Memories of Vidette, Georgia   7 comments

Vidette UMC 01

Vidette United Methodist Church 1980-1982

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I have been spending much time using Google Earth recently.  In particular I have been examining satellite and street view images of Vidette, Georgia, in western Burke County, where my family and I lived from June 1980 to June 1982.   My father was the pastor of the Vidette-Friendship-Greens Cut United Methodist Charge.  I was seven, eight, and nine years old at the time, so I did not pay attention to most of the local ecclesiastical matters.  (Battle of the Planets, a dreadful  and frequently nonsensical American dubbing of a superior Japanese cartoon series, was much more interesting to me.)  I have learned, however, that the responsibility for the move in 1982 was a joint matter shared by my father and certain lay members.  Moving away was also a blessing.

Vidette Parsonage 01

The Parsonage, 1980-1982. My sister’s bedroom was on the right. The front room was in the center, off the porch. My bedroom was to the left, behind the twin windows at the porch.

The parsonage, located next to Vidette United Methodist Church, was in need of repair.  It was an old structure with one bathroom, no corridors, and no central air or heating.  The den was a narrow room in the middle-back section of the house, located between the master bedroom and the bathroom on one side and the kitchen and the dining room on the other.

Vidette Parsonage 02

I come from a bookish family.

Vidette Parsonage 04

The den. The dining room was to the left and the bathroom as to the right. My sister’s bedroom was to the left, through the front room. My bedroom was to the right, through the front room.

Vidette Parsonage 03

Look at me!

How many parishioners would have chosen to live in a house in that condition?  But the structure was good enough for the pastor and his family, right?  No!

The front room, just off the front porch, separated my sister’s bedroom from mine.  My bedroom, facing onto the front porch, was obviously supposed to be the pastor’s study, for it had a built-in closet and lacked a closet.  It had to be my bedroom, however, for there was no other room.  It was good to have the use of a built-in bookcase, however.  The large heater provided heat during the winter.  I dressed in front of it on cold mornings.

Much of life during the main part of the week during the school year occurred in Waynesboro, the county seat.  There we visited the bakery some Mennonites owned.  In that town my mother worked in the city hall and my sister and I attended school.

Vidette UMC 02

Me

1980-1982 were not good years for me.  I was struggling with life.  Certainly moving every few years did not help with regard to that matter.  I was not very sociable, and not just because of my introversion.  So I was possibly the worst Cub Scout ever.  At least I tried to be sociable, I suppose.  When we moved away, I terminated my involvement in the Cub Scouts.  Also, my physical awkwardness (evident in P.E.) contributed to my social awkwardness, as some of my classmates took the opportunity to mock me.  When my third grade class received Honorable Mention in the dodgeball tournament at Waynesboro Elementary School, many classmates blamed me.  Also, when (not by my doing) classmates learned of my middle name (Randolph), I became “Randolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  My friend was Ola Mae Bailey, the kindly elderly woman who lived next door.  She did more for me than perhaps she knew.

Did I mention that I have never really wanted to have children?  My childhood experiences contributed to this decision.

The South Georgia Conference has broken up the Vidette-Friendship-Green’s Cut Charge.  As of last week, when the most recent round of ministerial appointments took effect:

  1. Vidette went onto a charge with Mt. Moriah, north of Matthews, in Jefferson County.  (By the way, I recall a pulpit exchange that took my father to Mt. Moriah one Sunday in 1980-1982.)
  2. Friendship was on a charge with First United Methodist Church, Waynesboro.
  3. Green’s Cut was a station church.

There have been changes to structures since 1982:

  1. Vidette U.M.C. has expanded its fellowship hall and covered the gap between the back of the church and the front of the fellowship hall.
  2. Eventually Vidette U.M.C. ceased to use its deteriorating parsonage.

The Google Earth street view image (dated August 2012) of the house shows a decrepit, abandoned building.  Plywood covers one half of the front windows of my sister’s former bedroom.  In the satellite view (dated October 30, 2016), however, the parsonage is absent.  I get the impression that the demolition of the house must have been fairly recent, based on the obviousness of where the parsonage had been.

As I examine satellite images of Vidette, I recall events, scenes, and routines.  I think of (God help me!) The Lawrence Welk Show.  I recall the church hayride through the local cemetery one Halloween.  I also remember that, one Halloween (I suppose), some people bobbed for apples outside the front of the fellowship hall.  I recall the Sunday morning that Buddy the dog went to church.  I also remember watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Greatest American Hero, and Pink Panther cartoons.  I recall my sister watching the Fame series, before it went into syndication.  I also remember the town park and the only store in town.  I recall ecumenical engagements with the Bethel Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (disbanded a few years ago), whose pastor had an obsession with the Book of Revelation.  One of their vacation Bible schools sticks in my memory.

As I examine satellite images of Vidette, I realize how fortunate I am not to live there any longer and to live in Athens-Clarke County.  I thank God in real time for what I have.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2017 COMMON ERA

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7 responses to “Memories of Vidette, Georgia

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  1. Pingback: Site of the Former Parsonage, Vidette United Methodist Church, Vidette, Georgia | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  2. Pingback: Growing Into Myself | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  3. Pingback: Christmas, Vidette, Georgia, 1981 | ORIGINAL POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY BLOG

  4. Pingback: Vidette United Methodist Church Parsonage, January 29, 2015 | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

  5. I remember breakfast from the Mennonite bakery on the way to school every morning, and stopping off at the library after school – that is where I read Judy Blume and picked up a college text on abnormal psychology. You may not realize this but I was bullied and picked on from kindgergarten on – in Trion it was merciless for years just because we were poor and couldn’t afford for us to participate in extracurricular things, and I had buck teeth and was painfully shy and afraid of the ball in PE too; and also in junior high at Waynesboro because of the hand-me-downs that were painfully out of date. I think Dad was frustrated that he couldn’t provide for those things, and having everyone tearing at him didn’t help. How alone he must have felt. People are fallen, none of us is better than another. Having a sense of humor about oneself, and grace with those who are less than gracious toward us, are blessed things that prevent and heal many rifts. What a blessed thing is forgiveness.

    • Barbara, you are correct. Bullies have caused much pain. But, as Dad said, troubled people cause trouble. Bullies have always been people who have sought to make themselves feel better about themselves by denigrating others. Their lack of empathy has proven toxic. They have also harmed themselves. As for the point about forgiveness, the act of forgiving oneself might be the most difficult act of forgiveness one can commit. Forgiving others can also prove most challenging, of course. Refusing to forgive is choosing to carry the burden of grudges, which seem oddly attractive much of the time.
      A few years ago, at UGA, after conducting some family history research in one of the libraries, I encountered the professor who blackballed me from my doctoral program. Neither one of us spoke to the other. I dare not speak for the professor, but I do speak for myself. I did not know what to say, and felt awkward, but not angry. Earlier this month UGA suspended him from teaching duties after he abused his autistic son in view of a security camera at Oconee High School and local authorities filed criminal charges. I feel only sadness, for I do not have the capacity to gloat in this matter. A grudge is too great a burden to carry, and I do not want to lug it around.

  6. Pingback: Vidette, Georgia | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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