You can go home again

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Sometimes I want to kick myself.  Today I got a chance to tour what I consider one of the most beautiful old homes in my hometown. I passed that house, what…maybe 6,000 times during my youth and 5,000 times since then.  I never noticed the “for sale” sign in the yard if there ever was one.

A mother-daughter team has just restored what some may remember as the old Kornagay home on Main Street in West Point, and it is a stunner.  It will soon be on the market.  Marie, Norma and I are looking for a “sugar daddy” to buy it for us.  Seriously, Cheryl Sundbeck and her daughter, Kristen Stevens, have done a beautiful job of restoring the 19th century home.

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Kristen, above, led us on a guided tour and I mentally placed every stick of my furniture somewhere as I walked through the yet unfinished home. One can dream, can’t she? But I fail to see Lucky Dawg, Rebel and me rattling around in 5,000 square feet with an apartment for a butler.

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Judy Staggers (at left) conveniently lives next door so we dropped over for some libations before leaving “the Point.”  I’m always reminded of Mayberry when I visit my hometown.   As we gathered on the lawn, neighbors and friends stopped by and before we knew it, we had a full blown reunion going on.  Small towns are good that way.

Judy’s home was no less exciting to tour.  Her collection of prints from the 1950s brought back so many memories. Staggers Bakery, the old Court House, and the old depot came to life again for me, thanks to pen and ink drawings by the late David Malone.  (Side note: David was the husband of Linda Lowery, another of our high school chums.  He was killed recently in a highway accident on Highway 50 near town.  He was a great talent and there are so many more points in my hometown I wish he could have captured).

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Clay County Court House- why, oh why did they tear it down and build a box?

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Staggers Bakery and downtown West Point in the late 30s…I’m only guessing here.  Anyone know what occupies that store front now?

Who ever said you can’t go home again, just flat-out lied.  I am 16 again every time I drive over the Clay County Line.  I should just go ahead and move over there.  The old Bryan Home on the other side of Judy is also for sale. Hmmm.

11 thoughts on “You can go home again

  1. Hey Emily. Enjoyed reading your last column titled “You Can Go Home.” Loved seeing all the pictures you took from the Kornegay house and the pin and inks in our family room. You’ll be interested to know that David Malone drew the old courthouse but West Point’s Ben Rosenkrans drew the Staggers’ Bakery print and the new courthouse. We also have some beautiful water colors that Ben drew. West Point has been blessed by many outstanding artists and Ben and David are certainly two of them!

    Also, I can answer your question about the present day bakery storefront. That building has housed the Watkins, Ward and Stafford, CPA firm of which Billy Buck is a partner., since 1949. IIt’s so meaningful to us that BB has spent 40 years doing multiple types of tax work in the same building that his father and grandfather baked bread! How cool is that??!!! He, too, loves to “go home” and does go there 5-7 days a week!
    Thx for your continued Deluded Diva columns. I never miss one!

  2. How special. Sorry about short changing Ben – their style is so similar and you know I can’t see diddly! Funny I has never noticed all the prints before – always yaking I guess. Thanks for inviting me over. Nice to get to know some if the “newcomers” in The Point. (That’s anyone who has moved in during the last 40 years since I’ve been gone,.).

    we’re still realing from Gary’s death. Talking to Heard now. Certainly leaves a big hole in our lives.

  3. Emily, I loved seeing the picture of my grandmother’s house! What a transformation!! I have so many wonderful memories of good times spent in that house…so as Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am thankful that someone saw the potential in that grand old house and chose to restore it…..I especially enjoyed your post since I now live so far away!
    Linda Stroupe

  4. Thank you for this “post” and for the lovely pictures of my Grandmother’s home..(my mother and Linda’s mother were Kornegay daughters!) and while I did not live in family trekked to “Big Mama’s” house for all our holidays – joining our large and extended family to create the memories that we all hold dear. I am so grateful that this home has been restored for future generations to hopefully share in and create their own special memories…my Mother’s (Annie Vivian Kornegay Simmons) dream was always to “go home again”.

