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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hold Everything Lightly #2 {Nuclear}

Mr. Charlie, my granddaddy, and his family lived on the quiet and fertile
 banks of the Savannah River in Ellenton, South Carolina.
 In November, 1950 the federal government decided to build the Savannah River Plant to make tritium and plutonium for H-bombs. The town of Ellenton was comprised of thirty businesses, two schools and one railway. The population had declined after the first World War and the Great Depression to 760. The towns of Dunbarton and Meyers Hill and other unincorporated areas would all be relocated. The sidewalks of Ellenton still exist but are strictly off limits to visit. In total 6000 people and 6000 graves were moved. Grandaddy had six of our family members moved to a new family plot in the Jackson city cemetery. He would build his house there on the perimeter of that cemetery with the help of his four sons. Grandaddy had a third grade education but was well read, self taught and managed to support his family. He was a strict disciplinarian to the point that his discipline crossed the line, smashed the line. I have been told, in my adult years, that he tied my daddy in the barn for hours at a time. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of this. I thought grandaddy to be harsh with my grandmother. He was impatient with her and she was frequently sick. My daddy would cringe every time mama would use corporal punishment. That I remember clearly.
Daddy never once spanked or hit us.

My daddy was the eldest son and joined the army and went to Texas.
 He returned to Jackson with a wife and two small children. Grandaddy, by all accounts, ran the wife off, and daddy divorced her. Shots may or may not have been fired and some one went to jail briefly. The boy and girl stayed with my grandmother. Was my grandaddy so intimidating that he could make this young mother leave her children? I cannot ask my brother and will not ask my sister. Daddy did not speak of that time in his history. It was all hushed. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for that young woman to leave her children.
This would effect my big sister for the rest of her life.
Grandmother Lois passed away when I was eleven. She was diabetic and just plain wore out. Grandaddy, alone and with no one to dominate, seemed to soften a bit and I spent many a day at his house and attended church with him at Green Pond Baptist Church at the edge of the nuclear plant. Grandaddy died in 1990. I was at his bedside, a grown woman, a registered nurse, and yet the Baptist preacher would not speak to me when grandaddy died that day.
I had left Green Pond Baptist church as an older teen and married young. 
In the preacher's mind I had joined a cult and renounced my faith, all fiction of course.
If one can be shunned from a particular Baptist church, I am your girl.

But that is jumping ahead of the story.

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts, when God pries your fingers open." 
---Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983 

For part one go here
 Facts concerning Ellenton from Wikipedia.



  1. I love reading about your life my friend..your a beautiful and gifted writer..Hugs and smiles Gloria

  2. Olive -- a facinating story! It reminds me of my grandmother's story (she was from Arkansas) and her mother died when she was 3.

    Looking forward to reading more. BTW, I was put under the Independent Baptist *shun* after my divorce. I can live with that :)

    Blessings to you friend!!

  3. Good reading here, Olive. Your words bring it to life. Ann

  4. Closets are deep and dark places as I was once again reminded this weekend while visiting with my Dad and again yesterday after a phone call from my brother.

    I am rather depressed about it all but I keep reminding myself that it is no reason to forget that God is good and I do remember that He is good because as disheartening as these outed secrets are (and the repercussions that are now be dealt) they still point to some of the great goodness in my life - I only need to focus on the right things.

    There are little details of grace even in this sad account (because your Grandfather did mellow some and you were born)...

  5. Really enjoying this...since I love genealogy I love to read old diaries etc. and learn about others!

  6. I think when many read this, they can see a part of their past. I too had a grandfather that people were so scared of. He was big in stature and mean, he too ran off my grandmom and came after her with a shotgun when he heard she was dating.

    I hope as you tell your story it will help you to understand the why and how's. It makes us what we are hope is that its better not bitter.

    Spankings were beatings back then and they thought they could beat satan out of the child or person. Spanking now days is a pop on the butt with a hand. My have times changed.

