All posts tagged: Franklin TN

Adventures in Moving

My father, after helping with at least the fifth move of one of his children to some new town and new apartment through the wonders of U-Haul, declared that he had “enjoyed his last Adventure in Moving.” U-Haul no longer uses that phrase for their tagline, but after driving two full days from Tennessee to Washington with a van of family furniture, I am channeling my dad.  No more adventures in moving for me! Andrew and I flew to Nashville on Monday, where my sister Debbie met us at the airport and deposited us at the U-Haul office to pick up our van.  Then my niece’s husband Jason and their daughter Kate joined us to help load the van.  They were a godsend (not to mention Andrew’s many contributions over the three days), and we quickly had all the pieces of my dad’s home that were moving to Maryland strapped in and ready to go. We already have a family bedroom suite from the Bearden side of our family (my grandmother’s family), but after my …

60 Lessons From 60 Years

Here are 60 things I’ve learned in my (now) 60 years of life: 1.  Discipline is remembering what you really want. 2.  The graveyard is full of folks who thought the world couldn’t get along without them. (Mary Dixie Bearden Brown and others) 3.  Baseball is (much) better than football. 4.  I have been lucky in love. 5.  Few things sound better than a solo acoustic guitar played by Doc Watson (Deep River Blues), Tony Rice, (Shenandoah), or Norman Blake (Church Street Blues). Or, if you want to go next generation, Bryan Sutton (Texas Gales). 6.  Good things can come from bad situations, if you’ll stop wallowing in your sorrow and seek out the good. 7.  I have become my father.  I repeat many of the same stories. (Did you know that I paid more for my last car than for my first house?)  I read funny articles from the newspaper out loud at the dining room table, sometimes to the consternation of my wife and children. I cackle when I laugh. I am a …

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

  Today – June 30th – was the 64th anniversary of the day my parents were married. I just hung up the phone from talking to my Dad, who turns 89 this Saturday (July 5th).  Since Mom died in 1998, I’ve always tried to call him on their anniversary, just to let him know I’m thinking of him. I’m so glad I reached him tonight. When he answered the phone, I asked him how he was doing.  “Oh fine,” he answered.  “Today is my anniversary.” “I know,” I replied.  “That’s why I’m calling.” He went on to tell me that he drove over to Franklin, Tennessee, today. By himself.  Mom and Dad both grew up in this wonderful town, and they were married in the old Baptist (now Presbyterian) Church downtown. “What did you do there?” I asked. “Oh, just went by the church.  It was locked up, so I just sat outside and reminisced.  Then I went over to McDonald’s for a cup of coffee and reminisced some more.” “Well,” I said, as I …

Theatre Rebirth

I knew that I had become my father when I found myself telling a friend a few years ago that “I paid more for my last car than I did for my first house.”  It was one of those lines that my father used when I was young – and here I was repeating it!  (Just to set the record straight, our now 10-year-old car wasn’t that expensive; it just happened that as newlyweds, we got a great deal on a 1910 townhouse that needed a lot of work.) Another story that I heard from my father when I was young was how he spent nights and weekends taking up tickets and serving as the back-up projectionist at the Franklin Theatre in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee.  Daddy knew all about the movies and stars from that era, because he had a free seat. So it was no surprise to me that Tom Brown would be in Franklin last Saturday evening when the lights in the marquee of the historic Franklin Theatre were turned on …

My Mama Done Told Me

Yesterday’s mail included a package from my father with a note and three CDs.   My father likes to make “remarks” at family gatherings, and so recently he compiled a number of those comments, plus other letters and notes of personal meaning to him, and sent them all on CDs to his children, grandchildren, and close friends.  I’ve spent more than a few minutes crying this morning as I’ve read through remembrances he wrote of my mother. One of the things he passed along on the CD was a compilation of things his mother – my grandmother – told him through the years.  He titled it My Mama Done Told Me after the line from the great Ella Fitzgerald’s Blues in the Night. My grandmother, Mary Dixie Bearden Brown (pictured as a young bride with my grandfather, George Brown), was a wise woman, and I remember so many things about her.  She lived with us the last 10 years of her life, but she was always one of my favorite people from the time I was a little …

The Best Places to Raise Your Children…Murfreesboro Edition

Business Week magazine just included Murfreesboro, Tennessee as one of the best places to raise your children.  Well, if they’d just asked me I could have told them that a long time ago. For years now, I’ve been using a little vignette about growing up in Murfreesboro as a part of a talk I give about the livability of towns and cities.  While Business Week focuses on Murfreesboro as a recession-proof college town, I believe there’s a lot more to it. When I think of home, I remember 407 East Main Street in Murfreesboro.  I grew up in Murfreesboro when it was a city of 35,000 people.  My parents bought a simple 1880s-era home on Main Street because it had an apartment where my grandmother could live with us.  Over the course of twenty years, four generations of our family lived under this roof. Murfreesboro has a history that was very real and very present to me as a child.  I could walk four blocks to the town square, where the 1850s courthouse (see photo above) served as …

Franklin’s Heritage is My Heritage

Franklin, Tennessee is a gem of a little town.  I should know.  Both my parents grew up in Franklin and I spent many a summer hour visiting my grandmother’s house as I mowed her yard, played catch in the back yard, helped in the large vegetable garden that was on a lot behind the house, or ran down the street to Alfred’s (a small store in a converted church) for ice cream and candy.  Murfreesboro, where we lived, was a big city compared to Franklin, but that meant that Franklin had an intimacy that was familiar, welcoming, and walkable to a 12 year old boy. Franklin has changed through the years.  After my grandfather died, my grandmother moved to Murfreesboro to live with us and she sold the family house to the city, which let it fall into disrepair.  We would drive by on occasional trips back with her to visit friends and lament the shape of the old Bearden-Brown home place. But a wonderful thing happened.  The local preservation group – the Heritage Foundation …