Stanley, My Utopia On Earth
By Faye Helms Moore
|On the front porch of Faye Helms Moore's
grandparent's home are her grandfather, Kenneth Moore, Faye and her sister, Mary.
My name is Faye Helms Moore and I was born August 22, 1931 in a big white two story house right in
the middle of Stanley. Since this was during the Great Depression, my parents and my young sister, Mary,
moved in with my grandparents, Kenneth "Papa" and Emma "Mama" Moore and my Uncle Jack. My parents,
Ernest and Mary Helms, were like many young couples moving back home until the economy picked up. I
spent a big part of my life right there on Main Street and I felt as if I knew everybody in Stanley and they knew
me as well. These people were dear to me-- they were my friends, young and old, and I loved them.
Stanley was a peaceful place where neighbors were church going people and very caring. We were all
pretty much in the same boat, meaning nobody seemed to have much money, but we were rich in so many
ways. Aunts Kate and Jennie Jenkins lived next door and we were like one big happy family. Papa had a well
planned back yard which consisted of a well and smoke house filled with the best country cured ham and sacks
of cured sausage. There was a wash house with a bench holding three large tubs and a large wash pot built in
a furnace. This is where Mama boiled her clothes, and they were always pretty and white. She also rendered
the fat out of the meat at hog killing time. Some of it was used for lard and some for mixing with ashes and
making lye soap. A wood shed was always full of split wood for Mama's cook stove and laundry heater.
Papa's work bench and tools were in their place and he made a swing for me out there. In this part of the back
yard he also had fruit trees of every kind - - apple, pear, peach, apricot, walnut and a fig bush. In the very back
part of this less than an acre, Papa had a barn yard filled with chickens, a pig pen at the very back, a corn crib
full of corn and other vegetables such as potatoes and onions, then there was a two stabled barn. One stable
was for Bess the horse and the other for Pet the cow. We had a loft filled with hay and we played in it. Papa
also had two sheds built onto the barn, one was a place for milking the cow. Sometimes Papa would hold me
on his lap and let me try to milk and the most fun was squirting milk in the cat's bowl and sometimes getting
it on them. All of this barnyard was fenced in with a small gate for us to walk through and a big gate for the
Our front yard had a well groomed hedge all the way around and three large trees, which I climbed in.
Outside the yard toward the street was a dirt sidewalk lined with Elm trees. To me these trees were stately and
beautiful. In the fall of the year the smoke from the fallen leaves smelled so good as they were raked in piles
and burned. It was a sad time for me to later see these trees cut down; of course it was for a wider street and
nice concrete sidewalks.
These years in my life were so wonderful, the happiest time, a carefree time and sometimes I would cut
cartwheels all the way up to the store on the corner. The Post Office, W. W. Hovis' Clothing Store and J. W.
Dellinger's Store were up the street and Wallace's Furniture store was on the other corner. When I went to
the drug store the old-timers always wanted to buy me a piece of candy or a cone of ice cream. This suited me
fine. Even the conductors on the passenger train and the engineers on the locomotives and later the streamliner
trains were friendly.
Papa let me ride on the wagon with him to his fifteen acre farm one mile from Stanley. Now this was a
treat. I would be so happy, I waved to all my friends as we crossed the railroad tracks going through the middle
of Stanley. We would go along and our little dog, Spot, would run along until it got tired and then it would
jump on the wagon. Papa had the neatest farm and after he gathered the vegetables and did whatever he had to
do he would take me to the creek and let me wade. Then back to town with sacks filled with good fresh
vegetables. He would always empty the sacks out on the big screened-in porch and call Aunt Kate to come get
whatever they wanted. Mama and Papa also shared the sweet and butter milk, butter and eggs, with them.
They were our family and we loved them dearly. Aunt Jennie gave me many baths and rocked me to sleep
whenever she could get me still enough. Aunt Kate had a millinery shop in the front of her house and she was
also a wonderful seamstress. Mama was also a fine seamstress and had a few special customers in town.
Mama also kept busy cooking and canning. Every evening we all got together on their big front porch that
wrapped around the side. We had a swing and lots of rocking chairs and Mama rocked me to sleep nearly every
night. It was so much fun to sit out there and talk because everybody passing by would stop and talk or at least
speak. This was a very enjoyable time in my life and I thought Mama had the best lap in the world ---she was
the only person in my life that petted me and made me feel so special. She was my security and I wanted to
pattern my self after her when I grew up.
By the time I was five I had a baby brother. My mother gave him my father's name, but when Papa heard
him cry he said the baby sounded like his little bull calf, Buck, so that is how my brother got his nick-name.
