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Happy Corner: Put More Water In The Soup, There’s Better Times A Coming

Hazel Wells Tison

Whenever I need a boost in my outlook for the future I just  find that a talk with Joe Rone, Executive Director of Holmes County Development Commission gives me that boost.  Today, he gave me a peek into a couple of  enterprises that are in the works but not quite ready for prime time.  One will offer employment for 25 people immediately with the expectation  of more than one hundred  in the near future.  The other is an even bigger potential than that, but I am not at liberty to disclose any specifics for either of these.

 You read the Holmes County Times Advertiser last week and the week before describing two enterprises that are in place and producing now. However, I still haven’t learned any specifics on the plans for downtown. I see some activity, but can’t visualize what the possibilities are. Another song comes to mind with a few changes:  White door (not Green Door) “What’s that secret you're keeping?”  There are 6 (if I didn’t miscount) white doors blocking any hint of “just what’s going on in there.” 

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see while we are waiting to see the downtown parking lot renovation begin and  the removal of the two blown out buildings on the corner of Waukesha and Virginia Ave. I understand that the city has grant money for that although I am not sure who will park there since there are so few businesses left now. But I remain hopeful.

Holmes County Dedication Sign

 I am encouraged by the comments on my articles.  One of my greatest cheerleaders is Betty Barker of Charlottesville, Virginia.  She calls me periodically to comment on a specific article or if she fails to find me in the paper on those rare occasions when I miss the deadline or there is some technical problem.  She also calls  the Paper and warns them that if they stop publishing the Happy Corner, she is stopping her subscription.

 Betty is not a Holmes County native, but is married to Edward Barker who grew up here and is a 1948 graduate of Holmes County High School. His parents, Robert and Katherine Barker owned and operated a “dry goods” store on the west side of Waukesha in the 1940’s and 50’s.  By dry goods, I mean men’s and ladies clothing, household linens, and other household necessities.  After they closed that store, Mr. Barker was a“drummer.” He sold supplies from the manufacturer to retail stores visiting rural stores as well as small towns in the area. (I am sure that’s an over- simplification.)

 Mrs. Barker moved across Waukesha and worked at Evans Department store for many years. They sold Men and Ladies clothing including men’s dress suits, shoes, fabric by the yard with patterns and all the sewing supplies. Many ladies sewed clothing for themselves and their children, especially the girls. At Evans, you would also find a dressmaker, Mrs. Lillian Pipkin, on the mezzanine floor along with a full selection of shoes for the whole family. Mrs. Pipkin also did alterations for the store and for the public. My youngest sister, Gail was an accomplished seamstress and helped Mrs. Pipkin during her high school years.

(unfortunately, I did not inherit the sewing gene.)   

 Edward Barker attended the University of Alabama where he attained his PHD in Physics and was a full professor of Materials in Applied Science at The University of Virginia from 1961 till retirement in 2001.  The Robert Barker family including son Edward and daughter Gloria were faithful members of First Baptist Church.  When Ed brought his bride Betty to Bonifay she fell in love with this small town and they continue to spend time here every year where they continue to maintain his ancestral home. Thank you Betty for your words of encouragement.