I grew up in a little community in rural south Alabama. This past weekend, I went back through what initially was called Williams Crossroads, Alabama and then later changed Jachin, named after one of the pillars of King Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:15).
My Papa built a general store at the crossroads and sold gasoline, clothing, nails, tools, animal feed, groceries, and everything in between.
He built another similar store about 7 miles southeast in Pennington, Alabama, near the Marathon paper mill. The stores serviced families in the area as well as the workers at the paper mill.
My parents bought the store, Jachin Grocery, when Papa retired, and a Mr. MacEntyre bought the Pennington store. Mom and Dad built a house on the very back of the store so that Dad could actually walk from the back of the store and into our house when the store closed…usually around 5:30 p.m.
The odd thing about it is that Jachin really isn’t there anymore. There are just a few houses, but our store and our house with my daffodil yellow room has been completely torn down and disposed of. The fences that held Papa’s beloved black angus cattle are gone. Even the asphalt and concrete drive is gone!
The pond is still there, and I’m sure it’s still infested with water moccasins. Papa and Grandmother’s house is still there and looks really good, perched on top of the hill and set back from where we used to live.
Mrs. Irene’s house is still there, although she, her son Bobby, and her husband Mr. Robert are long gone.
It’s just a little bit sad that this part of history is gone. In this small community, a girl, her brother, and their buddy rode bikes all over the place just like Jem, Scout, and Dill in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I think that’s why I like Lee’s story so much, because—even though her story was set in the early 20th century and mine took place in the late—I can certainly relate to many of Scout’s grand, barefoot adventures.
I wonder what they all would think about me writing about their lives, which influenced me so much.