Archive for the ‘People’ Category


In this oil the young art student moved into experimentation with color, framing the face with a bright halo effect and sweeping a prismatic bond of color in on upward arc behind the head.
From The Tennesseean Magazine January 1979 –  Thanks Nate for loaning the magazine!

By Clara Hieronymus

The paintings and drawings of 50 years ago are a part of Mary Northern’s legacy; the rest of the legacy consists of an ongoing debate about forcible Good Samaritanism as against a victim’s own wishes.

maryAt 18, Mary Caroline Northern,
looks like a much younger schoolgirl.
This is the yearbook picture,
Ward-Belmont class of 1924.
Painting3Mary Northern pored over magazines as a teen­ager,
and made color sketches in the style of horse race
magazines as in this cartoon.

Last month Belmont’s Leu Gallery was filled with a disparate array of drawings, oils, watercolors, small pencil sketches and a motley of newspaper clippings and snapshots.

They represented the work of a young woman, done when life lay mostly before her and she was in that period of early adulthood when dreams, yearnings, and hopes call most urgently for expres­sion.

The exhibit comprised some 75 items painted or sketched in the 1920s and 30s by the late Mary Caroline Northern soon after her graduation from the fashion­able Ward-Belmont school for girls and long before she became a ghostly recluse in a rubble-filled, unheated, and unlight­ed house in East Nashville. The snap­shots are of its rooms.

There is something touching about the pieces in this collection. They give evi­dence of a genuine talent, but a talent that was mostly potential and was never to be developed beyond this stage of time in a young life. For the most part they are no better and no worse than the paintings and drawings by most art-interested teen-agers who eagerly, prolifically try their skills in the modes of their time.

She finished high school in 1924 at the age of 18, and the next year completed a correspondence course in art with the Federal School of Illustrating and Car­tooning. Apparently she continued to study for a little longer with that school, submitting work and receiving evalua­tions and suggestions.

She painted some portrait heads in oil, made some illustration-type sketches in pencil and watercolor, created some watercolor and ink cartoon sketches with comic quote-line captions (these look as if they derived from magazine cartoons of the 1920s), did some figure drawings in pencil and some “continuous line” drawings in black ink.

There are also some figure studies in pencil, the kind done for art class as­signments. Miss Northern’s work reflects the period of the 1920s, both in the angular Art Deco motifs and the wearing apparel of her subjects. She apparently was more interested in people as sub­jects than in landscapes or still lifes.

Soon after her death on May 1 (1978) at the age of 72, when her art work was discov­ered in the grisly dwelling she had lived in most of her pitiable life, much was made of some color drawings done in the manner of Vogue magazine covers. It is highly unlikely that these were ever actually accepted for publication; like other works in the collection they seem more to reflect the enthusiastic experi­mentation the young art student engaged in as she tried to increase her skills and find a direction for expressing them. They are done in the style used by that magazine’s cover artists, but they are not of cover quality.

Evidence of other self-conscious ex­perimentation is found in the signatures on the varied works. Like most teen­agers, she tried out many versions in the way she signed her name, sometimes using script, sometimes printing, some­times running the letters all together, but obviously trying for a way that would both please her and call attention to it­self.

A letter from an instructor at the correspondence school commends, her efforts, notes that she draws very well, and asks her to let the writer know what response she gets from the magazine.

An auction of Miss Northern’s art and personal effects last July brought unbelievably good prices, though buyers admitted that their value derived more from the “story behind them” than from the merits of the art per se.

The oils in the Belmont show have been cleaned by Lyzon Gallery and restored to vivid freshness of color. The ink, pencil and watercolor drawings are miracu­lously clean, and one marvels at that fact. Apparently they were kept in manila envelopes and covered away in an upstairs room; despite the broken win­dows and the years’ accumulations of dust and detritus, these bits of Miss Northern’s younger, happier life re­mained intact.

The Reverend Palmer Sorrow, admin­istrator of Miss Northern’s estate, says he is considering the selection of one of the drawings with the idea of making an edition of 500 prints to offer for sale.

The show of her work opened recently (Dec. 26 – Jan. 12) at the Third National Bank. On Jan. 20 there is to be an auction from 2 to 5 p.m. at Maryland Farms in Brentwood. Since the earlier sale yielded enough revenue to pay Miss Northern’s debts, Sorrow said proceeds from the coming auction will be divided between Belmont College and the Hospital Hospi­tality House.

He notes that the auction, to be con­ducted by Bill Colson, will take place almost on the anniversary of Miss Northern’s death. Sorrow is very san­guine about the probability that this sale will bring high prices. He feels that the story of Miss Northern’s strange life will make buyers eager to bid for the work offered; to him it seems fitting that she might be remembered for these rather cheerful expressions and not for the sad squalor in which she suffered out her final years as an eccentric old woman with gangrenous feet who would have frozen to death had she not been taken forcibly to a hospital.

Myron King, of Lyzon Gallery, said the color drawings reminded him of Villon prints brought back from Paris by the late Philip Perkins.· “They are interesting because of the timing of what she did and when she did it,” he said. “The sale is a natural for a charity and should be an interesting one.” John A. Hill, an art collector and member of the Fine Arts Committee at Cheekwood, said, “It’s terribly interest­ing work because it represents its period, the 1930s mainly. It’s obvious that she copied the style of art being done at that time, and most of it is decorative. I think we’ll buy one or two things for Cheekwood because of their historical interest.”

Mary Northern’s 1924 yearbook from Ward-Belmont school and a few
pencil sketches mode in the late 1920s and 30s shore space in this cabinet in Belmont’s Leu Gallery.
Mary Northern lived as a recluse in this dilapidated house on Gallatin Rd.,
so overgrown and dark, people in the neighborhood thought no one lived there.
Miss Northern, her feet frostbitten and bleeding from burns suffered when she tried
to warm them in this fireplace, lived, ate and slept in the sagging chair seen here.
In this self-portrait as a young woman, Miss Northern apparently
veiled the eyes as if the artist’s appraising look penetrated too deeply.

Hers was a story that puzzled, troubled, touched and exasperated people, not only in Nashville but in other cities in other states. It set off ethical debates and editorials, as well as columns by syndicated writers on a national level.

