Going home again ... to Faith
By Bill Williams
It was Asheville’s Tom Wolfe who said you can’t go home again.
But then, he never met Gastonia’s Ginny Long. She goes home every weekend.
And loves every trip.
Ginny Long lives and works in Gastonia. When Friday afternoon comes, she closes Ginny’s Beauty Shop and Ginny’s Wigs and heads back to that little town of Faith, near Salisbury, back to where she was born, back to “where sweet magnolias blossom ‘round everybody’s door…”
Back to that fairytale reality, back to where she can breathe country air and feel like writing her own song. Back to the old home place on Basinger Kluttz Road, a few miles south of Faith.
Many years ago, when Ginny was a little girl, she played on huge boulders and tramped through swampy meadows and lived her own magical childhood on the acreage that her parents owned. That’s where six boys and six girls were born and reared.
By 1998, both parents and four boys had died. The old home acreage was divided into eight lots. Lot numbers were placed into a basket. Ginny drew “the swamp lot.”
She looked out across her property and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She decided to work.
“Work” included digging two ponds to hold the water that was keeping the swamps wet. The ponds quickly filled, fed by natural springs.
In 2009, Ginny Long purchased 3.25 more acres from a relative. Two more ponds and a few boulders came with the deal.
For the past dozen years, Ginny and her relatives have worked together to transform a weary and feeble tract of land into a picture-book setting.
They have found what cooperation and hard work can produce. Today, they proudly show off healthy crepe myrtles by the dozens, dogwoods, rose bushes, hundreds of day lilies and irises.
Not to mention the birds and butterflies and boulders. And the old home place fixed up, nice and comfortable.
“We have done this,” she said, “to make a small park in memory of our mom and dad. We can’t help but think Mom and Dad are sneaking a peak and saying: ‘A job well done, girls.’ ”
Meanwhile, the work goes on.
Ginny’s long-time boyfriend, Ronnie Nix, has been at the forefront of the project. He takes his orders from the property owners and takes pride in all of his efforts.
After the decision was made to transform the area, the six sisters and brothers-in-law started working each weekend, clearing land, cutting trees and planting.
Each weekend brought its own project.
“We work hard, have fun, laugh and then end the day with pooling our food and enjoying the fellowship,” Ginny said.
Ginny and her relatives and friends have done something worthwhile and amazing here, something that resonates from generation to generation.
We all need to get back to where we can breathe and feel free.
Said Judy Leazer, a sister:
“After years of going in different directions, mainly seeing each other on holidays and special occasions, ‘We came home’ to wonderful memories of a large family.”
Their mom and dad would be proud.
Faith native Bill (Darrell) Williams is the former Gaston Gazette editor.