While reading the blog of Laura Hedgecock, her post resonated with me… telling the stories of a house… specifically a house you grew up in. Every house has a story… so I’m telling the story of the early homes I’ve lived in.
Every House has Stories… Part 1
My first home was in Union Point, Georgia (212 Binns St.) with my parents, Clayton & Helen (McKinley) Bryan. Living just next door was my great-aunt Christine (Askew) Amos, and one house away further were my grandparents, Paul and Evelyn (Little) Bryan. After my father was discharged from the Navy, his father built our house with lumber that my mother’s father, Edgar McKinley, bought… lumber coming from another house recently torn down; use and reuse… that was the green lifestyle during those times! (House now listed as 302 Binns St.)
I was brought home here from the Minnie J. Boswell Hospital in nearby Greensboro in 1952. Even though this photo wasn’t taken when we lived there… Mama’s “Ola Lilly” that she planted by the front porch, still remains.
212 Binns St… where I first learned to walk… talk… and eat Mama’s good Southern home cooking. These very front steps, was where I sat waiting for Granddaddy Bryan to walk home from the mill… just so I could walk directly behind him… following his loping limp all the way down the road to his house; he lived just one house away. That walk of mine, in mimicking his, worried mama to death… as she just knew I’d end up walking that way.
Times were much safer for children when I grew up… as I often played in the yard with no adult supervision. Mama often left me outside in my playpen… alone… and when she’d come out to check on me, and found me gone, she knew someone had taken me for ice cream… and I always returned in a short time. If our dog, Butch, was in the yard… he protected me from everyone he didn’t know… no ice cream! It’s hard to believe my mother was so calm about me in those early years, as I remember her always somewhat over-protective!
The only time she fell apart when I was young, was when she hit me in the head with the hammer… I had suddenly moved behind her when she was building my playhouse. She often told the story of how she thought she’d killed me, and ran, carrying me all the way uptown to the doctor’s office… running into the office with me in her arms yelling that she had killed me. The doctor calmed her down… telling her that I was still alive and fine, and to take me back home.
We had a mixed breed dog while living on Binns St… part German Shepard and birddog… his name was Butch, and he was my protector; mama was never afraid to leave me outside with him… as no stranger dared to venture near me with Butch ready to protect! He even taught me to walk… me holding onto his tail as he walked around the yard. If I ventured out of the yard, he’d grab my clothing and pull me back. The only way Butch warned you on his intent to bite, was if he pointed you! He did bite once, as a man didn’t believe he would, and I suppose he pushed the limits… as Butch pointed and then bit him. Butch was found dead a couple weeks later… poisoned… mama always blamed that man.
The Tiny Ballerina… the one and only figurine to survive from Butch!
Butch often ended up in trouble on many occasions, after I piled mama’s little figurines into his mouth. Mama would walk in, call him by name… and Oops… out fell the figurines! Guess that’s why only one has survived all those years… a tiny ballerina that I treasure!
My father sold life insurance for New York Life Insurance… and I enjoyed played at selling it. I loved his freebies of the rulers, fans, and even the old unused policies. I would load up my wagon, walking up and down the street… returning with a pocketful of change; a budding enprepreneur! That was in the days when a young child could walk alone… and any adult knowing you, or not… looked out for you; sad how times have changed!
That little red wagon was bought by Granddaddy McKinley when grandmama insisted he buy because my cousin wouldn’t let me play with his. It was one of those far and few times when Grandmama McKinley became voicetrous in her actions… mostly being a calm and quiet woman.
I also seemed to be very bad about squirreling away any loose change I found around our house as a young child… mama tells me that when we moved to Perry, she found loose coins everywhere! Once I even took my father’s weekly money he’d collected from the life insurance policies he sold… they were frantic! in those days the insurance salesmen actually visited the clients home weekly to collect the premiums. They looked everywhere that day for daddy’s money… but it was only when mama told me how my father was going to jail if the money wasn’t found, that I showed her where it was… hidden away in the hanging shoe rack on their bedroom door. All was good, but I imagine I was sent to sit in the corner or received a switching!