Mary Northern, who had lived alone after her mother’s death in 1960, and was reclusive even before that, literally withdrew from the world except for such necessities as going to the store with her Social Security check to buy meager supplies for herself and the six cats that occupied the filth and ashes piled up in the downstairs room of her house.

Windows were broken, there had been fires in the room she lived in, sitting in a broken down chair in front of a fireplace, keeping her catsup bottle and other food under the chair and using the mantel as an ashtray. Without electricity, the house was dark and unheated. Miss Northern’s feet had suffered severe frostbite during the cold winter of 1976-77 and, trying to warm them, she had burned them badly.

When Sorrow, a neighbor up the street who had often taken food to her, saw the horrifying condition of her black­ened and bleeding feet, he called the Department of Human Services which had also been taking food and trying to help.

It was he who said, “Something has to be done. You must make her go to the hospital.”

Police were sent and Miss Northern, kicking and screaming was taken to the hospital. Doctors, examining the irreparable damage, urged amputation but the patient refused consent. Ultimately, nature and daily whirlpool baths washed away the decayed flesh and left bare bones, some of which surgeons re­moved.

Strong-willed and cantankerously independent, Miss Northern took the anti-coagulating medication or refused to take it, as she wished. She weathered pain and pneumonia but not the blood clot which doctors had feared would be a probability, and on May 1 died peaceably, in a clean bed, in clean apparel, looked after and tended to in spite of her­self.

The aspect which so intrigued all who heard or read about the Northern case had to do with interpretations of moral obligation toward those who need help, and the right of the person to resist that help. The courts at one point had said Miss Northern was incapable of deciding for herself and ordered amputation. She felt otherwise and, with the help of her attorney, successfully fought that ruling.

Columnist Ellen Goodman of Boston quoted William Cur­ran, professor of legal medicine at Harvard Medical School about the court’s decision to declare Miss Northern incompe­tent. ” .. . It may owe more to St. Augustine’s Confessions than to Gray’s Anatomy. It stems from the idea that individuals hold their bodies in trust, that the body is the vessel of the soul and people have an obligation to sustain that life. In short, they have not been granted the power to decide to die.”

Miss Goodman noted that most of us would choose life, and would also want to “save” another person, “But if, like Mary Northern, a 72-year old woman chooses to risk death over a 50% chance of a crippled life, and if she maintains this choice, then surely she should be let alone. I think all of us want that power over our lives.”

The debate has continued, even after Miss Northern’s death. The questions raised are still unanswered, the impli­cations still tantalize the rational, responsible mind.

Perhaps thoughtful consideration about being our brother’s keeper when the brother does not wish to be kept and the right to exercise control over one’s own life will, in the end, be Miss Northern’s legacy to the community. These, not the touching handful of painting and drawing studies by a young art student full of hope about the future.


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Updated April 23, 2015

The 1948 Desk Diary

Emma’s Flower Shop 7-5000

Someone put this little book on ebay many moons ago. I saw the Emma’s Flower Shop at the bottom and thought I should have it. It didn’t go for much and I was the only bid, but I thought it might be an interesting item to have in my Nashville history collection.

I recently re-read it and re-discovered the insights into a simple and sometimes difficult life of an ordinary wife and mother of the late 1940s.  Her name was Frances Louise Engel Byrd. I thought it would be of interest if I posted some of her notes as she talks about her daily life and references some local Nashvillians and places in Middle Tennessee.

September 16, 2014
Was contacted by Tim Knox, Frances’ nephew . He wrote “My father is Albert Knox who appears in the journal.  My grandmother was Katie Knox (Frances’ sister). I remembered my dad talking about William’s broken leg, I will ask him about what happened.  I spent a lot of time at Frances and her husband William Byrd’s home in the Bellshire community.  He ran a Western Auto store.
There was some questions maybe about Gerst Brewery.  My grandfather worked there as well as many of the family.  My Grandmother (Katie, Francis sister) father was George Engel.  George’s sister married William Gerst the founder of the brewery…and of course with that came some positions at the brewery for the family including George who worked there a long time.  My grandmother Katie and Aunt Francis’s cousin was Emma Snyder who was the Emma of Emma’s Florist..that is the connection there.”

April 2015
I was contacted by the current owner of Emma’s Florist with this interesting information:
“Emma passed away of a heart attack, at St. Thomas Hospital (now “west”) when she was 53, in 1946.  I always thought that was sad because you know she was excited about her new location! She originally had “Emma’s ” in the Andrew Jackson Hotel.”
Thanks, Rebecca”

Nashville historian and friend Debie Cox did some research into Frances Byrd and here is some of what she found:
“Her father John, was a brewer and most likely worked for William Gerst. At times the census shows that the two families lived near one another. William Gerst was married to an Engel, possibly an older sister or aunt of John Engel. Finding the names of Frances’ siblings helped explain some the names listed in her diary.”

“John D. Engel was born on December 23, 1872, in Ohio, the only child of his father. He married Lillie Bordieson/Bordieser on October 17, 1894, in Davidson, Tennessee. John died on August 9, 1949, in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 76.

His children were:
Lillian married William Bellinger
Katie married Lester Knox, son Albert
Margaret married Mr. Tittle
Barbara married Harvey Wright, sons Allen and Johnny
George married Johnnie Ann
Josephine married Mr. Moss
Agnes may have died young
Frances married Felix Byrd

William Gerst Sr., owner of the Gerst Brewery in Nashville was married to Mary Engel. She was likely a relative of John Engel father of Frances Engel Byrd. At least three of the Gerst children were born in Ohio in the 1870’s and 1880’s, as was John Engle.”

Here is the phone number page. diary1003

Notice the 5 digit phone numbers. Vivian Hackney (sp?) lived at 1302 Stainback Ave and was the “Good News Weekly” writer. There is an incomplete reference to this at the Library of Congress website here. The newspaper ran every Thursday.
There’s a Dr. J.J. Ashby and a Dr. W.J. Case. These two would be important to her this year.

Byrd’s Grocery was the family business where mom and dad worked and lived, probably above on a second floor.  Here is a listing in the 1947 City Directory courtesy of Debie Cox. *This was somewhere on 7th between Shelby and Sylvan St. Frances probably did the usual things necessary in a small grocery store and “made calls”. Don’t know if these were collection calls for people behind in their credit or calls to get people to come by the store and make purchases. According to Debie, the “h” in this listing shows that they also lived here prior to moving to South 17th.

