Saturday, December 31, 2011


 As I sit here in my living room and the time to welcome in New Years 2012 approaches, I listen to the fireworks exploding and remember a Unionville New Years Eve that will forever be etched in my family's memory.  The following is the story of that night:


New Year’s Eve was usually a quiet celebration in the small community of Unionville, Louisiana in the 1950’s.  But there is one New Year’s Eve celebration that will be long remembered by the Colvin, Jones and Roberson families.
For several years there was an impromptu fireworks display put on by our Jones family and the Roberson family from Shreveport.  That celebration brought excitement to the local community and passersby on the main highway through Unionville.  Uncle M R Roberson had some connections and was able to get a huge supply of all types of fireworks.  When Uncle M R, Aunt Theo and their two sons Ernie and Mickey would come for a visit during the New Year holidays, they would bring enough of these fireworks for us to put on a first class fireworks display.
When Uncle M R would open the trunk of the car, all of us would gawk at the unbelievable supply of firecrackers, cherry bombs, sky rockets, roman candles, aerial bombs and sparklers.  Each of us would select the fireworks that we wanted and place them in cardboard boxes ready for the night of the fireworks display.  On the day set for the big fireworks show, each of us would choose our position for the display.  The location for the display was the high bank on the side of the “tee” intersection of Highway 167 and 822.  This high bank was across the highway from the Colvin and Jones Grocery Store and the parking area gave plenty of room for passing traffic on the roads to pull off and watch the show.
Once darkness had fallen, we would all take our positions and get ready to start the show.  Now, this was not really a real organized type of show so everyone just did their own little show.  But, once the show got to rolling it was very impressive and many people driving along the highway would pull over and stop to watch.
On one New Year’s Eve when I was a young teenager we had an unexpected, spectacular and unexpected closing to the show.  The show had been going on for about an hour and everyone had used about half of their fireworks.  It has gotten black dark and as I searched around in my box for the fireworks that I wanted to use I could not see very well.  Being a young man who acted first and then later thought about what repercussion his actions would have, I decided that more light was needed for me to find the fireworks I wanted.  The first thing that came to my mind was a sparkler, so I grabbed a sparkler, lit it and stuck it down into my box for light.  What happened next was a total shock to everyone including myself.  As I stuck the sparkler into the box it set off some of my fireworks in the box and I jumped back and dropped the sparkler into the box of fireworks.  What followed was the most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display ever in Unionville as all of the fireworks started exploding and going in different directions.



Snow was rare in Unionville, but I remember more large snows in the mid 1900's in North Louisiana than we have at the present.  One snow fall of over six inches in the Winter of 1961-62 combined with temperatures near zero kept the roads impassable for a week.  I had just married and was in my Sophomore year at Louisiana Tech.  I missed a full week of school but we had plenty of fun hunting rabbits and playing in the snow.  My grandparents' house was built on piers about three feet above the ground with all of the water piping underneath, so if we did not leave the water dripping each night we would have no water the next day.  Those were some of the things that were not so good back in the "good ole days".

The pictures are of a snow fall in Unionville in the early 1950's.  The top picture is my grandparent's house and it looks like we had a good three to four inches of snow.  The second picture shows the side of the store with the longest icicles that I have ever seen.  Mother had us kids all dressed warm for getting out in the snow.  We all had our boots, heavy coats, and gloves on and Penny had a scarf to keep her ears warm.  Richard and I had on our aviator caps with the ear flaps to keep our ears covered and warm.  That is a style that you do not see much of in North Louisiana these days.

I certainly enjoyed playing in the snow and making snowmen but the best part was coming inside,  getting warm, and then setting down to a big bowl of delicious snow ice cream that Mother had made.  That is what memories are made of.  Keep watching - more snow pictures to follow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Merry Christmas From The Unionville Joneses!

 The Unionville Joneses wish you a very merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year.  If you haven't done so look at my page "Unionville Stories" and click on the link to my story about "Christmas in Unionville".  This story was written several years ago and tells of some of the activities in the small community of Unionville during Christmas time.  Christmas was a very special time for my family and I will forever hold precious memories of the Christmas mornings that we spent together.  My father would get up early and fix us a scrumptious (we called it laripin) breakfast and mother would always have the radio on playing Christmas music to set the mood.

