Have no clue when the building was built.  Have no clue what movers and shakers were responsible.  Have no clue how many veterans have benefitted from its sanctuary.  Have no clue the kinds or numbers of events that are currently ongoing.

BUT I do have a clue about the stories the building can tell ——-if we just listen.

In the very early 50s, it was a skating rink——an honest-to-gosh skating rink !  Saturdays were set aside for  any and all  ( mostly young people ) to pay their quarter, choose their skates, and enjoy the exhilaration of  spending hours going round and round on the hardwood floor.  Sweethearts held hands, mothers held babies, old people held each other, and the floor held us all.

Yes, this old building could tell the tales .

And then ( still 50s ) there were the never-to-be- forgotten  Saturday night square dances with  Spencer Taylor and his band providing the music for dancers from all around.   In particular, male students attending colleges and universities within driving distance came by the droves.

In the 50s  ” nice ” young  teen-aged girls were not allowed to go to Saturday night public dances !  But our parents, being wise enough to choose their battles, allowed us  young  girls to attend the special dances, those being holidays:  the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving as an example.  Never on the week-ends ;   no,  NEVER  on the week-ends  !!!!

So my little group of  “nice ” girls took every advantage of that and , oh boy, did we have fun.  The music was great with our own local,  John Manley, being the lead singer.  John was reared on what was then the Mill Hill and had an absolutely gorgeous voice , not trained, but gorgeous.  Listening to him sing was a  special treat.

I’m quite sure he is now singing with the angels.  If not , God has missed an opportunity !

One story that’s worth telling is about my good friend, Peggy .  At a given time at a given dance, Peggy was asked to dance by a UGA student who was from Clarkesville.  She accepted once—-and twice—and again…and again.   Nice young man named Ernest .

Peggy and Ernest have been married 60+ years and through the years, he has delighted in saying that he  ” picked his bride up ” at the Lavonia square dance !!!!  This is an especially fun tale because both are quite successful  college graduates……………..

And just so you actually understand the ripple effect of  these dances, get this.  When I was Economic Developer for Franklin County in the early 80s, I worked closely with state-wide developers to encourage them to keep our county in the forefront for positive growth.

One day I had an appointment with a Georgia Power developer from Atlanta, and in conversation, he said ,  ” Did you ever go to the Lavonia square dances ? ”  He had been a student at Clemson University in the mid-50s, and he and his buddies never missed a dance.  I assured him that my friends and I  were NOT allowed to go to the dances ——-on Saturday nights, anyway,

Yes, this old building could tell the tales.

And then same decade, arguably the greatest of all times, Lavonia High School had its proms there.  And what a wonderful time was had by all.

Themes were determined by the Junior Class, those same students who did the decorating , dressed the part, served as wait staff, and, in general, were the hosts for the evening.  My class and I did our time and then , as  Seniors, dressed in our formal attire, put our corsages and boutonnieres on, enjoyed the camaraderie , consumed the homemade finger foods , and danced the night away.

Chaperones were faculty and parents.  There was no need for security because guns were only used for hunting and sex was for married couples.  Instead the evening served as a going-away gift to a group of kids who would soon say good-bye to our beloved school.

Yes, this old building could tell the tales.

So, when you pass Lavonia City Hall , and you observe the stately old American Legion Building,  remember that its main purpose  has been ,  and is always ,   to serve the Veterans who have,  in turn,  served us.

But, oh, the treasured stories of the many ways it has served others…………..

Thank you, dear old building , for the memories.