My Dad, Luther "Spot" McCoy, was 61 when he married my Momma, Dora Frances Barfield McCoy, who was 18. Dad and Mom had been married twice before. Dad had six children from his second wife, but only two had grown to be adults. Dad was born January 7, 1889, in Inman, Marion County, Tennessee. Mom was born January 16, 1932, in Soddy. When they married it was January 1950. I was born in December of 1950.
Momma was married at 16 years old to Mr.
Young and then at 17 to Rollin Guin. Daddy's first wife, Crittle Dickart, he married in 1908. His second wife, Lorene, he married in 1918. Then Momma in 1950.
Grandpa bought the house at 3415 5th Avenue in 1901. It was called Avenue "E" back then. All Dad's brothers and one sister had lived and died there, except Uncle John who lived next door. Dad worked at Oak Ridge for many years before he married Mom. After me came James in 1952, Janet in 1954 and Robin in 1959. We were 12 brothers and sisters of various ages, the oldest born in 1919 and the youngest in 1959, 40 years apart. We were happy.
Uncle John bought the house next to Dad's and Ruby, Uncle John's daughter, bought a house down the street from us. Cynthia, Dad's oldest daughter, was born in the house down the street from us and married and bought the house across from where she was born. Johnny, my oldest brother, lived on the next street, Avenue "D", with his wife.
We all went to East Lake Elementary and East Lake Junior High School. We walked to school - there was never a school bus. Girls wore dresses and boys had their shirts tucked in. We had music classes and even in the summer we practiced. I would come home from school and start teaching the younger kids what I learned that day.
We knew everyone on our streets and beyond by name. We always said please and thank you and Yes Sir and Yes Mam. Mom's Mom lived on Chamberlain Avenue. We had Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. Grandma cooked wonderful meals.
Mom and Dad went to the "curb market" and bought vegetables. Dad went to Holsum and Colonial bakery and bought bread. Back then they had small loaves of bread for kids. They were wonderful tasting.
We rode bicycles that were refurbished by Mom. We had skates and the keys to operate them. Dad went to "Soap Stone" and got chalk for us to play hopscotch on the sidewalks. Also, Red Rover, May I and tag.
When we went to school each year, we went to Buster Brown's Shoes on Holtzclaw Avenue and bought them.
We played with the neighborhood kids - the Worleys, the Coffees, the Shirleys, the Derryberrys and many more. At eight years old, I worked for the corner grocer, Mr. and Mrs. Proctor. We had corner grocers all around us. Penny candy was the rage then.
We went to South Pittsburg to cousin Claude's cabin and had picnics and slept on feather tick mattresses and lots of quilted comforters. We fished at the East Lake Park and at the Chickamauga Dam and went swimming at Harrison Bay.
We went to church on 4th Avenue at the Methodist Church, Dad was a Methodist. Mom was Church of God, so we went to Ridgedale Church of God with grandma and Mom and her brothers and sisters on Dodds Avenue at 18th Street. Also, we went to Highland Park Baptist and Philadelphia Baptist.
We kids were all born by the same doctor, Dr. Stone. We had the same baby doctor, Dr Gibson, for all our illnesses and stitches when we played too rough. We played in a pull-behind trailer and Jim fell out and we went to check on him while we were still in the trailer. It caused the trailer tongue to fall and break his leg. We all had measles at the same time. We used one of Mom's big beds and folded up the blankets and made couches and chairs in the bed for our furniture.
In October 1962 we sat on the front porch waiting for the coming war with Cuba, and prayed. In 1963 we lost a wonderful President and we prayed.
Daddy died at 86 in Chattanooga. Momma died in 2001 living across the street from Daddy's house on Avenue E or better known as 5th Avenue. Daddy was 5 foot 1 inches tall and weighed about 105 pounds. Mom was 5 foot 5 and weighed about 200 pounds.
There have been trying times over my many years, but a family we are. We love with a passion. We talk to each other. It has been a wonderful life for me. There are only three of us kids left. But we have kids and grandkids and great grandkids, and nieces and nephews. I am very honored to have been raised in East Lake. My childhood was filled with many people and lots of love for my community.