The pictures to the left show Christmas time in my parents living room during two different periods.  The top picture was made during the late 1950's and shows my sister Penny, my brother Richard and myself in front of our Christmas tree.  I am sure that the Christmas tree was a real tree.  Mother would not allow a artificial tree to be in her house during this time.  The bottom picture was made in the late 1960's and show my wife Esther, myself, and our two children at that time, Lynne and James, Jr.  There were always plenty of presents for everyone piled under the Christmas tree.  Take special notice of the Christmas tree in this picture.  It was an artificial aluminum tree that was mother's pride and joy.  Her views on the type of tree to have for Christmas had certainly changed in the years between these two pictures.  This tree came with a spot light with a multicolored wheel that would change the color of the tree as the wheel rotated.  This was a sight to behold through the picture window at the front of our house.

I hope that everyone has pleasant memories of Christmas during the time they were growing up and will take time to pass these memories on to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


A Picture With Many Memories And Much Unionville History

This picture is full of memories and history for me.  First, this is a picture of my brother Richard taking a walk with our Grandfather Ernest "Tut" Colvin which brings back many pleasant memories from my childhood.  Tut always had time to spend with his grandchildren, whether it was a simple walk or taking us on one of his fishing trips.  His time spent with us will be memories that will stay with us for our entire lives and have molded our lives such that we know the importance of spending time with our own grandchildren to create these type memories for them.  They are walking toward my grandparents' house from the main highway (Hwy 167) that passed through Unionville.  I would guess that the time frame for this picture would be around 1950 gauging from my brother's age and the fact that the main highway seems to be paved.  The structure in the background was a frame for a brush arbor that my grandfather constructed each year to shade his watermelons that he sold on this corner.  This entire structure was covered with tree limbs which provided a cool shade in the hot summer time to peddle the watermelons.  In later years my parents build their house just beyond the two large oak trees just behind the structure.  Also, notice the road sign beside the highway on the right side of the picture.  Enlarging the photo I found that the sign read "Vienna 7 and Ruston 11".  Our highways and road signs have certainly come a long way in the years since this picture was taken.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Mother the Photographer

The majority of my posts are accompanied by a photograph that depicts the subject of my story in the post.  One thing that you will begin to notice about my pictures is that there is one person that is included in very few of them, and that would be my mother.  The reason for this is that she was the picture taking person in our family.  She always had her Kodak "Brownie" box camera handy and was snapping pictures of the family activities.  She always seemed to have the camera handy when they was a Kodak moment.  I am thankful for her hobby because I have inherited all of the pictures and negatives that she had collected over the years and have spent many hours enjoying them while trying to get them organized and digitized.  These pictures are the memory joggers that I use to remember some of the things that happened in our family as I was growing up and these are the things that I am sharing in my posts.  The picture above is one of the rare ones that includes mother.   The handsome fellow beside her is my dad.  This picture I would guess was made in the early 1940's and was made in front of my grandparent's house in Unionville.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Shelling Purple Hull Peas with Tut and Dell
Remember those summer days sitting in the yard under the shade tree and passing the time shelling peas?  Those were the good old days, no air conditioning or TV to keep everyone in the house so people actually had time to spend with each other.  This picture is my brother Richard and myself helping our grandparents shell peas in the cool of the shade tree in their front yard.  The store is in the background and on the left side of the picture is one of the large scuppernong grapes vines that those delicious grapes came from.  Remember how your fingers were purple after finishing shelling the peas?  We would try to remove the stains with lemons but some of it was going to remain and would just have to wear off.  The peas were usually fresh out of the garden so were not dry and were easy to shell, much better than what we get from the grocery stores today.  Grandmother Dell would cook up a big pot of peas and some cornbread for supper and I do not think there was a better meal on this Earth.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Will This One Do Mother?

