Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The summer before my 8th grade year was when my dad announced to us that he had purchased a general store in LaRussell and we would be moving there.  It was a town of 100 people that had a 2-room school with an outhouse and a pump to get a drink.  Our teacher, Mr. Henry, was elderly, chewed tobacco & had very few teeth.  There were only 2 kids in the 8th grade that year -- me & Freddie Whitehead.

It wasn't as difficult a transition as I had thought because the town was full of really good, decent people who made us feel at home.  It was just so different from Springfield. 
This is how our store looks now.  It's empty and dilapidated like most of LaRussell.  This is not the original store.  It burned while we owned it and was rebuilt.  It was a wonderful old building that had our store, a feed store, dentist's office and the post office.
This is the pump that sits in the middle of the street.  Once on Halloween some of the boys in the area put an outhouse over it.  Now there is an effort to save the pump.  The county wants it removed but the people who live there have stood up and said "no".  Last year on Thanksgiving night they had a pump-lighting and strung Christmas lights all over it.  They've created a FB page and have printed t-shirts.  One of the elders in the community wrote an amazing story about coming home from WWII and seeing the pump in the middle of the rode and what it symbolized for him.

While we were in LaRussell at the reunion, we went to visit Mr. Graff.  He's lived in the same house on the same farm for all of his 92 years.  He led the music at our little church and has always been held in the highest regard.  We had such a good visit.  When we left his house, the moon was up and full over his barn.
This is the LaRussell Baptist Church.  This is where Mike and I were married by Rev. Chester Waggoner.  It is so good to see that it's still well tended and services are still held here.

It's so strange how you take for granted little changes in your life.  That move totally changed the direction of my life.  I can look back at it now and realize how lucky I was that we moved there.  I'm certain that the most important effect it had on me are the people from there who are still such a big part of my life.

It was good to go back and see people I hadn't seen for ages.  It was also good to have them tell me that they remembered me and my family and that we were valued in that community.  What more could you want.


Dana-v said...

What a sweet post. Made me tear up a little. And I'll be "pinning" that barn/moon photo!

Anonymous said...

I missed the Sunday visit with Mr Graff, and I regret that so much. What you wrote about him brings happy tears to me, we have so many good memories, don't we? and I am so glad you had time with him. I hope we'll make that trip more often now. Mary Ellen
By Mary Ellen Collins on What a great weekend...... on 9/27/11

jc@leolas said...

It was a good visit, and we must not wait so long for the next. I think a walk to Spring river, this fall, would be a great photo op. Was your teacher really old, or is that your memory of him?

T's Daily Treasures said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful trip back in time. Only 2 people in 8th grade is unimaginable in this day and age. Thanks for sharing LaRussell with us. It looks like a great little town. Best wishes, Tammy

Anonymous said...

The "moon" photo is one of the best you have ever taken! I'm e enjoying hearing your reunion stories.

Linda said...

What a lovely post...thanks so much for sharing your sweet memories with us!