According to a copy of a deed Debie found, the Byrds had just purchased their house on S 17th the previous December for $8500. So they are in a new-to-them house. Best I can tell, the Byrds had one car and a motorcycle. Juggling three kids and  a business was quite a handful as we’ll see.

Other listings in the phone numbers are her mother-in-law, Mrs. Byrd, Katie Knox, Margareuite Tittle (sp?), Barbara Wright, Josephine Moss, George Engel, Josie Gerst, Aunt Katie & Lizzie Gerst are listed. I wonder if there is a Gerst haus connection there?

diary1004The Byrds lived at 112 South 17th St.  just across from Lockeland Springs school. She was  Born May 5, 1914. making her 34 in 1948.  Her Husband  was born September 6, 1910. He was 38, They were married October 20 1932. She was 18, he was 22. They had three children. Oldest son William was born July 18, 1933, Barbara born September 10, 1937 and Richard born March 20 1941. The 1940 census said she had a 9th grade education and formerly lived on East Side Avenue. Her husbands name is Felix Clifton Byrd, but the census has a spelling of Philix for his first name. He went by his middle name, Clifton.

For the first two months of 1948, there aren’t many notations. Most of her time was probably spent unpacking boxes and setting up her new home. A birthday for  Josie Tittler, who was 8, is noted for January 15. Barbara Wright turned 44 on February 3. March 6 she noted “I gave Josephine a lace tablecloth for her birthday.” Josephine was 38.

Then, on April 10, in big letters…“William Hurt His leg”. William was 15. She never says what he did to hurt his leg, but he would be in a full leg and hip cast for most of the year. Frances’ nephew Tim Knox wrote to say ” William broke his leg playing football at East High, he was probably a 9th or 10th grader at the time.”

April 11: William went to hospital Room 369

April 12: William in good spirits  can walk but limps – hates to have cast put on  so do I. Cast to be put on tomorrow

April 13: William had cast put on leg and hip. Very sick & uncomfortable. Mother set up all night

April 14: Willliam not so sick but very uncomfortable. “mother set up all night” Mrs. Pulleycutt & June Gwin came by with cake for wife & william.

April 15: “William is better” mother set up all night. Mr. Pulleycutt & Joe Brown, Bro. Smith came by to inquire about William.

April 16: Happy William is home and feeling fine.

The next week goes by without comment. Probably busy getting William settled in and getting back to her normal routines. The quote marks above are hers. Probably for emphasis.

April 24: (Saturday) Fair days business  Howard (can’t read last name) quit. Evidently an employee at the store quit.

April 25: Mama, came over. met Lucile, Jim, Frances at Grace Naz. Church Wonderful song service Saw Mr & Mrs Hunley. Came home felt bad, went to afternoon service at church, Bro. Tunstill Babtized Bryan Jones. talked, was good. fair attendance.

Grace Nazarene church at this time was on 2536 Gallatin road across from Cahal Ave. It was a church started for Trevecca Nazarene college which was where the auto/diesel college (Lincoln, I think) is now and where Percy Warner’s Renraw mansion was. That is why there is a Trevecca avenue one block north of Gallatin in this area. Grace Nazarene church moved to the Pennington Bend area along Briley Parkway in the 1970’s.

April 26: Late to work. no help. except Johnson   Came home late tired   went to show    Papa came over to store  bought motor cycle schield.  Paid him $5.00 He was sore from fishing Sunday 25th

She bought a motorcycle shield from her father. She evidently rode the motorcycle to work occasionally.  If the show she went to see was after she got home, more than likely the theater was the Woodland St. theater.

April 27: Got to work on time. Had help  fair. Broke chain on motor cycle., Home late, good supper. Legs tired as usual.

May 1948

May 5: Today is my birthday-My Honey gave me $25.00 and I bought a suntan lounge so Wm could enjoy a little out of doors. (He’s still in a cast). He gave me a box of candy and Bobby gave me 2 Pyrex Pie Pans and a cute Pickle or nut dish. Josephine came over and brought me 2 beautiful pictures for my bare walls. I got 7 birthday cards and enjoyed a quiet and pleasant birthday.


Pyrex pie pan

Just like a Mom to use her birthday money on her kids. The bare walls reference makes sense with Debie Cox’s info on the recent house purchase.

May 9: This is Mother’s Day and Bobby gave me a falcon of Evening in Paris Perfume.  Clifton spoke at the church tonight on the subject of “How shall we be judged”. Sure did make a good talk. Mrs. Byrd and Frances went to church with us and Christie, Wayne and Mr. Byrd stayed with Wm. Was real proud of my “Honey”. He sure is a good man and a swell father and husband.

From Debie Cox: I think the word she meant to use was flacon http://www.thefreedictionary.com/flacon I remember buying Evening in Paris for my mama at the 5&10.


May 11: To-day I am taking wm to Dr. Ashby for an Xray Picture of his leg. Don’t think he will cut any off the cast but here’s hoping it won’t be much long for Wm.

The Doctor didn’t cut any of the cast off. Also told Wm. he would have to stay in the cast at least 3 months. It’s been a month today. Dr. wants to see him in another month.

Yikes! 4 months in a cast!

May 16: Harvey Wright went to Protestant Hospital  his nose bled off and on all night Saturday and all night Sunday night. They gave him 2 blood transfusions Sunday.


Protestant Hospital 20th & Church Street
On December 12, 1918, as a result of a devastating flu epidemic and the need for more hospital beds in Nashville, five men incorporated Protestant Hospital. The first patient was newborn Margaret Anita Kilby Lewis, daughter of Gladys Kilby, and she arrived on March 20, 1919, two days before the official opening.

The ten-and-a-half acre plot consisted of two adjoining city blocks, bounded by four city streets: Church Street on the south, 20th Ave. on the east, 21st Ave. on the west, and Patterson Street on the north. There were two buildings–one became the hospital and one became the dormitory for the School of Nursing. Protestant Hospital began with 100 beds, and the construction of the East Building in 1924 increased capacity to 210 beds and 18 bassinets. Because of the Depression and a generally weak financial condition, the hospital experienced no more growth.

The hospital transferred ownership to the Tennessee Baptist Convention in April of 1948, and its name was changed to The Mid-State Baptist Hospital, Inc.

