Danny went to work at Goodyear Mill November 26, 1944. We were fortunate to get a 3 room apartment, 6 Defender Street. Mr. & Mrs. Fred Thrasher and daughter Jane lived in the other side.
Our neighbors were: the Red Jones family, George & Gertrude King, The Harold Cochran Family, Henry & Bessie Ray with daughter Zelma and Anthony, Rev. E.M. Shook and family, and Miss Izzie Johnson with her Mother. They were all very good neighbors.
Most of the time everything was nice and quiet. Sometimes when the boys would act up you could
Hear Mrs. Bessie calling them from the other parts of the Village. Their language was sometimes off key. Later we saw their lives changed. They became good Christian people and lived their lives as members of Atco Baptist Church.
Danny and I joined the Atco Baptist when church was being held in the Atco School Building. We taught Sunday School for the Junior boys and girls in the Club House.
The Thrasher family moved back to Alabama. Mr. & Mrs. Fred Stiles and sons moved into the apartment. I remember hearing the family having a good time playing on the banjo. Not much for third shift workers trying to sleep, but they had fun.
I especially remember the parades and the Company picnics with all the activities for the employees and their families. From time to time you could buy all kinds of games, crafty items and home baked cakes. I still have some baskets made by Red Holmes.
The Christmas parties for the children at the club house were special. All the children received gifts and bags of fruit. Mr. John Knight sometimes played Santa Clause. I still have pictures of Thonya and Santa there.
The Wingfoot Park was a great place for the big cook outs. I can almost see Mr. Pat Wofford and the others turning those chickens on the home made grill. The Church with the Rev. Wallace Millsaps as pastor, baptized in the creek that ran through the park.
One of my greatest joys was singing with the Atco Baptist Girls Chorus at the church, the parks, different churches. and other outings. “Looking for a City” was one of our favorites. Every time we have a reunion we have to sing this song. Lois and Euell Bagwell were our good leaders. We would load up on Saturday Mornings with Rev. Millsaps to go to Rome to the Radio Station. He preached and we sang. We had a ball!
Later I became a Sunday School teacher for 4 & 5 year old boys and girls. I worked with them for some thirty years. I also served for a time as Vacation Bible School director. The VBS parades were always great. I remember the Refreshment Committee with Mrs. Clifford Green as leader. She was always on the spot.
I started helping Rev. Millsaps with the church bulletins, etc. Later we had an office in the new addition. I remained there 22 years as Church Secretary. Pastors after Rev. Millsaps were Rev. Emmit Smith, Rev. Howard Holcomb, Rev. Jimmy Hatcher and Rev. Carl Billue.
Living in the Goodyear employees houses had a lot of advantages. The Company kept all the grass neatly cut, painted the houses inside and outside (all the same color), and kept the hedge rows between the houses trimmed fence high (no fences were allowed). The ones I remember painting the houses were Mr. Pat Wofford and Moose Guyton. The company furnished bath tissue for the bathrooms which were in the coal house in the back yard. Mr. Melvin Simpson picked up the trash. We paid 25 cents per room, per week, for rent which included water and lights. It was taken out of the pay checks each week.
We were given a Wingfoot Clan each month with pictures and other activities.
When Danny reported for military duty in June of 1952, I remained in the apartment. I went to work at Goodyear on a creeling machine in the basement. My working buddies were Eloise Reed, Corine Ray and Bill Dumas who was our boss. At one time I worked for Mr. Wallace Williams and Reginald Floyd. One morning Reginald announced, “I’m going home and if my wife doesn’t have my breakfast ready, I’ll pitch a fit, if she does, I’m not going to eat a bite.
Some of the nicest things about Atco were: I could leave work at 8:00 am, go to the post office (located inside the store in the village), pick up my mail (letters from Danny), and walk the 2 blocks (no traffic) home. Mrs. Gertrude King would wake me up each evening when she had the evening meal prepared. I would eat each evening with her and Mr. George. I paid her 50 cents per meal. Mrs. Gert was like a second mom to me. She was also great with the small children at the Church.
At one time I was notified that Danny had placed a call to me from Tokyo, Japan. I did not have a phone at that time, but Mrs. Gert saw to it that I received the call. Times were not always easy while Danny was away, but Mr. Harley Watkins & Pearl were good visitors. Mr. Jack Jefferson along with a number of others was always there if needed.
One of the most scary times for me was when I came home from Church one night I found a black bat in my water bucket (We carried water from the spigot in the back yard). Later I found them in my bed and in my clothes closet. Imagine putting your foot into your shoe where there is a squeaking black bat. I was never so scared. A telephone call went to Mr. Parker’s office at the mill. Here he came with an exterminator. I had to visit Mom for a couple of days, but no more bats.
For a number of years I sang at funerals with Grady Looney, Leonard Ray, Will Hart, R.L. Manning, Hoyl Dean, Henry Dean, and J.C. Wright. They would call, wake me up with “We don’t have anyone to sing alto” so here I would go. They all were such caring friends.
Danny returned from the military in March of 1954. We moved into a 3 room house at #20 Wingfoot trail. Our neighbors at that time were Mr. & Mrs. Lester Orton & family, Eloise & Charlie Reed, Mr. & Mrs. Clyde Worley, Charles Brown & family and the Wallace Teems family.
When Goodyear decided to sell the houses we paid thirty one hundred and fifty dollars for the house and corner lot. We added two rooms and rebuilt the coal room (which was on the back porch) into a bath room. The screened-in porch was turned into a den joining the kitchen. The hedge rows were taken down and a fence was placed around the front of the house. We enjoy a lot of flowers and blooming shrubs.
When our daughter was born October 5, 1960 we brought her home to this house. We have lived on this corner of Wingfoot Trail for 50 years. I feel God placed us here for a reason. We have known and loved a number of people at Atco. So many are these deceased or have moved away, but we have many good memories of our life with them.
It was sad times when the Atco Store and Post Office were removed along with the Boy Scout Hut, School House, Swimming Pool, Goodyear front Office, Barber Shop, Beauty Shop, and the beautiful brick gates at the entrance to the Village. Now the Good Year Plant has closed and being torn out. Real Heart Breakers!
The City of Cartersville is now in control of a lot of things. Where the buildings once stood we have ball fields for every age child to play. The Little League fields, which are well kept, are named for Rudy York, George Johnson, Bill Bruce, and Joe Frank Henderson. A Senior League with many fields replaced the cow barns, pastures, and gardens behind the Atco Baptist Church. It is named for Richard Bell who grew up in the Village. The City also renovated the Club House and we still have it. It is open for groups to use. We had our Atco School Reunion there in June, 2004.
Things are now changed at Atco. Most of the home owners live here no more. It is mostly renters who occupy the houses. We don’t know everyone as we did at one time. Some of the yards are not kept and things are not as they once were. All of the changes hurts our quality of life, but Oh, the good times and memories!
Danny and I have kept some of the past at # 20 Wingfoot Trail. The old water pump in the back yard still operates The wash bench and clothes line post still are reminders that we can’t part with.
While our surroundings aren’t the same, our health isn’t the same, the world isn’t the same, our wonderful memories will always be with us of an era that has “Gone with the Wind”.