Scraps and Ramblings –Making Brookly a Better Place--Ray Young

I'll bet all you folks in Morgan county did not know that Brooklyn is the third largest community in Morgan County... most people when you quiz  them will say Monrovia or Morgantown... few ever guess Brooklyn.  Brooklyn is a rather long and slender community...sort of follows along the tracks of the railroad. I think it was founded about the same time the railroad came through... it came from the south..most probably thought it came from Indianapolis and came south... but no, it came from the southern reaches and moved northward. Frank Landers, a very interesting fellow, recorded the plat of Brooklyn in May of 1854. I'll check but I think that is about the time of the railroad. He was an enterprising sort... I will do some research on him and write a blog entry about him in a week or so...when the Christmas dust  settles.

My connection with Brooklyn is downright personal. My mother grew up there. Well, actually she grew up all over the county...was born in Waverly...lived once in Madison township... My grandfather Jim Davee was a school teacher and moved around the county with homes in several places before building  a rather permanent family home the corner of Knox and Church. That was the edge of Brooklyn in those days. In addition to teaching school,  he farmed the "McDill bottoms"...the first field  I ever farmed myself some 40 years later.  He and I suppose my uncles maybe even mom,  milked a few cows...Mom talked about taking milk around on her bicycle to various customers...Brooklyn's version of the Polk's milk man. She also sold eggs from the chickens they kept in an old school they had drug up on the place.

I remember a couple of distinctive things about that home in my youth. First, was the fire when the chicken house burnt down.. the fire truck was soooo loud and I thought that Uncle Charles was going die going in to bring the chickens out of the inferno..Then the house did  not have indoor plumbing until the mid 1950's when my grandmother became ill with the cancer that eventually  took her life. I was not too crazy about the trip to the outhouse..and hated the slop jar even more. The walk to the outhouse was as cold as the feather bed was warm. They  also had a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen ...started the morning breakfast fire with corncobs.

We moved to Mooresville in 1950 ..I was seven...and in those days if you lived in Brooklyn you could attend either Mooresville or Martinsville High schools. Therefore,  I could ride the school bus to Grandma Jim's... we were sort of male genderish in those days ....Grandma Jim and Grandma seems strange now ...cannot imagine any of our grandchildren calling my wife, Grandma Don...but didn't think a thing about it then.  One of my other recalls was the chicken dinner. When family showed up, she would go out to the chicken lot and find a likely dinner looking type chicken, grab it by its neck and whirl it around a couple of times and let loose ..I was morbidly  fascinated ...watching it do its flopping and expiring...then she would "dress it... not too pleasant a deal... I watched from afar ..never far enough ...hated the smell of hot wet chicken feathers and inards...then at dinner we would have fried chicken, mashed potatoes  and DRESSING... I was  grown man before I realized that the dressing was not from THE DRESSING.. finally started eating a dab of it at first then more as I removed the recollection of "dressing a chicken."

Brooklyn according to my mom and her siblings was a pretty good place to grow up...good neighbors.. a solid church or two or bars ..a grocery and a gas station. There were two drive in movies not too far..Brookmore and Centerbook. Centerbook is still there...but they don't show Ma and Pa Kettle unfortunately. Brooklyn did have a spell in more recent history where things became a bit contentious.... some would say quiet a bit ...and sort of on a personal level ..didn't seem to make a difference what it was about, you could count on there being two rather  demonstrative  sides.  Well, fortunately for a variety of reasons the usually turbulent waters have become more tranquil.  Personally, I think one of the reasons is the leadership of  the town officials. I had the pleasure a year or so ago of meeting  Ray Young at a Republican breakfast at the Brooklyn Christian Church.  You would like Ray. He retired from Citizen gas a few years ago. He is a tall and soft spoken ..gentle and full of common easy cadence to his speech... has a rather good habit  putting the" g" in the ending  "ings" of words.. I have had a habit for years of sayin' doin' instead of doing.....drove my poor father to distraction ...He would have liked Ray... I love to hear him speak. I love the thoughtfulness and downright good judgment of the man. On his business card it says "Dedicated to Making Brooklyn a Better Place" How good is that. Imagine the difference that approach makes. In Rotary, we take a "Four Way Test. " First, is it the truth, Second, Is it fair to all concerned, Third,  will it build good will and better friendships and  Fourth. will it be beneficial to all concerned.  Yep, Ray is  indeed "Dedicated to Making Brookyn a Better Place"..and you know, I am going to invite him to our next Rotary meeting... he is already doing the four way test don't you think...and benefitting all concerned....building good will......and friendships.....starting right there in Brooklyn. Wouldn't hurt to have a lot of Ray Youngs in every nook and cranny of Morgan county.. or the world for that matter.


December 18, 2011