Leaving Washington and Walthall Behind

The Stott House at Washington and Walthall. Sara and Russell's apartment was in the house just behind it, visible on the right.

“Son and Betty Jane married that fall [1950] and moved into an apartment in the Billups Apartment Building down the street from Mama. He had met her while she was working here as a dental hygienist temporarily. They married in her hometown of Macon, Georgia.

Tricia and Son, mid-1940s.

“Tricia had gone to Mississippi State College for Women. Rawa, who had worked in Nebraska, had met and married Jack Roach there, and they moved to Oregon. Buddy had brought Dottie Hire home, and they were married at the First Methodist Church, with Russell and I standing with them.”

“We did not have much furniture to move into the house and gladly accepted anything anyone would give us with Tiny and Mama helping out. Big, who had always loved  yard work, helped greatly with our meager landscaping of a yard filled with weeds, no grass and no trees. She brought over altheas, crepe myrtles, spirea, flowering quince and other shrubs, most of which are still with us. Russell had rented a tractor and leveled the yard and shoulders and started from scratch trying to get some grass to grow.”

Three of the Evans children wound up in North Greenwood, leaving the old Stott house at Washington and Walthall behind in presence if not in spirit. Sara and Russell were part of the post-World War II wave of young married couples who bought parcels of former cotton fields and made lawns along the unpaved streets named for presidents and trees. Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Walnut, Myrtle, Poplar……all the streets of our lives, and fields of dreams for them.

Jessie would stay on at the Stott home, even as her children grew up, fell in love, married and moved on with their lives. Her years there in that sanctuary totalled 28, which I’m sure neither she or Big or Uncle Roy ever envisioned when tragedy struck in 1932. It was a happy home, described that way by everyone who ever lived there. And it still stands on that downtown corner, well-maintained, with some of Big’s old vines still climbing up the glassed-in porch. We are fortunate in many ways in this extended Evans/Stott family, in that our brick-and-mortar anchor remains, a daily reminder of what’s important and what endures.

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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