Home Improvements, Example of Chain Reaction

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 14:08 PM.

When I taught paragraph development in the middle school, I always used home improvement as an example of development by "chain reaction." We started out before Thanksgiving with repairing some rot in the floor of the main hallway in the house. After having an engineer come and examine the understructure, it was determined that collective moisture had caused the rot. Since the hardwood floor in the living room had suffered no damage, we decided to use hardwood in the hall. It looked so good, I decided to have the original pine paneling painted a pale yellow to match the floor. Grandson-in-law, Chad Harrison, who was doing the work thought that new panel doors painted white would compliment that. I agreed. And thus it began. Since then we’ve had the underside of the house sprayed with closed cell insulation, replaced the underlayment in all bedrooms and one bath, installed hardwood floor in one bedroom the back hall and bath, new carpet in one bedroom, vinyl in one bath, installed an Energy Star water heater, widened the door to our bathroom. Shall I go on?

In the midst of all this upheaval I keep rediscovering old things which I have to re-read to see if I can trash, or the myriad of pictures that still need to go in albums. I did accomplish one thing. I put in an album the teaching certificates for Grandma Mary Young Meeker issued in 1891. She first taught in Holmes County at Mt. Olive and her certificate was signed by Whitmill Curry, Hholmes County’s first Superintendent, . She taught one term at Long Bay and one term at Sharp’s Bayou, both in Washington County when it was a part of Bay County. L.L. Charles was Superintendent.

Pearl Meeker Tison’s earliest certificate was 1909 and signed by C.A. Fulford, Holmes County Superintendent of Schools. I think her first school was in Greenwood in Jackson County, but she also taught at New Prospect and Long Bay in Washington County where my parents went to school. Other schools I can document were Roughese and Bonifay in Holmes County.

It is really hard to discard letters written as early as 1880's. One letter to Jack’s paternal great-grandfather, Alex Young, dated April 23, 1898 gives some insight into the financial situation of the day. His friend I.A. Bruce writes from Cripple Creek.Colorado, "Your letter with order [money order, I suppose] for $31.88 reached me alright for which accept my best thanks. You mentioned in a former letter that you intended to charge me $.8.00 for your trouble in selling the store. So I now inclose order for that amount and if there is anything more due you since that time I will gladly send it to you if you will let me know."

I can only speculate that Mr. Bruce came here about the time Mr. Young did and opened some sort of store which apparently wasn’t successful. Since he writes about the prospecting from Colorado, I am assuming that he gave up his business and went there as a gold prospector. He writes, "Things are dull here and very little doing in the way of prospecting or speculation of any kind, only the old producing mines continue to yield and the output is as large or even larger than ever, but few strangers come here now and this town has lost the stir and bustle of former days when building & speculation were rife."

Bruce offers his sympathy to Young "that the prospects for the orchard are so poor and the prospects of selling it so poor". Mr. Young who emigrated from Scotland had settled in Wisconsin before moving his growing family to Bonifay about 1885 had hopes of making a living growing fruits [possibly citrus.]

In the letter, Mr. I.A. Bruce also comments on the news."Reports reached us this morning of the capture of several Spanish vessels by the American Fleet, but some of them have since been contradicted. There is considerable excitement on the streets, but it is hard to know just how much to believe as the papers here are nothing about the truth of what they publish if it is only sensational and exciting." That comment tells us that the public attitude towards news gathering is about as cynical as some we hear about today’s reporting.



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