Flatwoods

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
    in secure homes,
    in undisturbed places of rest.

Isaiah 32:18 NIV

When my Mom was a child her family lived in Flatwoods, Kentucky while my grandfather worked for the railroad.  For some reason, my mom always equated living there with some of her best memories, even though she was only four at the time.  She told me that when one of the babies was born the children were sent to Preacher Cyrus’s house around the corner (Billy Ray’s grandfather).  His children played with Mom’s older siblings and it seems that when there was a birth they were sent to the Cyrus home to wait it out.

One of her memories was of an upstairs room wallpapered in newspaper print.  She remembered a skeleton on the paper, probably from an advertisement.  She also remembered walking across the back alley to the post office.  Once some cousins from grandma’s side of the family sent them a large box of clothes with chocolate laying on top.  She remembered having to help her brother Bill, lug the box home from the post office.

 

The blue house was the one Mom lived in; White house was the Cyrus house

Several years ago she and Dad went back to Flatwoods looking for the house and the old post office. The post office no longer existed but the foundation was there.  They stopped to take a look; a local policeman stopped by to see if he could help them.  They shared their story with him and he confirmed that the post office had at one time stood on that spot. They had trouble finding the street she had lived on so they stopped in at a local mart for directions.  A gentleman there remembered the Maddox’s – turned out he had played with Mom’s brother, Billy, so he knew exactly where they needed to go.  When they arrived at the house the current owners came out to talk to them and showed them around their home. Some things had changed over the years but Mom still recognized it.  It was a great day for Mom getting to revisit a place that had been lodged in her heart since childhood.

In 2014, before Mom’s memories were completely gone and she still mentioned Flatwoods we took another drive.  By this time the street she had lived on had been renamed Cyrus Ct. after Billy Ray. The house he owned pre-Achy Breaky Heart sits next door to the house Mom had lived in. This time we had to go to the Library to find the directions because Mom’s memories were scattered, Dad couldn’t remember the name of the first street we needed to turn on and the alley behind the house had been opened so it was situated a little different.

All we had to go on was that it was around the corner from the Cyrus home, so I marched into the Flatwoods library and told them we were looking for my Mom’s childhood home that was around the corner from the Cyrus’s.  I’m sure they thought we were just curious and being nosy.  They got out the map and showed us the street and explained how to get there. So we did a drive by and took a few pictures.  It was a bittersweet day because I knew Mom’s memories were fading fast and that it would probably be her last trip to Flatwoods to walk down memory lane.

 

I’m not sure of the reason that Flatwoods had such a tug on Mom’s heart but it did. It seemed that Flatwoods represented a happy time in her life. Don’t we all have memories of those places that represent some of our greatest happiness in life?  I’m glad we took her back one last time.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Flatwoods

  1. Teresa, thanks for sharing the memories! I have never heard the story of the Cyrus family. Mom had mentioned Flatwoods several times, but no details. So glad you got to visit there with your Mom. ❤️❤️

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    1. For years Mom kept referring to the man as preacher Sorrel (how she heard it as a child), but once she and Dad had gone back several years ago and we figured out where everybody lived and she saw the houses we realized that it was the Cyrus family. Pretty cool story. I would imagine that the brothers probably were around the same age as Billy Ray’s dad. The little street that the house is on makes a curve – it’s really more of an alley than a street. The house that our mom’s lived in was on one corner and Billy Ray’s grandpa’s house was on the other. The house that billy Ray had lived in would not have been built when they lived there so I’m guessing it was an empty lot. If you are ever up that way you should look it up.

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      1. Also, Kim, I’d say your Mom was one of the babies being born when Mom had to go to Preacher Cyrus’s house or at least she would have been very young. I think they lived there from 1944-46

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  2. I don’t know how I’ve missed your series before but it caught my eye tonight. We are listed right next to each other. My series is 31 Days of Grieving Well. I hope writing is helping you process through the loss of your mom.

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    1. Thanks! The writing has been helpful. I saw your series and made a mental note to chek it out once the 31 days were over. I was out of town last week, but I plan to spend some time over the next few weeks reading your words about grief.

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