Sunday, October 1, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 44: Up the Lane to Granny's

At the end of the lane lined with cedars lies Granny's house.
Familiar anticipation...eager expectation.
Even when she's gone, she will always be there.
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.   
(Psalm 16:11)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 43 Finding High Rock

Actually, one might not want others to “find” High Rock because it's so full of memories and seems so unspoiled by the 21st century as to make it a very special place.
In High Rock, the unincorporated village near where Granny and Granddaddy Cole lived, terms like urban sprawl, overpopulation, densification, consumerism and gentrification are as unfamiliar as are paved parking lots, Walmarts and fast food restaurants. This place is obscure and almost non-existent in terms of what one can learn on the Internet; it is (spoken as a compliment) a throwback to life as it was in the middle of the 20th century. [Bear in mind that this opinion is rooted in the mind of one who experienced the area as it was then and refuses to change her description now.]

High Rock proper is now, according to one source, merely “a populated place located within the Township of Healing Spring[s], a minor civil division…of Davidson County.” 

The village, and hardly that any more, is nestled below part of the Uwharrie mountain chain, near the Flat Swamp Mountain and at the foot of High Rock Mountain, the highest of the Uwharries. It is from a large rock on the side of that peak that High Rock draws its name.
At one time, High Rock proper was indeed populated.
Especially during the years from 1917 – 1928, its location about a mile from “the site of what would be High Rock Dam buzzed with activity as laborers moved into the area to help build the facility.” Work camps grew up around the area to house the 2,000 workers needed to complete the project, that took about 11 years from planning to completing the dam in 1927 and filling the lake in 1928.
High Rock was even a stop on the Carolina and Yadkin Rail Road beginning 1912. The name was changed to the High Point, Thomasville & Denton Railroad in 1924 and has since merged with the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad. 

Today, High Rock is still populated, albeit sparsely. The work camps are gone. The only two existing store buildings, both owned by the Morgan family, are now closed.

 The railroad still has an operation in High Rock.

The village is missing two of it's citizens, the Cole sisters, who've moved to Fuquay.
A picture of the rock on the side of High Rock Mountain, for which the village and the lake were named, proved elusive in late summer.

The Rock should be right up the mountain past these green barriers, either beyond the High Rock Baptist Church or up from Uncle Ron's back yard. If only we could see past the summer foliage...which proved to be impenetrable.
I thought I might have to be content with memories of the Rock from one hike made up to the site with Aunt Ruthie and Cousin Bebo when I was about 12.

But then, while going through some of Aunt Ruthie’s plethora of beautiful paintings...

there is was!  
Or at least I have chosen to believe The High Rock is what she captured on canvas better that any picture I could take.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.   (I Corinthians 13:12)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 42: More Animals at High Rock

The house at High Rock has seen a lot of creatures in its time.
Some past--

And some present---the new baby peacock with her proud and protective mama!
 She (I think it's a she) is getting so big!
(Better to be able to escape the foxes..and owls...and coyotes.)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
[Jesus said] I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

(John 10:10)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 41: Out Granny's Back Door

What sights you might see looking out Granny's back door!

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.   
 (Genesis 1:25)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Granny's Pantry # 40: Life at High Rock in 1928

The story goes that Granny and Granddaddy Cole left Davidson County some time after they were married in 1917 to make their own living on a farm in Bladen County, NC. Back home at the Cole home place in High Rock were Granddaddy Cole's parents, Grandsir Jim and his wife, Martha Jane. While Granddaddy had at least 5 siblings, it was he who was expected to come back home and take care of his aging parents and the High Rock farm. And so, the story goes, they loaded their livestock on a train and home they came.  
Granny's mother-in-law was not well, and died in 1926. Her father-in-law lived on at High Rock until 1934. One of Granddaddy's siblings, Mary Dell (or Aunt Mayme, as we knew her), had made her way to Columbus, Georgia, where she taught business courses in high school for years. She came home to the farm during the summers, but not always at other holidays.

