Spring is bringing many positive happenings lift to spirits. May joy come in the morning with the warmth of the sun. May the sun touch the earth and give all life a new chance to become what was intended.
In this growth and revival our energies should stir efforts to not only restore our gardens but to restore our visions for enlivening ourselves and our surroundings and for reaching others in our communities. As Jim and I have held book signings over the past month, I have been pleased not only to sell our book, Highway 25 in the Carolinas, spreading the knowledge of the importance of our road to our history and future, but I’ve been thrilled to meet folks I’ve only known through Facebook or email and to renew relationships with friends from years past. What a blessing each meeting has been. A time of renewal and envisioning the future.
The first signing was on a cold morning at the beginning of March at Huff’s Power Equipment for their Community Appreciation Day. Several friends from high school dropped by – some I hadn’t seen for years – since the last reunion. Some came to tell stories of the road and how they have lived along the road for years, and we love to hear those stories. The next event was at the Pickwick Pharmacy on the Augusta Road at the edge of Greenville. The owner, Kelly Odom, is a friend who has a historic family business with pharmacy and soda fountain. You need to visit for lunch sometime – Dukes sandwiches, soda drinks, and amazing milkshakes! Anyway, friends from town came that I hadn’t seen in a long while. It was so good to see all of them and Kelly (although he was running around serving his costumers).
The next three signings were at local southern Greenville County parks, Cedar Falls at Fork Shoals, Reedy Fork Church picnic shelter near Moonville, and Loretta Wood Park on the Augusta Road south of Ware Place. The weather was wonderful for the first, but the next two were cold and windy like we were on top of Mt. Mitchell in the dead of winter. Old friends came to Cedar Falls, and then at Reedy Fork, I was amazed that some folks came again and bought more books for family and their friends, and we even had requests for prints of our new logo. The church’s shelter has a fire place and boy did we appreciate the Howards starting a fire that windy day. Then at Loretta Wood we had a visit from a friend on Facebook all the way from Johnsonville, Tennessee! He hosts the Dixie Highway History Facebook page. Other locals visited there and shared stories as well and the day began to warm late as the sun got low on the horizon.
The final weekend in March led us farther afield, to Belton and Traveler’s Rest. Starting out early on Saturday morning, we held court at the Belton Museum’s Rummage and Craft Sale and found more rummage than book purchasers, but good connections were made and a few old friends came by. For one our friend Jack Ellenburg, of the Williamston, Pelzer, Piedmont, Belton Facebook page came purchased books, videoed, and shared. His work is always so positive! One person from my other life at the Greenville County School System popped up and offered help with the restoration from his Scout troop.
Finally, the morning of the Travelers Rest signing the day woke with storms and for an event outside we thrashed over whether to go ahead or not, but decided to try. I’m so glad we did! So many folks came that we never had a lull and almost 50 signed the book in the museum in two hours that afternoon. Several from that area even from the Dark Corner came and shared stories and since the major part of the rain had passed, we sold almost 35 books in two hours. We met someone from Hendersonville and some contacts we had made online, but the best one for me was a student I had taught at Fork Shoals Elementary School back in the 90s. Adam Kelley came to buy books and share, bringing me coffee and a mug from his shop, Leopard Forest, on the old road to Augusta in TR. What a blessing it was to restore that relationship with an adult.
And last but not least, on the following Tuesday I had to meeting about where to place a state historic marker for the Goodwin House on Hwy. 11 and Hwy. 25. So, I let folks on the Dark Corner site know I would be up their way, and some came. One was a friend, Collie, who I worked with on the Preservation Commission for the county, but the others were new to me and new to Greenville actually. It reminded me that the Dark Corner has changed and broadened in its cultural scope and that not all the locals who support Greenville History are from old, old, rooted families. Many who move here with new eyes remind us of our wonderful history that we who have always lived here accept as normal, when it really is something special. One lady introduced her son to the area and now he is overseeing the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum restoration.
Finally, I want to thank all who have purchased a book, either at a signing or on the Fork Shoals Historical Society Facebook page. We couldn’t do this work without you and your monetary support! We are nearing our goal of $5,000, so please keep us in mind for donations since we are a non-profit. And if you are interested in seeing the McCullough House before restoration begins, save the date of May 22nd, and watch the Fork Shoals Historical Society Facebook page for more information soon. Let’s spring to life by volunteering, donating, and keeping Southern Greenville County green and historical.
Anne Peden, Phd.
Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission
Fork Shoals Historical Society