Hope everyone had a quiet, relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Perfect weather for a dip in the pool or sailing on the lake. Summer is certainly here, although the calendar will not make it official until June 20.
Today Around Davidson brings a little Church Chatter from DCPC, a trip report from DUMC, news of a celebration at Erwin Lodge and Noteworthy Notes about swings, trees and benches.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DCPC
Are you up on your town and college history? Did you know that the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC) dates from 1837? On May 12 that year, Concord Presbytery authorized Robert Hall Morrison and Patrick Sparrow to organize a Presbyterian church on the campus of Davidson College. The old chapel building served the congregation from 1837-1885 when a new church was constructed for worship. This second building was razed in 1950 to make way for the present structure.
Now occupying its third building at Concord Road and Main Street (dedicated June 1, 1952), the congregation of DCPC celebrated its 175th birthday with Heritage Sunday on May 27. Members shared humorous and moving stories from the congregation’s past in a service that closed with everyone following bagpipes to an after-worship gathering on the campus lawn. Happy Birthday to you!
TRAVELING WITH DUMC
Davidson United Methodist Church (DUMC) has an active group of older members called the Prime Timers. Under the leadership of Martha Packard, the group plans day trips as well as overnight tours. Recently 33 church members and friends gathered at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 18, to board a Coach America bus for an excursion to the nation’s capital.
The Diamond Tour Co. arranged for the group to stay in Sterling, Va., with a full schedule of sightseeing on Saturday and Sunday including stops at all the memorials as part of their city tour on Saturday. Sunday found the group attending the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, a tour of the Lee Mansion and an afternoon visiting the Smithsonian museum of their choice.
The weather was perfect for this lively group who returned to Davidson on Monday, May 21.
CELEBRATING GIDDY DYER
Monday would have been the 93rd birthday of the late Goudyloch (Giddy) Saffold Erwin Dyer who was born in Atlanta on May 28, 1919. To honor their mother, grandmother and great grandmother, family members gathered at Erwin Lodge Monday afternoon to celebrate the birthday and also to unveil a portrait of this remarkable woman, which now hangs in the Lodge along with portraits of her parents and brothers. The invitation-only event was a wonderful time for dozens of Giddy’s Davidson friends to remember Giddy while visiting with her children, including daughter Wynn Graham of Evanston, Ill., son Rob Dyer of Bessemer City, NC, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some remembered book club meetings at Erwin Lodge while others fondly remembered square dances held there with Will Terry calling!
Built in 1946 using stone from the old Chambers building on the Davidson College campus (which burned in 1921), Erwin Lodge was built by Giddy’s parents, the late Edward Jones Erwin and Mary Browne Erwin, as a memorial to their two sons, George Pfifer Erwin and Edward Jones Erwin, both Davidson College graduates who died a month apart in World War II. Erwin Lodge remains a part of the Davidson College campus and is still used for parties, luncheons and meetings.
Before the unveiling of her grandmother’s portrait, Leigh Dyer thanked the college and The Pines for supporting the occasion before calling on grandson Will Graham to speak about the history of the building. Following Will, Giddy’s daughter,Wynn, read a passage from her mother’s memoir and great grandson Luke Dyer spoke about his “Mema’s” love of education. At that time the portrait was revealed showing a youthful Giddy, perhaps late 20’s, in keeping with the youthful portraits of her brothers.
Although Giddy’s college degree was from Agnes Scott College (1938), her freshman year was spent at Davidson College where her father taught English and her mother worked in the college library. She loved politics and after moving to Chicago with her husband, Bob Dyer, served in the Illinois state legislature for six terms. The couple returned to Davidson upon their retirement in the 1980s and purchased the former McGavock home on Roundway Down. During this time, Giddy worked tirelessly to promote and served on the founding board of the retirement community, The Pines, where she spent her final years. She told many friends and family members all she hoped for in life she had accomplished…except to vote in the 2008 Presidential election. (She would have loved to pull the lever for Barack Obama!)
Giddy wrote a memoir reflecting on the years from her childhood to the enjoyment of great grandchildren. After her death at The Pines on Feb. 28, 2008, her daughter Wynn self published the memoir adding many family photos. Guests at the celebration enjoyed looking through copies on hand which will be made available at the Davidson College library as well as the library at The Pines. It was a wonderful occasion during which a piece of birthday cake was served to friends who had a chance to remember Giddy’s wit, energy and positive spirit on a beautiful day at Erwin Lodge.
Longtime readers of this column know that your columnist doesn’t mind being the “burr under the saddle” of our town leaders but today a disclaimer is issued: The following complaints were brought to my attention solely by concerned residents.
SIMPLE JOYS – REMOVED
Hope you noticed the long line of children (and adults) last Sunday (May 19) during the Concert on The Green waiting to ride the rope swing so carefully hung from a high branch in the mighty oak tree. Positioned out of the way near the parking lot and walkway to the library, the swing on The Green was in constant use bringing smiles of delight to both riders and bystanders.
Monday morning found a mother and child looking upward into the tree’s branches wondering what had happened to the rope and its simple wood disc. The answer: The Town removed the swing and gave it back to the donating family (we have no idea who they are) saying it presented a danger since the mulch underneath did not constitute a “safety zone” to swingers.
In response, how about a few recommendations to The Town:
- Surround the tree with “approved” mulch, especially water retentive mulch to help the tree.
- Post a sign saying “Swing at your Own Risk.”
- Replace the swing.
- And while you are at it: address the issue of safety with children climbing high in the magnolia trees planted at either end of the library stage which is distressing not only to the trees but also to passing adults.
THOSE WHO STAND AND WAIT
How we love the many benches scattered throughout our town – three alone in front of Ben & Jerry’s. Ever wondered why there is NO bench in front of the Town Hall welcoming riders of our CATS system? How nice it would be to sit down while you wait on public transportation. Might be a good project for a service organization – or prompt the town to move a bench to the site.
THOSE WHO SIT AND READ
We are excited about the Book Garden (with backless benches) coming to the west side of the library, but still miss those Adirondack chairs (with backs) which used to grace The Green and welcome readers of all ages. The Town has no idea where they went and has no funds to provide new ones. Anyone interested?
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Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at email@example.com.