The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild – Davie County Enterprise Record

The 1950 census
By Mary Craig
The official date of the 1950 US census was April 1. Census responses refer to this date. They are not made public for 72 years. So this year, on April 1, 2022, the recordings will be released for us to research, reflect and remember. However, no index will appear on this date. Paid typists and volunteers will read the already digitized 1950 census and then upload it to the Internet. In previous versions, an index was produced by viewing a microfilm.
Although researchers cannot yet access these records, they can begin to prepare for the census release. You can start collecting addresses or areas of residence for people you are interested in. Municipal directories, which list household addresses in cities, can be found online at various commercial and library websites. Some information, such as 1950 census enumeration district maps, is already available in online catalogs.
The following questions were asked of all members of the household: name of the street, avenue or road where the household is located, number of the house or apartment, if this house was on a farm ( or ranch), each person’s name, relationship to head of household, race, gender, age, married or single, and place of birth.
Seventy-two years ago things were very different in Davie County. There were two newspapers here in 1950. The Mocksville Enterprise was for Democrats, and The Davie Record was for Republicans. Reading these journals online now on the library’s website is a wonderful research tool.
The Princess Theater had four different movies a week. The Davie Drive-in Theater (near the current Community College) had double features on Friday and Saturday nights. This was before credit cards, so purchases had to be carefully planned in advance. Layaway plans were essential because people didn’t have as much petty cash as they do today. It was just five years after the end of World War II, so locals still remembered the lean times with rationing. The gifts appeared to be of a practical nature according to newspaper advertisements.
Wilkins Drug Store in the plaza was the Greyhound
“Remembering Minnie”
By Gaye Hoots

A few days ago our community lost the beautiful smiling face of a gracious 94 year old Mrs. Minnie Riddle Cornatzer. She was the wife of Ab Cornatzer and the mother of Billy and Stacey. This family was part of our lives since we were children. Ms. Della, the family matriarch, lived on a farm on Baltimore Road. My dad had a business deal with his sons Ab and Seabon. We grew tobacco together, and they raised dairy and beef cows and did a little horse trading.
Mrs. Della had four sons and two daughters. Betty and Seabon were living with her when I first remember them. The others were married and lived on Baltimore Rd. next to her. Guy, the eldest, had daughters close to our age, and Patti Chaffin had children close to our age. Billy and Stacey were younger but still part of the gang. They were a loud, lively, fun-loving family, and I enjoyed all the time we spent together working in tobacco and other agricultural pursuits.
Minnie is the last of her generation. She always had a smile for everyone and I never saw her show a bad temper. One memory I have is that she took my mom home and she started laughing which she couldn’t stop. Mom said Minnie spotted Dad’s boxer shorts hanging on the clothesline. Dad was a big man, and the sight of those boxers flapping in the breeze was too much for Minnie. Mom folded her shorts in half when she hung them up to dry from that day forward.
The last time I saw Minnie and Ab together was shortly before Ab died. I visited and Minnie took me to a heated shed where Ab was in his recliner. We talked about the good old days and shared some favorite stories. I remember seeing Ab, Seabon, and my dad fighting like kids playing, and they would often play jokes or tell stories about each other.
The Cornatzers had a rope ring on their farm when I was a teenager, and they held free horse shows and rope events for the community. When I was 16, dad bought a new family car, and the day it arrived with two sets of keys, I put them both in my purse and drove mum, Faye and Charles Markland at one of the shows. A cowboy offered to let me ride his beautiful Palomino horse, so I threw my purse on the hood of a car and rode. When I brought the horse back, the car and my purse were gone, along with the keys. Nobody ever let me forget that.
Reynolds Tobacco bought a large part of the Cornatzer farm and built a factory there. The property is now owned by Ashley Furniture. I remember the excitement of the negotiations and the final sale made by the family. Mrs. Della and Betty built a new house in Baltimore, as did Seabon. Later he built a bigger one when he got married, but the whole family stayed on Baltimore Rd.
The last time I saw Minnie she was around 90 and still pretty with her friendly smile. I sat next to her at a bridal shower for Judy Howard’s granddaughter, Kloi. I promised to come see her and thought of her several times as I passed by her house, but I always had a schedule that I committed to and thought about next time.
Minnie’s niece, Patricia, posted a photo on Facebook of Minnie with her signature smile when she died. I believe she is the last in the series of friends from my parents’ generation. Mrs. Della’s grandchildren have the same friendly and loving traits that their parents had, which is a blessing.

“First snow”
Julie Terry Cartner
Arms outstretched, the little girl danced in a circle, the melody only in her head, but as real as if it were playing over loudspeakers. Laughing in pure delight, she threw her head back, her mouth wide open, and felt the soft caress of the snowflakes on her cheeks, brushing her lashes and, wonder of wonder, melting tantalizingly onto her tongue. Snow! As soft as a whisper and yet as fierce as she had imagined – no, far beyond her wildest imaginings. She danced, she twirled, she played as the crystalline flakes ran down her hair, her head, her shoulders until she looked more like a snow fairy than a girl of flesh and blood . His joy so great, the world erased, his sometimes paralyzing shyness is only a distant memory.
Living in South Florida for the first nine winters of her life, snow was something she had only read about and dreamed of. Then they had returned home to their farm east of Long Island. His first winter in the North. She had waited impatiently for the magic to happen. Dad had said October was possible, but November was more likely, and certainly December and the first few months of next year. She would have snow – so much he suggested she might even tire of it. Unlikely, she mentally scoffed, it was a dream come true.
Just yesterday, the professor called her from his office and showed her the clouds outside the windows. “Look over there,” he had said, pointing to the clouds still quite low on the horizon. These are snow clouds. They are not ready yet, but tomorrow we will have snow. Excitement had made war on embarrassment. She hated being the center of attention, the new kid, the one who had never seen snow. She wanted to act nonchalant, but the fiery burn of her fair, freckled skin made that impossible. She mumbled a thank you and rushed to her desk, hoping no one had seen the interaction.
Little did she know that her mother had written a note to the professor, explaining that she had never seen snow and hoping that he would let her out when the first flakes fell, so the next day when tiny white flakes began to falling from the sky, the professor had invited her to put on her coat and go out, to experience this phenomenon for the first time. Timidity waged war on desire, and desire won. She thanked the professor, quietly grabbed her coat and walked out. She stood in wonder even as she backed up against an alcove in the building, hoping she was hidden from the prying eyes of the other students, and hoping against hope that the professor hadn’t told them where she was. .
Slipping back into her classroom soon after, she hung up her coat and, cheeks burning, head bowed, she slid into her seat and resumed her work. Inside, she reveled in the memory of the snowflakes, but outside, she fervently prayed that no one would laugh at her for her naivety. The day passed, excruciatingly slowly, but finally the school day was over, and she was able to walk home. The snow continued to fall around her, and the ground, once covered with brown grass, was now sparkling white. Brutally keeping her emotions in check, she walked home in the snow as if she had done so for years. Finally entering her kitchen and her mother who was waiting for her, who really understood, she exclaimed: “It’s snowing! Running around her room, she put on play clothes in record time. Putting on her boots and coat, she ran outside, finally releasing the iron grip on her emotions.
She sang, she danced, she twirled in the snow, humming tunes only she knew. She caught snowflakes on her tongue, dropped to the ground to make a snow angel, then just lay there, snow falling all around and on top of her, her joy complete. The almost paralyzing shyness dissipated like snow on her jacket, and for the first time that day, she could just be in the moment. The snow. Pure magic. She locked herself in the world and let herself relax, let go and taste the delight of her first snow.


RWG Literary Corner
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