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.
(PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO MIGHT ENJOY STORIES ABOUT A LONG-STANDING TREASURE ).
We both loved reading about our precious memories! Bob said you “nailed” it!
My memory fails me about where my glasses are, usually on my head, but growing-up memories are as clear as the spring sky in Georgia ! Thank you for commenting. Those were certainly the days…………
What a wonderful memory you shared with us. I remember vividly the senior proms and dances we had there. I’ve been married 54 years to the young lady I had my first dance with!
Thank you, Michael, for your comment, and if you have someone to share this with, please do.
So happy that I brought up happy memories for you. Growing up in Lavonia was God’s gift to all of us. I truly believe that.
Diane, I really enjoyed reading. I remember one of Daddy’s male cousins from Walhalla would come to the Saturday night dances. He would sometimes stop by for a visit before going. The Proms were so much fun. I think it was my junior class that decorated with a real parachute hanging from the ceiling. Don’t remember the skating rink. Must have been before my time. 🙂
Thank you so much , Martha, for sharing your memories with us all. I was elementary age when we could skate there, and I have no idea how many years that was allowed.
I have trouble finding my glasses ( when they’re on my head ! ) but growing-up memories still shine brightly.
So happy that your prom time came back to you.
“Growing up in Lavonia was God’s gift to all of us”….♥️
Patty Q Wells
I do believe that ! Thanks for stating it……….
Yes, indeed I have memories of the American Legion building. I remember my
uncle would go to the dances on Saturday night.
I do remember John Manley and what a wonderful voice he had!
The proms were lots of fun.
Thanks for the memories of an old building!
It’s really amazing what stories that old building is housing ! There were carnivals there, beauty pageants, a dance club in the late 70s, wedding receptions even more recently, and on and on.
And I remember Bill Cannon being there !
It was a special place at a special time.
Thanks for remembering with me.
I just clicked on Renee’s FB page and saw a link to your remanences. Have read a few and enjoyed them! I lived in Carnesville in the early 50’s. 3 old buildings come to mind there. Across the street from our house was the old elementary school building. My first job was helping an old man clean the mortar off the bricks after it had been torn down. He promised me a quarter but I don’t remember if he paid me! It was just fun and I probably broke more than I cleaned! I attended 1st grade in the old building and second grade in the new one at the end of the street. The older students were in the upper floor of the old building. We had to wait until they were out before we could leave in the afternoon, and it sounded like a herd of elephants coming down the old wooden stairs. The second old building that is still standing is the Presbyterian Church my Dad pastored from 1955 to about 1959. Mr White was my Sunday School teacher and wrote in the Bible I was given when I made my public profession of faith and became the youngest member! Martha Little was a missionary to Brazil from that little church. The third old building I remember in Carnesville was the one housing the Doctor’s office and pharmacy. In those days when I had a mild case of pneumonia, the Doc went to our house every day for a week to give me a shot! Can you imagine that today?! Whenever we had a shot in the Doc’s office he would give us a prescription for an ice cream cone at the pharmacy!
Thank you so much for this. I remember your family well. My grandparents and my mother were lifetime Presbyterians, active in the Lavonia church. As will happen, what goes around, comes around, and our oldest grandson, Isaac Toney, is a Presbyterian pastor. He is Associate at Mount Vernon in Sandy Springs. I, however, am a member of Lavonia First Methodist.
I’m glad my meanderings brought back such happy memories from your childhood. As you can tell, what comes up comes out when I write.
Again, I appreciate your response.