Memories echo through time

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I was amazed how approximately 253 neighborhood friends and family came from near and far to reunite one day after Christmas for the Williamstown, Boston, & White City Neighborhood Reunion.

The most hilarious and interesting parts of the program were the echoes given by Mildred Haskins Riddick, Bishop Madison Copeland, Ethel Franklin Brown and Bertha Thorne Wigfall.

Riddick told how neighborhood children played softball near Bethlehem Christian Church with a tennis ball, a broom handle serving as the bat and bases placed at different houses in the 400 block of Bute St.

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“I can remember the ball being hit into the church window or vents almost every time someone came up to bat,” she said.

Copeland told the audience why he was spanked while impersonating a preacher. He said that he preached constantly to students at his school during recess. However, one day he pretended to perform a baptism near some water on a tall and heavy girl.

“I carried her down but I couldn’t bring her back up,” he said. Her brother had to jump in the water and rescue us both. When my mamma found out, she spanked me. But I’m still baptizing people, I’m still preaching, and I praise God for that,” he said.

Both Riddick and Copeland told how neighborhood children used to slide down the hill on Broad St. They did it on cardboard in fair weather, Riddick said. Copeland told them when it snowed he would go get his grandmother’s rocking chair, and children would use it as a sleigh.

Emcee Ethel Brown gave one last walk down memory lane. She said that neighborhood girls would sit on the ground at St. Paul Baptist Church, waiting to catch a ride in Richard Miller’s car. However, most of the time the neighborhood boys would be riding in it.

“One of those times when we were waiting for him to pick us up to go skating, someone else came to tell us that Richard had turned his car over and we wouldn’t be riding that night. But we had fun skating on the walkway of that church, anyway,” she said.

This was an evening filled with excitement and love.

Committee member Bertha Wigfall in her closing remarks gave a statement for thought. “On the day that you were born God deemed it that Boston, Williamstown and the rest of you would meet here at this place, on this date, at this hour to celebrate. This has been the greatest occasion that I have ever attended and I hope that you enjoyed the fellowship, food and each other.”