Friday, May 16, 2014

A New Chest Freezer

We had been in our new store for a few months and we were doing well. We were selling a lot of appliances for customers who wanted to trade out of their wringer washers into an automatic washing machine. We still had refrigerators that were not frost free and during the summer and fall we sold quiet a few chest freezers.

One day Mr. Clifford Threat came over and said he needed a large chest freezer for his kitchen in the Restaurant. My dad showed him what we had available and he explained that he could also get him a commercial one. He settled for a regular chest freezer that we had on the sales floor.

That afternoon we delivered it to the restaurants kitchen which was just across the street.

Several weeks later we got a service call from Mr. Threat saying that the lid of the freezer wasn't sealing tightly and extra frost was building up around the lid. Hershal Cotrell, was trained to service them and he check it out and found that the lid was warped and thus it did not close properly. We ordered a new lid and when it came in he replaced the old one with the new.

After several months, dad ran into Clifford at the bank and he said he was having the same problem again with the freezer lid. We just reordered a new lid and when it came in we replaced it the second time.

Again, Clifford called and let us know that the freezer lid was having the same problem for the third time.
Hershall called the factory representative and explained the problem and he said, "we have sold thousands of freezers, but this is the first one that we have ever had the same problem with three lids." He was told to go over early the next morning and check it out again and talk with the kitchen help and see if they knew what was happening to make the lids warp.

The next morning he went over to the kitchen door and knocked and one of the cooks answered the door. They were busy cooking for the breakfast crowd and the kitchen was a buzz. When he looked over at the freezer he saw that the lid was covered in biscuit dough and one of the cooks was rolling out biscuit dough to make biscuits. She was pushing very hard on the freezer lid as she flattened out the dough. He explained to her that this was what was causing the freezer lid to warp. She said, well it sure is a great surface to make biscuits and to make the pie crust on.

My dad ordered a new lid and paid for it out of his own pocket because it was considered neglect on the customers part. I asked my dad why did he do this, and his reply was, "I want to keep a good customer and if I take care of him he will tell others how good he has been treated.

A few days later we got in a stainless steel table with stainless steel legs with a shelf. After we assembled it I asked my dad who was getting this special table. He told us to take it across the street to the kitchen at Threat's and tell the lady that made the biscuits and pie dough that this table belonged to her and she could use it to make her biscuit and pie dough on.

We never had another service call on the freezer, but we kept a faithful customer for many years.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vivian's Florist

I think that their has always been a Vivian's Florist. It was located across the street from Mrs. P.Y. Waters Grocery. We were at the corner of Madison Street and South Broad and she was located on South Elm Street.

When ever we needed flowers we just went across the street and purchased the flowers. We knew that they were going to be fresh and if she made an arrangement it was always beautiful.

In 2004 my dad who had never been in the hospital had an aneurism and was rushed to Athens Medical Hospital. All of the family were called and we were told that he wouldn't have long to live that it had caused him to be blinded and he couldn't talk because of the side of the brain that was damaged.

We got ready and left to drive from Memphis, TN to Athens stopping in at the Atlanta Airport to pick up my sister Susan and her husband before driving on to Athens. When we got to the hospital to see him a large crowd had gathered and we made our way into the room. We were brought up to date with his condition and how long the doctor said that he had.

That evening I was setting by my father's bedside and holding his hand. I asked him if he knew who Palmer was to grip my hand twice. Their was no response but I still held on to his hand. With a heavy heart I let my dad know that we loved him and I hoped that he could hear me and know that this was one way to get the whole family together again. I then felt a response of his hand on mine.

I told the doctor about this and he told me it was just wishful thinking on my part, and with the damage that he had had he couldn't respond. That evening before we left to go to the motel I was sitting with him again and I decided to try out with him some of the rhyming he used to do with us as children. I said, If I didn't have to pay Uncle Sam so many taxes, I could own several Cadillac's.  Then I remembered the poem he had to learn in grade school. So I started to the first verse, I never saw a purple cow, and that when I heard in a low voice, "I hope I never see one." Then I said, "But I can tell you anyhow," then his voice he finished it, I'd rather see than be one." He then went on to say baby. I said mom is in the room across the hall. Mom is here and she is being taken care of. Then he said no, not mom, you're the baby. With trembling hands a softened heart I cried with happiness that I could talk with him before he died.

