Several weeks ago I promised an article entitled, “This Old House.”
It was delayed because I just found it harder to do than I expected.
In 1947 my grandfather and grandmother were living in a fairly large frame house with a wide dog-trot to divide the house. The house was located in the extreme northern part of what is now Calhoun but very well may have been Lafayette County at that time. Since my objective is not to teach a geography lesson we will just stick with Calhoun.
My grandfather G.W. Edwards somehow began to wonder just what life would be with electricity in the house. “Electric lights” that were being brought to houses perhaps three miles away lured “Papa Wash” to inquire about getting electricity to his house. Can you believe the electric company would not even talk to him about bringing the electricity to his house? Anyone who ever knew my granddaddy knew he was hard-headed and stubborn.
Please know I do not mean this to be derogative. Many of my relatives say I inherited those same characteristics and practice them today. Since I know this is not true, I just ignore it.
But since my granddaddy wanted electricity, he began to look beyond his woods to a less wooded area and where electricity was being brought in. Sometime in 1947 he began to take the old house down and move the lumber to a lot just south of the Shady Grove United Methodist Church which previously was referred as the Hipp School House. That building was built in 1909. It proudly stands today. The area where he chose to build his house is on what is now Highway 331. At the time he built the house the road was a county road, muddy, dirt not gravel. I can remember about the time his house was being built students going to school had to cross a creek on a foot log and get on the bus after crossing the creek.
Wash Edwards had the house built and soon got electricity. Wash and Grandmother had many happy years in the house. Grandma even had her a window in the living room where she kept her Garrett Snuff. Throughout the time my grandparents lived in the house he tried to do maintenance work on the house but since he was a timber man he had much rather be in the woods buying or selling timber. There was a guy in an old truck with a spray rig on the back who made his way into the community and granddaddy fell for the deal. He employed the man to spray the house, which was white. The new color was silver and it looked as though it contained rubber which ran down the house if any heat was present. It really was terrible.
In 1965 my grandfather died, my grandmother already proceeding him in death. In fact my grandmother’s body was brought home to lie in state upon her death.
My parents J.V. and Ila McCord became the new inhabitants of “this old house” upon the death of Granddaddy. I never lived in the house as their child because I was gone to college or living in a church parsonage. Since Daddy was a carpenter, he immediately set out to make renovations. The space occupied by the dog-trot was taken into living space. They repainted the house which I remember was a big job because the rubberized paint had to be removed first. Mother and Daddy enjoyed living in the house. Daddy died in 1984 and mother followed him in 1987.
Ann and I secured the property and we used it as a secondary residence. The first thing we did was to have the house painted a woods green. We thoroughly enjoyed the house and made good use of it as a home away from home. Some of my buddies from DeSoto County often joined us and we got the guitars and fiddle out. We played every Monday night at our house and had a blast.
Things went well with the secondary house until Ann and I realized we just could not keep two houses up. Age slipped up on us! A decline in health on my part made it more difficult to keep up the property. I certainly did not want to see the house fall from decay and I did not want to take some advice to burn the house. That was never an option to me. My grandparents house, my parents house, mine and Ann’s week-end cottage. Burn it? Never!
The Lord works in mysterious ways. A first cousin asked one day if I would be interested in selling the house to be removed from my property and located about half-mile away on property they had made available to their daughter and husband. It did not take but a minute for me to say yes.
My second cousin and her husband Charlotte and Gregg Gann now own “this old house” and it remains in the family. They are making a number of great improvements and I can’t wait until they are in the house. “This old house” has been saved once more.
Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and a United Methodist Minister. He is Pastor of Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Calhoun County. He is a member of and President of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 337, Bruce, MS 38915 or by e-mail at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.