We were Mayberry


We were Mayberry!

One afternoon recently an old Joanna friend of mine since high school days, Paul Mode, called me about a conversation he and several other Joanna folks had.

Paul said that he, Kay Darnell Baggett, Janice Price, and a couple of others were talking about the olden days of the Joanna childhood.

They mentioned the old swimming pool behind the schoolhouse at the end of Magnolia Street, and how all the mill hill children of Joanna enjoyed that pool during the summer.

They also talked about how their Mamas and Daddies never locked their doors at night and even left the doors open at night.

This was done because very few homes had an air conditioner, but practically every home had a big window fan, which was used to cool the homes some at night.

Paul told me that several other things were talked about when one of the girls said, “We were Mayberry!” Just like the Mayberry town on the Andy Griffith show.

After listening to Paul tell of his conversation with the other Joanna members, I told him that what he described was the same with every “mill hill”; only different names and different places, but the lifestyle of all the mill villages were basically the same.

Paul mentioned how the villagers took care of one another when one of the villagers got sick and could not work. There was no such thing as sick leave and welfare. The villagers were their own form of welfare.

Many times as a youngster at Lydia, I can remember pulling my (our) Radio Flyer wagon around the village and collecting whatever each house could afford to give.

This was known as a “pounding” probably from pounding the streets collecting the food items. At the end of the “pounding” someone who organized the pounding would carry the collected food to the needed family.

This was done each time a mill family needed help and as often as they needed it.

Many times I have stated how I remember all the good things about growing up at the Lydia Mill village, and I realize that everyone has something about their childhood and where they grew up, but the mill village years of us youngsters of the early mill hill days will linger in our minds forever.

So, with all this being said, I dedicate this article to my good friend Paul Mode and all the villagers of his conversation.

Still remembering,


(Tommy Kitchens lives in Clinton.)

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