When the doctor came in I told him what had happened and again he shut me down with his theory. I said OK, just stand their and listen. I took my dad's hand and I let him know that it was me and I told him that the doctor was there in the room and he said that I was just wanting to believe something that wasn't true. So I asked him doe his help when I started the poem again. I never saw a purple cow, then I waited and then dad said, "Doc, I hope I never see one, But I can tell you anyhow, I'd rather see than be one. The doctor said, I think I owe you an apology.

He lived for about two weeks and he died the week of Valentine's Day 2004. Again we all gathered together for the viewing at Ivey Funeral Home in Commerce and picked out the casket and flowers for the funeral. We had his viewing on a Tuesday night and on Wednesday we had his funeral. At around 10:30 a.m. or 11:00a.m. we got a call from the house that my mother had passed away and would we have enough time for the funeral to be together. It was decided that this could not be arranged but we could go on and have my dad's funeral and wait and have a viewing of my mother and dad that same evening and have my mother's funeral the next day and then bury them both together and have one funeral possession.

I remembered my friend and Florist, Vivian. We drove down the street to her Florist and I asked her would she make me an arrangement for her casket. Vivian asked me what kind of flowers did I want as they hadn't gotten their order in yet. I just said, "Vivian, one thing I know is that the work that you do is amazing so just run it through your garden of flowers and I know that mom would have loved it." That evening when the flowers were delivered and put on her casket everyone commented about the flower arrangement. It was beautiful and it looked like a flower garden made with love.

"Thank You," Vivian for a job "well done."

Waters Cafe

When ever we would get hungry for a great hamburger we always headed out to Waters Cafe. It was located across the railroad tracks from Harmony Grove Mills and it was a cafe and a grocery store. It was owned by my cousins Claudie and Hazel Waters and the best cook ever another cousin Eva.

The food was cooked fresh and you got to join in conversation with who ever was waiting in line for their food. It was the best quality of food in it's day.

My favorite was the cheese burger or the chili burger, which I have made many of down through the years but never had one taste as good as theirs.

We both had grocery stores Waters Cafe and Mrs. P.Y. Waters Grocery, but we never cooked food at Mrs. P.Y. Waters Grocery and if we had I'm sure one would never have matched the ones cooked at the Waters Cafe.

Happy Birthday Aunt Lillie Mae Waters

Today is a "Special Day," in Commerce for my Aunt Lillie Mae Waters. Today is her "100th" birthday. She was born in Banks County on May 14, 1914.

She married my dads brother Emory Waters and they lived in Commerce. She is one "special aunt" that always loved her flowers and working in her yard.

She said, "I don't keep house much anymore, I just let the house keep me."

I am glad of her son Roger and his wife Nadine that are there for her. Her mind is so clear and she loves her family very much.

I asked her was today a "Special Day: for her and she said, "Oh it's just another day.

We Love You Aunt Lillie Mae,


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Mannequin Too Many

My dad and his brothers had decided that they wanted to add a new location in town to sell furniture and appliances because the were out growing the business in the mercantile store on the south end of town. The building that they purchased was on Central Avenue behind Jay's Department Store and across the street from Threat's kitchen entrance. And next door was Blue Bell's Cafeteria, that later became Champion Mills.

The building had been a dress shop with it's previous owner. (Ideal's Dress Shop) When you walked in the door there were to display windows on either side of the doors. On the side walls there was a balcony on each side with area above for storage, It was built to look like a front porch wit turned white post and white railings. The floors were oak and the walls had a white plaster over the brick. When you got half-way back into the store it widened out to twice its size and in the far right hand side was a large restroom with a small window facing a alley behind Jay's Department Store. The restroom window had bars on it like a jail house.

On the other side of the back was a set of double doors that opened onto a walled in patio, the walls were from the other three buildings that joined our building. Between the restroom and the patio was a large paneled office with windows on three sides and a fireplace in the middle. It was in this room that we found a Mannequin and many pieces of mannequin's.

We decided that when we saw this mannequin that we would take it home and have fun with some of our guest that came from time to time to visit us.

She was a blond and we named her Matilda. Matilda started out riding in the car with my sister because she worked in Athens and was going to school at night and my dad put her in the passenger seat and it looked like two people were in the car instead of only my sister. Matilda served her well and she never had a problem driving alone at night.

One night two of our brother workers came to spend a few days with us and as the bedroom that they were sleeping in had a bathroom we had an idea for Matilda.

