In The News

A Little History
Growing Up In Franklin Tennessee

The next generation continued to live in their family homes. Our family lived in 230 Third Avenue South. Next door (238) lived Johnny Mac, Miss Mary, Martha, Bill and Winder (John McGavock's brother) McGavock. Across the street (243) lived my pretty cousin Fannie Park, the only home she has ever lived in during her life. I loved going to all the homes and seeing my relatives. Everyone was so warm, friendly and interested in a young visiting child. There were no secrets and if you did anything wrong, your parents knew it in lightning time. What a fun street.

On Fourth Avenue South (227) lived Uncle John ("Big John") Green, Aunt Ewing Green and their two sons and my cousins, Walter Roberts Green and Johnny Merritt Green. Their house backed up to our house. Later Aunt Ewing, Uncle John and the boys moved out to the land-grant property on Murfreesboro Road, known, I believe, as "Ewingville."

At Battle Ground Academy (where George Briggs was Headmaster) were Susie Lee (Aunt "Tu") Briggs and my other pretty cousin Sara Briggs ("Sa").

Scattered over Franklin were other cousins and relatives. It sure tended to keep a person on the straight and narrow.

I remember one summer day while playing outside and I heard a large commotion down the street. Suddenly, a runaway horse charging down 3rd Avenue South and group of men chasing it. My first thought was if I could catch the horse, it would be mine! I immediately joined the men in their chase. The men caught the horse, but there was still hope in my heart that there would be another day when I would catch my horse.

One winter day, the snow and sleet started. It turned into the storm for the Franklin record book. All electricity was lost throughout the town and county. We were lucky in that being on the Dan German hospital line, we were without electricity for only 3 days, when others were without electricity for a much longer period of time. But for a child it was an exciting time. The Post Hotel was calling around town to see if any of the Franklinites could and would be willing to house stranded travelers. Mother of course said yes. A couple came to our door, and Mother fed them and they slept in my brother's room. The next morning they left early in the morning to continue on their journey and try to reach their destination.

My Dad had all sorts of camping and hunting equipment, including a good deal of cooking gear. He brought his cooking gear out of storage and happily put it to use. Mother made biscuits and cooked them on Dad's reflector oven in the fire place. Along with our supper, we had hot biscuits and jam, a real treat in a blizzard. During the day, Dad pulled me on a sled down Third Avenue. I can still remember the crunch of his feet as he walked along on the ice that covered the snow. Third Avenue was like a fairyland with the trees glistening from the ice. The road was completely covered, with no cars and only a very few people out in the aftermath of the ice storm. What wonderful memories I have of growing up in Franklin.

I always wanted to learn to yodel. I would practice all the time, but never was able to learn how to do it. Yodeling takes a change in the voice. I did learn to whistle with my fingers between my teeth and would later use it successfully to hail a cab in New York City!

And tree climbing. I loved it and was good at it. In fact, I once wrote the following essay on my tree climbing experiences in my youth:

Tree Climbing

"Have you climbed a tree lately? Do you remember what your favorite past time was when you were a child? Well, one of mine was climbing trees. We were home in Franklin, Tenn. at Easter, and after church Mrs. Covington comes over to talk with me. She always reminds me of when I was young, every Sunday after church she would look out her window and there I was up in the tree. I really became an expert at climbing trees and even taught others the skill of tree climbing. Well, I decided that everyone needs rules for tree climbing.

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