Growing up, I knew of some names

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Growing up in Perdido, my family was friends with families who moved here from Europe. In fact, I attended elementary school with several of the children. These fine people settled in the “Splinterhill” neighborhood just a few miles from the heart of our town.

Their names sounded strange at first, but after becoming close friends, I found it rather easy to pronouce all their names. Those families included the Plovaniches, the Klasnanichs, the Jurgeviches, the Abromaviches, the Sineriches and the Maholaviches.

On one occasion, I remember going home with one of them, my classmate, after school and eating supper. This particular friend would take me down to his cellar located under his home. There I saw all kinds of vegetables and fruits preserved in mason jars. Irish and sweet potatoes were laid out in troughs lined with soft straw and stalks of sugarcane leaned against corner walls. Rows of onions lined a special wooden box also trimmed with straw. A few loaves of specially-baked bread were spread on higher shelves to be eaten that day and the next day. There was something about the aroma of the cellar. It smelled so good, so tasty like. My friend told me his parents brought this style of food preservation from the old country. I believe there was enough preserved food to last an entire winter.

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These folks were excellent gardeners. The radiance of the vegetables on the plants in the garden were picturesque to say the least. Just about every vegetable imaginative was grown there.

I am glad I shared friendships with these fine people. I learned recently that many of these former friends have passed away. I was hoping I could make one final trip to the cellar just like I did back in my young school days. I did find one way to recapture that nostalgic trip. I Googled European cellars on my Internet and found wonderful pictures and stories of those quaint means of food preservation just like I experienced many, many years ago.

Now speaking of food and gardens, I am happy to report my good friend Jimmy Biggs has his “vegetable route” in high gear and is delivering succulent vegetables to my front porch. Ouida took his new potatoes and “snap beans” and prepared one of the best meals you could ever enjoy. Adding her cornbread, made also with a scattering of flour and sugar, a green salad and a hunk of “ole timey” salt meat, we “ate like a hog.” So, once again Jimmy, let me say thank you so very much for keeping Ouida and I on your vegetable route. You, by the way, are an excellent gardener. Your vegetables prove me right.

“Lets Go To Church Next Sunday Morning, Lets Kneel and Pray Side By Side” was the name of one of my favorite songs of long ago. It was sung by Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting. To me, it depicted the ideal way to worship in song. Sadly, for me, I do not hear these old traditional songs in church any more. The contemporary generation is upon us now snuffing out those resonant and lyrical song gems my generation knew in days gone by. So sad, so very sad.

To me, it depicted the ideal way to worship in song. Sadly, for me, and me only, I do not hear these old traditional hymns in church today. Instead, I hear lyrics in repetition without melody. Moreover, I hear these contemporary songs for the first time. I don’t know the words to them. I look out at the congregation and see more older gray haired folks like me and wonder if they, too, long for those songs of old.

Now, here’s a look back at some news of people, places and events from years past.

Sandy McGill, local hospital administrator, resigned to take a similar position at South Baldwin Hospital in Foley. The affable Dutch Henry, a Baldwin County native, was hired as McGill’s replacement.

Dr. Hugh Long moved to Atmore and assumed the practice of another chiropractor who retired.

In my older years, I think of the many local residents, professional businessmen and women who did “good things” for Atmore and the surrounding communities in years gone by. One particular friend, Robert Maxwell, a highly regarded local attorney, impressed me with his many talents in 1954. An officer in the Atmore Jaycees, he was the emcee when this organization conducted its radio drive for the purpose of collecting toys and clothing for the underprivileged. Not only was he recognized for his leadership of the drive but he sounded real good on the radio. Almost like a professional announcer. His vocal talents, particularly singing duets with the former Jennie Keller, was a blend of harmony surpassed by very few.

I write stories like this from those long ago years because there are not too many writers remaining to do it. It is my hope these columns, which contain names of hundreds you knew will be archived and treasured for future generations. “Old age,” diminishing enthusiasm and forgetfulness is beginning to cause me to wonder how many columns I have left to write.

What about this “Yetti” thing? It is sweeping the country in fact a recent Internet story indicated this item was at the top of the lists of merchandise being stolen today. And, have you noticed the price of the Yetti items, including the chests? I do not own a Yetti, but I have one similar to it and it really does keep my drinking very, very cold. Have you gotten yours yet?

“…Yes, It Always Whispers To Me…Those Days Of Long Ago….”

I’ll have more next week.