    Religion and punishment was a big part of life then and still is today. Its why I have many books on trying to heal from that punishment. Spiritual Abuse.... its real.

  7. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us, Olive. You write about it so well.

  8. I am speechless. What an emotional childhood and feelings of abandonment not just from family circumstances but also from a church. There are forms of old religions that can be very brutal. My dad started his youth in an old baptist church but would never go back as an adult. The new baptist church is quite different, I understand. Any religion that "shuns" someone is nothing more than spiritual abuse.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us and I look forward to hearing more. XO

  9. I wish I had your courage. I'm so afraid to pick at the scabs of my past...afraid of what infectious thoughts might come out, choosing to let them sit there growing moldy with time instead of bringing them out for cleansing and healing. Maybe through you...I'll find that courage.
    Thank you.

  10. All of this may explain why your father was the way he was, he probably had a very unhappy childhood. Men did seem to be more brutal then, no nappy changing, cooking or helping wives in the home. Times have altered for the better.

  11. You write so beautifully, Olive.
    Isn't the grace of God wonderful? When people fail us, He never does.


  12. Dear, dear Olive, What you experienced at such a young age, most people can't imagine in a whole life time. Your life is a true picture of the grace of God in the flesh!
    Mary Alice

  13. It's too bad when it gets too late to ask the questions that might bring closure. Maybe the answers aren't there but it would be nice to ask them. ~ Maureen

  14. Olive, I love your story and you! It is so refreshing to find someone that is willing to bare all so that others may be healed..I am getting there..I have become a woman very familiar to shunning since I married my husband and his family is part of the independent Baptist THANG!! it has been hard to accept.their shunning of me but it is oh, so real.and at the stories I probably should tell..keep on writing dear are causing freedom to grow out here in blogland..
    more love and more grace to you,

  15. This just keeps getting better and better. Maybe I shouldn't say is just so compelling.


  16. Your story is fascinating and beautifully written. Each chapter is so compelling that when I reach the last word, I want to turn the page and continue.

  17. I'll be back for the next installment. The events of our past can shape our future for the better, or for the worse. I believe you are choosing the better.

  18. You are an amazing writer Miss Olive. My daddy was born in 1930 and his father was viscous man by all accounts. He died in an asylum in Rusk, Tx, when my father was 15. The scars upon the lives of my dad and his siblings remain to this day.


  19. I am so enjoying your stories Olive. True life is SO interesting. Times were so different then, weren't they ? Looking forward to Part 3. XXXX

  20. Something a bit different from you today Olive, and your writing is beautiful. I love reading about 'the old days' in peoples'lives. I've finally got my internet connection again, and it's so good to be back with you all!

  21. This is such a heart rendering amazing story, Olive, I find myself wanting to go on to the next chapter. You've written it so beautifully.

  22. I believe everyone has
    a story and yours, my
    friend, is so fascinating.
    I hope this journey has
    been as cathartic for you
    as it has been amazing
    to read, for me....

    Thanks for sharing your

    xx Suzanne

  23. I am very interested in you story and you write it so beautifully. I admire your strength and honesty. I look forward to the next chapter.

  24. Beautifully written Olive and I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Hugs, Gail

  25. You should be writing a book of these stories you are sharing, another fascinating chapter.

  26. Yes, I agree with LindyLouMac, a book should be in the works. I wasn't aware that the Baptists shunned people like that. Doesn't sound very Christian of him!

  27. It grieves me and I know it does the Lord, when churches do these things to people, in the name of religion. If they only knew how God sees that... Your writing is "blessed", my friend.

  28. Very interesting Olive. I'm so glad I stopped by to catch up on what I've missed while I was in California and Savannah.

  29. I must somehow have missed all three posts. I have just read them and I am very moved. It takes courage to write of the past...but cathartic at the same time.

  30. Olive,
    This is a wonderful series. I am so glad you are sharing.

  31. So glad you are sharing this about your life. You are brave Olive. I can't imagine a preacher not speaking-must be crazy. Some were back then.


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