Remember When: Happy Birthday, Irene Butler
In 1926 hit songs of the day were “Blue Skies,” “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Ja Da, Ja Da, Jing, Jing, Jing,” ”Baby Face,” “Heart of My Heart,” “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along,” “Thanks for the Buggy Ride,” and “Washboard Blues.” Some of those you readers will recognize because a few were recorded in new versions again in the 1940s.
My friend Irene Davis Butler turned 94 years of age on January 14, 2020. She unloaded a lot of memories for me to write down – all fascinating. Born in the Harmony Community in a 3-month old house her daddy built, she lived there until she left home to get married. It was a sturdy house with hardwood floors and walls. Dr. D. J. Campbell from Rose Hill came in his Model T Ford to deliver her. She arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon. The family lived in this house that was first located at Route 6 but later became Route 10 and is now a mailing address at County Rd. 70. There was a barn with a tin roof (now gone), and there was a well that never ran dry. Neighbors would often come to get water to wash their clothes when their well ran dry.
“Mother would hoe the gardens and sweep the yard,” Butler remembered. “She had lots of flowers. Daddy built wood steps into the house and later put concrete over them. The steps are still there today. The house where I grew up that I now own is also still there.”
“Miss Irene” recalled her mother’s summer garden with okra, purple hull peas, black-eyed peas, little white peas, and much more. “She cooked the best peas ever, because she picked them off the vine early in the morning, shelled them right away, cooked them, and we ate them at noon!”
Her mother also canned and dried apples and other fruit from the trees growing on the six acre-homestead. There were apple trees, pear trees, fig and persimmons. The winter garden produced collards and turnips. “There were plenty of green leaves to put in the pot and cook. She just pulled off the yellow leaves.”
“We never went hungry during the Great Depression because of mother’s garden. I do remember that winters used to be much colder than today.”
“Daddy drove a lumber truck. He had his own truck, and he hauled lumber for a living. The road going into town was dirt. We always drove to town in Daddy’s Model T Ford. The roads went bumpety-bump, bumpety-bump.”
“My grandmother Samantha Davis lived with us. She was a Confederate soldier’s widow. She and my grandfather Issac Davis were married where they met in Tennessee when Granny was 15 years old. Granny Davis drew a pension and would buy yards of material for mother to sew my dresses.”
“My mother was Halie Blocker Davis. She made a lot of dresses for me. She could look at a picture and make the dress exactly like the picture.”
“Even though my husband Ray and I lived in California during World War II when he was in the Army and later in Florida for a little while, my address has always been within one mile of where I was born.”
The January 14, 1926 edition of the Andalusia Daily Star was reminiscent of the times Mrs. Butler talked about. Oscar M. Duggar was the Editor; Roy May was the Advertising Manager.
“ANNOUNCEMENT – A car of mules will arrive here Monday evening (by train). Mr. J. W. Shreve is now in Tennessee where he goes to buy his usual kind of well-broken, easy to handle mules ready for all kind of service. We promise all who give us a chance to either trade or sell a mule the usual pleasant business courtesy that has always been accorded both Mr. Tom Henderson and Mr. Shreve.”
“Don’t fail to ask about that new buggy to be given away at the store on April 17th. S. D. Brooks Hardware and Furniture, On the Square, Andalusia, Alabama.”
“Andalusia Needs: Furniture Factory, Veneering Plant, Spoke and Handle Factory, Stove and Range Factory. Chair Factory, Canning Factory, Harness Factory, Wagon Factory. Andalusia needs many other factories not listed above. Pick out the one you desire to see promoted and get out and put it over. If you think of something better than any of these suggested, start one of your own choosing.”
Ads in the newspaper almost 100 years ago are always amusing since it shows how much times have changed. Will this be true 100 years from now when people look at the 2020 newspaper editions?
“Highest Cash Price Paid for Chickens and Eggs. D. T. Edwards Meat Market and Café.”
“Field Peas and Velvet Beans, Buck Everage.”
“Protect Your Eyes with Properly Fitted Glasses. C. J. Ward, Optometrist.”
“We pay highest price for hides, C. J. Searcy Packing House Market.”
“Dr. W. R. Middleton, Dentist, Prestwood Building, Phone 406.”
“A. H. Robinson, Notary Public, Representative of Security Mutual Life.”
“Glasses Fitted Correctly, P. Lewis, Optometrist”
“Standard Repair Parts for All Cars and Trucks, Steam Vulcanizing, J. M. Taylor Auto Co. Phone 101.”
“Exclusive Agents for Purina Cow Chow and Poultry Feeds, Also, Airy Fairy Flour, Riley Grocery Co. Phone 89 and 291.”
“HIP! HIP! HOORAH! Here it comes. Berman’s Department Store starts tearing down prices!”
“Boarders Wanted. Mrs. Beatrice Hicks, 11 Oak Street.”
“Andalusia City Schools, Honor Roll – The monthly report cards for the 4th month of school were sent to our patrons yesterday and today. If you failed to see them, ask your children why. The purpose of this monthly visit of the report cards is to let you know the kind of work your children are doing at school. If the report is good, commend them. If it is not good, please cooperate with the school in trying to make it better the next time. J. A. Baxley, Superintendent.”
“SOCIETY – Mrs. E. R. Smith will entertain a few friends at lunch tomorrow.”
“IN MEMORY OF MRS. G. C. THOMASON – On Friday night, the death angel entered the hospital of Andalusia and the spirit of Mr. G. C. Thomasson took its flight from earth to heaven there to bask in the sunlight of God’s love forever…”
“The Excellence of Our Dining Car Service – The menu on the L & N diner is complete and varied. A passenger may order a ‘Compartment Platter’ consisting of a relish, meat, 2 vegetables, salad, coffee, tea or milk, and a choice of dessert.
He may also choose from an A-La-Carte bill of fare. Every seasonable delicacy from Gulf oysters and seafood to the tenderest of chops and game can be ordered. The prices are much lower than you’d expect to pay for such service. THE OLD RELIABLE L & N R.R. (Louisville & Nashville Railroad).”
“The AHS Freshmen Class met last Thursday for the purpose of organizing a Literary Society. The Program Committee planned the following programs: “Talk on Chewing Gum” and “Talk on Bobbed Hair.” The students are looking forward to these meetings with interest and enthusiasm.”
Happy birthday to Mrs. Irene Davis Butler who shared her memories with Remember When! It is a blessing to be 94 years of age and to remember so much of one’s early life. Wishing her “nothin’ but Blue Skies from now on!”
Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at email@example.com.