Local News

December 23, 2012

Commentary: An old Zenith, a cab driver and memories of mom

During the occasion of my 50th Dalton High School reunion, there was an opportunity to travel around town in search of old familiar places.

The Oakwood Café was still there, as was a recycled Wink Theatre. Also found was Barrett’s Flower Shop, where I ordered classic homecoming corsages for five of my BFFs from the class of 1962.

Sadly, all of the several houses where I had lived over two decades are now gone, but the memory of a time spent at one remains as vivid as if it were 1954, today. That was the year we got our first television, which was bought on time by my single mom, Mattie (Kirk) Henderson. Those days we were living in what was known as the Evans Apartments just off 5th Avenue on Dalton’s eastside. You cannot imagine the thrill and excitement my older brother, Jerry, and I were feeling at the prospect of getting a new 21-inch television. Of course, there was only black and white in those days. Even so, that huge wood-grained metal cabinet Zenith set plus the table it sat on cost my mom more than $300, which in those days equaled almost two months salary at her spread house job.

As Christmas neared, my brother and I realized that new television had lowered the prospect of any major gifts. Of course mom did her best, and two days before Christmas, with that tell-tell lint still in her hair, she caught a ride downtown from her job at Belcraft Chenille on East Morris Street.

Thank goodness for McLellan’s 5 & Dime. Besides the gloves, socks and other more practical gifts, mom managed to buy some special treats like peppermint candy canes and those dark chocolate drops with marshmallow filling. Candy was always nice, but the most important purchase was the Christmas tree.

McLellan’s had small real, or mostly real, spruce trees about three feet high and mounted on round painted metal discs. Most were green, and often touched up with green paint, but some were sprayed white. The short height made them perfect for transporting home in Ott Thompson’s cab. Ott was a good man with a house full of kids himself. He only charged my mom 50 cents in those days to drive her in his 1953 Plymouth all the way from Hamilton Street to our little house on LaFayette Street.

Obviously that small tree did not require much decorating, about two strings of bubble lights and a few glass ornaments. The most notable addition was what they called “angel hair,” which was actually spun glass. It could become temporarily uncomfortable if you happened to get some on your skin. Fortunately for those of us who survived “angel hair,” some government agency decided to ban it decades before the present day Environmental Protection Agency was even imagined.

Mom passed away in Florida in 1989. Seems I’m thinking of her more than usual this Christmas. Perhaps it was the nostalgic DHS reunion and that visit to my roots. It’s a good feeling, though, with no sad regrets.

Oh, by the way, I had an opportunity in 1967 to repay Mattie for that old Zenith television. One day while home on leave from the navy, I entered her name in a contest at a long since gone furniture store on Hamilton Street. The big prize was a new color console television, and guess who won? They made a picture of her standing next to it at the store and Mark Pace published it in The Dalton Citizen.

Thanks, Mom, for all you did, and Merry Christmas.

Troy Henderson is a former Dalton resident now residing in Sarasota, Fla.



Text Only
Local News
  • Four arrested on meth, marijuana charges

    A traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of four people on meth charges and the seizure of more than four pounds of meth and several firearms on Wednesday, officials said.

    August 1, 2014

  • Dalton State turtle 4.jpg In the mood for love: Encouraging breeding, saving species

    For one Dalton State College couple, a cool misty shower is more effective than Barry White and candles at turning thoughts to love. And keeping this couple feeling amorous could mean survival of the species.

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Beaulieu expects 2,000 employees to be affected by week-long shutdown

    About 2,000 employees of Beaulieu of America in Georgia and Alabama will be affected by the company’s plans to conduct an inventory of its buildings and facilities next week.

    August 1, 2014

  • Moral monday 3 mlh.jpg Four ‘jailed for justice’ tell their stories

    Arturo Martinez was just 8 when his family came to the United States from Mexico, and though he is one of more than 500,000 young undocumented immigrants granted deferred removal by President Barack Obama, Martinez said his dream of pursuing higher education is out of reach because of Georgia policies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tanner Blackton: Diners, servers must show understanding

    Try to imagine this: You’ve been on your feet for hours, hoisting heavy plates, buzzing from table to table, taking orders, running food, refilling drinks. All the while, you have a smile plastered on your face and a go-to attitude, even when people blame you for things that are out of your control, berate you for accidentally mixing up an order, or loudly complain about being seated underneath an air conditioning vent.

    August 1, 2014

  • Bugs and Kisses 1 mlh.jpg Local stores expect tax holiday to create lots of sales

    Local retailers say Georgia’s sales tax holiday weekends mean big business for them, and they are gearing up to capitalize on this year’s tax-free shopping on Friday and Saturday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Esme file mw 2.jpg Still fighting

    Ten-year-old Esme Miller was celebrated earlier this year for the way she’s handled a bout with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Historical photos of Murray County needed

    Maybe you have a photograph of a well-known preacher from the 1940s. Or maybe you have a photograph taken of a church choir from the 1920s.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DOT wants your input on transportation needs

    As state and national leaders consider alternatives for funding future transportation needs, the Georgia Department of Transportation wants to know what Georgians would like in their 21st century transportation system and how they recommend paying for it.

    July 30, 2014

  • Jail for Justice Tour event here tonight

    The Moral Monday Georgia Coalition, the NAACP-led multi-racial, multi-issue advocacy group, will host an event in partnership with the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, Coalition of Latino Leaders (CLILA), Whitfield NAACP and the Whitfield County Democratic Party at Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center tonight from 5 to 9.

    July 30, 2014