  5. Linda, I didn’t know this was your grandmother’s house! I would have loved to have seen the inside back in the day. I also fell in love with the old barn out back. remember it? very well preserved snd i could live in it! Kristen and her mother have gone to a great deal of effort to keep as much of the original house as possible- especially the fireplaces. The one they couldn’t salvage was in the front bedroom – it was very large but it had begun to crumble. So good to hear from you, I have a piece of your pottery. Sorry about misspelling the name.

  6. Hey Linda and Ann. We had the best time with 20+ ladies touring Big Mama’s wonderful house. I shared with many how as an adolescent Gwen and I played in an upstairs bedroom time and time again. Had a great visit with Gwen this past summer. Don’t know if y’all are aware but your Uncle Jack and my Daddy were best of friends.
    Another note I shared is how our younger son John Murphy loved Big Mama and often asked to go visit her and sit on her knee. It was special.
    Ladonna Helcwston and I shared how john M and his best buddy, Ladonna’s son Campbell, always asked to go over to see Big Mama. One afternoon Big Mama allowed them to play on her front porch when they did some sort of damage. She was so sweet and I was most upset but that was Big Mama, a very sweet, gentle lady. They loved her and I always will.
    The touring of her wonderful home that’s nearing completion was incredible. Kristen and Cheryl have left no stone unturned and I just know Big Mama’s children along with all you grands would and will be very happy. Big Mama would LOVE it! It’s incredible! Love to all of you,

  7. I am having coffee and checking emails this morning the day before Thanksgiving. When I opened this website and saw pictures and read all of the comments about my grandmother’s house my heart is so full!! Memories of all of the holidays gatherings their with our huge family are flooding in! We would drive hours from Atlanta to be there and I can clearly see my grandmother, Bigmama, walking down the front hall with key in hand ,late at night to open that huge, beautiful front door for us!! If there was anything in my life that I loved more than being in that house with her I ‘ll never know! That house at times was my salvation. I spent every holiday there and most summers and still ride by every few months when I’m in West Point visiting my Aunt. How many hours my cousins and I played “train”on that front porch! I hope I have the opportunity to go inside before it sells and I pray a family like ours will purchase it and receive the warmth and love from it that I did! My grandmother was my heart!
    Thank you so much for this special website”surprise”, Mary Beth Epperson

  8. Thanks for posting this! I spent many a summer playing in Big Mama’s house and catching grasshoppers in the field out back for fishing in Uncle Windy’s lake. It’s lovely to see that her house has been so lovingly restored. I’ll never forget, as a 15 year old, having Big Mama cook me Thanksgiving dinner in that house. She was 97 and insisted on doing it herself. Thanks for rattling the old memory cage!

  9. I, too, played in that house as a child. Harriet Harper (another of Mrs. Kornagay’s granddaughters) and I were close friends and loved playing upstairs and on the porch and in the big yard. Harriet died when we were in second grade and her mother and father sent flowers to every one of our class reunions (’59) for as long as they lived. One day my husband, Lawrence, brought home a rescued kitty and I looked at her beautiful eyes and they were exactly the shape and color of Harriet’s……so I have a daily reminder with our sweet cat, Harriet. I could not be happier that the talented mother/daughter team is restoring that wonderful house. I want to jump up and down every time someone redoes one of the wonderful homes around here. I do hate to see them destroyed or run down.
    Also, I wanted to tell you that one of my favorite childhood memories is of leaving the Ritz or the Royal after a musical and twirling and dancing all the way home because every one of the stores on Commerce street had a glass front(I was a very able dancer in front of those windows)…..and the fragrance of the Staggers Bakery just made it a sweeter experience. I’m so glad I came home again and am always ecstatic when you do (and I can see you).

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