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MJ History: Dean Blythe

This week we have an entry from Dean Blythe, who has lived in Mt. Juliet all her life

I’m 75 and have lived here all my life. I remember the gravel roads, no electricity, no running water and the outdoor toilets, the little railroad shack where you’d catch the train. 

The stores I remember were McCorkles Store and Food Locker, Tomlinson’s Grocery and the laundry mat. Sometimes they showed movies behind the store on Saturday night. I remember the old post office on the back side of Petty’s Grocery which was run by Vesta Locke and Mary Poe. I remember Castleman’s Garage, Toppy McFarland’s little food shop on Mt. Juliet Rd. and West Division St. that Harry Snodgrass ran. 

The only bank in town was next to the store and mother ran it with the feed store on the other side, and Miss Annie Lou was the teller. It was by the railroad track what is now An Enchanted Florist and Boutique. At one time C.H. Tomlinson ran a little store with a pool table where the gas station is now. I think Sam Jennings ran the store before my mother Mae Howell. 

At school, Ruby Lou Bates and Billie Jo Fields were my friends. Sometimes Billie and I would go home with Ruby. She lived where the back of Lowe’s is now. We would go over to the Pages who lived across from Ruby and get Charlotte, Ann, Tom – any of them that would go with us up to Luther Lenning’s house, who lived with his grandmother where the BP/McDonalds is now. He’s the only one who had a basketball goal, so we played ball. 

Sometimes we’d go to Horn Springs on Saturday night, we’d go to Cedar Forest to a square dance and lots of times we went to the Grand Ole Opry. We knew so many of them, they’d get us in the back of the Opry. When we moved from Happy Hollow (now Hatcher Lane), we moved next to Robert Wayne Ashley’s family, and we had a phone. You had to pick the receiver up and tell Miss Sutherland your number. She’d ring it. It was a party line and you could really hear some good gossip.

When I was in the 7th grade, I rode the bus and my bus driver was Mr. Freeman. At Christmas, he would have a big box of red apples sitting by him. When you got off the bus, you’d get an apple. He was a good bus driver. Once, Jennie Ray Mofield and I were fighting, and he stopped the bus, made us get off and we finished our fight. He waited for us to get back on the bus. 

We have, like Virginia Slim, come a long way. Once, when I was in the 6th grade, our teacher had to leave the room and of course we were all talking. Miss Kathleen Sullivan (who wasn’t our teacher) came in screaming for us to sit down and shut up. I said “huh?” and she slapped me across my face and left every finger print. She was mean. 

I remember when our school burned. We had to go to school in a garage that was across from where the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ is now. The school had no air. It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. We couldn’t wear jeans, we had to wear dresses or skirts. But there was no pills, pot, drugs – none of that. 

Later I worked with Mildred Brown at the Mt. Juliet Truck Stop owned by C.H. Tomlinson. Buell Agee was our only law and he would sometimes pick Mildred and I up and we’d ride with him checking everything out over to the lake – Lovers Lane and all that. It was fun. Buell was one of my favorite people. 

Mt. Juliet has changed more than any little town I know. 

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