Cana/Pino: Visiting Cary’s Cana connection, some 80 years later

Published 10:10 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

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By  Betty Etchison West

Cana/Pino Correspondent

Rick and Judy Wilson were honored on their 40th wedding anniversary at a reception given by their friends, Kathy and Bob Ellis, assisted by Chinera and Jim Latham, Ann Cline and Jody Hewell. The reception was held at the Wesley Chapel Fellowship Hall on Sunday afternoon, July 10.

Among the special guests were Rick’s son, Richard and his grandson, who is also named Richard, from Galax, Va.; his mother-in-law, Violet Coursey, who moved some time ago from West Virginia and now lives in Mocksville; and his daughter, Jody Howell, and her husband, Ronald of Advance.

Kathy and Bob Ellis’ grandson, Nathan Cato, of Callahan, Fla., arrived this week to spend some time with his grandparents. Jayden Ellis, another grandson of Raleigh, has been with his grandparents for a few weeks and will probably stay until the end of July. Both boys enjoy spending time in Pino.

I spent several days last week visiting my sister-in-law, Rachel Estes Etchison, in Siler City. We had not ever had a chance to sit and visit because of other obligations. We enjoyed sitting and talking about everything and nothing. Rachel was the wife of my brother, John Etchison, who died last year. I enjoyed so much just spending uninterrupted time with Rachel. My sister, Marty Babcock, and her husband Bill, came from their home in Cary and took us to lunch in Siler City on Sunday.

Betty went back to Cary with Marty and Bill and spent the next few days there. The first night she spent in Cary was the first night she had spent there in 80 years. Eighty years ago, when I was 9, my fathers’ sister, Annie Laurie Etchison, who was an army librarian stationed at Langley Field, Va., came to Cana and took me on the train to Langley Field to spend a week. We got on a train in Mocksville and traveled to Virginia in a Pullman car. That was some trip for a little girl who had scarcely ever left the village limits of Cana.  Sleeping on the train was certainly a big deal.  I enjoyed the week at Langley. Laurie took me to Virginia Beach where we saw a huge convoy of ships, all painted gray, lined up ready to head to Europe. Even though I was young, I knew that those ships, dozens of them, were taking soldiers to fight in the war in Europe. That was quite an experience. At the end of the week, Aunt Laurie put me on the train to travel to Raleigh, where a cousin was to meet me. Aunt Laurie told the conductor to be sure that I got off in Raleigh. There was no one on that train but soldiers and sailors and they were kind. When the train arrived in Raleigh, my cousin, Mossa Eaton, was there.  Mossa had purchased tickets for us to ride the train on to Cary.  That conductor almost put me off in spite of all because that was what he had been told to do, but Cousin Mossa finally prevailed, and we rode the train on to Cary. I spent that night in Cary with another cousin, Rachel Dunham, and her husband, Shelton. I had not been homesick during the week at Langley Field, but, when I heard train whistles in the distance that night, they sounded so lonely that I really got homesick. I was going home to Cana the next day so I survived.

Fast forward 80 years, I spent two in Cary with my sister, Marty, and her husband, Bill Babcock. Marty and Bill live at Glenaire Continuing Care Retirement Community, on land that was once owned by Marty’s cousins, Rachel and Shelton Dunham. When I was in Cary 80 years ago, there were only three or four houses and a farm on Kildaire Farm Road. Now that street is fully developed—hotels, shopping centers, gas stations, a hospital, churches, etc. There does not seem to be a foot that is vacant. I think I liked Kildaire Farm Road better in 1941 when there was four houses and a farm, but Glenaire is nice.

When my cousins, the Dunhams, moved to Kildaire Farm Road, they bought 30 acres. They kept that land for years. Mr. Dunham was an agriculture teacher at Cary High School, and he and his wife loved to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, etc. The rest was woodland except for a small pond. Before Mr. Dunham died, he sold 28 acres to the Presbyterian Church so they could build a retirement home.  That home is Glenaire. My sister now lives there on land that once belonged to a girl who grew up in the Cana area. The people who operate the home know Marty’s connection to the Dunhams who are honored at the home. The dining room at Glenaire is the named The Dunham.  Rachel Dunham lived in her home on the two acres of land that was left until her death and continued to tend her plants.  There are probably not many people living in Cary now who was there when I spent the night there in 1941. I enjoyed seeing Glenaire on Dunham land where about the only thing left is the Dunham’s pond.  Glenaire, home to several hundred people, is on land that was once occupied by two people and then by four when the Dunham’s two children, Susan and Shelton, were born.

Marlene Trivette returned home after spending a week at Oak Island.  Marlene and her husband, Calvin used to own a house on Oak Island so returning there was special. Marlene and her friend, Deurita Bolling of East Bend, went on a tour of sights where movies have been shot on the island—the area there has appeared in many movies and television program, one being Andy Griffin’s Mayberry.