While we were visiting after supper in the Living Room with our company my brother and one of my sister's were supposed to be doing their homework, but instead the were setting up Matilda in the restroom, They had her using the restroom and they had taped a newspaper in her hand as if she were reading the Atlanta Constitution. When we all went to bed we all went into our sisters room across the hall so we could hear what was going on. When one went to go into the restroom we heard him say, "Oh excuse me," and they walked back into the living room. While they were in the living room my brother took her out of the bathroom and put her in my sister's closet until the next day. After giving the person enough time they went back to their room and knocked before they entered to see if someone was in the room.

The next night they put her in the bed with her blond hair spread all over the pillow like she was asleep. The light was turned on in the bathroom and the door was left ajar so that the light would shine toward the bed and they could see the person in the bed. Again they excused themselves and decided to sleep one on the couch and one in the chair for the night. As they were getting ready to go to sleep in the living room they heard them moving Matilda out of the bedroom into my sister's bedroom. Thankfully for us the got up and went to bed in their bedroom for the night.

The next morning we just knew that we were going to get it from them and the our parents. When everything went off as normal we were left to wonder when the other foot was going to drop.

We had to wait until we got ready to go to bed the next night. When we went to our separate rooms and pulled back our covers we went to jump into the bed and we could only slide in half way in. We had made the beds the previous mornings and they were made the same way we had made beds for years and never had any problems. My brother said this is the other foot dropping. Just sleep under the cover that you can get under and they will be listening to us, hear us as we grumble that we can't get into our beds.

Meanwhile downstairs my sisters tried to get in their beds and they to could only get in half way and their feet wouldn't go any farther into the bed. They took all of their covers off to see what was wrong with their bed covers and then they found out what was wrong. Someone had remade the bed and as you pulled down the bed covers it looked normal. When they remade the bed they took the top sheet and folded it in half and tucked the part for the bottom of the bed into the top of the bed like it was folded in half and when you went to pull the covers back you could only slide in on the sheet half way. If you just pulled the spread and blanket back and not the sheet you could get in the bed as usual.

At breakfast the next morning we each got a wink from the brother workers and we knew then that they had caught on and the joke was back on us.

We later learned that they call this technique: A Short Sheeted Bed.

Yes, you probably already guessed, we passed this trick on to others as they came to visit and when we went visiting we always offered to make the beds with fresh sheets so that we could pass on what we had learned.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Opening A New Location

Well after a few years of selling furniture and appliances out of the Mrs. P.Y. Waters Grocery and the business was doing so well it was decided that it was time to expand to another location.

After looking at several locations they decided on a building located on Central Avenue. It has a lot of street traffic when Blue Bell let out in the afternoons and it was directly behind Jay's Department Store. Next door to us was The Blue Bell Cafeteria and it later became Champion Mills a clothing store.

The store that we purchase had previously been a ladies dress shop. (Ideal's Dress Shoppe) It was a beautiful building inside and I always thought, even as a young lad that it would have made a beautiful home.
Everyone laughed at my idea but just think of all of the people that now live in remodeled Hotels, Schools, buildings and lofts.

At the front were two 10 foot double oak doors weathered with age and they made you feel so welcome. As you came through the door their were to large windows on wither side of the door and the floors in the windows let the merchandise sit up tall to showcase it well. The ceiling was done in metal plating and each sheet was 3X3 and it covered the entire building. Their were three skylights in the roof to let in natural light during the day and sun shades that you could close during the heat of the day. There was also old oak bladed Hunter ceiling fans every six feet on the ceiling and this helped keep the building cool in the warm summers.
The building was heated by a large gas heater that hung from the ceiling from the middle of the store, it did a perfect job of keeping the building warm.

In the front of the store on both outside walls was white porch columns that held up another row of porch columns on the top and between the post were white railings. When you got half way into the store the building expanded double in size. because the buildings that backed up to our building were smaller buildings than Jay's. One of these buildings was a Barber Shop, and the other may have been Tuckers Men's Ware before they remodeled. On the right side at the rear was a large restroom that had ceilings that were taller that the restroom was long. It had a square window that would open into the alley but the window had bars on it like a jail cell to keep intruders out. On the opposite wall at the rear of the building were a set of large French Doors opening out on to a walled in patio, where the other three buildings joined our building. I loved to sit out here after school and do my homework and enjoy the quietness and calm from the bustle of my day at school. In the middle in the rear of the building was a very large room. It had pained windows mid way down the oak paneled walls with a large fireplace in the middle of the room. We used this room for years for displaying a bedroom group or a living and dining room grouping. I can even remember making it look like a kitchen and breakfast area.

We found in this rear room some mannequins but only one out of all that were on there wasn't broken. We named her Matilda and she became a part of our family.