May 17: Went to see Harvey at Protestant hospital and he was feeling better, although his nose was packed to capacity with cotton. Felt right sorry for him.

Margarite gave me a beautiful lace table cloth.

May 18: I went to Dr. Case today  John Ann stayed with Wm.  My blood pressure is down again and my hemoglobin test was down low so Dr. Case gave me a bottle of capsules and wants them refilled and to come back in another month.

They took the packing out of Harvey’s nose.

May 30: I went to see Dorothy for the first time since I have been sick.  I took her a birthday card with 5.00 check in it. Also some fruit & candy. Bobby went with me and we stopped and got some sandwiches on our way back home.

Dorothy Fisher turned 26 the next day. Fruit and candy were still staples as gifts then.

June 1948

June 4: William got his 9th grade Diploma  Bobby was promoted to the 6th grade  Poor Richard got left in the first grade. But maybe he will be put up in the 2nd when he goes back to school. I promise to help him more next fall if my health permits.

If the census was correct, William has graduated the grade that Frances stopped. A proud Momma no doubt. You can sense her disappointment and maybe some fatigue from whatever is ailing her with the promise to help Richard. She has a lot on her plate.

June 8: William went to the Doctor today  CLifton went with him. His cast was getting weak so Dr. Ashby put 3 seel strips next to the cast and put on some more plaster. Says he may have to be in the cast 6 or 8 months. Sure will be a happy day when he gets out of it.

June 9: William’s cast cracked around the knee. So I called Dr. Ashby and he is coming out and put some more on between now and Sunday.

Wow. A house call. Poor kid.

June 11: Allen came home tonight with his new Ford.

Not sure who Allen is yet but his car could have looked something like this:

09/17/14 Tim Knox, Frances’ nephew wrote: “There is a question in the diary/journal at one point about Allen (picture of his Ford).  Allen must be Allen Wright.  Allen was my dad’s cousin.  Allen actually passed away about 2 weeks ago.  Allen was a car crazy guy who got my father who was younger interested in cars.  That love for cars has been passed down to me.  I remember going to Allen’s house as a kid and he had a basement full of Model A’s and cool Fords up through the 60’s.”

June 12: Dr. Ashby came over and replastered Wm leg. I ask him if he thought Wm would be able to go back to school in the fall and he seemed to think that he would.

Allen, Barbara, and Leonard came over to see Wm. Sure does have a pretty car.

I think she likes the new car. 

June 14: Tomorrow is the day for me to go back to the D. for another check up. I washed clothes today. Expect to iron in the morning.

Bobby & Richard wanted to go swimming.

June 15: Katie and Lester & Albert came over to let me go to the Dr. Allen came over and took me. I hadn’t improved any since the last time I went to him  Took 2 tests this time will have to go back when I finished another bottle of capsules. Albert is staying the rest of the week.

June 16: Allen, Barbara & Johnny & Harvey came over last night and we had a freezer of ice cream. This morning Bobby, Albert & Richard have gone to the Bible school and later on I am going to take them swimming.

Tomorrow we are going on a picnic. Red carried Bobby, Albert and Richard to the Woodland.

Woodland would have been the Woodland Street Theater at 1011 Woodland street.


June 17: Barbara and her family and Margarite and Jesse and Mary Sue Brown and Albert  and all of us went to the park. Bobby, Albert, Mary Sue & Richard went swimming and the rest of us played cards. Had a nice time. Bobby & Albert went to Bible school this morning. Lucile and Kirby& Jim came over after supper.

The park was probably Shelby Park because of proximity.


June 18: Looks like rain this morning. William wants me to take them fishing. We went but we didn’t catch anything. Except his line in the tree several times.  I went to play Bingo with Jo. But we didn’t win anything  We also went and put our name in for the new Ford’s they are giving away. Maybe we’ll win one of those.

The Ford dealership could have been Hippodrome Ford, if I’m not mistaken.

June 19: Lester came after Albert this morning. Nothing exciting happened today. Just another Saturday. Mrs. Ehemann & Catherine an Mrs. Ehemann’s sister, Franns , came over and stayed a while. Richard found a puppy and tied his tail to a bush out front which was very uncomfortable for the dog. Ha Ha

June 20: Father’s day = We are going to the country-Papa blistered both legs below the knees with coal oil. Sure is some bad places on his legs. The skin is coming off. We went over to Mrs. Byrds from the country. We had a good dinner and supper. Papa sure is feeble. Looks bad.

June 21: William & Bobby, Richard and I went over to Mr. Krafts’- Got Wm a pair of good leather house slippers and a pair of pajamas. Allen came by with his girl. They was going fishing, swimming and picnicking. Allen & Barbara took Pappa to the Dr with his legs. Has to go back to Dr tomorrow.

June 22: Stella came to wash for me today. Have engaged her for five days a week starting next week. Stayed till 3 oclock.  Paid $3.00 car fare. Richard went over to see his grand ma to stay until Sunday. I don’t know what is wrong with me. My head feels so funny.

June 23: Stella came to iron 8:00. Didn’t finished left at 4:30 $3.00 car fare. Clifton and Bobby went to church tonight.

June 24: Stella came back to finish ironing. She didn’t charge anything because she didn’t get through yesterday. Bobby had her recital and everything went pretty smooth. Clifton finished the dishes for me and stayed with Wm.

June 25: Josephine had most all of us out to her house for lunch. Barbara, Katie Allen, Johnnie, Wm, Bobby and Albert and myself. Had a real nice time.

If my head don’t hurry and feel better I’m going to change doctors.
Joe Louis fight Walcott. Wow. Joe Louis gave up fighting for his mother.

8545In front of 42,000 people at Yankee Stadium Louis, who weighed 213½-the heaviest of his career to date prepared for a rematch of Jersey Joe Walcott. Walcott knocked Louis down in the third round, but Louis  knocked out Walcott in the eleventh. She listened to this on the radio since Nashville’s first television station, WSM, didn’t sign on the air until September 30, 1950.

June 26: Nothing really exciting happened. Bobby met Christine and had her picture made with her evening dress and corsage.

Don’t like to complain but I’m feeling like an old shoe, maybe some day I will get relief and ease.

June 28: Stella came and washed. Left around 4:00. It was pouring rain. Clifton and Mr. Ed went to Vanderbilt Hospital to see Uncle Walter. Bobby & Richard started taking swimming lessons today. Mrs. Bennett came up for a short visit.

