After moving in on what was surely a great fall day into the newly renovated house that now had a bathroom, a kitchen and running water she began setting up the new home. Soon it was cold and every morning Ray rekindled the fire from the previous night in the old fireplace in the family room. The kid’s rooms had the gas heaters that took away the worst of the cold but real warmth, while the fire was catching, was only when you were standing over the floor furnace Ray and Tommy installed–also before they moved in–between the family room and the kitchen.
The House Warming
Shortly after moving in a line of cars drove down the dark dirt road and into the driveway. Many people began getting out. They brought in fried chicken, casseroles, salads, desserts and ice tea. Dorothy had to be worried about the condition of the house with this crowd arriving. She knew how to entertain and she was surely not ready.
She, Ray and the kids truly met their “neighbors” at this old-south house-warming unfolded. The house was filled with introductions, laughter, the smell of great food and eating. The house warming gift was a beautiful porcelain quail that Tommy sometime later broke while tossing a basketball inside. [Dorothy cried and Tommy (this writer) has never forgotten that image of her disappointment and the quail in many small pieces on the floor.]
The First Hot Summer
The Christmas season had officially arrived when they went back into the woods behind the house and pecan orchard and cut down a Christmas tree.
That first spring came with the pecan trees budding and the days becoming warmer. That first summer they were determined to live like country people with open windows; i.e. without the air-conditioner window units. Dorothy took the kids many days to Millers Creek as the water was cold.
Ray installed the air conditioners the next spring.
Cows were bought at the auction. Ray bought a milk cow and intended to have fresh milk and butter. The day the cow kicked him across the stall ended their having fresh milk for the kids. Dorothy did buy one-pound blocks of fresh butter piled into a brown paper bag from Walter Gaston and his wife. They lived where the dirt road [now Tom Gaston Rd. and paved] meets Grand Bay Wilmer Road.
Dorothy enjoyed cooking and regularly added to her red cookbook binder recipes she copied from others and many clippings. The photo here is a scan of her writing where she recorded Nellie’s (her mother) chocolate cookie recipe that was a favorite when Dorothy took the kids to visit “Grandmother”.
The Brick House
About 1968 Ray and Dorothy decide to build a new house immediately behind the white frame house. They found a builder who helped them design the house and then built it.