In the mid-fifties, there were still a few young families in Jernigan. The old Cottonton schoolhouse lunchroom was the setting for birthday and Halloween parties for children, as well as for first-aid classes and other courses for adults. I can still hear children’s feet pounding up and down the hall of the old school building.
On Wednesdays, our mothers took turns hosting the Wednesday afternoon “Get Together” for the dozen or so children in the community. The play parties were nice, but I preferred being at home where I could listen in on conversations between Mama and her friends, Katharine and Kate. Kate’s daughter, Joan, was my best friend. And Joan’s daddy, Uncle Charles, was one of my favorite people. His endearing name for me, as well as for other children in the community, was “Sugarfoot.”
Then in the late fifties, something amazing happened. A young lawyer from Phenix City and his wife, who had a daughter around my age and a younger son, bought the old Craig place on County Road 12 and restored the house back to its former glory. Their home became the setting for many of my best childhood memories.
The blur of early recollections comes more into focus around the time the Greenes moved to Jernigan. My family found new friendships that would last the rest of our lives. Roy and Janie Greene made everything more fun. Whether we were boiling peanuts, driving through the county looking for antiques, collecting gardenias to decorate for a garden party, or selling barbecue to raise money for the Jernigan Methodist church, every project became a story that we all would retell and laugh about for decades. Best of all, their daughter, Lynne, joined Joan and me in an unbreakable friendship that has weathered sixty years.
The three of us played detectives, married movie stars in back yards, started the “Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Prayer Group,” and watched Dark Shadows on television – without an inkling that our families or our community would ever change.
Years go by. Time marches on. Things change. But the memories of those years – and with those people – are etched in my heart. Rest in peace, Roy. You made the world a better place with your generosity and humor.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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