Shelby Park pool

Closed and decaying in May 1974

More than likely, Bobby and Richard were going to the public swimming pool at Shelby Park for their lessons. Built in the 1930’s with a Spanish Colonial Revival style, it was heated and had underwater lighting . At this point in the late 40s, the pool would have been segregated; whites only.

 July 1: Richard and Bobby went swimming again today. Taking lessons. Stella helped me wash my venetian blinds didn’t get through will finish tomorrow.

July 2: Bobby went by herself to take another swimming lesson. Stella & I finished washing all the blinds. She also helped clean the house.

July 3: I went down to the store and helped Clifton till 8:30p.m. Stella stayed with the children and finished cleaning up the house.

July 6: William went to the Dr.’s He put more cast on and also a piece of steel down his leg. Says it may be 3 or 4 more months. May God give hime strength and courage to endure that cast that much longer. If the Dr. don’t help me soon I think I will change doctors. Clifton went with Wm to the Doctor today. I worked at the store. Stella came.

July 7: Barbara, Allen, Johnny, Harvey came over and I made them stay for supper. William showed his movies after supper. Am going to town tomorrow to do a little shopping. I’m supposed to go to the Doctor tomorrow. Poor Clifton I know he gets tired of us going to the Drs.

July 8: Went to the picture show with Josephine and  Mrs.Lafreze’s 2 girls. Took Richard wt had lunch in town. Barbara sent me some soap while I was in town. Have decided not to go  back to Doctor’s Am just going to forget myself just now.  A little misunderstanding about the money. I promised to give her $7.00 for 3 days. I let Stella go today but gave her $8.00.

July 9: Clifton went to see “Carnival on ice” at Sulpher Dell. I won the tickets over the radio. Nothing else exciting happened.

Sulpher Dell was a baseball stadium North of the capital building.

July 10: Mrs. Jo left for a trip up north. Don’t know how long she will be gone. Margaret went up into the Country to stay with Papa. I lent Mrs. Jo my suit case. She is going to Cincinnati and then to Virginia to see her sister. Wish we could go on a vacation all of us together.

July 11: The Pollycutts came over from church. We stayed home all day. Clifton and Richard went to the picture show. Bobby & Clifton went to Sunday School & Church. We had fried chicken and black berry pie for dinner. Wm Bobby and myself played cards.

July 12: Arose early this morning. started to wash and finished at 11 o’clock. It always took Stella all day to wash. It rained and I had to bring in the clothes before they got dry. But I managed to get them ready to iron for in the morning.

July 13: I started to iron at 7:AM. finished at 11:45 A.M.  It always took Stella a day and a half. Just shows you she took her good old time.
Kirby, Lucile & Jim came over and Pete Collis. And Clifton had to go to a board meeting at the church. Talked about Wm. Birthday which is Sunday.

July 14: Today is Kay’s birthday. She is the little girl next door. She is 3 yrs old and very cute.
I cut me a dress and Bobby went to town to get her proofs but they weren’t good. Nothing exciting happened. We stayed home and listened to the Dem. convention.

From Wikipedia: The 1948 Democratic National Convention was held at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 12 to July 14, and resulted in the nominations of President Harry S Truman for a full term and Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky for Vice President in the 1948 presidential election.

July 16: I went to town with Josephine and Mrs. Lafuge (sp?) and got some low heel shoes also some cake decorations for Wm cake. We ate lunch in Harvey’s basement. Got a shower curtain & window curtain for the bath room. Joe got 3 new dresses.

Harveys was a department store located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. It was opened by Fred Harvey in 1946. During the 1950s and 1960s, the downtown area of Nashville was a popular shopping destination, with numerous stores and restaurants lining the area around Church Street. As malls began luring shoppers to the suburbs, Harveys, along with many other downtown stores, went out of business. The restaurant in the basement was the Peacock Grill, I believe. The Monkey Bar was upstairs.

Peacockgrill1harveyscardJuly 17:  Well I went and got the shower rod today and baked 2 cakes and fried 3 chickens for tomorrow. Guess we will have a time tomorrow at least Wm is expecting a big day. He got a card from Dorothy and Mandy & Frank. Was real tired when I got through tonight altho’ I borrowed Mrs. Hollands Elec. Mixer.

July 18: The Big Day. Mamy Byrd, lucille, Kirby, Jim, Christine, James & Wayne & Frances, Barbara, Harvey & Johnny Josephine & Red Moss came over for dinner & Katie, Lester & Albert came over later for Ice Cream & Cake. We had 2 freezers of ice cream. Kay brought Wm a box of candy. Barbara brought a large sucker, gas pump and 4 molds for popsicyles and Wm got 47.50 in money. William’s Birthday – age 15

July 19: What a day yesterday. 18 to eat dinner & 21 to eat ice cream. I washed today although I put 18lbs in the laundery I had 5 lines full & a rack. Margaret Ann & Johnny come over for supper.  We played cards till 10:30. I was so tired I thought I would drop over. Margt ann had some tumors taken off her eye lid today. Had a patch over her right eye.

54 clothes line

July 20: I ironed all morning with the cramps. I forgot to send Frank a card for his birthday.  Clifton called me and I went down to the store t let him get a hair cut. Then I came home and cooked supper. Another hectic day. I sure hope the sun shines on us some day.  Frank’s Birthday-32 years.

July 21: Just another day. The laundry came back & I was trying to put my dress together. I ironed the ones that weren’t ironed and finished my dress all but the jacket I will do tomorrow. We ate sandwiches I was so tired again. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a little pep again.

July 23: Went to town today and bought William his new portable radio with the money he got for his birthday.
Johnny was here when I got home. Mrs. Thompson was too giving Bobby her music lesson. Got a hemstitcher today at Singer’s.

1-9-1948Radio tubes had been dramatically reduced in size during WWII making “portable” radios truly portable. The transistor radio would not arrive on the scene until 1954.

July 24: Bobby went to town  Nothing exciting happened. I tried to hemstich some scarfs that had been embroidered , but I guess I will learn how better as I get more used to the attachment. My laundry came back Also my winter coat from the cleaners.

July 26: I washed a weeks wash. Went down to the store and Clifton came out home and cut the hedge. Josephine cam out brought me a mirror for my dining room table. Also gave me some andirons.

