It has been a hard time for our family. I lost my dad on February 13, 2009. He was one of those firsts at Anniston Army Depot.He was a WWII veteran, worked at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, after returning from the war, and then asked to be transferred to Bynum.He was at the depot until his retirement.He was an ammunitions inspector and worked in the igloos. He would have to take little bunnies to put into the igloos to see if there were any leaking gases.I remember all the little turtles, some black snappers, that he used to bring home to me from the depot.I would spend hours enjoying and observing those little turtles.We, at first, lived in the lower village or Apartment 121.We cooked with a coal stove and had a coal shoot for storing the coal.We nearly burned up in the summer and finally got a window unit air conditioner.I remember my Mother singing with me to the top of our lungs over that old kitchen sink.She made the most delicious biscuits on that old coal stove.The Kinsaul family moved in across the sidewalk from us and Bettie and my Mother were great friends.Those were wonderful people.
You were one of those youngsters when I was growing up in Bynum.I would have been in your brother, Scope’s group.I even had an unbearable crush on Scope and dated him one time after I left Bynum.
Judy Melton use to have dances for the teenagers at the Officer’s Club on the Depot.One had really “arrived” to receive an invitation to one of those dances and to attend.It seems that I remember a party that Judy and or your brother had in the little garage off of the Melton’s house one time.We danced and listened to music.
Oh, we were so poor, didn’t even know it, and had wonderful times in Bynum.The playground behind the community center was so much fun.We would spend all day up there swinging and singing and hanging by our legs from the monkey bars.Summers were spent in the little wading pool outside the post office and community center.I remember getting ”fried” with sun burn.My mother’s remedy was to put cold pet milk on it to soothe the pain.That pet milk would dry and pucker up one’s entire body.These were the days before sun screen.
You may not have been told, but Bynum Baptist Church was once in the community center.I remember going there every time the doors opened. Sally Jennings and Darlene Wolfe and a few others of us always sat toward the back of the building and we would gently stroke one another’s arms all through the service.Maybe that sounds strange today, but we were just kids having a good time being together, whiling away the time in church listening to long sermons and much singing.At least we weren’t playing on Game Boys or DSi games, or texting while in the service like kids do today.
It was there that I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and walked the aisle to give my life to Him.We didn’t have a way to be baptized, so I was taken to Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston to be baptized.The Bynum Baptist Church was built later and we all loved it so much.I remember Sweetheart Banquets at that church.I even sang at one of them.My daddy gave me permission to let Roy Carr escort me there as my daddy was very strict and wouldn’t let me go on dates until I was sixteen.He scrutinized Roy’s benevolence in escorting me and finally decided it was okay to go with Roy.
Gary, in those early years there were movies at the old theater building, dances, Halloween carnivals that were to die for, Christmas pageants, other plays, basketball, and it was just wonderful.No group of kids ever had such love and dedication bestowed on them by the friends and families who made all these events possible.We had such a wonderful upbringing in Bynum.
I always walked to Bynum Elementary School with my friends and we loved that walk to and from school.I went to Bynum Elementary School from first grade to fifth grade.Patsy James was in the sixth grade when I was in the fifth grade.
The two grades were split with one teacher for all.Patsy and I sat across the aisle from the division line, she in the sixth and I in the fifth.We use to draw pictures of models and their clothes.Patsy was so talented and could draw the best legs on those paper models.I envied her that talent.I remember one year that the teacher permitted us to draw a Christmas scene on the chalk board.Billy Williams (Colonel Williams’ son) drew the most beautiful scenes of Christmas. We all thought it was a work of art. There is just too much that I can remember from Bynum but you probably know most of it.Did anyone ever tell you that there was an upper and lower village to the Bynum apartments?Well, that is a whole other story to itself.
My husband, Bill, didn’t live in Bynum during those “good ole” days in Bynum.He arrived later whenhis familymoved to Terrace Homes from Bradford, TN, when I was in Junior High School.I lived right down the street from him in Terrace Homes.He was/is two years older than I am/was so he was already in high school.Back then he was “too old”for me, but guess what?We’ve been married for 48 years. Bill did work for Skeet Abbot at the old grocery store and later for Brooks Mundy.I remember Bill riding a bicycle to deliver our groceries when we lived in the apartment in the upper village.His family had also found it imperative to move to cardboard city because of the expenses of Terrace Homes.Bill can still cut up a chicken post haste thanks to all his training at the Bynum Grocery Store. Bill also worked for Dr. Stephens doing the books at the old Rexall Drug Store. He partially put himself through college working for Doc Stephens.
After our “upscale living” in Terrace Homes, we had to move back to cardboard city because Terrace Homes was too pricey for us.My family and I lived in apartment 78 and I baby sat the Crocket children who lived in the end apartment.My Mother and Mildred became good friends.As a matter of fact, I still baby sat the Crocket children when they moved to their “mansion” over by the Meltons and the Canants.Back then, that was really “moving up” to be able to build one’s own home away from cardboard city.
I remember when Allen Homes was built and how huge and clean and beautiful those houses seemed to everyone. I wished so much that my family could afford one of those houses.We went over many times to check the progress of the building project.
Well, Gary, as you can see, I could go on and one about my childhood in Bynum.I loved it there and cried for days when we had to move out.The teenagers from church had a “surprise” farewell party for me and I simply didn’t understand why I was being given a going away party as I never expected to leave or not come back.
Your Bynum Kid,
Cynthia Hart Arnold
P.S. I must share with you one of my favorite memories of living in the “lower village.”All the kids in the neighborhood could stay outside late after dark because back then it was safe to do so.After dark we would watch the bats fly around the electric poles and we had a favorite game called “King/Queen (whichever was appropriate at the moment) of the Garbage Cans.”Well, the garbage cans were enclosed on the sides and back with concrete walls.Kids would get up on the top of these walls and try to keep those below from touching them.Whoever never got touched became the King or Queen of the Garbage Cans.
We could play this game for hours and, you know, I don’t remember anyone ever getting hurt, falling off the walls, or anything of that sort.In my old neighborhood lived the Harts, Burgesses, Carpenters, Kinsauls, Hollingsworths, Braxtons to name a few.All the kids from these families played this game at one time or another.I wonder if I am the only one who remembers this game?