Remembering Della, Joan and Paul

Published 10:24 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015

By Garland O. Goodwin

I was glad to see Della Jackson featured in a recent Bulletin. I remember her bringing in her weekly column about happenings in Stony Knoll when I was a wee lad working for Mr. Vining, Sr.

People also brought in magazines to be redistributed to gathering places in the county, and Della would gather up an armload for her library. (I also helped myself to Life, Look, Collier’s and the S. E. Post, as my mother only subscribed to Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan. The latter was NOT then the racy mag it is today!)

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It was only in later years that I realized Della’s enormous contributions to the literacy and well-being of her community. When I was president of the Polk County Historical Association, I repeatedly asked her daughter Evelyn Petty to give us a program about her mother. It only happened after I got her elected to the board of directors, and she presented a comprehensive paper. I also learned that the delay was caused by her recovering from a stroke.

We lost a dear friend when Joan Stuedell died recently. We go back a long way . . . Joan and Bob moved into the house built by Bob’s father on “reservoir hill” atop “Rippy Hill.” Bob invited me to join the Columbus Lions. I made the JAZZ front license plate for their van (the “J” is a saxophone). We enjoyed having them both at breakfasts with “the Girls” at Hardees and later at TJ’s. I once tried a subscription to Scientific American, could not understand much of it, but Joan thrived on it. I saw her recently at White Oak when I visited. We have missed her of late and now must bid her Adieu.

Same goes for Paul Smith. I met him when I worked the summer I was 16 at Tryon Builders Supply. That company made everything of wood that went into a house—framing lumber, moldings, doors, window sash and more. I talked Paul into letting me help him with windows, and when I was boring the recess for the knot at the end of the sash rope, I put one in the wrong end of a style. Sure that I would be fired, I showed my mistake to Paul, who tossed it into the scrap barrel and assured me that they made extra ones just for such occurrences.

Paul had big muscular arms that I admired because I was trying to grow my biceps. He and his brother Clarence had both been in the Navy and were built like football players. Clarence worked in the cabinet shop, and made me a drawing board of white pine with hard maple cleats in two edges. I also remember that he taught me how to use a band saw: “cut slow, turn fast.” That summer I worked at the lumber plant holds many fond memories for me, and not only because I used part of my earnings to learn to fly airplanes.

I see Karl Kachadoorian often at PRO gym, and he recently called me the “Grim Reaper,” because I keep writing about deceased friends. I once apologized to Jeff Byrd for sending him so many of these remembrances in a row. He said, “Oh no, Garland, you must continue them, for often we do not know the people as you do, and you bring them to life for us.” Jeff invited me to write for him, and christened my column “Remember When” some 20 years ago. So I must continue to remember both the times and the people, but more importantly, the people.


The above quote from Jeff Byrd comes from the Preface to “Fat Fenders and Reflections,” a book containing the second hundred of these columns, published in 2008.