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Valentine’s Day in Camden

Posted: February 14, 2014 9:13 a.m.
Updated: February 15, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Here are some Valentine and anniversary stories of your friends and neighbors with a dash of local history.

Hutch and Aileen Hutchinson were married after Hutch’s WWII return where he had served as a sailor. Hutch had boxed while in the Navy and was nicknamed a ‘‘ring tail tornado,’’ and also was a southpaw pitcher while in the service and at Newberry College. The newlyweds took off for Niagara Falls for their honeymoon and on the second night of their trip they stopped in Forest City, N.C, where Hutch pitched and won a ballgame. The local fans were so appreciative that they “passed the hat” to help pay for their honeymoon expenses.

Hutch coached baseball at both Sumter and Camden high schools and he always said that the two players with the best hands he ever coached were Robert and Mackey Williams. Robert was Bobby Richardson who went on to star for the New York Yankees in the ’50s and ’60s.

Bobby Richardson was the World Series MVP in 1960, and in 1963 set a record by only striking out 13 times. In the opening game of the 1963 World Series, the Yankees faced the Dodgers with Sandy Koufax at his prime on the mound. Richardson struck out on four pitches and as he was headed to the dugout he passed Mickey Mantle who was the next batter. Mantle said to Bobby, “why am I even bothering to go up there.’’ Three pitches later, Mantle did a U-turn.

At the old Legion Field next to Zemp Stadium, the local teams -- Camden High and  Post 17, and the textile teams -- played to packed houses. In the early ’60s while Mackey Williams was playing third base, there was always an attractive young lady fan in the stands. After high school Ann Graves and Mackey were married and have been married for 52 years.

Ann’s parents, Frank and Ethel Graves, were married on Dec. 7th, 1941, and they were together for more than 60 years. Ethel Graves may be the most talented seamstress in Kershaw County.

On the old Turn 2 at the Darlington Raceway, the fans would be covered in bits and pieces of tar and rubber by the end of the race. On Labor Day 1963, a Western Carolina football player and a cheerleader sat on Turn 2 and as Butch looked at Ellen, whose face was covered with race debris, he asked her to marry him. She told him she would, but Butch had to ask her father for his permission. Ellen William’s father was a veteran of both the Battle of the Bulge and as a glider trooper who landed on D-Day. The Williams recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.

Les Addes was a student at the University of Georgia and had a “hot” 396 Chevelle. He thought he would take his chick mobile on a cruise from his hometown in Easley over to the bright lights of Greenville and see if he could impress some of the local fillies. He ran into a young nursing student from Texas named Mary Lee and there was an impression made … but it had nothing to do with a car.

Wayne Johnson was a high school football and baseball star. With a date at a party one night, he met an attractive young lady named Jacque who was dating a friend of his. With all being fair in love and war, he and Jacque soon became an item and several days after she graduated from high school they married and have been together for more than 51 years.

Several years ago, Wayne developed cancer and had to take chemotherapy. A nurse friend, Pam Jackson, told him to eat oatmeal and drink a flat Coke after a treatment. He did, and was able to play golf on the same days he had his chemo treatment.

Tommy and Jan Shumate got married at age 20 and, as Tommy was in the Army, they spent the first four years of their married life at a base near Castle Germany. The uniqueness of this base was that there was an airport where the planes flew out of the side of a mountain. Locals Tommy Hecker and James DeBruhl were also stationed at this base and Julian Burns was assigned to a nearby Army base. Anyone in the service always is excited to bump into a homebody.

Their German neighbors still practiced the procedure for air raids and one of their neighbors told how that, during the war, the adults would tape fruit and bread to the children’s wrist in case they got separated.

Toni Rush Faulkenberry is a resident of Lake Wateree. Her paternal grandparents, Henry Higgins and Iva Lee Hammond (aunt of former fire chief Carl Hammond) were married after WWI at a home in Heath Springs and boarded a train for a honeymoon in Great Falls.

In 1923, the Higgins bought an old grange hall in Liberty Hill and converted this hall into their home. The Grange Association had been one of the most powerful political movements in the U.S. from the 1880’s. William Jennings Bryan was the most visible leader of this agrarian based association.

Many grange halls and lodges can be found in our rural areas and many of them became community centers. Some of the old churches, even those with separate entrances for men and women, were the site of Grange meetings.

One of my great uncles left for California in the 1930s and, upon his return in the 1970s, he was asked what is different today from when he departed. His answer was that everything in the old days was based on agriculture and that you could drive from Camden to Lancaster and not see a tree.

Thank you for your attention.

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