All posts by Jerome Chapman

Sears and Sandy Point



March 22, 2017

Sears and Sandy Point

The news today was not good as it related to Sears. Bankruptcy and going out of business sales loom on the horizon. Hard to imagine just a few years ago that this could happen. Macy‘s and Nordstrom’s are close behind in the race to the bottom. Interestingly, both those companies just tried to make political statements while their ships settle to the red ink sea bottom.

In the Sandy Point days, the Sears catalog and the Sears stores were part of the fabric of America. The local five and dime, clothing stores, and hardware stores were important but for selection, durability, and quality the Sears and Roebuck Company set a standard. Mail order or brick and mortar. The Sears Catalog was to the folks in Sandy Point a coffee table book. Always out in view and with pages dog-eared for quick return when someone was seriously shopping.
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Preacher Food


Preacher Food

For many years my family attended a small country church down in Sandy Point. There is a family history from both sides of my family recorded in old concrete and marble slabs spread across the cemetery. Many obliterated almost by time.

Originally established there is 1830 when some land was donated for the church there is a long history there associated with the Methodist Church, later called the United (Brethren) Methodist Church. The church that stands there now is a replacement for the original which was destroyed by a tornado in the early 40’s.
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Coats and Ties

Coats and Ties

Coats and ties may be a thing of the past for some. But there are many that would disagree with that supposition.  You might get a lot of opinions on that.

A day or so back I attended a memorial service for a young man that grew up in my neighborhood. About a month before that I had done the same thing for the son of my cousin. Two young men gone at 36 years old. These were occasions that I felt I should wear a coat and tie to although I have seldom worn either these last few years. Not everyone agrees about the importance of coats and ties anymore.

As I walked across the busy street from the parking lot to the service, along with several men who had gathered there, I could not help but overhear them talking and one guy reached in his coat pocket and pulled out what looked like a church bulletin.
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WSB 750 News Weather and Farm Report

The Noon News and Farm Report

Today we are on news overload. At least that is how it seems to me. This past election about did me in. I got so sick of the various channels and experts telling us why this would happen and that would not happen and this person could not win and the other person would win, ad nauseam. I wonder if an actual scientific review was done how many incorrect statements and just plain lies were told by the media this year.

I never thought the winner would win. The entire news system was against him as well as the biggest political machine in the history of the world, I suppose. But, win he did and now the news people are walking around in a daze. They were tweeted into non relevance and have not yet fully recognized it. They say that the new president has a total following of 40,000,000 on the various social medias.
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Sears Roebuck,, and Christmas

Christmas, Sears and Amazon

It’s Christmas! Boy, it rolls around faster and faster every year.

I won’t go into the religious aspect of Christmas as that is a subject for another day. But, I can’t help but think about the Christmases past in Sandy Point.

Kids, today, see Christmas through a different set of lenses and I am not sure if they have the same anticipation that kids once did for finding presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
It seems like its “Christmas” all the time for them.

Not having small children around any more, I am out of touch, no doubt from when our kids were small. And our grandchildren are now teenagers and I am even further behind the times, perhaps.

For the past several Christmases, due to my personal circumstances and my wife’s not being engaged in the process any more, I have resorted to gift cards. When I seek help in “what would the kids like for Christmas?” I get an “I’ll get back to you” response. I keep hearing no one wants gift cards. So I took matters in my own hands.
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When The Light Goes Out

When the Light Goes Out

If you Google the title of this piece, you will get a number of profound thoughts from people like Gerald Ford and others usually referring to the loss of a loved one, etc. or you may find an article about what to do in a power failure. This piece will be similar, maybe, but not the same and certainly not too profound.

I met her when I was staying with my grandparents and working on the farm down in Sandy Point. I hung around with some of the other teenagers over in the town where she lived and got invited to her birthday party. That’s where it all started.
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Sawmills and Slabs

Sawmills and Slabs

One of my neighbors stopped in the street yesterday and we were discussing the abrupt change in the weather as the first cold snap of the winter was moving in. We started talking about fireplaces and wood and then we started talking about wood stoves. This particular neighbor is one of the few in the neighborhood that is actually older than me and has actually been around wood stoves: not those newfangled ones but the old Home Comfort ones that Grandmother used to cook those delicious biscuits and apple pies. And, there were sawmills and slabs involved. People today might recognize a sawmill if they saw one but if you type in wood slab in Google you won’t see what we got as slabs back in Sandy Point.
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First and Last

