To the editor:
Ok folks; verbally clobber me if you must. But don’t mess with Bell Town. Let me give you the boundaries that I found while growing up in the 1950’s.
From the junction of Highway 70 and Craggie Hope Road go east on a ridge of Highway 70 on both sides sits Bell town.
It is there that the sons and daughters of Ham peaceably resides and with good eyes and with the leaves off could look to the south into Craggie Hope where the sons and daughters of Japheth lived.
Going east, I remember the Talley’s. Nellie was among the top 4 cooks in South Cheatham.
Then there was Alec Beck, a gentle man and a double to Uncle Remus. One of my first jobs as a 9 year old was to go to the Bud Howell Hole and look for Miss Carrie’s hogs that had gotten out. I went with Alec. To this day, I forgot how we got them back through the fence. However, I will never forget the unique way Alec fixed the fence. Later I heard it was called rigging and some word before it that I never used.
Alec was good to me.
There was the Joyce family and their teenager, Joycie cleaned house for Miss Carrie on Saturdays. She would tell me of Joe Louis and the Harlem Globetrotters. She went to Hampton High School. But she yearned for Pearl. I became well versed in black history. Joycie was very smart. What ever happened to Joycie?
Across the highway was Jurdie Atkinson. He spoke with refined English. Next to him was the Bell Town School, now a restaurant. I remember a later residence that Dorothy Thompson had built. There was Bell Town Café run by Will Toomey and one of the best of 4 cooks. Their sign said, “We serve anybody.” We went there and ate occasionally.
There then was the Bell Town Church of God, now a community center. Back up just a second. I left out the Bell Town Church of Christ which was located between Alec Beck and the Talley’s.
The last house was Eldridge Bell and his wife Katie. I think there was another Bell family on the south side. Now take you a chalk (figurative because the state might not want Highway 70 messed up. Run that chalk into the middle.
This is the boundary of Bell town as I knew it in the 1950’s. These were the honorable descendants of Ham. These were friends of ours…all of them. And this is dear memories of my childhood in the 1950’s.
If allowed at another time, I will then establish, with your help East Bell Town settled by the sons and daughters of Japheth and where I grew up. Some say it doesn’t exist. And unlike the yellow Brick Road, you can get there from here.
And some say I never fully grew up. Right! I never wanted to either.
Homer R. Dodson
Of East Bell Town