The 2021-22 Guide to Richmond Hill, Georgia 2021-22 - Page 87

Harn was there ; Jimmy ’ s wife Glenda , Richmond Hill historian Christy Sherman . And , of course , there was me , a newly minted southerner from the hills of Vermont . None of the Harn family kids — or Linda — had seen the inside of the old house since the renovation . Jimmy hadn ’ t eaten a meal there since he was just a few weeks old . But they were all clearly thrilled and honored to have been invited home . So there we were , nine strangers seated around the table . But as I waited for the conversation to turn to plaster and floorboards and paint , it went in a decidedly different direction .
e remember this place well ,” says Jimmy Thompson

“ Win his textbook southern drawl . “‘ Course we all left back in 1943 . My mamma got married and we moved to Savannah , but we ’ d come back around to these parts from time to time to check on the place . There wasn ’ t much out here back then . There was Carpenter ’ s store and a few farms , and this old house . Back then , the kitchen was out back , and just about every other room was a bedroom . My mamma was one of eleven kids you

know . My uncle Bobby Harn used to say that every time Affie — she was a midwife who lived a ways back in the woods behind the house — every time Affie came to the house carrying a basket another Harn child was born . We also had a pipe-smoking housekeeper — Phyllis was her name . At one point or another , I think Phyllis must have lived with all of us .”
“ Oh , I remember Phyllis !” shares Linda Harn , with a distant but soft look in her eyes . “ Cookie just loved Phyllis . He wasn ’ t much of a talker , my husband , but he spent a whole lot of his time down in Phyllis ’ s room keeping her company . I reckon he just about drove her crazy . Anyway , Cookie and I went out looking for Phyllis ’ s grave one day . For some reason , he wanted to know where she was buried . Well let me tell you , we searched everywhere , up and down every row in the cemetery . But no luck . Finally , in the old Baptist cemetery out on the Neck , we noticed a big old pine tree that was growing out of someone ’ s grave . I went over to see who it was , and wouldn ’ t you know … it was Phyllis . But then we had to pay $ 500 to get that tree off of her grave . No way Cookie was gonna let a pine tree set on top of Phyllis for eternity .”
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