First  and Last Time

Saying: “There’s a first time for everything.” One of those those corny sayings that we heard as a child that often had little meaning or relevance at the moment we heard them. I remember hearing them from my grandparents from time to time and smile at the wisdom they were trying to impart in a simple saying or quote. They would probably be surprised that I remember the quote or that I even remember them or the lasting impact they had on my life. My mother’s mother had a little saying that she would utter from time to time and I have never heard it the way she said it any where else: “Nothing beats a can’t like a try.”
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Patches and Jeans

Kids and adults in Sandy Point had certain outfits for certain occasions. There were school clothes which might consist of one, two or three pair of overalls. There were real overalls which have the bib and suspenders and they are still around today but probably would not be seen on a school campus and then there were blue jeans that were often referred to as overalls because of the denim construction. Some kids were lucky to have one pair of jeans with no holes in them. But most had at least two so you could wear one pair a day or two while the other pair was being washed and ironed. Yes, I said ironed! And, probably, starched. They might be hand me downs from an older brother or sister or cousin.  A new pair or two from Sears or Penny’s at the start of school  was an anticipated event.

In Sandy Point, back in the day, as they say, there was a lot more pride than there was money. Kids did not have a closet full of clothes to choose from. They did not have the privilege of wearing an outfit once and throwing it down because it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.

There would be two or three shirts in the school clothes ensemble. One pair of shoes.

There were the play clothes or work clothes depending on the age. These were often the former school clothes that were starting to look worn and were demoted to face the dirt and grime of playing in the yard or working in the field or driving the tractor. And, they too might be hand me downs.

Sunday clothes might be that one dress or pair of wool pants that were worn only on Sunday to church and to funerals and weddings, etc. Recycling was used throughout the life of the garment.

One thing was certain: mothers did not let their kids go to school with a hole in the pants or dress if there was any way around it. Exposed skin was unacceptable and holes were an embarrassment to the child and to the parent. So if the garment developed a hole before the crops were sold or the hog was large enough to sell, some action was required.

Mending the hole in the pants required some sewing skills and required time. A small hole might be sewn up but bigger hole and tears might require a patch. It was because of that that old clothes and jeans were not thrown away and the fabric was kept handy so that the worn out garment could be used to make patches. Then, someone came up with the idea of selling patches.

The first store bought patches that I remember were fairly large and could be used to go over a damaged area or to reinforce the knees and give the garment longer wear. These patches were of an iron-on variety and made life easier for mama or grand mama or whomever was doing the repair.

In light of the fact that so many women and young ladies, maybe men too but I have not seen as many, are wearing distressed jeans, I wondered if patches were still sold. and they are.

Some of the distressed jeans look as if the pants leg could just fall off as there is only a small place or two where everything in connected. The rest is long tears , rips, or holes, not neat holes, either. Some are pretty expensive jeans, too.

If one of these young ladies had shown up at my grand mother’s house, she would have washed, ironed and applied as many iron on patches as necessary to cover up every hole. No matter what the things cost, no one in her family would have been caught in a pair of pants with that many holes! I dare say that the same would have applied to my mother, a darn good seamstress herself.

People ARE funnier than monkeys when you think about it. We buy a pair of expensive jeans to cover up and then pay more to have them distressed with holes, strings and gouges. My grandmother’s would have opened the sewing drawer, gotten out the patches and gone to patching!

Funny how the people of that generation could make things last and stretch the dollar. They would never have dreamed that a pair of jeans with a big hole or many big holes would be a good thing. That looked like a repair job to them. They did not know that a day was coming when holes were fashionable and patches aren’t. A fifteen year old will wear the torn up distressed jeans but would not be caught dead in a pair of Levi’s with an ironed on patch.

JC 2016©

The Old Trunk



The Old Trunk
My grandfather had an old trunk down in Sandy Point that used to set in the corner of the front bedroom. There was a lock on the trunk and the key hung in the small closet in his bedroom. The trunk had two straps that helped secure the lid and they were buckled somewhat like an old leather belt. This is not an actual picture but is similar.

Kids knew this was strictly off limits and all the things that bound the family and insured its security were kept in the trunk. The Old Family Bible, the genealogical family record, was in there too. It never was carried to church: it came out when someone was born or someone died. The event was recorded there.
You might find letters, a .32 Cal. pistol and some shells and bits and pieces of things that made up their lives. There was an old pocket watch that did not run any longer but had belonged to a deceased relative. Any financial records would be in that trunk, as well. A tin type picture from long ago.
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