The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mayberry Memories - How Mayberry's First Party Line Saved A Home

By Coy Lee Yeatts © 1985

Issue: May, 1985

Editor’s Note: Mayberry, Virginia is located 2.8 miles south of Meadows of Dan, Virginia and 4.3 miles south of Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not much is left of the once thriving community but the memories will live forever.

Way back in my memories, when I was a boy of four, people were just beginning to have telephones in their homes around Mayberry. They used them to learn from their neighbors what was new. The great depression, radios and Mexican bean beetles had not yet arrived. The chestnut trees were dying out from the blight, but tumble bugs, whippoorwills, lightning bugs, bob whites, and owls were plentiful. There were no fire departments closer than far away cities.

We lived in Kettle Hollow. That's the place, in Mayberry, where I got my early start. Daddy had gone to cut timber near where our new house was going to be built. Mother was talking to somebody on the new phone when I heard a roaring up in the loft [attic] and it looked to me like our home was on fire. I got Mother's attention for a minute and she said it was on fire, so she hollered for help over the telephone line.

Then, we carried Lorraine, my baby sister, out in the yard in her cradle. (I think maybe Mother did most of the carrying.) My little sister Floray stood by the cradle and looked after Lorraine.

There was a ladder close by and Mother moved it to the house and in just seconds, Lane Scott came running down the path. As fast as he could, he carried water from a small tub that was under a water spout down at the branch below the house (a spout is what water runs into a house through or tub from, like an aqueduct only shorter), up the ladder and put the fire out. Then, from over the hill came Daddy and Guy Barnard. They had run about a mile. Aunt Lizzy Wood had been listening in when Mother had hollered for help and she had passed the word to them. They removed all the burnt shingles, then went down to the barn, got more shingles and soon had the damage repaired.