Episode 21: Community Pride

After the world wars, Americans all over the country settled down to the business of living again without fear. Then we lost another 55,000 Americans in Korea, according to https://www.britannica.com/event/Korean-War, and perhaps we were just plain tired of minding other people’s business. (Unfortunately we are back to that scene with the same bad actors. Maybe nothing has really changed. But there comes a time when you yearn for the peace to concentrate on your own house and backyard.)

In a 1955 scrapbook Linda Yutzy unearthed from the Dysartsville community club, there is a newspaper article, with no date or byline. “Dysartsville is one of the communities that has lain dormant a great many years. Only in the past few years has it begun to wake up, look about, and see what can be done. Now residents of that community are working hard to improve themselves, their homes, churches, roads, and school.”

Here are a few examples of projects cited: “Mr. and Mrs. T.J. Shepard have built a new house, which Shepard wired for electricity. Their old house was about 100 years old. Mr. and Mrs. Jolley Duncan have remodeled their house, and underpinned it. Claude Allison has built a pump house, which will also house Mrs. Allison’s laundry. Mrs. John Huskins has filled her freezer full of foods. The Clay McIntoshes have added a gas stove and water heater. Mrs. McIntosh canned food by a Home Demonstration food budget.” Local news worthy of sharing. Early Facebook posting.

“Many improvements have been made in the school. The grade A lunchroom has new tables and chairs. Mrs. J.E. Conner prepares and serves the food to approximately 100 children, out of 120 enrolled. She not only prepares and serves the food, but she is also the dishwasher, and “clean-up lady.” “The kitchen and lunchroom are both in one room. One plan for the school is to build a separate kitchen for the lunchroom. The whole school is being repainted, and new windows put in. The library which was once in a dark, dungeon-like room is now in a large room with new chairs, tables, and bookcases. They also have new books.”

Dysartsville School 1955

“The school has new water fountains, and new swings for the playground.” “Plans are being made to plant shrubbery on the playground and around the school to enhance its looks. Principal G.L. Byrd is working to change the course of the driveway so it will not cross the playground.” Excellent idea! Of course most kids walked to school. Most families had only one car.

“Dysartsville Community is entering the Rural Community Development Program contest of Western North Carolina. The aim of the whole program is to make the communities better places to live. Projects range from beautification through recreation, rehabilitation of public buildings, and church improvement programs.

Jolley Duncan at home in 1955


There was also a sample notice from the US Post Office to Rural Route No. 1 residents to conform to the regulations of a mailbox so the carrier “does not have to dismount from his conveyance.” It had to be firmly planted, level, and waterproof at a certain height and distance from the road on the right-hand side of the road and facing the road with the correct house number. And it had to be white with “neat black letter about 1 inch in height.”

And then came the paragraph I had to reread and again wrap my head around the technological progress we take for granted. “Residents of Dysartsville are working hard to get the telephones in the community. They are hoping to get them soon.” How can our kids possibly relate to the past if they don’t read real history. We are the sum of our experiences. And having a telephone in 1955 was a foreign experience for kids.No phones? How did people communicate?

I found out talking to Pat Allison Arrowood. In 1959, she was the last bride to be married in the old Dysartsville Baptist Church. She married her Glenwood high school sweetheart Ray Dean Arrowood who lived on family property on Brackett Town Road. Pat’s grandfather, Benjamin Taylor Daves, was the postman for the Vein Mountain post office (Deming post office when it was a town. Pat and Ray live directly across the street from Nora Worthen, sister to Brice Sprouse whose story I told in the Brackett Town Saga Part 17 Brother Larry’s Turn to Tell Tales). The school teacher for Vein Mountain lived in Dysartsville, and was Pat’s cousin, Inez Daves. “When grandfather came to bring the mail, he would bring her to work every morning, leave her at the schoolhouse, and then when he come back to deliver the mail in the afternoon, he’d pick her up and take her back home. But it was funny, you got the mail the same day. “Everybody mailed everybody, and all they did was put their name on the outside. I collect postcards, and I love the way they addressed the card like Aunt So-and-So. And they spelled the town Dysortsville,” as they pronounced it.


Copyright @2018 Georgia Wilson



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