Remembering the good ol’ days

Published 9:15 pm Saturday, July 19, 2008

In history books, everyone has read about times when people didn’t lock their doors or worry about who their neighbors were because they knew each other and spoke often.

Those days were actually not that long ago. It is a shame that our society has fallen as far away from family and community as it has.

The Verbena Historical Society is out to slow down time to show their youth just what the history of the town means and how important it is to the people that live there today.

On County Road 59, the main road in Verbena has a gazebo that was built in honor of the town and its history.

“My family has owned this property since the early 1870’s when they bought a home here. It is a great treat to get to sit here in the place that I grew up and remember how everything used to be,” Caroline Cumbie said.

Cumbie said she can remember where everything was in and around the house, including how the rooms were set up and having a barn, chicken house, servant house and a smoke house all in the back yard.

“Looking back, it seems like this place was so much bigger, but I guess when you are little then everything in the world seems to be larger than it really is,” she said.

Cumbie’s family was a big part of Verbena and its development. Her grandparents, the Duramuses, owned many stores in the county, including cotton gins. Cumbie’s father worked in a store in Verbena, and her mother was the postmaster of the local post office. Cumbie said one of the only times you ever really saw people out together was during the time when the mail would be delivered.

“The post office was right beside the train station, so it was easy to visit people who were traveling to and from Verbena while getting your mail and chatting with neighbors about how their days had been,” Cumbie said. “Our house always seemed to be filled with people, though. I can’t remember a time when the table wasn’t full of family, guests and food.”

One of Cumbie’s favorite parts of the property was a large magnolia tree that grew right beside her old room. To this day, the tree is still standing and now offers shade to the gazebo that has been built in honor of the town’s history.

Cumbie said the community came together as a whole to build the gazebo, and it has now held many successful events there including weddings, receptions and even their historical society meetings.

Recently, the community of Verbena was announced as a National Historical Site due to the historic homes, church and now gazebo found within its town limits. Many of the homes in Verbena were rebuilt in the 1920’s but still hold their historical value to the community.

“I can remember doing things in this community like learning how to skate down the sidewalk and taking food to new neighbors’ houses,” Cumbie said. “Now, I would really like to see the newer generations get involved in preserving the history of the families here. I can remember having street festivals with bands playing in the gazebo after the house was torn down and this place was built. The kids around here haven’t ever gotten to know what a street festival is like and how important community is.”

The historical society will host a meeting at 3:30 p.m. today at the gazebo where members who have moved away from Verbena can come out and celebrate as they talk about even more things they can do to help get the youth active in preserving their historical town.

“We came from a time when nobody even thought about locking their doors, and now you can hardly find someone who doesn’t. The kids should have the opportunity to live in a society where everyone understands how things work and the true meaning behind being a community and a family member,” Cumbie said.