Recently, two letters written in early 1928 were found  in some family papers, one written by Granny Cole to her sister-in-law, Mayme, in Georgia, and one by Ruth, Granny's oldest daughter and Aunt Mayme's niece.

1928 came on the heels of Lindbergh's transatlantic solo non-stop flight from the U.S. to Europe. Joseph Stalin had just taken control of Russia, and Ford replaced the Model T with the Model A. Calvin Coolidge was President, and a wood fired kitchen range, similar to the one Granny cooked on for another 25 years, could be bought for $69.85.
Rural North Carolina was a place where electricity was not universal and telephones in the home were a luxury. Farming was the occupation of necessity there, and the farms were already on the road to the Great Depression. 
High Rock, N.C.
Jan., 1928
Dear Mayme,
     I want to thank you for the many nice things you sent to us Christmas. I know I have been terribly slow about writing, but we are all very thankful to you just the same. You should see Miss Prissy Pris with her pretty gloves on. [Likely she was talking about her youngest daughter, Virginia, age 4.] The birthday party was quite a success I think. Ruth and Grandsir enjoyed it and the decoration was so pretty. One of the pretty green candle holders was broken so bad I could not use it. Otherwise the box was in good shape.
     Mayme did you have a joyful Christmas? We did not have any company so everything was very quiet. I gave Ruth her little party Christmas eve and the candles were beautiful.
     Well I have lots of things stored back in my memory to tell you but they seem slow about coming to me just now. I heard that Miss Eliza Reid is married but don't know if it is true. And Mr. Jim Smith was married to a young lady that nursed Mrs. S. They were married in September. Now you see you let another good chance go by. ha. [Aunt Mayme never married.]
     Your father is well, we have all been well this winter except slight colds. We had some of the coldest weather I ever experienced last week. It was so cold for 6 days and nights that my milk would freeze up solid in the kitchen and eggs left on the table would freeze and burst. We still sell some milk, deliver about 3 times a week.
     Most all the people have left and they are tearing down and burning up the camp as fast as possible. [The High Rock farm is located just downriver from the High Rock Dam across the Yadkin River. This dam was built in 1927. The camp, to which Granny refers, was most likely the camp inhabited by many of the laborers working on the dam. By the middle of April, 1928, High Rock Lake reservoir had been filled.]    
     We butchered again last Tuesday. Albert's hogs did very sorry this year but we have a good supply of meat at that. I canned 10 quarts of sausage and we have 3 pigs to kill yet. So prepare thyself to cook again with me next summer.
     Grandsir said tell you the books were jut fine he has finished Jane Eyre and is reading the Bible Stories now. Said he thanked you ever so much for them.
     Mr. George left the first of December.  He went to Mt. Holly, N.C. [Mr. George was likely a laborer on the dam who boarded with Granny and Granddaddy at High Rock.]
     The children are doing very well in school. They love to go but we sure do hafto hustle in the mornings. The truck comes so early. Ruth has some kind of work to do at nights. She had 44 sentences to write for Monday.
     Brooks is still in the first grade but he said tell you he has finished Baby Ray and is reading in a new reader now.
     Excuse this fancy writing paper. Mr. George gave it to me and you know I just must use it. Write to us soon and please don't wait for me to answer.
     Love from all,

And then there was Ruth's thank you letter also, post marked Jan. 25. [She was about 9 at the time. Brooks, her brother, would have been a little younger.]

High Rock, NC
Dear Aunt Mayme.
     Guess you thought I was never going to write you. We are just fine Grandsir has gotten well and at work again. President Davis is dead. He fell dead at High Rock yesterday. Was quite sudden as he had not been ill. [We have no idea who President Davis is...probably a pet.]
     I want to thank you for all the nice things you sent us Christmast it was so nice of you I am trying to learn fast and Brooks really is learning fast he will be writing you a letter soon.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  (James 1:17)