Part I: LATE 1800’S AND EARLY 1900’S
Life in a small Georgia town in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was very satisfying for young and old. This was before radio or television sets – not to mention computer’s! Here are some of those memories as told to and gathered by Sarah Frances Miller during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Rocking chairs were dear to the hearts of Powder Springs residents in those day – both old and young. Most houses had front porches then. Almost every porch held a number of large Brumby rockers. It was unusual for some of them not to be occupied during the waking hours.
“Rocking chairs held a peculiar fascination for me”, recalls Fonnie Bullard. “At age four, I could sit sideways in a big porch rocker. I would play an imaginary piano on the arm of the chair.”
Children rocked vigorously and sang loudly, and often fell asleep in them. Ladies hurried to get through with their morning duties and their mid-day meals in order to sit in rockers on the front veranda in the shade of the huge oaks that used to line Marietta Street and the other streets of Powder Springs. The ladies would sew, read, visit or just rock and watch what was happening up and down the street, sharing gossip along the way. None of the porches were screened in the early days so fly swatters were very much in evidence.
When the gentlemen of the house came home to lunch, called dinner by most, they enjoyed the rocking chairs for a brief rest before going back to work.
After the evening meal the whole family, except those going out for some reason, gathered on the front porch to cool off, to rock and to discuss the events of the day and to catch up on the “local gossip”.
On hot summer nights the air would often be permeated with the odor of woolen rags doused in kerosene smoldering or smoking to keep the pesky mosquitoes away.
The porch swing was another popular resting place. These swings were usually suspended from the ceiling by chains. A few were on frames. Some were built for two people while others might hold four or five people according to the size of the occupants.
The front porches with their rocking chairs and swings were also used by the young people to get to know each other better – being a place for their “date” when “courting”, “sparking” and making plans for their future together as man and wife. It was a place for neighbors to gather to visit one another.
Fonnie Bullard tells this story about Murray Landrum who was stone dear. Murray ran a grist mill and worked in it all day. One Saturday afternoon he was sitting on a bench reading a news paper in front of C. M. McTyre’s Dry Goods and General Merchandise Store. At the time an itinerant street preacher was preaching. The preacher was a little irritated at Murray’s apparent lack of interest. He passed a cup around for an offering. Murray asked, “What do you want?” The preacher asked Murray, “Do you want to go to heaven?” Murray replied, “I am pretty well satisfied right here.”
Children had fun engaging in quiet games such as marbles, jackstones, thimble, blowing soap bubbles through a wooden spool, spinning a top, playing mumble peg, playing with paper dolls cut out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog. More active games included croquet. There were courts in many yards for this game. The Butner’s croquet ground was the space between the home later occupied by Walker and Ida Florence and the Methodist Parsonage. (currently the parking lot between the day care center and the funeral home). Drop the handkerchief, pop the whip, hop scotch, jump the rope, Red Rover, Fox in the War, Follow the Leader and rolling the hoop were old standbys. Many of these games are now forgotten.
Hide-and-Go-Seek was a very popular game because it could be played by just a few or many. There were many places to hide as well around the houses and the town!
County News by Correspondents Marietta Journal Oct 17, 1907
From other Towns and Localities.
WORK OF NEWS-FINDERS
All Points of the County Represented, Rural News and Fresh and Sparkling for Perusal.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Tapp of Henderson, Kentucky, were recent guest of the family of Mr. W. J. Tapp.
Miss Mamie Vaughn who is attending the State Normal School at Athens, spent Saturday and Sunday with homefolk.
Mrs. Eula Williams of Acworth, is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Uriah Matthews.
Miss Lillie Mosley spent last week with relatives in Douglasville.
Mr. John Mosley spent Sunday there and accompanied Miss Lillie home.
Misses Meek of Illinois are the charming guest of their sister, Mrs. MatDorsey.
Mrs. Belle Wright, Mr. Henry Morris and Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McKenney spent last Wednesday in Atlanta. They attended the National Convention of Rural Carriers.
Mrs. T. N. Camp and son, Dillard, have returned from an extended visit to South Carolina and the Exposition.