I started to school that year and was in Miss Beulah Rhyne's class. I think all the children in our family
were in her class. Mr. Kiser was the principal then and was still there when I graduated. Tom Rozelle was the
janitor and was so kind to all the children. When it was time for school to start, he would let them pull on the
big rope and ring the bell on top of the school house. We didn't have a cafeteria so we had a lunch break and
we would run up that big hill and go home to eat. All the children that lived close by could do this, but the bus
riders had to bring their lunch or run to the store and get something. We had two school houses - - we called
them high school and low school. Our large auditorium was over the elementary school and we had a play or
some kind of gathering every week.
By the time I was eight my mother and daddy had built us a home one and a half miles from town. We
still stayed at our grandparents after school because our mother had a secretarial job in Charlotte and my father
was also working out of Charlotte. We lived in the country now and we had our first horse and pony. My
mother and brother, Buck, enjoyed riding as much as I, but my sister had other interests. She loved to play the
piano and was so talented. She has a God-given touch. I love to hear her play and she has been the organist
for fifty three years at the Lutheran Church in Stanley. I took dancing lessons and learned many different kinds
of dance and I enjoyed this very much, but I'm sorry to say dancing didn't help me in life as my sister's music
helped her. Although my sister and I were different in many ways, we have always been so very close. She
and I have always leaned on each other and we have the best time together.
In October of 1941 our youngest brother, David, was born. Sis and I were big enough to be good baby
sitters and Sis was especially good, as she was the kind of little girl that always played with dolls and had a
motherly instinct, and I being a tom-boy, enjoyed a lot of out door things.
Everything seemed to be going pretty good and then one Sunday, December 7, 1941, I was standing on
my grandparents front porch and I looked out front and saw my Uncle Jack talking to one of his friends,
Andrew Rhyne. As they stood there I noticed they had a solemn look on their faces. I remember my Uncle
Jack put his foot up on the back bumper of his car and kind of leaned over. These young men were doing some
serious talking and soon we were to find out that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese and this meant
there would be a war. On that day I didn't realize what an impact and change would be in our lives. This uncle
that I loved as a brother, the one I trusted my life with as a little child .....I would hold on to a rope and let him
pull me way up in a tree, he would ride his bike down the side walk real fast and hold his hand out for me and
I would grab his arm and he would swing me up on his back onto the handlebars and not slow down. I thought
he was the best bike rider ever and the best uncle. Now years later he was going to join the Air Force and I was
worried. Mama and Papa had already lost one son, Wilbur, "Bub," in an automobile accident as he was coming
home from college at Christmas time. They never had and never did get over this.
Soon I found out we were going to move to Southern Pines. My father was a building superintendent
at Fort Bragg Military Base, so we went to school half a school year there. Later we moved to Jacksonville,
my dad's work took him to Camp Lejeune, the Marine Base. Here again, we spent one half year in another
school. I went to Charlotte's Elizabeth School the whole sixth grade. This great war had caused a lot of heart
ache as families were split in all directions and everywhere we lived I would talk about Stanley and they would
ask me where that was, and I was quick to say its the best place in the world. I honestly could hardly wait to
get back home to Stanley. An awful lot happened in those war years. I prayed as hard as I ever prayed in my
life. I wanted things to be like it was when I was a small child. We didn't feel the security we once had. Gas
was rationed, tires were rationed, sugar and even shoes. You couldn't go anywhere unless you went by bus or
train. You couldn't make candy or bake many cakes and we learned to take care of our shoes.
By 1946 the war was over and soon we would be back home, to Stanley, the place where I lived my
happiest years where I could finish school with my friends, where I could go to my church and thank God for
a safe return of families that were pulled apart, for peace and most of all for my dear grandparents and aunts
who had always been there for all of us, always showing love. I wish it was a happy time for every family but
two boys from Stanley and one from Alexis lost their life in action. We are sad for these families.
We all did a lot of growing up in many different ways, in body, spiritually and in wisdom - knowing
full well that peace and the love of God was what bound family, friends, and all of us together.
In 1948 George Moore and I got married. George, I'm proud to say, was a Marine and served in the South Pacific. He was
going to Belmont Abbey and I graduated from Stanley High. Both of us lived most of
our life right here. We have seen many changes and growth in our town and we are
always interested in the new developments and businesses. George and I have three
children, Mike, Jacquelyn, and Elizabeth; and three grandchildren. All of our children
live close by. We all go to the Methodist Church.
I have worked twenty seven years in the Gaston County School System as a
teacher's assistant and a substitute teacher. When I retired my co-workers encouraged
me to write and illustrate children's books. I have completed four and hopefully I will
find a publisher soon. George also is retired and we are enjoying these years to the fullest.
Although my grandparents died many years ago, I still go and sit on the big
front porch of the big white house where I was born and think of the wonderful memories of Stanley
- my Utopia on Earth.
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