A letter to my grandmother from
her best childhood friend, Betty Cole, who grew up
with her on Scott Avenue in Knoxville, TN. Betty and
my grandmother got into some trouble
playing with matches as children.
My grandmother had married and
had several children by the time she received this letter ... one
being my mother! There is nothing of great interest in this letter
except for the expression "take my pen in hand".
I like that old expression.
This letter came from my grandmother's house, I had kept it as a clue to what her street address might have been when she and her father lived on Scott Avenue in Knoxville, TN, in the early 1900s. My grandmother's mother died when my grandmother was very small. My grandfather had moved from Alabama to Knoxville to work at a knitting mill, the Brookside Mill, which was considered at the time "the South's most progressive mill".
Often I heard tales of the knitting mill and the Brown family. Larson Brown worked at the Brookside Mill. The Brown family lived very close to my grandmother and her father, maybe even next door. I can't find out the exact address of my grandmother's house on Scott Avenue. I can probably find it at the Knox County Courthouse, I am not sure if I can do this online. I do know the exact address of the Brown family, their address was 121 E. Scott Avenue.
My grandmother would tell how the Brown family would visit and always laughed about an answer my grandmother gave in class when she was quite young. She was asked by her teacher, "Why did they build the Panama Canal?" My grandmother had no clue and replied, "Just to be a diggin'."
On another occasion, my grandmother and her friend, Betty, (the letter writer above) put crumpled up newspapers in the fireplace and lit them. In other words, they were playing with matches! It was summer time and the Browns saw smoke coming out of my grandmother's chimney. They investigated and the paper burning ended.
My grandmother would refer to the movie theatre as "the picture show". When we were young, my brother, sister and I would laugh when we would hear that odd expression. She would also talk about the Brown's son, Clarence, who was in the "picture show" business. At the time I didn't pay that much attention to the stories about Clarence but later learned this Clarence Brown was the great movie director!
He went on to direct seven of Greta Garbo's films and was referred to as her "favorite director". His career would span 40 years and included 50 films. Some of the more notable films include National Velvet, The Yearling, Anna Karenina and Intruder in the Dust.
|National Velvet, directed by Clarence Brown|
starring Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor, 1944