Josephine said they are leaving Saturday for a vacation in Florida. Wish we could all go.

July 27: I ironed today and painted the andirons. They look real good.  Bobby took a music lesson.

July 28: Put the andirons in the living room. Looks nice. Mama Byrd, Frances, Mr. Byrd, Lucille, Kirby & Jim came over tonight. Lucille & Kirby are house hunting. Sure hope they find something they like. Like to see all young couples have a home while they are able to enjoy it.  Kirby’s birthday. Age 32 yrs.

July 29: Went down to the store. Clifton went over to Harvey’s to see the sign he’s making him. We are going out to Katie’s and go fishing. We went but the creek was nearly dry. No place for Wm to fish. We came home 4:00 Wm was disappointed. Clifton went to the show again tonight.

July 30: We went down Shelby Park lake. Bought some red worms and the kids enjoyed it down there better than they did yesterday.
I didn’t feel so good yesterday. Some talk of Bro. Pollycutt resigning Mrs. Bennett said.
Bobby took a music lesson today. Sure will be glad when we know that Wm is ok again.

July 31: The kids had me to take them to the park and fish in the lake. Then we went down to the sotre and show their daddy the tadpoles they caught. About 1o o’clock  that night Clifton called for me to come after him and Richard went with me.

Sunday August 1: I fixed a large banana pudding and we went over to Marvin Byrds to spend the day. Sure did enjoy myself. About 9:30  p.m. we went over to Barbara’s she had a freezer of ice cream and we enjoyed that very much. Johnny & Wm Bobby ad myself played a game of rook. We got home about 12:00 o’clock.

Tuesday August 3: Got up early and finished my ironing about 12 o’clock then Clifton called for me to come down to the store to go to get his motor cycle. Mrs. Ehermann (sp?) & Catherine came over after supper.
Clifton had to go to a board meeting at the church. Mrs. Pollycutt resigned. Becomes effective Aug 15. Johnny came over and we played rook. Bobby had a music lesson

Thursday August 5: Election day – I went down to the store and Clifton went and paid the pole tax* and voted. Bobby went to town and got me an ice bucket. Tonight we went over mama Byrd’s but they weren’t home. Clifton went to the woodland show. We came home and done the dishes. Hank’s new donut place opened. Johnny went by and bought us 2 pts of ice cream that was on special.

*From Wikipedia: In U.S. practice, a poll tax was used as a de facto or implicit pre-condition of the exercise of the ability to vote. This tax emerged in some states of the United States in the late 19th century as part of the Jim Crow laws. After the ability to vote was extended to all races by the enactment of the Fifteenth Amendment, many Southern states enacted poll tax laws as a means of restricting eligible voters; such laws often included a grandfather clause, which allowed any adult male whose father or grandfather had voted in a specific year prior to the abolition of slavery to vote without paying the tax.

Saturday August 7: Nothing exciting happened. I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen and the usual routine. Clifton came home at 10 o’clock. Johnny came by in the afternoon and William in his cast drove that motorcycle around the block. He just keeps me on edge all the time with his doings but I guess I will live and get over them.

Sunday August 8: Clifton, Bobby & Richard went to Sunday School. Looks like it will rain any minute.

Richard bathed the cat this morning.

Monday August 9: Washed clothes today
Got through at 11 o’clock Then we went by and got some worms and I carried the kids to Shelby lake to fish a while. We went to the Drive-In theatre tonight  sure is a nice place. Johnny came over this afternoon and we played Rook.

The Montague and Skyway would have been the closest but they weren’t opened until 1950. The Crescent Drive-in on Murfreesboro road opened in 1948. (reference)

Wednesday August 11: The laundry just came back. I plan to starch the things that need ironing then after lunch I’m going down to the store and let Clifton take the kids riding or fishing or something. But he came home and slept all afternoon but he did get them all a biscuit first. Also bought some pills for Wm to reduce with. against my wishes.

Thursday August 12: Well I ironed the clothes that came back from the laundry. Then we went to Mama Byrds then to Cedar St. and got Bobby & Richard some shoes then came home and cooked supper and then we went to the Drive in theatre and then came home and washed the dishes. A very busy day.

Friday August 13: This morning I have written 2 letters and haven’t had breakfast yet. Mrs. Thompson will be here around 3 or 3:30 for Bobby’s music lesson.
My plate (false teeth) broke this morning I went to Dr. Reese and have to go back Wednesday for an impression will have to leave my teeth there for 2 or 3 days.

Saturday August 14: Just another Saturday. Although I cut out a dress for Bobby and made it all except putting the snaps & buttons on it. Will finish it in the morning. We are going over to Barbara’s for dinner. It will be Albert’s birthday and I have a little gift for him.

Sunday August 15: We went to Barbara’s for dinner and Margarite Mutt and Leonard & Josie was there. We stayed until 11:00  I took Albert a shirt for his birthday. Margaret & myself and all the kids except wm & Johnny went to the Children’s museum. It really was worth seeing. I had the stomach ash all day. Albert’s & Lester’s birthday – 10 yrs & 60 yrs

Monday August 16: I washed clothes as usual. Mrs. Bennett fussed about the wash water coming down in front of her house.
Lucile & Kirby & Jim came over and paid their grocery bill an I told Lucile I would make him a cake for his birthday.

I sure will be glad when school starts.

Tuesday August 17: William has to go back to Dr. Ashby today. The Dr. told William that in another month or two he was going to take the cast off of him. Oh happy day. The Lord has sure answered my prayers and I’m thankful to Him for that. I ironed this afternoon and we went to the Drive-in theatre tonight. Bobby took music lesson – Still owes for it.

wednesday August 18: I went to see the Dentist this morning and he filled a tooth. Oh brother those drills! I bought me a new G-E Electric mixer this morning. Will be sent out tomorrow. I got Frances & Jim a birthday present. William got an invitation to Ruby Byrd’s daughter’s Birthday Party for next Wednesday night. Guess he’ll go. Just read about Mr. Nichol’s death.

Thursday August 19: I will iron this morning and then go down to the store so Clifton can get away a little while. I came home from the store around 6:15 and had to cook supper. Joe Brown came over a while. His wife was at the church with the class meeting. About 10 o’clock we decided we wanted ice cream so I went down to Fulton’s and got a qt.

