I was born and spent my childhood in the Rockmart Goodyear Village.
It was a fun and happy place in which to grow up. There were always plenty of kids to play sports with. I have many fond memories of this time playing with my friends.
My favorite time was playing and caddying on the golf course. I could earn fifty cents a round as a caddy and that would enable me to go to the movies, buy popcorn at the movie and then enjoy a hot dog and ice cream cone after the movie.
My fondest past Christmas memory was when I got my first bike. I was about 10 years old and it was shortly after WWII and items were still hard to obtain. My dad, Luke Biggers, was a butcher.
He bargained with a neighbor to butcher his hog in exchange for a used girls’ bike for me. I was so excited that Christmas morning to see my bike under the tree that I sneaked it out of the house at 3 a.m. and rode it in the dark to the Goodyear corner.
I was so proud and happy of my Christmas bike even though it was a used girls’ bike.
This is my best memory of past Christmases in the Rockmart Goodyear Village.
—Cyrus Biggers, Conroe, Texas,
former resident of Polk County
I was 17 and had plans to be married to a young private in the U.S. Army on the 21st of December 1968.
Three days before the wedding, the Army, in it’s infinite wisdom, canceled the groom's leave. The wedding was off; the cake was frozen in the freezer, flowers were kept in the refrigerator at the flower shop, the dresses -- mine and the bridesmaids that my mom had made -- were all finished.
Finally the Army managed to work things out and he would be home on Monday, one day after the wedding was to be held.
My sister went to Shiloh Church and waited for guests to arrive and informed them (no cell phones then) to come back the following week.
We had a wonderful week to spend together over the holiday.
We sat up all night Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa, talking and looking at the lights on the Christmas tree.
It was a large wedding, including my four sisters and two brothers, his two brothers and his sister, plus the best man, his girlfriend, a cousin and two male friends, so every one had an escort. The younger kids were flower girl and ring bearer.
Doyle Morris of Esom Hill gave me away, as my father had died from leukemia two years earlier.
The preacher was Rev. Grady Kines, and he was more nervous than either of us.
Thirty days later my husband left for Vietnam.
He luckily returned safely and we have been together now for 44 years.
—Ann Lyons, Houston, Alaska,
former resident of Polk County
I have always loved this time of year. The selflessness of others, the decorations, the family gatherings; so many good memories surround the month of December for me.
One story in particular comes to mind every year as I remember Christmas’s gone past and those that are no longer with us. My favorite memory is that of a gathering at my mam-maw and pap-paw’s one year.
I always tried to find a way to sit next to my aunt Susie. She was Philippine and my uncle had married her while in the Navy. She was always fun to be around and I loved making her laugh; a laugh that I still remember vividly. This one year in particular I sat beside and teased her through the gift opening.
Every time someone went to open a gift, I’d whisper to her, “Aunt Susie… it’s soap!” She’d say, “Shut up, Jim” in that wonderful accent I had grown to love.
Every time a present was handed out I’d whisper to her, “Aunt Susie… it’s soap!” That year, every time a present was opened, especially by a girl, I was found to be right.
I assured her that I hadn’t seen any of the presents wrapped, that I just knew it was soap. She got so tickled by the end of the night.
The following year, I planned all year long to get my aunt Susie her own special gift of soap. Finally, the time had come for the Christmas gathering at my Mam-maw and Pap-paw’s house.
I sat by my aunt Susie as usual and was anxiously waiting for her to receive her gift from me. The whole family knew I was getting her soap; I was never good at keeping a secret.
No one would tell me why they were purposefully keeping her gift from me for last. Then the time came… she was handed my present, and to my surprise, I was handed a present just from her.
We both had a huge smile on our face… she opened her gift and yelled out, “IT’S SOAP!” I opened my gift from her and low and behold, it was soap.
Every year after that until her untimely death, we made sure to get each other soap.
To this day, before I go to anyone’s house on Christmas Eve, I stop by my aunt Susie’s grave to have our moment together. She is greatly missed during this season, but she lives in my memories and my heart.
I still can’t resist… as I start to leave her graveside, I whisper… “Aunt Susie… it’s soap.”
—Jimmy Wright, Jr.,
Floyd County resident,
former Cedartown resident
One winter near Christmas, my mother dressed me and my sister, Lynn, up in warm clothes late that afternoon to go out. It was almost dark and very unusual to us. When I asked where we were going she said we were going to church.
I had never gone out just at dark when staying in the country. She and Lynn and I got in the car and she drove us to a very old church. It was all wooden inside and the pews were the same brown wood color as the walls, ceilings and floors.
Mother explained that they were having a special program for Christmas.
After some speeches and some songs I was feeling a bit out of place, since I didn’t know anyone there.
But Mother did. I think she knew everyone.
As I looked around, the church was full and it was so unusual with all the brown, natural wood, and then I noticed lights of all colors being turned on and there was even a Christmas tree with lights and simple decoration. It was on a low table and was being rolled out to the center of the front part of the church. All the children and adults got excited, including us.
Then the doors at the back of the church opened wide and we all turned around to see. And there was Santa saying “Ho! Ho! Ho!,” and carrying a big bag. He walked up the center aisle and all the 200 people went crazy happy.
It was a big surprise to every kid there. He went and sat beside that lovely tree and started calling out names.
One after another child came up and took the gift, wrapped with their name on it. I felt uneasy again and said to mother that me and Lynn probably would not get a gift because no one knew us. She said, “Well, let’s just watch.”
After a while, I was shocked to hear my name called. I didn’t know what to do, and mother said go on up there.
As I approached Santa, he handed me a gift and wished me a merry Christmas and I froze and could not move. I knew that voice—it was my great uncle Burl. He put his finger to his lips to say “Quiet now,” and nodded for me to go back to my seat. Then we winked at me.
I ran back to my mother and whispered to here that it was uncle Burl and she said, “Oh no, it’s Santa.”
As Lynn’s name was called, I started to tell her, but mother stopped me. I think she knew too when she sat back down.
I was never told anymore about it and I don’t remember what my gift was, but I was proud that I met Santa and that I knew him very well.
I guess Santa needed lots of help back then.
My husband, David Warner and I, were both longtime Cedartown residents and educators. He and I grew up together as next-door neighbors in Tallapoosa.
We have many great memories of Christmases spent in Cedartown, and now, we are making new memories back in the small town of Tallapoosa.
As a young girl, my dream home was the “Cinderella Dream House” located at 409 Bowdon Street in Tallapoosa. Built in 1896 on the Old Academy Grounds, I remember it being a big, two story white house with a huge attic.
As a teenager, my husband delivered newspapers to that home and with each day’s delivery, he wished he could someday live there.
In June of 2012, after 50 plus years, we were able to move into that very house – the same home we loved as children. Our dreams came true as we purchased the restored antique home and we hope to create many holiday memories there.
We decorated the grounds and the house for Christmas and stepping inside is like stepping back in time. We decorated it from attic to cellar with many period pieces and family heirloom mementos.
We have 10 Christmas trees in the house, with the featured one in the family room. Even the attic has a tree.
In addition to the Christmas decorations, our dream home has many unique features, like fully operational pocket doors, original light fixtures and wooden blinds that were purchased from the old Venetian blind plant in Tallapoosa in the 1940s.
We recently hosted a Christmas open house and had more than 200 guests touring the home.
My husband and I are looking forward to spending many more Christmas seasons in our childhood dream home.
former resident of Cedartown