Remembering Rometta, Georgia, Bill and Beryl

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

I met Rometta Ford and Booger when I started attending the Lynn Reunions. She succeeded the late Ruby Alewine as the organizer. I wonder who will succeed her . . .

She called me to tune her piano and repair some keys that did not work. I had no idea that she was also a musician and pianist at Lynn Baptist Church. She busied herself at her computer while I tuned . . . she was working at home, one of the changes that computers have brought about.

We lost a Polk County Matriarch and another of Aunt Mildred’s friends when Georgia Screven Pack passed away recently. Since I never met her, I asked Frances McCain to tell me a bit about her Mom. Frances has also recently lost a grandson, and is quite busy with her mother’s estate, so we had to steal a few moments for an interview.

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The first observation that Frances made was that she always thought her Mom was quite pretty, so I see that Frances comes by it naturally. Living on the Screven Plantation, they always had farm chores to do, so they only went to town on Saturdays. While Mom shopped in Cowan’s, the kids were deposited in the feed store. Frances liked to buy paper dolls at the dime store, and watch for Boy Scouts in town from their encampment on Lake Lanier.

Georgia was voted “most athletic” by her classmates because she was a star basketball player for Tryon High. Her coach was Col. Schilletter, who with Marcus Caldwell, Nelson Jackson Jr. and Douglas Blois signed her diploma. Their 50th reunion booklet (1985) records the Class Yell: “We’ve got boys, we’ve got girls, we’ve got class that raises Hell!” Jim Jackson observes that the Screven house was a great place to party . . .

Georgia really loved riding her horse Cherry, playing golf and swimming—she had swum in all three basins of Lake Lanier. Most athletic, remember—doubtless why she lived for 98 years!

Bill Wuehrmann was known far and wide as “Wormy,” but I preferred to call him “Bill” mainly because that nickname had bad connotations for me (apples, peaches, wood, etc. . . . though “wormy Chestnut” was much prized by local architect Shannon Meriwether for inclusion in his residences) and because my late brother was also called Bill.

I served with Bill on the Courthouse Restoration Committee and we all appreciated his wise counsel as we deliberated on how best to spend the money we raised. He agreed with me that the Courthouse should be the only building on the square and be professionally landscaped to show it off. Many were dismayed when we removed the rows of individual seats and replaced them with long benches, conforming to the way the building was built in 1857 (as we understood our responsibility . . . we only shouldered the financial responsibility for extra costs involved in restoring the building to its historic appearance.)

Another whimsical sharing with Bill was our contribution to the façade of the former home of the Book Shelf on Pacolet Street. His contribution paid for a book title in the row of books pictured below the windows: “. . .Ways to Spell Wuehrmann” and mine bought “Remember What?”

Beryl Hannon Dade was a pillar of our community who continued the tradition of service exemplified by her Hannon family. I met her when she brought a photo of a WWI machine gun group to me for display in our Polk County Historical Association Museum back when I was its president. I scanned it into my computer and made an enlargement of the area showing Tryon men, all of whom she identified.

I have been running into her everywhere ever since, such is her involvement with the fabric of the Tryon community life. She always came to our Lions Club Pancake breakfasts and collected a number of people at her table.

We are rapidly losing the leaders now who have done their part in making Our Area a mecca for creative people. Yes, Tryon is blessed with beautiful scenery, moderate weather, and abundant natural resources . . . but I think that what really draws people to us is the folks who are already here. The have the willing minds and hands that bring and hold us together.