The family hub, that was the Haley House during its heyday.  So many memories, so many stories, such characters……..

The house is gone, and in its place is a utilitarian laundromat, a plain rectangular building which screams  ” utilitarian ! “.  No class, no character, no personality, no warmth.  Sad, sad replacement for a home with all its history.

There’s a story there, too, starting with the ending.

When my grandfather died, his oldest daughter, Josephine Haley Pulliam ( divorced ) , and his youngest daughter, Marie Haley Williams ( widowed ) were living with him, and they inherited the house.  Upon their deaths, one niece, the only daughter of the third Haley sister, inherited the house.  So very Southern , this daughter -of -the -daughter tradition.

And if the daughter -of -the -daughter chose not to live in the house, it was to be torn down.  So, torn down it was——–and such a shame !  Beautiful old home with parlor, living room, sitting room, breakfast room, dining room , 4 bedrooms , 3 baths  and a wrap-around porch , resting comfortably on the corner of Hwy. 17 and Brookwood.

And this house’s very  special trademark was hospitality for so many for so many, many years  !

One true story is that in the glory days of textiles in the South, the cotton mill owned by the Shuford family in North Carolina  was a thriving industry and served many Franklin County residents  by offering steady employment, and in some instances, housing.  A newcomer, Doug Williamson, had just been brought in as the President/CEO of this particular mill.

He had some business to do with my grandfather, W.S. Haley, and instead of seeing him at his office, Daddy Seab suggested that Doug drop by the house at about noon.  He did and was greatly surprised to see the table set for 12.  He was told that that was  the order of the day five days a week at the Haley House.  The table  was always set for 12, and any and all were invited for lunch. Many came , family and friends alike, when the  Southern Cotton Oil Company noon whistle blew .  Doug told people  , far and wide ,  that he had never seen anything like it……………….

Open house was an on-going affair, especially during holidays.  Christmas Day was special.  Following the family tree and dinner, friends and acquaintances of family members were invited to an open house  for meeting, greeting, and eating.  Thanks to Charlie May, housekeeper and anchor, it was carried out without a blip.

But speaking of Christmas, the  family gift-giving was at 11:00 sharp to be followed by dinner ( dinner was dinner in the middle of the day, not lunch ).  If a family member died before 11:00, he/she was brought by hearse to the Haley House because no family member was ever allowed to be late or, Heaven forbid, miss it entirely  !!!!!!!   Everyone gave gifts to everyone else, carols were sung, prayers and blessings were said !  A fine time was had by all…………..

Perhaps the most meaningful Christmas Day was noted during WWII.  Two paratroopers from the Band of Brothers stationed at Camp Toccoa were invited to the Haley House to celebrate Christmas. They entertained my cousins and me by teaching us how to fall and roll without injuring ourselves.  I have no idea who they were, but I know this :  Christmas meant more to our family and to these two paratroopers than any other year because we all became family, or more to the point, became our very own Band of Brothers.

Haley House hospitality :  celebrations, christenings, family memorials , wedding receptions, bridge games , sing-alongs ,  poker games, bridal parties, engagement parties, ” any reason ” parties————all done with a spirit of giving and gratefulness for God’s many blessings to, and on, the Haley House.

The Haley House is gone, but, oh, the memories linger on !