Friday August 20: I planned to sew some today but I carried uncle Walter and Aunt Cora to Vanderbilt Hospital. I sure felt sorry for him. He is almost blind. Then I carried them home to Ruby’s – Came home and cooked supper and then Mr. Pollycutt came over to see William and bring some church things for Clifton.

Saturday August 21: I fixed Bobby’s skirts and carried the old car down to the store. It almost jerked me to pieces. I then got my laundry up and made the bed. Seems like I was busy all day, Bobby & I washed the car. Mark & Janice went on a picnic. Oh wasn’t it quiet around here. I can do much more with Richard when he isn’t around.

Sunday August 22: We stayed home all day. Mr. Pollycutt came over and then Mr & Mrs Gunn (sp?) & Pete Callis & daughter then later on Josephine & Red Moss came from the Country. We played a game or two of Rook. Bobby Wm & myself didn’t feel well. Sort of cramping in our stomach.


1943 boxed card game called rook the game of games

Monday August 23: As usual I washed and got through at 10:45. My stomach still cramping. We are planning on going over to Mama Byrd’s Thursday night for a birthday party for Frances & Jim. I am going to make Jim a  birthday cake.

Little Frances Byrd’s Birthday – 22 years.

Tuesday August 24: I ironed this morning and then bathed Wm and went over to Mama Byrd’s. James & Nell Smithson was over there. James has 2 cute little girls. Mama Byrd gave me a nice mess of fish that Kirby & James caught Sunday. Also a mess of green beans that the girls brought her.

Wednesday August 25: I have to starch the clothes that came back from the laundry and then I want to clean up the house before I go down to the store so Clifton can come home. I didn’t sleep very well last night seemed like my lungs were crowded and hurting. That’s not the first time it’s happened. Wm & myself & Frances went to Ruby’s daughter’s birthday party.

Thursday August 26: Ironed the clothes that came back from the laundry and baked Jim a birthday cake. Also made a freezer of ice cream. We had a real nice time at the birthday supper. Frances & Jim got a lot of real nice things. Frank & Maude was there too. Maude’s uncle Will died last week.

Jim Kirby – age 4

Friday August 27: Johnny started to wash my dining room walls yesterday. Promised to come back today and finish. We were supposed to go to Jo’s today but she wasn’t at home till 1 o’clock. so we stayed at home. Bobby is washing the windows and I have been trying to get the striekes off the ceiling. I feel so blue today. I think I will get me a housekeeper.

Saturday August 28: Sent the laundry off this morning an then I sewed some buttons on some clothes. Baked a cake and invited Catherine & Mrs. Ehemorin (sp?) over for dinner tomorrow. My washing machine rollers came back this afternoon. $9.53 cents. Walter Day fixed them for me. Tried to get Jo all day. She must not have been home.

old washing machine with rollers

old washing machine with rollers

Sunday August 29: Mrs. Ehemann & Catherine and Josephine & Red Moss came over for dinner today. Enjoyed having them very much. Catherine brought me a jar of Luster Cream Shampoo. I made a cocoanut cake yesterday. They took uncle Walter back to Vanderbilt Hospital today. He sure is pitiful.

luster cream shampoo

luster cream shampoo

Monday August 30: I washed clothes today and emptied the water in the hedge. When I finished I got started on my living room and washed half of it.

Mutt Tittle’s Birthday-Age 38

Tuesday August 31: I ironed this morning and finished about 1:30 and then started to finish the wall in the living room. Johnny came over to start on the back bedroom wall.

Clifton went to the Woodland. Richard & Bobby wanted to go but they didn’t get to go.

Wednesday September 1: Everything happened this morning. About 11:45 I carried Bobby & Richard to town to get them some school clothes. Boy! If kids clothes aren’t high. Johnny broke Wms Radio lid. We all went over to Mama Byrd’s tonight. Clifton slipped off and went to the Knickerbocker.

Clifton likes his movies it seems.KnickerbockerlargeKnickerbocker Theatre, 219 Capitol Boulevard

Thursday September 2: I ironed most of the clothes that came back from the laundry. Then we went to Josephines to spend the day. Had a nice time. Would have had better time if I had felt good. Jo gave me some turnip greens. Clifton went to the Noel hotel to a meeting for organizing of all independent grocers.

Clifton may have been meeting to organize a local chapter of IGA – Independent Grocer’s Association maybe? They were formed in the 1920s up north.


Noel hotel

Friday September 3: I woke up sick and didn’t feel good all day. I cooked turnip greens and they sure are good. Bobby and myself went to the Knickerbocker to see “The best years of our lives“. It sure was a good picture. Wish William could see it. I am supposed to have a house keeper next week. If so I am going back to work.

the-best-years-of-our-livesIMDB.com: 1946 Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. If IMDB is correct, the Knickerbocker was replaying some old movies. Probably a matinée or discount night.

Saturday September 4: Got my laundry up and lucile & Jim came over to spend the night. I cut a dress for Lucille and nearly made it. We had a real nice day although it rained of and on all day. Jim is a cute kid. Bobby and I gave Clifton his birthday presents. He seemed to like both which was a desk lamp and a Schaeffer pen– well.

Sunday September 5: Clifton & Bobby went to Sunday School and Church. Bobby brought back news that the house keeper wasn’t coming. Clifton went to Red Moss’s and Jo’s. Max Brown & wife & child came by. Clifton got mad at me because I wouldn’t let him eat before us. So I took Lucile & Jim home. Kirby went down to see his mother & James went along.

Monday September 6: I called Clifton a stubborn brat and we made up. Seems like we don’t stay mad at each other any more. It looks so much like rain that I don’t think I will try and wash. But I’m going to wash my bedroom wall. Clifton is working a half day today. We went over to Mama Byrds tonight to get Richard. We went out to eat.

Red’s birthday – age 38

Tuesday September 7: I washed clothes today and had to bring them in and hang them out about 3 or 4 times on account of the showers. Then I went to town and carried the desk lamp back I bought him. It was broke. Felt like I was in a trance all day. My head didn’t feel just right.

Wednesday September 8: I tried to iron all day but finally I got around to it about 3:30. School started and Clifton called for me to come down and let him go get a hair cut and go to the bank and see a man about a store. I got home about 3 p.m. and ironed till 6:30 then cooked supper and tried to wash dishes and about fell out. Just a fainting spell.

