Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meridian Street Neighbors

This is about the neighbors around our house at 1017 Meridian Street in the 50's and 60's.  My parents, Ernest and Lola Mae Steele Oeser, moved there with my brother Ernest and sister Ann in 1951 or early '52.  I was born in June of 1952 and lived in that house until I was married in May of 1969.  My parents moved from the house in 1972 and it was torn down soon after.

I don't remember when I wrote this or where it was posted originally on the internet.  Maybe it was a facebook post on the North Edgfield page.  I rediscovered the story recently because it was used by a student as part of a school paper and posted online.  She didn't say who wrote it or where she found it.  The address, 1017 Meridian was where I lived and all of the neighbors mentioned lived on our street.  Also Ruth Oeser Massey is my aunt, Margaret Oeser Allen is my aunt and both are my Daddy's younger sisters.  I figure if the student could "borrow" this from me without giving credit, it's OK for me to copy and post it here.  

We lived at 1017 Meridian and at 1015 was the Hurt family. He was Wilson and her name was Ladye. They were both profoundly deaf and used sign language to communicate and both could read lips. I loved them so much and called them other Mama and other Daddy. I don’t know how that got started. Mrs. Hurt's mother Ophelia Primm lived with them. The Hurts' had two daughters, Donna and Lucy. Both were older than me, probably born in the early to mid 1940's. Robert and Hattie White family lived at 1013. Their children were Joanne, Bobbye, John, Mary Sue and Martin (Marty). Marty was the youngest and only a couple of years older than me so he was in my group of playmates. I don't remember much about who lived at 1011, except when the Cunninghams lived there. 1009 was a little duplex and Miss Hargis lived there. It was a mistake to ever hit a ball across her fence. If it landed in her yard it was hers.

Next was a big brick house at 1007, where the Banniza family lived. I think Mr. Banniza owned a liquor store downtown and they had a lot of children. Later the Oakes family lived in that house. They had a big family too. There was a cute little brick duplex at 1005 and the house at 1003 must have been a rental, with no one living in either very long. The corner house 1001 was where Mrs. Sharpe lived. She had cats and a wrought iron fence around her house. Her son, Dallas Sharpe, was killed in WWII. Later, when I was going to East, a family with several boys around my age lived there. Maybe their name was Knight. Across the street at 1000 was the Beazley's, I think, or maybe there were at 1002. A Raymer family lived on that side of street. I don't remember much about that side until 1008. The Morrisey family lived there. Their daughter Martha Jane was my first grade teacher. She has a brother named Jimmy. Martha Jane married Don Petty, who also grew up in the neighborhood.

At 1010, was a duplex where Mrs. Wimberly and her daughter Ruth lived for a long time. At 1012, were Lem and Wilma Newby, and their children Mike, Sue, Dianne, and Cindy. Mrs. Newby, who was the daughter of Mrs. Wimberly, also had a son from a previous marriage named Jimmy Davenport. At 1014, was the Fitts family and Jerome and Daisey Tunstall lived at 1016, and owned a little duplex at 1018. Back across the street the McKinney family lived at 1021. Robert and Roberta McKinney, and their children were Bobby and Patsy.

The house at 1019 was a duplex and lots of people lived there. Mr. and Mrs. Roscoe Williams are the ones I remember most. Other neighbors that I remember are Mrs. Cavender, who had a grocery store at the corner of Meridian and Evanston.

Mrs. Frey lived in the 1100 block of Meridian and she had room in the back of her house, where she cut and styled ladies hair. A family named Marks lived in the 1100 block, as did the McNeese and the McKnight families.

My aunt Ruth Oeser married Prentice Massey who lived on Meridian in the 800 block. My aunt Margaret Oeser married Russell Allen. His father Asa Jeff Allen was a photographer and so was Russell. My cousin Russell Allen, Jr. was also a commercial photographer until he retired a few years ago. Butch Richardson lived in a little house on Evanston, on the left as you go up the hill from Pennock to Stainback. Toby Waller and his family lived there. Tom Teasley lived on Meridian near Richardson and he was killed when he only about 20 in an industrial accident, about 1959 or so.