An early Easter photo of daddy and me visiting my best friends Karen and Pat. (Note daddy’s car in the background… can anyone identify it?)
I celebrated my first birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter’s in this home.. but sadly no memory of them, although I do have a couple Easter photos and a Christmas photo of me dressed as a cowgirl, complete with guns… on a bike. Not many girls would receive holsters and guns today… but we lived in a different and better world… not easily offended! Training wheels were still on my bike, and it wasn’t until we moved to Perry, that I finally learned to ride with no extra help!
Christmas Morning, (abt. 1957) with cousins Deborah and George Amos and Hassie… no girly dolls for me, but I looked happy with my cowgirl outfit, complete with hat, gloves and a gun holster wrapped around me. My first bike with training wheels… which I still rode when we moved to Perry. Family Photograph story on this photograph over Here.
Mama built my first playhouse there from scrap lumber… even sewed curtains… but sadly, I have no memory of it… and no photos! She laughed in telling the story of building it… “Granddaddy Bryan walked over everyday as I worked… asking if I wanted him to finish. I always said No, and he’d just stand there watching me”, Mama was quite handy with a saw and hammer; never tell her she couldn’t build something!
My grandparents generation were the true green generation; I always remember seeing a “might need” pile behind Granddaddy McKinley’s smokehouse… it was his go-to area whenever a part was needed to “fix” something! I bet everyone’s grandparents had one of those very piles! I can still see that pile in my head today… darn, if only I could press the print button! Granddaddy Bryan’s car shed was filled with his “might need” things. My husband has one of those “might need” piles… in the cellar! Our generation, is probably the last that fixes and reuses… at least my husband does… learning those skills from his father, who was the most knowledgeable man I ever met… there was nothing he couldn’t repair! And that was what many said at his funeral… “who are we going to ask now, on how to repair anything?”
But, back to the house… I easily become sidetracked!
In that I was only about 5 years old when we moved from our first house… I have very few memories other than what my mother has told me… she has given me my stories to tell.
Mama & Me…. with the famous Ola Lily in background… and the long gone clotheslines. Read more on this photo over Here!
Only photo of me inside the house… taken at Christmas. I must have been an “odd” child, as mama told stories of how I was never interested in discovering what Santa brought on Christmas morning… it saddened her. Her words were… “you would walk by the room, peek in, but then it’d be days before you ventured back in to see what Santa brought.” She sewed me a large doll one Christmas… sadly I wanted no part of it. It’s a wonder I wasn’t hauled off to be analyzed!
Maybe my un-interest in Christmas came from the night when daddy’s best friend came to the house dressed as Santa. He brought me a doll, but I’m told when I opened the door, I screamed… and ran to hide under my bed. Probably another doll I didn’t play with! Seems I grew out of my hate relationship with dolls as Barbie became my favorite toy along with Nancy Drew books when we moved to Perry.
In as I have no memory of the inside of this house… only what mama has told me, I can only surmise that Grandaddy built our house the same as his and my uncle, who’s house was just next door. It was a small home with two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining and living room. I seem to have the strongest memories of both of my grandparents homes than any of the ones I lived in. How Odd!
It was on this street… actually in granddaddy Bryan’s yard… where I learned how to capture fireflies in a jar… and place on my headboard at night before bed. I’m sure mama ensured that none were harmed… freeing them after I went to sleep! Under granddaddy Bryan’s car shed, with the sand-based floor… was the “bestiest” place for “doodle-bugging“! Just ask all the cousins! If you have never doodle-bugged… you have missed out!
This was home for the first five years of my life before moving to Perry, Georgia… now away from all family, only weekend visits. Daddy had taken a new job at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins… just next door to Perry. That would be home for me for the next thirteen years of my life… but living in three different houses while living there.
moving to Perry….
To read more Family Home Stories… click HERE.
For more Family Photographs and their stories, click HERE.
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