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REMEMBER WHEN: On the Streets Where They Lived

“On the Street Where You Live” is a song those of you who watch television Broadway musicals such as “My Fair Lady,” one of my favorites with an English twist, might recognize.  A number of years ago, charter president of the Covington Historical Society, Joe Wingard, encouraged members to write down remembrances of the homes and the people who resided on the streets where they lived.

     I recall some memorable Andalusia women of different eras  whose activities in their lifetimes made a deep impression on me. See if any of the descriptions of these ladies sound familiar to you. I will note the city streets on which they lived.

     Mrs. Addie Belle Guy (Mrs. Opp before she was Mrs. Guy)  who lived on East Three Notch Street lived to be almost 100, although she didn’t know it or act like it. She used to routinely visit the young mothers in the community who had new babies  with gifts in hand. She would visit each household wearing her mink stole, bangles and beads, and was transported to each residence by her chauffer – around “tea time.” Dancing at the Country Club with old and young men alike was her delight.

     Lois Colquett Moates who lived on “the court” always welcomed the neighborhood children to visit in her home. She would take the kids upstairs to Jackie’s room (her son) and show them his clarinet that he played in the AHS Bulldog band. She never knew that one year at Halloween we filled up her empty milk bottles on the front porch with sand!

     Nina Taylor who lived on Church Street taught many a young girl how to sew at the Singer Sewing Center on South Three Notch where she worked. Her summertime sewing lessons were fun. She and her husband were avid gardeners. They loved to work in their yard as did Hazel Shreve (later Cater) on Sanford Road who worked in her flower gardens every Tuesday. I often asked her, “When should I trim my shrubbery?” She replied, “Just anytime, honey. A little bit here and a little bit there! It’s OK.” She is the person who told me that the Bellwood Subdivision used to be a sweet potato farm! Her husband’s family was one of the Shreves of Shreve Feed & Seed who moved from Searight when the train line was extended into downtown Andalusia in 1899.

     Mrs. Nannie Belle Shaver Waits (later Garrett) used to sit on her front porch in her retirement years to watch the cars and sidewalk traffic. She loved to talk to the neighborhood girls and her family members who frequently dropped by for her advice and instruction. So jolly, upbeat, and full of stories, she remembered when her house was at the end of the paved street there on the Lorraine Curve.

     Mrs. J. L. Murphy on River Falls Street prepared lunch every Tuesday for her family. My childhood friend Mickie Patrick whose mother Margaret was a Murphy ate lunch there every week in the summertime. Another day they would go to Mrs. T. A. Patrick’s (Mama Pat’s) house on South Three Notch Street for lunch.  Those were before the days of “fast food.”

     The Inez Chapman Riley household in the landmark Southern home on East Three Notch would enjoy the continuous visits of family and young people. “Mrs. Inez” warned her daughter Peggy and girlfriend sleep-overs not to stay out too late on Saturday night with their WWII dates since “the devil walks after midnight!”

     Mrs. Lillian Moody on 3rd Street loved sewing and creating costumes. No matter what the occasion, she was the best at making Halloween, May Day, Easter, school play, and other

original costumes – even without a pattern. We still have a witch and a red devil outfit in the costume closet designed by master seamstress Mrs. Moody! (She used the old-fashioned sewing machine with the foot pedal.)

     Mrs. Grace Estep on Albritton Road loved to talk about the days of yesteryear when she and Dr. Estep lived in Washington, D. C. and attended the operas, the concerts, the balls, and other “grand” occasions. She swooned over those past events and brought arts and music to Andalusia through her daughter’s piano and violin lessons that culminated in spring recitals as well as being a supporter of the Covington Arts Council of the 1960s.

     Mrs. Louise Tate Irving on East Three Notch Court loved to visit her neighbors next door every time her pressure cooker exploded. She left the mess to clean up with her dear husband James, the Nabisco cookie man. When James vacuumed the house, she always slipped next door to visit! “Oh,” she said, “He makes me so tired, just watching him!”

     Mrs. Ann Chapman on “the court” had an interesting home with décor that resembled the “Vikings.” The neighborhood students of her Latin and Spanish classes would often visit just

to see the artifacts. She was a Bible scholar and knew all about the Romans. I was in her classroom in 1963 when the announcement from the principal’s office came on the intercom about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

     Mrs. Ovie Enzor on Dunson Street loved her customers who frequented her “Cloth Shop” business to pick out material for dresses, back when school girls wore dresses and jumpers! Her shoppe was the place to visit for finding chiffon, satin, and lace for prom dresses.

     Mrs. Inez Wilder on Hand Avenue loved to work in her flower gardens. She could be seen at age “ninety something” trimming, weeding, and raking. That was a good example she set for the passers-by as she beautified her yard that always blossomed!

     Mrs. Ward, before my time, lived in the 2-story Dutch Colonial on the curve on River Falls Street. It is remembered that she decorated ladies’ hats with feathers, ribbons, and flowers. Her generation would not think of going to church or club meetings without a hat and gloves!

