By Beverly Wittler
Of course we love our parents’ names; my mom was named Lollie and my dad, Edwin. I admired a fellow student who protected others and so named a son after him, Leslie. My first husband wanted to name our twins Darrell and Dewayne but I won with Ronald and Donald. Then as we were expecting our little girl, Norman and I went back and forth between Savannah and Sylvie but finally settled on Samantha.Naturally her older brothers dubbed her Sam as soon as she joined the family!
My great grandfather arrived here from Ireland and his first name was Ignacius! Of course he changed his last name from O’Rourk to Rooks, because the Irish were looked down upon back in those days. After arriving in Maryland he trained people’s horses for a while and then followed his future bride to Jackson, Ga. He became a builder there, opened his own home improvement store and on Wednesdays he hosted horse sales behind his office building. He actually built several schoolhouses, his own residence and some apartment buildings plus of course the Jackson school’s huge gym. My Mom’s maiden name was Ogletree and she came from Crawfordville, Ga. Lots of outhouses and wells in most of the homes back in the fifties and our grandmother Ma, was so happy when they moved out of their former funeral home residence into a small rental with indoor plumbing and city water and sewer services. Like my Rooks relatives the Ogletree men were diligent about being military and protecting their country.
Then we moved on to Henry County and found some more great names. I enjoyed working for Bill Wilkerson at First National Bank of McDonough, then his daughter Sheila filled in for me while I was out having my third son. I never heard the name Wilkerson in Jackson nor Mosely. (I enjoyed working with Colvin Mosely too.) We eventually moved out to the building just across from what’s now CVS and that’s where we were robbed. After I’d done my assignment of pulling down the shade over the drive in window facing the Night Owl, I picked up the phone which automatically went to our bookkeeping department and told Ethleen Tingle that we’d just been robbed. She laughed, told me not to be kidding her and hung up! But branch manager Randall Holcomb called her back and assured her it was true so they could contact our heroes in uniform. I always kept in touch with Ethleen but now have to gaze up to the heavens to speak with her. I am so glad I knew her and so many more. I always respected our customers. I still remember Zack Hinton’s smile and some of his employees’ faces are permanently engraved in my memory. I liked the Cook barber shop across the street too, and of course Zip’s neat fast food restaurant. I wouldn’t know near as many names and people, if I hadn’t worked in town, first on the Square where we knew all the business owners and their staff. I loved walking around to the clothing and furniture stores on my lunch hour. I still remember where the Greyhounds stopped to pick up people who needed to get to Atlanta. Would gaze at the Brown house as I waited for my ride, then hop on the bus and watch the scenery. Neat that PJs Cafe was once a furniture store where I bought my upright piano. Of course First National Bank of McDonough later became a pawn shop and now my former Ward Drugs is a neat book store. I’m glad all those names are still in my brain. Neat name of our town too, McDonough, and this county, Henry, too. Thanks Henry County Times, for the wonderful pictures from the past. I love living here!
Beverly Wittler has four children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. She lives in McDonough with her husband.