Thursday September 9: I have to finish my ironing today for tomorrow. I am expecting company for supper a birthday supper for Clifton, Mama Byrd and Bobby.

Friday September 10: We had a real nice birthday party. Mrs. Thompson stayed for supper. Bobby got a bicycle, watch and ring and money, pajamas and material for a dress, blouse, panties, eversharp pencil, bracelet and a paint set, also a pair of socks.

Clifton got 2 nice arrow shirts, pr socks & handkerchief and a desk lamp. Mama Byrd got mostly dress material also a pair of hose, brazier & buttons & crochet thread.

Bobby’s Birthday age 11

Saturday September 11: We stayed home all day but Bobby and Richard went to the show. I patched some clothes and sraightened up the house after the party. Got the laundry off and fixed us a bite to eat. Nothing exciting happened. Rupert left the store and Clifton engaged Mrs. Barker to work for him.

Mama Byrd’s Birthday – 62 yrs old.

Sunday September 12: Clifton and Bobby went to Sunday School and Church.
We went to the Drive-in theater tonight enjoyed it very much.

Monday September 13: I washed clothes today then went to town to get a rubber tip for Wm’s crutches. I saw Mrs. Thompson waiting for bus and carried her to town. Mrs. Webster called and said Mrs. Bradley wanted to see me soon.
Bill Tittle (sp?) came over with Ruby & Wesley. He said the Dr. told him he had a tumor on the brain.

Tuesday September 14: I ironed today and Mrs. Thompson came and brought Bobby a new piece and a bar of toilet soap for her birthday. Clifton went to board meeting at the church. I sewed on Kay’s dress.

Not sure, piece of what? Clothing maybe?

Wednesday September 15: I almost finished Kay’s dress but needed some yellow thread to sew some top stitching. Used the phone a lot. Just dragging again. Maybe it won’t be long I’ll feel better.

Friday September 17: I got Wm a hair cut. Mr. Hagan came and borrowed Wms band pants. We went by the store & Clifton carried groceries to Mrs. Hicks and Mama & Lucille. Clifton went to the picture show. Didn’t sleep very well. groaned all night seemed like my heart wouldn’t do right.

Saturday September 18: Cleaned upstairs and got up the laundry cut out me a top to my pajamas. just felt bad all day. made an appointment with dr. weinstein for Tuesday  will try him and see if he can help me. Found out Bill tittle didn’t have a Tumor after all. Its a tumor on his eighth nerve.

Sunday September 19: Clifton Bobby and Richard went to Sunday School & Church. We went over to mama Byrd’s and spent the day enjoyed it very much. Then we went to the Drive In theatre to see “Miracle of the Bells” very good show.


From IMDB: The Miracle of the Bells is a 1948 film produced by RKO. It stars Fred MacMurray, Alida Valli, Frank Sinatra, and Lee J. Cobb. Directed by Irving Pichel, with a script by Quentin Reynolds and Ben Hecht. The film is based on a novel by Russell Janney.

Monday September 20: I had another spell this morning, scared me. After I felt better I washed and then bathed Wm and made up the bed and washed the dishes. Then I cleaned up and went down to the store. Stopped by Margeurites’ and she sure is in a mess. Her house is really torn up. She sent Bobby 12 pencils with her name on them for her birthday.

Tuesday September 21: Barbara came over and stayed with Wm. I went to Dr. Weinstein had a physical examination. Also had my head ex rayed also went to Dr. Duncan a head specialist he washed out my ears. Will let me know tomorrow what the x rays showed.

Wednesday September 22: Heard from the Xray they said it was an infection in the lower ear. Dr. Weinstine sent me 4 different kinds of medicine. One kind was nicotinic (sp?) acid tablets supposed to make me tingle and flush my flesh and burn my face.

Thursday September 23: Frank and Maude came over and spent the night. My medicine didn’t have any effect on me and I called the Dr. They increased the dose which didn’t help.

Friday September 24: The Dr. called the druggist and they picked up the medicine and sent me some more and the first 2 doses worked and then after that it didn’t. I carried Frank & Maude over to Mama Byrd’s. Also carried the grocery orders. Also one to Mrs. Hinks.

Saturday September 25: I called the Dr. too late and they had left. I went to town and got Wm’s radio. I had a new cabinet put on it. Oh Brother what a traffic jam. Everybody going to the fair and all the races. I got Bobby a rain cape.

From Wikipedia: The first Tennessee state fair was held in 1869, but only lasted a few years. The property the old fairs were held on was later used for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, and has since become known as Centennial Park. The current incarnation of the State Fair began in 1906, and has been held annually, except for four years during World War II, through the Great Depression, a 1965 fire that destroyed the majority of the fairgrounds, and a 1970 fire that ruined the fair’s coliseum. Originally run by the State of Tennessee, the state relinquished control of the fair to Davidson County in 1923, who created The Metropolitan Board of Fair Commissioners to operate the fair.

Monday September 27: I washed the things that I didn’t put in the laundry. and called Dr. Ashbey and am going to take him to see him tomorrow. My Dr. increased my medicine to 4 tablets before meals. The kids and myself played cards a while.

Tuesday September 28: I ironed this morning and carried Wm to the Dr. at 2:30 and he said it be October 13 before he could take the cast off. He cut some off of him around the private place so they could make a good Xray.
Josephine called to see what they done to Wm.

More to come…

* I had earlier mistook this for 7th ave South down close to Lafayette where the old Sears bldg is. Debie Cox taught me something that I guess growing up in the suburbs, I never knew. “501 S(outh) 7th is in East Nashville near the corner of Shelby Avenue. Lafayette is on the other side of the river and intersects with 7th Avenue South. When the direction is in front it is East Nashville.” Thanks Debie!


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toy1Factory of the Hill Trunk Company

toy2J. L. Hill


From the Centennial Album. Contributed by Carol

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WSM Channel 4’s Sir Cecil Creep

(Russ McCown)
…Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Beddie Bugs Bite!


Anyone remember what you had to do to earn one of these?

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From a Tennessean clipping

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Remember when Wayne Oldham was everywhere? Here he is in front of one of his Wendy’s franchises doing an ad for Cellular One. I think he used to own some Mr. Gatti’s pizza restaurants as well.

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