Kids Who Grew Up in the
Neighborhood of East Cedar Street
|It used to be
nothing uncommon or unusual for families to consist of a large number of
children. My mother came from a family of eleven children, five boys, six
girls. Even though we never heard her talk about the hard times her family
had growing up, one of our aunts told us how there were times when there
wasn't any food in the house. My mother's parents were Elza Allen Copeland
and Lou Dora (Ledbetter) Copeland. The place where my mother grew up
wasn't too far from the home of Bro. and Mrs. Henry Geiger in Oak Grove,
and that property where she lived is still in the Copeland family today.
My mother, and at least one of her sisters, possibly more, began working
at a very young age for room and board in order to help out. It was while
my mother was working in the home of Willard and Daisy Belle Maynard in
Livingston that she
met my father.
After my parents married, they did a lot of moving around. My sister, Sue, counted thirteen different places we lived before finally settling down on Hillview Drive in Livingston. In one of the neighborhoods where we lived, there was a good number of children. The house was located on
East Cedar Street in Livingston. I tried to recall as many of the kids as I could who lived in or near that vicinity, and I was surprised with all the names that came to my mind. I've listed all those I can think of, however, if I have forgotten someone, I apologize. It was not intentional.
My family lived on one corner of East Cedar Street, and there were four of us. On the other corner of that street, the Davis kids lived, Tom, Bill, Joe, Jane, and Jack. The house next door to ours was once the Methodist parsonage. It is presently owned by Mrs. Naomi West. Molly Lou Spain and her parents, Bro. and Mrs. Robert Spain, occupied the parsonage then. Molly Lou and my younger brother, David, were the same age, and the three of us played together quite often.
Mr. Walter Hammons and wife Mrs. Laura Hammons lived across the street from us, and were visited every summer by their grandchildren, Jane, Steve, and Laura Jean. The Hammons grandchildren became well acquainted with many of the children in the neighborhood during their summer visits.
Elaine Phillips and her older brother, Jimmy, lived on East Cedar Street too. Others I remember living on that street were Keith and Bobby Bilbrey, and Frances Allen. Jane and Margaret Hughes lived on West Cedar Street.
Pictured in the yard of the little stucco house on East Cedar Street are:
First row: Venita Savage; Joanne Franklin; Vivian Pangle; Cathy Pangle; Rita Stephens
Second row: Joanna Puckett; Jane Franklin; unknown; Jane Davis; unknown; Virginia Gray; Christine Harris.
Back row: Joyce Vaughn; Jane Hughes; unknown; Judy Langford; Charlene Goolsby; the birthday girl; Carroll June Leslie; Lena Kay Tucker; and Jean Vaughn.
|Just across the street from Ideal Laundry on Goodpasture Street, there
once stood a large brick home where Jane Qualls lived. Jane, my best
friend in first grade, had three sisters, two of them twins. If my memory
serves me right, Jane and her family moved from Livingston when we were in
either second or third grade. A little further down on South Goodpasture,
Peggy and Debbie Dodson and Venita Savage were next door neighbors.
Around the corner on Railroad Street were Grace and Dallas Collins; Jane and Joanne Franklin; Yvonne Holt; Carson, Betty Sue, and Brenda Oliver, and Judy Langford.
On Windle Street, Judy Howard; Barbara Sue Benson; Sarah Mae and Lena Kay Tucker; Diane, Rita, and Mike Stephens; Elaine, Joanna, Carolyn Puckett, and their little brother, L.G. III; Marjorie, Mary, and twin sisters Joyce and Jean Vaughn. On Sevier Street, Ross, Jack, and Linda Averitt; Gaye, Margie, Nancy, and Johnny Meadows; Suzanne, Barbara, and Chipper Stephens. Janet Webb lived on that street too.
There were two homes on East Main Street that were within hollerin' distance of the Mofield house, the home of Judy Howard. One of those two houses on East Main was occupied by Jimmy Ray, Shirley Ann, and Susan Speck. The other house was where Bobby and Betty Jo Boles lived. Pat, Rebecca, and John Officer's home was near the Mofield house, but was closer to the square.
Some of those listed above were close friends, some attended the same church, and other played together at times. Jane Davis (now Jane Jolley) and I spent many hours together, part of the time wearing out the sidewalks either roller skating or riding bikes, and at other times we were pestering Bill and Joe into making clay figurines for us to play with. Those clay dolls often had homes in cigar boxes that had been converted into neat little doll houses. Jane still accuses me of always getting the best of the clay dolls her brothers made for us, but I can't imagine why she thinks that. I don't remember it that way at all. We also spent lot of time playing paper dolls, something it seems to me that very few little girls do today. I've done my best to keep that
source of entertainment alive by introducing all of my granddaughters to paper dolls, but it just hasn't stuck with them like it did with Jane and myself, and lots of other girls our age too.
The picture I'm including with this story is one made at a birthday party held at our home on East Cedar Street. My mother had written on the back of the picture the date of August 3, 1953, my 8th birthday. I don't really think there was such a thing as a dress code back then, but evidently birthday parties were very special occasions, as this picture reflects. A best Sunday dress and pretty hair barrettes must have been expected of those going to birthday parties.
The yard of the house on East Cedar Street wasn't very big, but it seemed enormous to me then. Two of the trees had swings, one of which was a trapeze type that I really liked. Sometimes in the summer, I would plan on sleeping on the enclosed back porch of that little house, but many times, I didn't stay for the entire night. I could see all kinds of creatures lurking in the shadows just outside the windows, and that always brought me back inside where it was safe.
If my memory and my figures are correct, there were at least 70 children who lived in the neighborhood of East Cedar Street. With that large number, you could be assured that there was always someone nearby to play with. Of all the families in that particular area that I can remember, the Charles and Mary (Spurrier) Barnes' family on Rock Crusher Mountain probably had the largest number of children. There were eleven children in that family. Wanda Barnes and I were in the same class, and went through grade school and high school together. I remember so well how I used to beg Wanda to draw paper dolls for me during our grade school days. I thought she was a very talented artist, and I really wish I had saved some of those she let me talk her into doing for me. I enjoyed them just as much as any I had from Young’s Variety Store on the square in Livingston.
The early '50's was a time when very few homes had a television set, which, looking back, I consider to be a good thing. Children growing up then made use of their imaginations, and staying out of doors all day long was something we did every single day during the summer months. During the school year, just as soon as homework and chores were completed, we made a mad dash to get back outside, and in good weather, we stayed there until called in for supper. Problems we see today with children having moderate to severe weight problems were practically non-existent simply because of an active lifestyle. No TVs, no video games, no computers, nothing to sit still for, other than reading, which I loved to do. It was a good life.
Most of the friends I made then, I continue to have today. I consider that era a great time to have grown up in, and I am happy to have been among the number that called the Cedar Street neighborhood my home.