     Mrs. Peggy Riley Graves who lived on Henderson Street can be remembered for her love of fashion, her family memorabilia collection, her bridge club, and her toffee candy she made every Christmas season. My last visit to her was in the company of another historian where we all discussed the mysterious death of her grandfather Malachi Riley, probate judge back in the 1890s. Yes, we all came up with the idea that he should possibly be exhumed to discover the real truth about his death. (This is sounding more and more like a Southern movie of colorful characters!)

     Mrs. Ann Albritton on Albritton Road was the sweetest, most lovable, most caring person I ever knew. She taught piano, violin, and organ lessons as well as directing the church choirs. She was determined to get her serious piano students ready for college music theory. Her students loved her dearly, and some of the pupils called her “Aunt Ann” even though she wasn’t even their aunt! Unbeknownst to me when I was younger, she was Ann Long, maiden name, and that name appears frequently in the older newspapers where she was publicized for playing the violin at various events at the East Three Notch Auditorium back in the twenties before she married Attorney Bill Albritton.

     Mrs. Ethel Chapman lived on Stanley Street in the first brick house ever built in Andalusia, it is said. Her home library was extensive, and she welcomed her nieces, granddaughters, and their friends to browse at any time. She was an organizer of the first public library. “Aunt Sister’s” brownies were extraordinary. I understand that her recipe has been passed down to the next generations of Darlings, Russells, and Spurlins.

     Mrs. Win Murphy who resided on Prestwood Bridge Road –  Oh, my goodness, so much could be said about this grand lady who grew up in Thomasville. She was always interested in everyone. Her “winsome” personality gave her more friends than “Carter has liver pills,” stated by Minnie Pearl who “Mrs. Win” had as her overnight house guest once. She is the only person I ever knew that drove around half of the Court Square backwards in the middle of the day (not counting the local U of A football fans who dared the same after national championship wins)!

     Mrs. Grace Ellis Larson, “the town hostess” who owned The Gables Restaurant and Hotel on Church Street – Why she welcomed more people to Andalusia over a period of many years that one can imagine! Her mother Hyacinth “Mom” Ellis, the town council clerk, made her mark as well.

     Miss Thelma Moates owned the “Book and Card Shop” on East Three Notch Street. Don’t know if her secret boyfriend was really _____________! To shop in her business was always a delight!

     Ida Kate Head who lived on East Three Notch Street was appointed sheriff after her husband Sheriff Tom Head passed away. She was the first known woman to drive to Opp. Well, her mother lived over there, and when she got ready to go to Opp, she drove her car over there. She also helped to raid a moonshine still in her high heels and mink coat. She had been at a party, and there was not time to delay in the operation!

     Mrs. Louise McEachin was the strict second grade teacher at East Three Notch School for “a hundred years.” She lived on 3rd Avenue. Most of her students could recite the poem “Hiawatha.” Their years in her classes were memorable!

     Mrs. Ollie B. Brown who lived on Lenora Lane in Bellwood left her pancake recipe to the Pilot Club. She was a delight, and

all the cooks on the Annual Pancake and Sausage Day followed her instructions to a “t!” I was privileged to be a cook in her club kitchen one year.

     Mrs. Oscar (Ida Atwell) Duggar, Sr., the wife of The Andalusia Star editor for many years, and a staunch Presbyterian, was so well thought of. Even a Sunday School room at the church was named in her honor. (I know where Mrs. Duggar’s room is, do you?) Mrs. Duggar lived on Church Street on the corner of Baisden Street (house now razed).

     She was honored in the 1950s as the first organizer of garden clubs in Andalusia (back in the 1920s) and recognized as Andalusia’s first public librarian serving without fee for fourteen years. Also, in the 1950s, the Presbyterians presented Mrs. Duggar in a fitting ceremony an engraved silver tray as a lasting memorial to the faithful and loving services she rendered to the Primary Sunday School Department. Melvin Faulkner, S. S. superintendent, and Attorney William Albritton who was a child taught by Mrs. Duggar made the presentation.

     Mrs. Miller, a songbird in her time, was known for her lyric soprano voice hitting the highest pitches on those wedding songs like “Whither Thou Goest.” Even the frogs in the greenery joined in sometimes! She is long remembered in church singing circles and well-written up in the social columns of the day.

     Last but not least is Mrs. Elizabeth “Mamie” Bellingrath Burnett of Coca-Cola fame. Even though she had no children of her own, she hosted school children touring the Coca- Cola plant on Troy and Burnett Streets and welcomed new teachers to the schools with luncheons. She was a generous benefactor to Andalusia and especially to the youth of the town. Her name is inscribed on a plaque at the First Methodist Church on the organ that she apparently donated when they built the new church building.

    I knew most of these women featured here, but I wish I had known all of them. Their good deeds, talents, abilities, passions, energies, and contributions to the civic, social, and religious life of Andalusia are memorable legacies. As one newspaper editor put it, “They left their stamps.” Others will be featured as we Remember When along the way.

     Sue Bass Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate agent and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at suebwilson47@gmail.com.