stair step to put the glassware on. It was a long one; that store was a long, long store. It was a three-step. That's where I kept table lamps, glassware--it wasn't plastic back then, no plastic.
Roads in the forties
The road was so dusty it kept me dusting all the time. Some people from Franklin, a Houghland man and his son, came out and ate lunch in the store one day. I was dusting when they came in and apologized about everything looking so dusty and all. I told them how long we had been working to try to get a road. We rode at night, talking to people, but they didn't want to give up a little land. Not all of them. When you build a road in certain spots you've got a surplus and in certain spots you need dirt. That is how come the pond down here in our front lot. They needed dirt for this road. Anyway, that man took a little piece of paper out of his pocket and wrote a lot of stuff down. If he ever did anything to help I didn't know it, but maybe he did.
We finally got a road. When we moved here the only way they told us was when we were going up and down the road to watch for a certain cedar tree. That's where we turned in, or we would have passed it. This road, the sides of it, was just like a woods. And rough! You could follow the road but it was almost like going through the woods. We gave all the road in front of our house. One morning the road crew was going to have to quit work if they couldn't get dirt. They had gone just as far as they could. Shiney told them to go in the lot and get all the dirt, just so you leave my front doorstep. I said, "I want a little more than that left."
Then there was quite a bit of woods around. There were some fields on the sides but the fence rows were like from here to the door wide. People traveled through the woods; the nearest way was how you went because everybody, nearly, walked back then. There weren't too many cars. There was Miss Fannie, she didn't drive or have a car. Sam Reed didn't have a car. I guess Chub Hargrove did. People used to go to Franklin from here in buggies. That was not long before we came here.
Another thing, if anybody needed a doctor they always came to the store and called. One time I called Dr. Ellis at Chapel Hill. He had just like a mail route through here. He would stop at these older people; he'd stop over at Jimmie Lou Trice's. He stopped at every house nearly, because a lot of them were old people. He made them feel good. He was pouring dope or something to them, I reckon. Anyway, one time I called him for a man who lived off of Comstock Road. Dr. Ellis asked if I was going to pay. I said, "no, sir, I'm not going to pay!" I couldn't have started that. No way.
One time I was trying to call to get an ambulance or a doctor or whatever I could get. This school teacher's wife down on Critz Lane wouldn't give up the phone [it was a party line shared by several users]. She asked me twice, but one time she asked me when I was calling for a doctor, "do you need a doctor or do you just want to talk to him?" I said, "there is a man dying; I guess I need a doctor." That was Mr. Green.
Doctors charged probably five dollars for a visit in those days.
I sewed and made all of David's clothes until he was nine years old. I had a brooder and raised fifty fryers and kept a fair house. I would be hanging clothes out at one o'clock in the morning several times. We were supposed to have Sunday off but when Sunday morning came somebody would need something. I would have to go up there. It may be a pound of coffee or a box of crackers or just one item. By that time another would come in, by that time another come in to use the phone. I would be standing there with my loaf of bread in my hands wanting to get out the back door, them on the phone. There were two men in the community who called their folks every Sunday morning and talked and talked and talked. I guess I was kinda mean about some of it but never had a problem so far as ill feelings.
The neighborhood always helped each other in canning beef or killing chickens. We butchered our own hogs and later on made sausage and all that. Me and Miss Fannie worked a lot in that together. She taught me a lot.
We did a lot of quilting. Neighbors come in to help quilt or if your house needed papering. Elsie papered every year nearly. Miss Fannie would buy the paper and have the house papered. One day they tried to match that paper. They finally thought they had it. I went down there and looked at the front hall, and it was all out of shape. It was pretty though.
The kitchen had paper on it for years and years and years. Dated way, way back. We took all that off and pulled hundreds of tacks out. Hundreds! It was hard to get them out of that wood; they had good wood back then. Once Doc Crafton was painting. He said he was paying for the paint and got good paint. He come up to the store and popped another gallon up there; it had done gone in the wall because he didn't use any primer. It was gone; you couldn't tell there was anything on it. I forget now what he did. Got some primer I guess.
There was a lot enjoyment to it and there were a lot of headaches to it.