still the mother to many
Aunt Ad wobble walked to a chair, helped by two assistants, and I walked with her niece, Sharon Yancey, to see a shadow box by the door of her room. It showed a kitchen, a cake, a Bible and the saying, “Life’s better when it’s fun.”
She just turned 100 with a big celebration at White Oak Grove Missionary Baptist, a church she has attended for 88 years.
Assembly Road is no more than a mile long if that. 29, framed by two churches, a pipe and steel company, a cluster of single family houses and a quaint sounding subdivision called Quail Oaks. 29 was a figment of someone’s imagination.
Aunt Ad’s dad was a farmer and horse trader; her mom, a homemaker, cook. Her family was one of three to settle off Assembly Road.
At first, the only thing on the road was a church, situated between two white oaks. It was built 108 years ago by the Comer and Donahue families. Later came a store, the Jot ‘Em Down Store, run by the Donahues.
It was a store with one big aisle. You could get vienna sausage, soda and more snacks. I got those kind of details from Fred Donahue, 77, the oldest deacon at White Oak Grove Missionary Baptist.
Donahue worked in maintenance at Lorillard for 37 years. He timberland boots called himself the “AC Man.” He was the youngest of seven, the son of a Cone Mills janitor. 29. Later, he sold them Cokes from the Jot ‘Em Down Store. He sold them for 5 cents.
But the Jot ‘Em Down Store was not just for soda and snacks. On Saturday nights, it was for dancing, and h timberland boots is family used to roll in what he called a piccolo a juke box and everyone danced to Ray Charles and anything else that helped them move.
Fred grew up fishing, playing in the woods and playing baseball with rocks as bases.
One thing he learned growing up: Never cross Adelaide Comer.
“We had a fish pond back in the w timberland boots oods where we would swim after a big rain, and she caught us down there. And she told her mother, and her mother told my mother, and my mamma would whip us with a cane pole out of the woods. That thing stood 5 feet tall, and we all stood in a circle and she tore us up.”
Fred still remembers Sam Lynch coming into the White Oak Grove community, driving a gray 1936 Ford. He was sharp. His car was sharp. He courted Adelaide, they got married, and they become known to everyone as Uncle Sam and Aunt Ad.
Both of them stayed active in church.
“Oh, gracious, she was one of the best cooks who ever came through. She could cook some fried chicken, and man, everybody wanted to get that fried chicken and chicken pie,” Fred recalls.
“I used to take the whole church to the beach every year, and when we’d get a bus and be driving to the beach and Adelaide and her husband woul timberland boots d ride and she’d fix a special bag of chicken and she would feed all of us.
“She was an outstanding young lady.”
So, that was Aunt Ad’s neighborhood. And she was the queen, the mother to many, the giver of much, the aunt who would call her niece on the eve of their shopping spree and say, “What’s on the rail for the lizard?”