Hohenwald, most people have never heard of it. Those that have, know Mini Pearl, from Grand ole' Opry days.
Hohenwald, Tennessee was a
unlike Grinders Switch which was 10 miles north on the railroad.
Grinders Switch was an almost mythical place which was to Mini Pearl on
Grand Ole Opry as Lake Wobegon to Garrison Keeler on NPR. Mini
brought the news from Grinders Switch from 1940 until she died in 1996.
She was known for her Gingham dress and decorated straw hat with the
price tag still dangling from the side. I was only 5 when I heard my
first broadcast of Grand Ole Opry, and my dad was sure that she must be
talking about Hohenwald because Grinders Switch was just a one room
shack of a depot before you got to Centerville. Later when TV came
along and we saw what she looked like my dad knew she had to have
gotten that hat at his father's old store in Hohenwald. Rod (Leon)
Brasfield, who called himself the "Hohenwald Flash" also on Grand Ole
Opry also claimed Hohewald as his home and he and Mini took turns with
the punchline and invented a new kind of comedy with no straight man
and every retort was a punch line. They introduced the world to the
The reason for writing this is to introduce my family to a branch of the family that they have never heard of before. If you run your mouse over a picture and see the cursor turn into a pointing hand, you can right click and download a full size image to your computer and print it out or include it after resizing on you image editor. Double click the top image and see the difference as opposed to the Mini Pearl picture.
This is the store and the prices are marked in cents.
This is the John Andrew
Goodman building which housed his store , the Post Office and other
stores. Notice the number of people leaning on a post. That is
equivalent to saying "cheese" in our generation. It kept people from
moving during the lengthy exposure required by ancient cameras.
Addie Williams' Father owned
the Hotel Williams. Addie was my Grandmother and she married John
Andrew Goodman, who was my Grand Father. I have a brother who is John
Andrew Goodman and he has a son who is John Andrew Goodman.
This is Addie Williams Goodman's life as I know it. There are no other family members to guide me and I must use my own impressions of what happened by the images I carry in my mind at the age of 73.
Addie was born in Howhenwald, Tennessee into a good family and married a man named John Andrew Goodman who was an established Merchant. She had three children, named Laura, Felix Leon, and Paul. John became ill with a resperatory disease which I assume was consumption or tuberculosis as it is known now. The harsh winters and altitude of Hohenwald were not helping his condition and so the family moved to Florida and my father, Leon made a few friends and enjoyed a summer of swimming. It became obvious that other things besides warm weather was needed and the family packed up for a trip to Arizona which was supposed to be the cure for consumption at the time. The move was too late and my father, Leon became the man of the family at age 11.
Leon went to school in Tempe, Arizona for a couple of years and won some track events in spite of his slight build. As an adult he was only 5'4" and weighed barely 120 lbs. Addie and the children then went to El Paso, Texas where she established a boarding house using the knowledge she had from her family's experience in the hotel business. Leon was able to enter an apprenticeship with the Southern Pacific Rail Road as a machinist.
By the time he met my mother, Margaret Sabin, he had become established in his trade, but the Great Depression had started and even men with skills were at risk for unemployment.
When Leon and Margaret returned from their one night honeymoon across town, Margaret was told that she was family now and had to help out in the boarding house. They had only $15 between the two of them and Leon had to go out on a bridge gang for several weeks. They each took $5 and put the other $5 in the small jewelry box for whoever was going to need it next. The rest of that story will be on another page about Leon and Margaret.
Addie met a man named Forest Ernest who had two children, Sonny Boy and Edna Belle. He had been the Sheriff of Pietown, New Mexico and was going to be a dry land farmer near Lubbock, Texas. Addie spent the rest of her years as the wife of a dust bowl farmer a few miles outside of Brownfield, Texas.
I will comment later on some cultural differences of this life style.
style="color: (255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(255, 255,
alink="#006600" link="#330099" vlink="#CC66FF"
© Leon Goodman 2009