Friday, February 15, 2008

Faces & Places On Milton's Thompson Road.

by Patti Silva and Abbe Laboda / / Milton Herald

Look around you. Milton, our beautiful newborn city, is a sight to behold. Barns of all colors entice us. Old homes, exuberant with character, seem to hold all the unknown mysteries of our small town. Grandmothers and grandfathers driving in a well-worn Chevy or Ford elude us as we drive to the next activity.We have found that within our city limits' acreage and beyond, two, three and four generations co-exist on these unpaved and newly paved roads. Whether we wrap our arms around our differences or choose to bicker about it, is up to each one of us. The way we look at it, our generation has a lot to learn from the older generations.They are the folks who plowed the land, raised their horses, fed their cattle and opened their general stores. These are the same people we drive by today and wonder who are they? What used to happen here?One day we stopped wondering and starting listening. We stopped to talk with the folks that we see and listened to their stories. Milton is overflowing with stories. Each story led to another, and then another, and well, you get the idea.We have much to learn as new Miltonians. After all, it is the original Miltonian's love for the area and its preservation thereof that has made Milton what it is today: A place we all have chosen to make our home.We have uncovered so much history in our gem of a city and found that colorful stories are glowing everywhere. And everywhere we go people are asking for more.We hope you enjoy Milton's Faces and Places.

Hazel and Dorris WhiteFor four years Patti Silva drove by a man and his dog sitting on his front porch on Thompson Road and wondered about his story. Finally, last year, she stopped her car and said hello. Their curious conversation led to something very near and dear to their hearts: Milton, and of what will become of our new city.Patti and Dorris White hope that the barns, in all their rustic beauty, the majestic horses and grazing cows don't disappear. Patti thought how lucky he was to have grown up with such beauty surrounding him in such a tight community. He agreed.White was born in 1938 in Milton and passed away a few weeks after our eye-opening conversation in April 2007. One of White's fondest memories of Milton was to walk up and down the road "without being run over." Like most roads at the time, Thompson Road was dirt and gravel. The residents like it that way.White farmed while attending school, which was a sign of the times. He plowed with a mule until the age of 20, when he saved enough money to buy a tractor.

He said parents of that generation kept their children busy with family chores "to keep the kids out of meanness.""Today parents don't plan enough chores for their kids. I think you need to talk about this," White said.Different from our children-chauffeuring, Publix-running, e-mailing life of today, White's generation of families were self-sustaining. They grew their own vegetables, made their own bread and fixed their own tractors.Almost everyone in Milton knew a trade. It was a humble and friendly place. Most people didn't have much of an income, but no one went hungry. They looked after each other, as White explained.Recognize the beautiful and tattered building on the corner of Hopewell and Thompson? That was the original "White's Grocery Store" owned by White's father, Ernest White. It was the only place to buy gas in the area for quite a while."We sold gas for 10 or 15 cents a gallon," said White. "We sold it on credit. The whole time the store was open for business only one person didn't pay."They closed the business in 1949.
Young love
At 17, White married a 15-year-old beauty named Hazel. They made the old storehouse their first home as teenagers. Afterward a local mechanic used it.Today, the family uses it for storage. Mr. White told us, "One day I saw a truck parked outside of the storehouse and a man sitting on the ground leaning against his truck tire. He had something in his lap and he kept looking up and then back down again. The man was painting the old storehouse."It's a beautiful building in its own right. It whispers charm with its repairs and muted colors, a rustic taste of Milton's past."It's a keepsake now", Hazel said.Behind it is the Mill House almost historically preserved. The house next to the mill belonged to Alma Phillips."My people, the Phillips (of the Hopewell community), gave the land for the church," White said.That would be Hopewell Baptist Church on Hopewell Road. White also lent the land to Fulton County to build the fire station next door to his home.
More information on fire station and his involvement can be found in the October 4, 2007 issue of the Milton Herald, The Heroes of Thompson Road. We asked White and Hazel to share more memories."As a youngster I had no bike, but at about 8 or 9 years old I got one. Daddy couldn't afford it, no peddles, no chain, but I put it on top of the hill and rode it all the way down," Mr. White said with a smile.He added, "I just love the country. I've been a lot of places and I ain't seen nowhere I like better than here. Somethin' about it I like."Hazel said, "He'll sit on the front porch all day."We asked them what they wanted the next generation to know. White said, "Get along with the 'old nobheads' that's here and find out what went on in their day so they can follow in their footsteps."Not bad advice for an experienced original Miltonian.When you pass someone, remember to wave.

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