The house was not built in one day
Posted at 16:36 Monday March 13, 2023
This weekend, while Milt was away attending the Men’s Ignite conference at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with about 4,000 other people, I used part of the weekend to catch up and finish the two books I’m writing.
In between writing, I listened to PBS and shows about the “pop, rock and roll and soul hits” of the 1960s and 70s. Some of my all time favourites, I Love You More Today Than Yesterday by Spiral Staircase, Kiss Him Goodbye by Steam, He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother by the Hollies and This Old heart of Mine by the Isley Brothers made for good company and memories . After the show, I headed over to the Grand Old Opry and heard some really good music. The song that captured my heart was Todd Tilghman’s Home Wasn’t Built in a Day. This sweet song brought back so many warm memories of people’s love and prayers for me growing up in Washington.
Born and raised here, Washington has come to love me after living away for many years. My love for my home was not built in a day. It covers all of life.
If you grew up here in the late 50s, 60s and 70s, we can all have similar memories no matter where you lived. Although each community was unique, they all had neighbors who looked out for you. Most remember what made childhood so sweet, a candy store somewhere nearby where you could buy two cookies for a penny and candy. And there was always a neighbor or a teacher who just had a few pennies to give you to buy sweets. Wherever you went to school, there was a teacher who took you under his wing.
Speaking of school, my friends and I, and I’m sure many other students remember the mini skirts or bell bottoms we wore that were all the rage, and those cute go-go boots. But for those who didn’t have the “fashion stuff”, there were people who cared about you and gave you nice clothes for school when you needed them.
I remember going to Frank’s Jewelry Store to get my ears pierced and buying my first records at Jowdy’s as a rite of passage. But if you couldn’t pay to get your ears pierced, your teenage neighbor will gladly pierce them for you. And I often did to look in the window of Adrian Garris’ television and appliance store on Main Street, because Mr. Garris was my hero. He or one of his repairmen would come to our house to replace the tube in the back of the TV so that we could watch Sky King, Roy Rogers and all our favorite Saturday morning westerns and cartoons, as well as The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights and Beverly Hillbillies on Wednesday night. But if you didn’t have a TV, all you had to do was find a neighbor with one. The same was the rule when there was no telephone.
Pomp Credle’s on Fifth Street and Gladden Street had the best double ice cream cones, and Matthew Gibbs Store across the street from Pomp’s sold the best Baby Ruth’s bars. Shorty’s Sandwich Shop on Fourth and Pierce had the best “Dirty Reds” (which were shaved ice snow cones with sweet fruit syrup drizzled on top). Ammon’s Bakery had brownies and “lay heavy’s” (bread pudding squares) that were out of this world good, and if you didn’t have money for treats, a neighbor or the owner of the store would make sure you got that cone yourself ice cream, a heavy bed, or “dirty reds” when they treated neighborhood kids for good grades or for doing work for them.
Most of us who grew up back then remember going to McClellan’s to get freshly made popcorn, school supplies, and sometimes you’d bring things because it seemed like a good idea at the time, like a turtle or interesting things like real goldfish or roller skates, jacks, balls or old maids to have fun with family and friends. But if you didn’t, someone always shared.
I miss those places and fondly remember those times. I like to go for morning walks past those old places and reminisce. But these fond memories of the wonderful neighborhoods I grew up in and played in, and all the people who prayed and cared and gave of themselves and helped me grow up in a loving and stable environment, were built over the years and helped me realize that Washington, my home, was not built in a day, but a lifetime, as Todd Tilghman’s song says, “a house is not built in a day, but a lifetime of dedication, care, and prayers.”
Lisa Jones is a native Washingtonian, co-founder and co-executive director of the Underground Railroad Museum on the Washington Waterfront.