Monday, November 2, 2009

Another Surprise

When I found this heavy package on my front porch, I couldn't imagine what it was. I had ordered a small book, but this was clearly not it. Besides, the return address was from Sherry. In Ooltewah, TN. I just like seeing and saying that name. Oo-ta-wah, I think it is, according to the natives.

A friend of hers, Vista Anne Mahan , had written a chapter in this very interesting-looking book on Georgia Quilts. When Sherry was looking at it, she was surprised to notice the nice article on mill village life in Georgia, especially Trion, GA, not only because we spent most of our lives in Georgia in textile towns, but Mike's first job was in Trion at Riegel Textiles. She knew how much this would thrill us both, so she even got Vista Anne to autograph her chapter.

I haven't had a chance to more than skim this section, but it will be such fun to read. I miss Georgia, and it will be nice to revisit familiar names, not to mention the quilting articles. I can't wait to get started.

Such familiar names. Just thinking about how they're pronounced by the people from that area. Chattooga (the name of the county and the river) a lot of people pronounce Chat-tooga instead of Cha-tooga. Trion is Trine. Summerville is Somersveal. We had never lived anywhere but South Alabama, but it was surprising to us to encounter a slightly different accent. We had to rent a trailer for a few months while our apartments were being built, and our landlord who lived next door kept inviting us to an "oxen sale," saying that we would enjoy it. Being new in town and with nothing on our social calendar, we did go with him one Saturday night (right around the corner). Much to our surprise, there were no farm animals for sale but lamps and dishes and furniture. Turns out oxen was actually "auction." We still enjoyed it!

Riegel is now Mount Vernon and is going strong, one of the last of the denim-producing industries. CNN recently had a segment on them. We met Don, the president, when we were all in our 20s. A long time ago. He and Mike still talk pretty often.

Trion was the first town we lived in as independent "adults." Mike had graduated from Auburn, and we had money for the first time in our lives, both of us working at Riegel. We had new friends and new activities. Football-watching parties on the weekends. Exploring the mountains of N. Georgia and Tennessee. Playing a lot of bridge with our friends in the apartment next door. I think Mike did some fishing, and since a free country club membership came with the job, we played a lot of golf. Well, Mike did. I took lessons but never managed to get the ball into the air much. More like croquet. No children, no parents, and all the freedom and energy in the world. Seems like ages ago. I guess it was.

We learned our way around Rome and Chattanooga and went to Trade Day in Collinsville, AL, once where I begged for a beagle, played in the snow a couple of times a year, and drove our friends and acquaintances crazy trying to get them to take all those kittens our Nadine had every few months. I took my first and only motorcycle ride there (Sherry will remember - Mike won't). We were only there a couple of years before we were transferred to NE Georgia, but it was a fun time.

We went back through there once, and it was so changed. The pink trailer was there but smaller and more rusted. The first apartments were in the same place but sad and run down. It was still a pretty little town, though, with lots of fun memories.

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