I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.
My late brother, Jimsie,shown here, was very, very fond of Model A Fords. As I remember, the first one had a career as a Coca-Cola delivery truck, then a modification to an electrical service truck used by our father and Joe Rhodes when they wired houses for Rayle Electric in 1937, then a further modification in 1946 to a stake-and-platform truck that was wonderful at moving our stuff between Washington and Clinton, SC. The second was a four-door sedan of which I helped in the refurbishing in 1946 and then borrowed a year or so later for a trip to Atlanta. I think he eventually sold each of these for about $100. The third of his A Models was a two-door 1929 model that he continually worked on while in an Atlanta Model-A Ford automobile club. He carried spare parts on their trips and I remember a visit to Washington when he changed the carburetor to make it run better. He drove me through Stone Mountain Park a couple of times. I expect it's still in the garage at his house.
As I understand it, my father was Scoutmaster of Troop 34 in 1930 and was instrumental in getting the scout hut constructed. At any rate, he took me to the hut a few times in the early '30s and I remember some of the scouts. I remember climbing the ladder to the attic area where some patrol meeting rooms had been built. Later, when I was a scout and a patrol leader - I named the patrol "The Flaming Arrow" - I built a patrol room in the attic. With the help of a patrol mate, Fortson Sloan, I earned the money to buy the lumber from Jackson Lumber Co. On at least two Saturdays we delivered Octagon soap papers for my uncle Lloyd at our family store - $1.65 - and used the money to buy culled lumber. I forget how long it took to build the room. I was Scoutmaster for a few years in the '50s.
My younger brother, James Reeves "Jimsie" Johnson, died last month after a couple of hard years of declining health. I felt that Jimsie was much more capable than I. He may have felt the same way about me, but I don't know why. Jimsie got his nickname in infancy from his maternal grandmother, Rosa Willis Reeves, because many years before she had lost a son named James and didn't want to be reminded of him. Jimsie followed me through Presbyterian College and had an office job while there. Jimsie got a job in Atlanta and married Ann in the '50s. He had two jobs for a while, reconstructed a house in Decatur, and had three fine children. I'm showing here a picture of Jimsie that I took at the wedding of his son James Reeves Johnson, Jr. "Jim", at Clayton a few years ago.
During the '30s and early '40s my memories of Christmas Day always include a reunion of the extended W.T. Johnson family, always at the home of Mamie Smith Johnson with dinner at Hotel Johnson across the alley. This is one of many pictures taken on Dec 25, 1941, across E. Robert Toombs Ave. from the Johnson house. The picture shows Mrs. Johnson ("Mama" to me) with eight of her nine children in front of the Green-Pignatel house (about where Fievet's Pharmacy is located today). Shown are: L to R, Front row: Christine "Tina" Johnson Sims, Louise Johnson Norman, Mama, Rhetta Johnson Gresham, and Aileen Johnson Reynolds; back row: William Lloyd Johnson, Raymond Rochford Johnson, Hillyer Harris Johnson, and William Theophilus Johnson, Jr."Buck" [my father]. The youngest daughter, Frances Johnson Daniel, was not present.
This is the only picture I have of my wedding Saturday, November 20, 1954, at Rock United Methodist Church, Rayle, Georgia. The people in the picture are certainly some of my favorites, but I'm the last survivor. Those shown, from left to right, are William Turner Callaway, my father-in-law; Lollie Milligan Callaway, my mother-in-law; William Theophilus Johnson, III, that's me; Louise Milligan Callaway, my bride; Mildred Reeves Johnson, my mother; William Theophilus Johnson, Jr., my father.
Here's my kindergarten picture as reproduced for our 50th anniversary reunion of our 1941 high school class by our class president, Lelia Sims Cheney, 6, who's the tall girl on the left of the back row. Next to her is Osborne McKendree Bounds, 6; and next to him is Sarah Duella Oslin, 6. On the left of the front step is James Hines Blackmon, 5; next to him is my cousin Hillyer Harris Johnson, Jr., 6; next to him is Lucius Combs "Jack" Jackson, Jr., 6; next to him is Elizabeth Adelaide Wood, 5; next to her is my cousin Mary Elizabeth Johnson, 6; and next to her is I, William Theophilus Johnson, III, 5. The picture was taken in either April or May 1930 by our teacher, Elizabeth Sims Smith, the widow of my great-uncle Raymond Rochford Smith, on the front steps of my uncle Hillyer's new house on Water Street. This group stayed together until high school graduation 11 years later. Four of us are still alive: Lelia, Adelaide, Mary, and I.
Here's a family portrait I'm glad to have, my 54-year-old grandfather William Theophilus Johnson's family Christmas Day , December 25, 1913.
From left to right on the front row are his daughter Christine "Tina" Johnson , 16; his son-in-law Monsey Thomas Gresham, 35, his daughter Rhetta Johnson Gresham, 29, and their daughter Mary; and his son William Theophilus Johnson, Jr. "Buck", 13 - my father
On the second row, l to r, are his daughter Frances, 9; my grandfather; his wife, Mary Smith Johnson, 53; his father-in-law John Rochford Smith, 76; and his daughter Aileen Johnson Reynolds, 25, with her son William, 3 months.
On the back row, l to r, are his son Raymond Rochford Johnson, 16; his daughter Louise Johnson Norman, 22, with her daughter Claudia, 4 months; his son William Lloyd Johnson, 27, and Lloyd's wife Sara Sims Johnson, 27; his son Hillyer Harris Johnson, 19; his son-in-law Charles Irwin Reynolds, 32, with Aileen's and his son Charles Irwin Reynolds, Jr., 3.
A few days ago my friend Patty, told me we had been invited to dessert and coffee by our friends Allen and Patricia at 7:40 on Tuesday night. I said I would go if I didn't have to wear a tie. That was all right, she said. After supper Tuesday my friend Bob came to drive us and Patty urged us out of the house before 7:20 so we wouldn't be late. It seems that Bob didn't want to be early so he drove us around town more than I thought normally necessary for the six-mile trip. We reached our hosts' house at almost exactly 7:40 and I noticed several familiar cars there, Chan's 1957 Bel Air Chevrolet, Pug and Kay's Chrysler New Yorker, and Jimmy and Jane's pickup truck. I asked Bob if he knew why they were there and he said "We are having a Boy Scout meeting." I disagreed, saying I hadn't called a meeting (I was the guys' Scoutmaster 50+ years ago.) We were greeted warmly and ushered into the den, where I was put into the fanciest chair. Very quickly Allen stood up as if he were chairing a meeting. He pointed out that I had been Scoutmaster after the war and that he, Bob, and several other friends had decided I needed to be recognized. He then showed the result of their decision - a professionally-made shadow box displaying the insignia of my division - the 71st, a Combat Infantry Badge, and seven of my authorized medals. I said my thanks and appreciation as best I could, and we all adjourned to the formal dining room to be served. Patricia had two wonderful desserts, a strawberry pie and a fruit pie, and coffee. I was served one of each, and at Patricia's suggestion Patty placed me at the head of the dining room table. Fine conversation followed for an hour or so, and then we went home. A wonderful occasion, I thought.