by Whitley Clifton | November 11, 2019 5:21 pm
Homecoming is a special event to enjoy and anticipate for weeks ahead. I have attended many, including churches, football games, Class of ’53, Fabulous Fifties, and even a reunion of my husband’s air force squadron at the base where he learned to fly. All were exciting and brought back memories and special folks in my life, but none compare with the heartfelt joy when I cross the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 80 and enter my hometown. I will see beloved faces, pass places that make me say “that used to be,” and drink sweet tea. My heart will “runneth over” with cherished memories.
Recently, my daughter and I made the long drive from my present home to my forever home, and every moment was filled with nostalgia. Our first stop was for lunch on the square and a surprise that parking in front of the row of stores was not available. We found a spot on the opposite side and walked across the square through my mind’s image of the long-gone magnificent, white, Georgia marble courthouse. (Sorry, but I still grieve.)
As if a welcoming committee, the first person I met on the square was my life-long friend, Dr. Bobby Sasser. I had a special lunch with sweet tea in a building that I kept trying to identify as “what used to be here.”
Next was a stop at the Coleman House, and I was delighted to see that my books are still selling in their gift shop. Clay Cumbee had dressed the gracious home in autumn splendor. After a drop-in visit with The Blade, we went to our hostess for the night, my friend, Annette Evans. We talked continually and re-called our days from grade one to grade 12. She surprised us with an invitation to an old-time fish fry with freshwater fish, homemade hush puppies, all the side dishes, and, of course, sweet tea. I was privileged to meet a third cousin, Bill Lewis. We were both descendants of Amos Moses Proctor.
Annette, my daughter, and I had a not-long-enough visit with Miss Emanuel, Mary Ann Smith, and Missy Elliot Elder of the historic society on the porch of the Coleman House before feasting on the buffet, which contained all my favorites. It was such a privilege to be with the ladies who are preserving our heritage.
Next, we attended a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting. I was honored to have been invited to visit just as my mother and I were invited in 1953 when their regent, Mrs. Robert Humphrey, presented me the DAR Good Citizen Medal. I recalled Mrs. Humphrey as a stately patriot and caring lady. If she had lived during the revolution, she would have made bullets out of spoons like Abagail Adams. If she were living in present times, she might be a judge like her husband—or possibly on the supreme court.
Saturday, as we started our drive back to Greenville, we stopped at the re-created Emanuel County historical village and could have spent all day appreciating every detail of this bygone time. I wished my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Nina Dekle Price, could have taken us there on a field.
Along with these events, I had a day in Norristown with my dear friend, Melvie Stephens, and other friends and family. Details of this time would require another column.
Three days were not nearly long enough to get my fill of my hometown. Thank you to everyone who helped me have this special homecoming. Hope to see you again soon.
Write to Shirley at firstname.lastname@example.org.