Central Street Neighbors Remembered
By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week. As you can see by the picture, I received a nice letter along with it from Jimmie Kathryn. Her father was Jim Woods, who worked for the Illinois Central for many years. I haven’t heard from her for a long time and, as always, I really appreciate a letter. She said that she was visiting her friend, Shirley Fair who worked for the Herald at that time.
I remember Shirley as her family attended First Methodist Church. Her dad, J. A. Fair, was a mail carrier for many years. She said that at the time of that visit, the Herald was remodeling and she wasn’t sure of the location. This would have been during World War II.
I’ll repeat the story she related to me in a letter several years ago. After the war many servicemen were returning home. The story continues as they drove by, they passed a young man with his duffel bag over his shoulder. They stopped, gave him a ride and he introduced himself as Stanley Morgan. As they say, the rest is history. Shirley and Stanley were married about a year later and were together for over 40 years. They lived in Nashville. After his death she moved to Dayton, Ohio.
She gave me a neighborhood history similar to other neighborhood features I have written about. She lived in the last block of Central Street, just before where the caution light is now. Hwy. 7 came down the hill and was the main street into Water Valley. It made a dangerous turn coming down the hill and she said one night a car load of Ole Miss students came down too fast, hit the bump and curve and wrecked, killing one student, and throwing two more into their yard. In those days, before seat belts, many fatalities occurred after a driver or passenger was ejected from their vehicle.
I’m going to list the neighborhood as she relayed in her letter. Just past the Park was the Elliot’s, Joe and Ida Sue, Andrew and Kate Berry and Curtis; then the McGonagill’s, Ludie, Louise and Ted; across the street the Greenlee’s, Sherman, Frank and Louise; and next was the Peacocks, Paul, Ruth and Linda Mae.
Other families include the Burns family, Gene and Jake; the Lloyd Howard family; across the street Taylor and Ruth Howard, Ray and Ralph. There was also the Henry family, Hamric, Louie, and Hazel; Carl and Thrace White, Bill and Alice; the Baird’s, Charlie, Frank and Richard; H. O. “Hot” Thomas; the Wrights, Gene and H.F.; and Jim, Lucy and Kathryn Woods.
She recalled that it was a wonderful neighborhood where everybody knew everybody, and were like an extended family. She also related another interesting story from her father. During the First World War, soldiers would come through the Valley on trains and the soldiers would throw out a paper with their name and address. One of those was Jimmy Kennedy and Pansy found it.
After the war he came back and he and Pansy were married and had a daughter, Dorothy Jean. I remember Jimmy Kennedy as a town mail carrier. He always carried an umbrella, rain or shine, and someone said it was to keep off dogs.
Jimmie Kathryn, I appreciated your letter so much and I’m sorry I never met you in person. In those days older kids never mingled with the small fry.
Everyone out there, your input is always welcome and any pictures as well.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38191 and have a great week.