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I drove to Bamberg to visit Dad and Kenny, my older brother. I stayed for a week – and it was HOT and MUGGY. However, I LOVED it! That is because last January, I visited Quartzsite, Arizona and it is very DRY there.There are many rocks and the desert is all BROWN. I’ve decided that I LOVE “GREEN” – and the rain – and water – all of which is necessary for plants to grow. There were no TREES in Arizona. OK – well, every now and then a small one spaced far apart from others. I LIKE the Georgia FORESTS and the PINE Trees and shrubs, and green things. I met many people from the west who like the opposite. They like their ‘space’ and several people told me that they never plan to go “East” again. Well, I grew up in the East and got used to it, so that’s what is normal for me and I like it.
When I grew up in Bamberg, Highway 301 was a major North-South artery and there were no interstates. The one-stoplight would have traffic back-up for several blocks during snowbird migration. To support the tourist industry, my dad – with some partners, built five motels along the highway. He also had a gasoline station, car sales and repair. Other businessmen also built gasoline stations – that have morphed to present-day fruit stands or are just plain ‘closed’. On this trip, I learned that one of my Dad’s friends had decided to close his car business. He struggled with it for many years. Many changes are sad but we have to adapt to that which we cannot control.
Bamberg is a small town where everyone knows everyone else. I now live in a big city and don’t know many people at all. On my way home, I stopped at a “Hot Boiled Peanuts” shed on Highway 78 West – about 4 miles from town. I talked with the people there and in the conversation, found out that the family was connected to someone that I graduated with from high school. I waited a few minutes for him to return from running an errand and we had a great chat. We hadn’t seen each other since graduation and it was really nice to see him again – and meet his family.
I am posting some more pictures of Bamberg and hope that readers enjoy them. In my blog, I try to give readers an idea of what they will see if they visit a location. In this post, my pictures of the Ness Sports Complex turned out fuzzy and not publishable. I will try for more of them on a future trip.
Dad and I visited a cousin in Orangeburg and ate at the House of Pizza. In addition, we carried out plates from Dukes BBQ and this was our first time at the ‘drive-out’ window. I love some of the signs that they put in that restaurant!
Also, Dad and I went to B&B Meats on Main Street for lunch. We call it “Blockers” because the Blocker family owned it when I went to school there. If you like ‘soul food’, you will love eating out in Bamberg! We joke about calling things by their ‘old’ names. For example, the railroad track has been replaced by a walking-trail. It has been ‘beautified’ and looks great. But – when we give someone directions, we still say “go past the railroad tracks and turn … yada yada”.
The first gallery of pictures are from my tour of Bamberg. The second gallery is from my trip to the old Bethesda Church and cemetery outide of town about 10 miles. (The location is the intersection of Cocklebur Road and Broxton Bridge Road – Highway 601 South of Bamberg.) My Dad’s grandparents are buried in the cemetery as well as his younger sister, Olive, who was died on the same day that she was born. Her grandmother, Olive, is buried nearby. (The Mizpah history book has printed her name as “Olivia”. Many of the entries of the book are from memory of someone who knew the people. However, not all of the memories are precise. For example, whoever inserted the entry in the book for my family, spelled my name wrong.)
Some family history (for those interested): When I was small, our family reunion was held at the Bethesda Church. It was torn down because the building was infested with beetles and termites and the family didn’t want it to fall and hurt someone. About one-hundred feet to the south of the old church building, a six-telephone-pole with roof and concrete-pad building was constructed so that the family could have the picnic comfortably at the site. Many years ago, we didn’t have the nice riding lawnmowers that are available today. Before the reunion, someone had to go to the location and cut the weeds that had grown. Also, removing the many fallen branches and other general clean-up was required. I don’t remember attending a reunion in the ‘shed’.
My uncle Ansel and aunt Ruby owned a lake-house on Clear Pond that was only a few miles north of the Bethesda Church site. He offered to host the gathering at his lake-house. (And we would have running water and a bathroom there.) So – the reunion was moved to the lake for many years. Well – time passed and both uncle Ansel and aunt Ruby passed away. Their lake-house was sold and his son, “J”, offered to host the reunion at his house. He has hosted the reunion for many years and has – this is almost unbelievable – built a room onto his house so that we can all dine in his house addition (in comfort with air-conditioning). He also has an indoor swimming pool that many younger family members enjoy. I will post pictures that I took of the Bethesda church location and cemetery. I have refrained from posting J’s house because of privacy concerns. (Note: Clear Pond is on Highway 601 South of Bamberg about 9.5 miles. If you drive from Bamberg toward Ehrhardt and pass the Andrew Jackson Academy, you just passed the left turn for Clear Pond and you need to turn around. Also, for family members who never visited Aunt Florine’s farm and my grandmothers house, which burned many years ago – the location is about 9 miles south of Bamberg on Highway 601. (Look for paved driveway entrances. They are south of the telephone poles with transformers.) In olden days, when my family gathered at grandmothers farm on Sunday afternoon, my older cousins used to walk through the fields from grandmothers house to Clear Pond. I wasn’t old enough to cross the creek without getting wet.)
Hope that you enjoy all of the pictures and history.
In memory of : Olivia McMillan, who was born in 1841 and died in 1909.
First Gallery – many Bamberg pictures:
Second gallery: Bethesda Church and location of where aunt Florine’s house used to exist pictures:
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