Historic Columbus Part 1
Guest author By John Jeffries
When I read Sandra’s guest columns, I find it to be quite true that the experiences and reflections expressed by these writers will immediately bring back fond and happily treasured memories to the mind of all of us who have lived in Columbus at one time or another. I was born and raised in Columbus and lived there during my youth. I left the city in my young adult life to work at the printing trade but always returned home whenever I could to be with my friends and family. We lived on lower Broad in an old house that would now be part of the Historic District had it not been torn down to build Apartments. I loved that old house. We had pear trees, pecan trees, a black walnut, and a fig tree. My mother and father had five children, three boys, and two girls and we all played in, around and under that old house.
Old homes down on lower Broad Street. One of the houses belonged to the Salter family. The Salters were related to the Jeffries.
As a child, I remember us having an ice box and the ice man coming around with his horse and wagon to deliver the ice. There was a sign we would stick on the porch to let him know how much ice we needed that day and he would put the ice in a satchel and bring it in the house. The ice man would say to his horse “go on now”, and the horse would go to the next house and stop and wait for the ice man. In those early days, my mother had a wood burning stove in the kitchen and on cold days all the kids would sit behind the stove to keep warm. We would lay the fire at night and it was my job to get up in the morning and run down to the kitchen and start the fire so it would be hot enough for mother to cook on when she woke up. You’ve never seen a kid move as fast as I did on those cold winter mornings. I would be up, run down to the kitchen and lite that fire and be back before the bed where I was laying had time to cool off.
My mother used to boil the laundry in a three-legged pot in the back yard using hand -made lye soap and a stick to stir the clothes. We got a washing machine later on but it only had a hand ringer on it. You would take the clothes from the machine, hold them to the ringer and crank as hard as you could to ring the water out of the clothes. Most of the time you had to ring them twice.
Seventh Street School
Early to mid 1940 this elementary School
was filled with students who collected newspapers and sold them to support the war.
Attending were John Jefferies and his sister and brothers, along with Juanita and Norma Waldrop, Carolyn Wills, Jesse Wills, , Barbara Dennis and her Harvey , Jr. and many more.
As we know, “time marches on”, and so it did at our house. We went from a wood stove and ice box to a gas stove and refrigerator and from the gas stove to an electric one. I mention all these things only to emphasize how much things change in what seems to be such a short time. When I visit Columbus now it’s difficult to recognize anything as it used to be when I lived there. By comparison, Columbus is now a big metropolitan city and growing every day.
This opportunity to relive some of the wonderful memories of our days past is a great and happy occasion and I sincerely hope others will take advantage of this to relate theirs also.
My mother’s parents passed away before I was born, so regrettably I never knew them. My father’s parents lived on Second Avenue at about Eighteenth or Nineteenth Street. We called them Ma and Papa. Papa had a cow lot and two cows in his backyard. When I would go there he would let me go with him when he was ready to feed them. He had several huge barrels he used to keep the feed in a shed. Ma would use the milk from the cows to make butter to sell. She would put the milk in a churn and sit the churn by the fireplace to let it “clabber” before churning. She used a brown wooden mold that was exactly one pound to pack the butter in. The top of the mold had a handle through it and was used to push the butter out of the mold leaving a neat looking design on top of the butter.
World War II Pearl Harbor
Papa worked most of his life in the cotton mills in Columbus and in his later years as a night watchman. Ma passed away and Papa came to live with us on Broad. My Aunt Mamie lived next door to Ma and Papa and before she died Ma and several other neighbor ladies would meet at Aunt Mamie’s for their Quilting Bee. They would make beautiful patchwork quilts. There was a huge frame they used for the quilt and the ladies would take positions around the frame and sew the patches together to make the quilt. Ma taught my mother to crochet and she would make beautiful bedspreads and doilies for the chairs.
A lot of people don’t know it, but there once was street cars running in Columbus. Some of the tracks were still there when I was a kid. Part of the tracks was on the corner of Fifth Street and Broad and later removed. Papa used to tell us kids stories about the old days in Columbus when he bought my Father and Uncle a goat and goat cart and how they enjoyed that so much. I can’t imagine what would happen if someone tried to do that these days. I really loved my Grandfather and sorely missed him after he passed away.
more from John Jeffries in Part 2
Uncle John … as we affectionately call John Jeffries: raised as my Waldrop family and many others in downtown Columbus , either on or near lower Broad. We could walk to School. We could walk to town or catch a short bus ride. We could walk to the Springer Theater and watch ghost ,movies. I’m sure Uncle John could go on and on with his Glory Days in downtown Columbus.
Thank you, Uncle John, for this Part one, now read Part 2.
Thanks again, Uncle John. Love ya,
Guest author By John Jeffries