Left to Right -Denise Watkins, Sky-Vue Skateland, Stepheny Houghtlin, and Knox Porter enjoying a meal together. Knox is a regular reader of this Main Street blog. He leaves wonderful comments, and appropriate quotations and often acts as editor if necessary. Knox was raised in Rocky Mount, his father was a landscaper and plantsman. He planted the trees on the main drive at Wesleyan College. Living in Charlotte, he returns occasionally to Rocky Mount to support causes that he embraces. Reading the blog post about Branch Street prompted these two comments below. A fine writer himself, I am proud of this new friendship and his interest in what I am doing. Click on this link for Branch Street, which will explain his comments. https://mainstreetrockymount.com
Memories of Branch Street
A Shining Light
In the sixties there was an independent proprietor who polished decorative metals. Mom, a neighbor, and I headed down Branch Street to this gentleman’s home to present him with brass treasures plus two electric wall sconces. In time we returned to find our brass items bright and shiny; the sconces had been converted to candle holders to adorn a wall. My initial impression of Branch Street was that it was a bright, useful place for our return trip involved positive transformation and brightness.
A Traveler on a Long Road
A decade later, I returned as an enumerator for the City Directory gathering and verifying data for that publication. After one amiable senior citizen gave me his information, he proudly told me that he had just paid off his mortgage. As we stood on the porch of his bungalow, I congratulated him with polite words, yet was too young, inexperienced, and privileged to fully understand the accomplishment he was immensely proud of. This fellow had lived in this house, which was finally his home, for three decades. As the years have passed, and my hair grayed, I have never forgotten this brief encounter as I came to organize my own finances. Perhaps most of the original owners on Branch Street shared similar situations. Their contribution to Rocky Mount should be remembered by revitalizing this area. The current occupants of this neighborhood need support and encouragement to again make it an area where hard working people are proud of their homes and surroundings.
A man of deep faith, I love this monk-like image of Knox. He wrote to me: Stepheny, here is an idea. High school students need to document community service hours, especially if they are applying for secondary education. This should not be an untapped resource.
Could $280 from the property tax of each Branch St. property be placed in a fund for property improvement there? This is not much, yet is better than doing nothing. Once a property shows initial results, the owners could be given payment when they submit receipts. Example. A remove debris and blight from my Branch Street home by Dec. 31. In 2024, I can submit receipts for up to $280 on new improvements in that year.
Does Edgecombe Tech have an associate’s degree in construction? This would be another resource and a fantastic learning experience.
Thank you, Knox for continuing to care about the place you once called home. For leaving interesting information, some memories, and your life experience that has made you knowledgable about so many things.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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