Looking Back
Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Looking Back

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Scott Baggarly came to the Senoia Area Historical Museum last Thursday to talk about growing up in Senoia and trailing after his granddaddy Mr. Jim Baggarly, the beloved mail carrier for many, many years in what was a thriving community. Not to suggest that Scott delivered letters, although I forgot to ask. No, Scott loved being with Mr. Jim, scouring the ground for the elusive arrowheads like the ones that had once been found all tied up together in a canvas bag on his uncle’s farm. These were literally plowed up in a field being made ready to plant; some as large as spearheads now reside at the Smithsonian, the remaining lot make a stunning display as part of the Baggarly legacy.
Scott told eager listeners of the hours and hours he and his cousins spent playing make-believe in the Buggy Shop on Main Street among old cars, buggies, once elegant carriages, and a replica of a 1950’s Soda Fountain! This iconic display is a nod to the Coke bottling facility that was once in the basement; when the government needed the Atlanta Coca Cola plant to retool and supply canned water and other necessities to the military for the war effort (WW I, I believe), satellite bottlers were supplied the famous syrup so that the public could go on enjoying the wildly popular beverage.
The mysterious Buggy Museum, as it has become known, eventually became a storage facility for a family who “couldn’t (or wouldn’t) part with anything somebody in the family might want or need someday!” It became the repository for Flapper era jewelry, gorgeous antique beaded bags, and “curiosities” from faraway lands brought there by the wife of a relative who was a Foreign Ambassador. What a cool place. What child wouldn’t love to look (and touch, though severely warned against that evil!) and play among such treasures.
No longer open on a weekly basis, make a point to visit during the Memorial Day celebration, during the Senoia Car Show, and during the Christmas Tour of Homes. Good stuff! Good memories.
Scott was a delightful guest and left his audience longing for more childhood tales of Senoia. We did not have to wait long. Jeff Bishop, who also grew up in our town, was on the agenda, a return visit, to discuss his latest book about the Cherokee Indians and the Trail of Tears, but, well . . . Jeff got to talkin’ as the old folks would say, and we heard happier tales of his small- town childhood.
Admittedly, there is nothing sweeter than hearing stories from another person’s past which mirror your own long ago memories, and I, for one, can never get enough! And, like many of my generation, I also love to tell stories of my own. Last Friday, just a day after the Society Meeting, I had yet another unexpected opportunity to do both . . . listen and tell!
I met for the first time lovely, vivacious, and entirely charming Regina Alexander. Mrs. Tommy Alexander is a successful businesswoman whose enterprise Regina’s Helping Hands makes life a kinder and gentler place for many, many people. She, along with 15 employees, provides housekeeping and/or nursing care for from 50 to 75 folks each month.
Regina, a dynamo who would make the energizer bunny ashamed, is a few years younger and a whole lot more energetic than I. During the hour in which we shared the similarities and differences in our lives growing up in the Deep South, it was most obvious that Regina loves Senoia and its people with a deep and abiding love. Much of her life was lived “on the other side of the tracks,” in a house she described as “a shack without running water, heated with a wood stove, but with electricity.” She attended the segregated elementary school but was one of the first black teenagers to enter East Coweta High School. She told me that she has no unhappy memories of that time, no difficulties entering what was another world, in fact she reminisced about two “white girls who were and are still good friends today.” There is no way I can tell Regina’s story or that of her mother, a hardworking woman who raised her children to “love God and one another,” and who cared for members of the same Senoia family for most of her 84 years. The names of children Miss Gertrude cared for in this community over seven decades includes someone from every “Founding Family.” No, I cannot tell their story, but Regina plans to; she is embarking on an autobiography, and it will be a doozy.
My new friend and I got to sharing tales of when we were school girls, I had almost forgotten the hours and hours I spent playing “bump jacks” with my school friends. Of how we all sat in a circle on the cool concrete floor of the basement at Church Street Elementary School in Tupelo, Mississippi—the skirts of our dresses tucked modestly under our legs until we had to lean up onto our knees and “throw high” in order to scoop the winning “sevensies” from the perfectly slick floor before we caught the hard rubber ball in the already full hand, and with just one bounce!
Regina Alexandra and I had a big time laughing and talking about the games we played when we were children. Regina called the game Jack Stones; kids used pebbles before the jacks were manufactured from steel. Or if you didn’t have money to waste on “play pretties.” Like me, Regina played jump rope, hide and seek, and anything to do with a ball and an old stick! She, too, loved playing with her baby doll. She used to gather old boxes together, make a “town” and “drive” her doll all over the place.
Years later, Regina remembers telling her mama that she was going to get her driver’s license. “You don’t even have a car! How you think you can get a license?” her mama retorted.
“Just watch me!” Regina replied in her sassy voice. Oh, she did. She sure did. And she got a whole lot more. Ask her about Tommy Alexander and that 1964 Chevy, and about her wedding supper at the Dairy Queen. This woman has got some stories.