In Unionville when it came time to find us a Christmas tree we did not have a tree lot around the corner where we could find a pre-cut "real tree".  There was no Wal-Mart in town where we could go find an artificial tree (God forbid).  So the Jones kids would all load up in the pick-up truck and head out to the woods to find the perfect tree to adorn our living room for Christmas.  Since we lived in the country and our grandparents owned land that was covered with cedar trees we had more than enough trees to choose from.  But, we would still spend much time wandering through the woods looking for the ideal tree that we hoped would pass our mother's inspection.  The criteria for the tree was that it was to be perfectly shaped with no "bad side".  Once we had finally found that perfect tree, out would come the saw and we would cut it down, carry it to the truck and head home.  Once the tree had passed Mother's inspection, it was into the house and then we would start decorating the most beautiful Christmas tree we ever had - at least until next year's tree.

The young Christmas tree harvesters in this picture are from left to right, my brother Richard, myself, and my sister Penny.  The information on the back of this picture dates it as our 1955 Christmas tree.  The picture was taken at our new home across the highway from the store which can be seen in the background.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pickin' Grapes

Between my grandparent's house and their store were two huge scuppernong grape vines that my grandfather, "Tut" had planted when they first built their house at Unionville.  When the grapes would begin to ripen in the late summer, one of our pleasant duties was to pick the grapes for our grandmother, "Dell" to make grape jelly and grape turnovers.  I call this one of our pleasant duties because we were able to eat as many as we wanted while we were picking them.  Dell made the best grape jelly that I have ever eaten in my life and she always had enough to supply us with for the entire year.  She was not one to let anything go to waste, so she make turnovers out of the left over skins of the grapes and when you bit into one of the turnovers you thought you had gone to Heaven.  The handsome young men in the picture are from left to right, my brother Richard, myself, and the one with his back to the camera my cousin Mickey from Shreveport.  Mickey was a "city" boy but loved to come over and visit and spend some time in the country.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Goin' Fishing


What better to do on a hot summer day than to go fishing.  This photo was made in 1955 at my grandparent's house in Unionville.  The adventuresome young men in the picture are; myself on the left, Richard Cox in the middle and my brother Richard on the right.  As you can see, although we are all barefoot, we are well equipped for fishing with our cane poles, cricket boxes and water jug.  Take special notice of the homemade cricket boxes.  These were the invention of my grandfather Tut who was the greatest bream and white perch fisherman that I have known.  Take special note of the special tin can top that would slide down into the box to keep the crickets from getting out.  In those days you could not just go to the corner store and get crickets but you had to catch your own.  So the crickets were a valuable commodity and we did not want any to escape before we had a chance to drown them.  We were probably heading out to one of our favorite fishing holes like Rome's pond or maybe Tut had a special fishing trip planned for us on Corney or D'Arbonne Bayou.  We would return at the end of the day with a big string of fish and be completely worn out, but a satisfied and happy group of boys who were only faced with the problem of who was going to clean all of those fish!

Some of the best memories that I have of growing up in Unionville are those of the many hours that I spent fishing with my grandfather Tut who taught me all that I needed to know about fishing and life.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Beginning

Unionville, Louisiana had always been the home of my maternal grandparents Ernest and LaDell Colvin, better known to everyone as "Tut" and "Dell".  My grandfather Tut farmed and ran a "mom and pop" service station/grocery store at the intersection of Highways 167 and 822 which was downtown Unionville.  Downtown Unionville at that time consisted of the store and my grandparents home, which was located next to the store.  There will be many more stories associated with the store and my grandparents that I will share as my blog continues.

My move to Unionville came about in 1949 when I was eight years old and my family moved from Linville, Louisiana to Unionville.  My family consisted of myself, my father Garland, my mother Ruth, my younger brother Richard and my sister Penny.  I will share the reason for this move in one of my future blogs.  We settled in at Unionville and my father became a partner in the store, which was named Colvin and Jones at that time.  We lived with my grandparents until 1953 when my parents build a new house across the road from the store.  My brother, sister and I grew up on this corner and this blog is some of the memories that I have of how life in rural North Louisiana was in the 1950's and 1960's.

Visit my blog regularly -  My plans are to post new stories frequently.  Also visit my "Unionville Gang" page, which will be stories of group of youngsters living around Unionville as they were growing up.

Map of Unionville, Louisiana