The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 11:27 am Thursday, August 24, 2017

“Memories of Advance”

By Gaye Hoots

My first memory is a two story farm house overlooking the Yadkin River. We lived with my grandparents, Jap and Maude Hoots, on their farm. There pigs, chickens, ducks, guineas, turkeys, horses, a mule or two, goats, sometimes sheep, dogs of a Border collie mix, and a dairy. This provided a wealth of adventure for a small girl to explore on her grandfather’s heels.

Later my horizons expanded to the neighboring farms of the Burton, Zimmerman, Peoples, Markland, Myers, Riley, Robertson and Todd families. I still remember my first visit to Louie Todd’s. He had a bear skin rug that fascinated me. His wife gave me the Betsy McCall cut out doll that came in each issue of McCall’s magazine. The local churches, Elbaville, Advance Baptist, and Advance Methodist, as well as the community building, enlarged my list.

The local stores were Potts, Baileys, and Voglers. There was a barber shop, a post office, a pool hall, and later the Sowers store. These were places to shop and socialize.

When I started school my world really grew. The children of local families attended all twelve grades at Shady Grove. Teachers I respected from the Baily, Markland, Shermer, Vogler, Cornatzer, and Potts families, taught there. I was introduced to competitive sports and developed a fondness that I still have for basketball and softball. Advance was becoming larger. Trips to Winston Salem to shop and to Stokes and Yadkin counties to visit relatives made me aware of an enlarging world.

My first view of the ocean, and a family trip to Indiana made me marvel. Teachers taught of other countries, cultures, and the wonders of the world. High school, college, and a few chances to travel made Advance seem less significant at the time. Hearing news of the world on a daily basis changed my perspective even more.

The strange thing is, as I grow older, Advance is still the most important place in the world to me. Most of my family and many friends are here. It seems such a short time since we were kids. All of our families are woven into the fabric of this town. Even with a post graduate degree, most of my educational, social and spiritual needs have been met here. Many of my role models were people from Advance. This community has peacefully coexisted with people of all races, religions, and political leanings. That is no small accomplishment for a small, rural, and conservative community.

“Remembering Mary”

By Marie Craig

I spent a good bit of time visiting with my father’s mother, Mary Rose Rash Benge. We would come to Statesville to see them, and she was a source of many family stories. I surely wish I’d had some sort of recording device back then.  She was born in 1872 in Ashe County, North Carolina and later lived in Wilkes and Alleghany counties.  She died in 1963 at age 91 in Morganton.  The word Alzheimer’s had not been invented then.

She had four brothers and five sisters and was the oldest child.  She was 67 years older than me.  As a child, I just sat and listened.  She was quite a talker.  Alas, I never asked any questions.

In 1980, my mother and I were compiling family history and went on a trip in her VW bug up to these counties and onward up to West Virginia where we visited my grandmother’s sister, Belle. She was bedridden at that point in her life but a very clear thinker. She was eleven years younger than my grandmother and lived to be 100 years of age.

Belle told me that Mary had been baptized in the creek near the old Garden Valley Baptist Church at Stone Mountain State Park in Wilkes County.  Belle said she was a little girl at that time and thought those men were going to drown Mary, so her mother took her in the woods so the baptism could be completed.

I’ve been there several times and tried to visualize this event.  Last Sunday, I left Mocksville at 7:30 a.m. and drove to this little church to attend the half hour worship service at 9.  It was such a pleasure to be there and visualize my grandmother worshipping there and possibly going to school in that building.

It was an open and friendly service.  Several people spoke of concerns and comments about the old church.  I described my grandmother’s experience at the church and said I was trying to reenact the time.  One man offered to baptize me in the creek, but I declined.

I have located two fourth cousins who were also there, and I knew one more family who were kin to Mary’s husband.  What a neat trip to worship, sing, and visualize Mary being in that same spot over a hundred years ago.