Cana/Pino: Getting older can mean fewer friends in the community

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By  Betty Etchison West

Cana/Pino Correspondent

It is so strange how prominent families in a community can disappear in what seems to be a short time.

I have lived in Pino for 69 years and many families who were an important part of the fabric of the community when I moved here, are gone.

In some cases, there are descendants with different names. In others, the whole family is here no more.  They died or moved away.

This hit me hard when I was thinking about the Swing family.  Mr. Swing died soon after I moved here, but I heard about all the things he had done. He made the furniture for the Pino Grange Hall. Mrs. Swing, who was always referred to as “Miss Jo Swing” was considered the best Sunday School teachers ever.

At Wesley Chapel United Methodist, there were Swings, Sheltons, Laymons, Wards, Hardings, Dulls, Hawkins, McMahans, Lathams, Dills, Eures, and the list goes on.

There were 25-30 people at one time in my Sunday School Class, and now I am the only one alive except for Marlene Trivette, my good neighbor, the Collettes who moved to Eaton’s Baptist, and Toby Hawkins who moved to Virginia.

My father, Everett Etchison, who lived to be 90, told me old age can be a lonesome time because all of your friends are gone. I think I agree with him more every day.

Friends in the community are not the only ones who disappear. The same thing happens in families.  My only brother died and I have only one sibling. I miss my brother terribly even though I did not get to see him often.  At one time, I had 36 Sofley first-cousins. Now I have six.  I had eight Etchison cousins, and now I have two. All of my aunts and uncles are gone. There were 50 people in my high school class, the Class of 1950, and there are only 7 or 8 still living.

All of that does not include close personal friends.   Many have died, including Joseph Ferebee, the famous baseball coach at Pheiffer College who I often talked to on Sunday afternoon about the history of Cana. He was one of the only people who could answer Cana questions and who seemed to enjoy those conversations. Now he, and the whole Ferebee family with the exception of some descendants, is gone.

I do have one solution.

Make friends with younger people. I have a number of friends who are 15 years younger than I am, and they are good to this old 92 year old as I stumble around.  I appreciate these friends for their kindness.

Also, develop a hobby. As you have figured out, mine is writing, which I used to hate.  This is a hobby which I developed in my old age, and I spend many happy hours writing.