Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wolf Creek Antiques on Broadway in Goreville

Getting to spend time in Goreville always makes me happy. I can drive up and down the streets there and feel emotions I cannot experience anywhere else in the universe.

When I drive or walk on Broadway, I can see the former building of the Baptist church and instantly feel the sleepy-warm heat of a summer day during sermon time with the drone of a fan overhead. I can remember Mrs. Green teaching our Sunday School class up in the choir loft during the summer months we spent at Mt. Joy Farm. And I can remember being jealous of her daughter Evelyn, who was my age and played the piano so well. And I think I remember my sister reminding me it was because Evelyn practiced more than me--which would not have to be very much to have outdone my practice time. Later in Marion, I became reacquainted with Evelyn at the ball park where our sons played ball, and where she was now Evelyn Malcolm of Pittsburg. Then I was saddened in recent years by her passing.

I can remember being one of the "flower girls" at my grandmother's funeral as I asked to be. In those days, girls carried in and out the beautiful flower arrangements for the church house during the funeral service. I knew I was considered too young to be one of the flower girls, but since I wanted to be, the adults talked it over and allowed it. My grandmother's casket had had been brought down to the church house from her home there on Broadway.

I can remember at an earlier time being disappointed when I thought Grandma had made a yellow cake for dessert, and it turned out to be cornbread. I can remember loving to sleep in her feather bed on the old-fashioned fold-up bed--a large upright piece of furniture. I felt cozy and secure knowing if the roof leaked my head was protected under the top of that fold-out bed. I remember loving to look at the many trinkets in her trinket case (now in my front hall). And I loved playing with the collection of broken jewelry and "pretties" she saved for me to play with. I can remember sitting on her porch with my cousin Jack, whom I adored, when he was down from Detroit. I liked knowing my grandmother knew everyone on the street and so did my daddy. When we sat on the porch in the evening, I liked hearing Myrtie Dennison's wonderful laugh from the corner brick house and knowing that everyone on the street heard it too.

When I go down the narrow little street parallel to Broadway, I can imagine my grandmother's lovely rock and flower garden behind the tiny house where she used to live before the house on Broadway. And I can remember sitting on the porch swing of the corner house there on that street and Collins--visiting on a hot summer day with some friend of my grandmother. Since my grandmother died when I was six and had already moved to the house up on Broadway by then, I have no idea how young I may have been when she lived in that little house. But I know I must have felt a great deal of love to be able to feel so much of it yet just by driving down that street.

I can also remember the Fourth of July excitement on that very street when it was roped off and there were horse races there. And there were sack races and greased pig races in town too. And out at the farm later we would have an entire wooden case (24 bottles) of soda pop--a rare treat befitting such an important holiday.

I can remember having to wait once for Daddy at Fluck's grocery store up on Broadway for some reason. I felt awkward and out-of-place among men gathered there. Uncle Charley was there and bought me a soda out of the icy-cold water in the red storage case.

And I remember my dignified mother sitting on the little built-in metal seat on the front of General Vaughn's store, and I think sometimes people were sitting there on feed sacks--everyone enjoying the chance to visit and socialize while they were in town for Saturday afternoon shopping after they had sold their eggs and cream at the back of the store.

I cannot go to Goreville without being flooded with such memories. But I wasn't in town to reminince. I was in town to autograph books at a signing at Wolf Creek Antiques. What a beautiful venue! Booth after booth, upstairs and down, of lovely furniture, dishes, and objects from yesteryear. So I was unable to help myself from making more trips down memory lane even inside. And with each cousin or loved one who came in to get a book, another wave of emotion and love for Goreville enveloped me. And Dixie and Jim Terry were there to hear me read from my book even though they had a half a dozen other events to attend that day.

After a wonderful day, Glen Billingsley came in at the last minute--said he had been fishing and almost forgotten--but there he was. What a thrill to see an old friend of my father's, who down through the years has become my friend too. (Actually we are distantly related since two of the Billingsley daughters several generations back married Hugh Craig, and the second sister and wife became the mother of my great grandmother Louisa Jane Craig Martin.) Among other things Glen has done for me was sending me the papers proving I had a horse thief for one of my ancestors. Sometimes friends give us more than we ask for.

What a warm atmosphere Anna Scheidt has created at Wolf Creek with family and friends coming and going, visiting, and telling stories--just like the men and women used to do sitting on those feed sacks in front of General Vaughn's store. How I enjoyed meeting her mother, Mary, and thinking how fine it was for someone born in Brooklyn to fit in so very well with the friendly family-minded folk of Goreville.

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