9. A.G. McGinnis – Part 2.

I talked about most of the 1940 census details in the earlier Carl H. McGinnis post when the family was living in the Schoolhouse, but one thing I did notice was that it stated the amount of schooling each individual had; it showed Auther had five years, and Effie had six. So I do know that both could read and write; the issue with Auther not signing his name on earlier documents is probably because he had never really learned to write in cursive, and therefore couldn’t sign his name.

According to deed documents, Mom and Dad (Carl & Peg) transferred the Willis School property to A.G. and Effie in August of 1945, about six months before their purchase of the Kiser Road property. The whole extended family was still living in the schoolhouse until October of 1948 when a deed shows a sale of the property to Gilbert and Addie Ballard; and another deed shows a purchase of property in the town of Dallas by A.G. and Effie soon after. It appears that by the end of ’48 (or early ’49) the two families separated, with my family making the move to Kiser Road, and my grandparents moving to the “city”.

We won’t have the 1950 census to examine until sometime next year, but we can assume that it will show Carl’s family residing in their new house on Kiser Road, and A. G. and Effie settled in at a N. Davis Street address in Dallas. At the time they made that move, A.G. was already 65 years old; so he went to check on “the New Deal” Social Security. He found out that since he had not worked for wages, and had not paid anything into the system, he was not entitled to any benefits; but they also told him if he was willing to get a job for a couple years he could qualify. So it was not until a few years later, when at the age of 68, he successfully inquired about a job to a friend, D. L. Friday, who was the owner of Cocker Machine Co. I think he primarily worked at cleaning up around the shop and doing odd jobs until one day Mr. Friday, knowing that Auther was a pretty good farmer, and since he was wanting a garden with strawberries, offered him the position of “company gardener”. I think Auther was glad to get back out into the dirt, and it apparently even meant a small increase in his wages.

In 1954, Effie suffered a stroke and was relegated to the bed and a wheelchair. As her need for help and constant care grew, it meant changes had to take place for the whole family. In 1961, Auther purchased a small sliver of land directly across from us on Kiser Road, and moved a mobile home onto the property so Mom and Dad (Carl and Peg) could help with Effie’s care. I had known Auther and Effie as my grandparents, but only remembered them from occasional visits; so when they made this move across from our family home, they returned to become a real part of our lives. I was about nine years old, and I’m sure that what we called Auther was probably intended to be “Pa” (as in Grandpa), but to a young ear like mine, it sounded like “Paw”: so to me they became “Paw” and “Granny” McGinnis.

Granny McGinnis became completely bed-ridden and continued to suffer through the debilitation of the stroke until she finally succumbed in October of 1964. While I had never really known her as a healthy, vibrant grandmother; and even though her passing was welcome on some level, her loss made me and my sisters grandmother orphans. I don’t remember if it was just before or right after Effie’s passing that a second mobile home was put on Auther’s property, and his daughter Patsy moved into it with our cousins, Steve and Barbara Jean Smart. For the next couple years “Paw” put even more of his time and efforts into his garden, especially by expanding his rows of strawberries which he ultimately developed into a cash crop. He also became the principal in charge of all the Christmas tree sales from the property. Then, in 1966, at the age of 81, Auther found a “younger woman” (she was 71), Pearl Myers, and in September they took a taxi to York County, SC where they were married.

I don’t have a recollection of seeing it beforehand, but I believe soon after Auther’s move to Kiser Road I became keenly aware of the black leather change purse that he carried with him most of the time; because this is where he carried many of his treasures. The one item that enthralled me the most was a silver dollar coin that was minted with his birth year of 1885; I would often ask to see it, and he would allow me to hold it as he told me it’s story. What I remember was him telling me is that when he and Effie decided to marry he had twenty dollars, but he didn’t have an appropriate suit of clothes for the wedding; so he went to a Lincolnton store and bought a complete suit of clothes, with shoes, and a case to put them in, for sixteen dollars. Whether it was actually part of his change from his purchase, or whether be found it soon after, he had put that coin in his pocket, and it had remained there ever since.He told me that he knew that as long as he had that silver dollar, he would never be “broke”. I honestly believe that in that coin I found my love of history, and when I was about 12 years old I got up the nerve to ask him if I could have it; he laughed and said, “No, but maybe one of these days it will be yours”. I didn’t ask again, but after carrying it for over 65 years, and upon my graduation from high school; he handed it to me and said, “Hold on to it and you’ll never be broke”. I didn’t carry it with me all the time like “Paw” had, but I did hold on to it until the night before our son, Anthony Brande, was married, and I presented it to him, repeating the same words.

I believe it was late 1969 or early ’70, when I was the only sibling left with my parents on Kiser Road that they decided (it was mostly Mom) that we would move into a new house in Dallas that was located on property on N. Holland St. that originally was owned by our Rhodes grandparents. While this left “Paw” and Pearl somewhat alone on Kiser Road, Auther wanted to stay with his garden; so family, neighbors, and friends made sure their needs were well taken care of. Auther survived another wife; Pearl passed away in October 1981 after a lengthy stay in a nursing home. Around this time, a hip replacement slowed him down and forced him to move from Kiser Road back to N. Davis Street to recover while living with his daughter Patsy and her husband Fred “Dub” Parker. He recovered remarkably well for a 95 year old man, and he continued to be mobile and active for several years afterwards. He admitted that after he reached the age of 95, he asked God to let him see 100 since he had gotten that far. He must have been on good terms with his maker, since he not only made 100, he saw 102; his body finally gave up his spirit in 1988, about three months before we could celebrate 103 with him. He too is buried at Philadelphia Lutheran Church, between his wife Effie and his son Carl.

I started this post talking about his name, and later about what I called him; it made me think about what he had called me. I thought about it, and couldn’t actually remember a time when he called me “Tony”. I, along with all my fellow grandsons, were addressed as “Son”; and the granddaughters, especially those who met his high standards, were bestowed with the title “ Darlin’ ”. He was quite a character, one we were all fortunate to have had as part of our lives.