A Trip Back in Time
Awhile back , we learned that Carolyn Watkins Newton had taken her son and his wife on a tour of present day Cliffside. We asked her to describe it for us.
My son Skip (Stan) and his wife love to look into family history and he stayed with my mother when she lived out at Six Points. They loaded up their cameras and film and asked me to take them on a tour. It was so much fun and I told them that it just made my day.
When we turned off Hwy 74 (120?) I could point out the houses that had been there for a long time….but most of them are new. When we got to Six Points, I drove up the driveway and let him see “Mawmaw’s” house where he used to play. He remembered it being much bigger. (That’s the same thing I told him later about the town of Cliffside) Then we went to the cemetery and he made pictures of my dad and mom’s graves, my Watkins grandparents and Grace’s husband Jim Cannon who is also buried there.
Next, to the school (it looked smaller too)! Again they took pictures and actually walked up close to read the names on the cornerstone of the school. (My grandad R.B. Watkins name is there) We circled around the school (the playground shrunk) and came out where Davidson’s store used to stand (Gerard’s dad). They noticed the street name White Line and wanted to know about that so I drove them down to the end where it has been barricaded. They were able to see that the train tracks ran at the bottom of the embankment and I pointed out where the old corn mill was. (Hannah Miller’s family lived across from the corn mill as well as I remember. There was an old antique shop there too.)
When we drove back to main street there was a funeral taking place at McKinney’s and a man walked out and stopped me and asked what we were doing and if we needed any help. I just explained that I had come “home” for the afternoon. I showed them where my granddad lived and I was able to tell him how [my brother] RGee helped to start the Rescue Squad there. By the way, my sister, Virginia Cobb, followed in RGee’s footsteps after she retired and took all the classes that Red Cross had to offer. For the past 8-10 years she has served on the Red Cross Disaster Crew and has traveled all over the U.S. wherever there have been tornados, hurricanes, fires, floods and bombings (yes, she went to N.Y.) She is hardly at home anymore and when she is she serves as a volunteer at Rutherford Hospital. I am so proud of her! I believe she is 6 years older than I and I just turned 71 in April.
We drove slowly down main street starting where the old Scout Hut used to be and I tried to point out where people I knew had lived. Bill Hill, Clarence Dillingham, Elizabeth Ann Goode and her dad, Bum Goode, Shine Freeman, Red Humphries, etc.
When my dad [Clarence Watkins] became “boss weaver” we moved to Main Street diagonally across from Charlie Haynes. Dr. Robinson, Kate Mashburn, John Tinkler, The Cliffside Teacherage, Carolyn Green, Olean Hamrick, Juanita McNabb……can’t remember all of them. We stopped at the church and they took photos.
When we came to the gatehouse (where Dr. Mills’ house was) I drove up to the barrier and the man in the gatehouse came out and asked what I wanted. I just explained again that I was showing my son where I grew up. Can you believe it, he said I couldn’t go down town! I asked him if he wanted to see a grown woman cry and finally he said that I would have to go across the street and get permission. I did!
I could only paint mental pictures of the town for none of these places are there anymore: Hamricks’s Store, the Garage, Sugg’s Shoe Shop, the Bowling Alley, the Home Store, the Dry Goods Store, the steps up to the doctor and dentist offices, Mills Drug Store, the Girl Scout hut, the Mill Fountain, Hawkins Hardware, the mill office, the Post Office…oh yeah, the Ice Plant.
I even stopped and told them about the “rail” and the steps that went down to Sorgee’s Cafe, the Beauty Shop and the two Barber Shops. I told them about the cannery. (Anybody sent you any pictures of that?) We drove around and saw the Methodist Church and the pond and went over the river bridge. I told them about how the houses on the right hand side of River Street jutted back right up to the river and I was always afraid to go visit my girlfriend, Dorothy Thrift, because the back of those houses were up on stilts in the back.
We drove out Ferry Street and saw some of the old mill houses that were moved over there, and then went around the bend and headed on up to Forest City where Skip’s dad is from.