It has been a busy week for camps and church programs. Davidson United Methodist Church finishes Music Camp today with a rousing program of songs learned during their “Riding the Rails” in America theme. Also today, the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC) completed their four day Vacation Bible School (VBS) with some “bouncing fun” on the church’s front lawn. DCPC’s theme for VBS was Water for Life – Living Waters of the World and Clean Water for All.
Around Davidson will have more on the summer youth programs in another column, but for today we have an interesting retrospective from longtime resident Don Howie on banking and other activities in our town. There is also a Noteworthy Note or two.
GREAT MEMORIES AND GREAT FUN FROM DON HOWIE
What a treat to have Don Howie pull into the driveway two weeks ago and hand your correspondent a fat folder filled with photos. Don’s only comment: “I’ve been cleaning out my desk!”
What a treasure trove the desk held. An hour long visit that day followed by another just yesterday took your correspondent on a wonderful trip down Memory Lane with Don leading the way. Bet most of our readers will know Don from his years in banking, participation in Lions’ Club, devotion to his family and church and most recently from his morning coffee klatches at Summit.
Don was born in Burlington, N.C., but grew up in Mooresville, where he married Frances Mouzon in 1956. Frances was the organist and pianist for Prospect Presbyterian Church for 47 years until her retirement and it remains the church home for the Howie family. Looking for employment after his marriage, Don came to Piedmont Bank thanks to then-President Jim Lore. Don claims to have worked every job in the bank until his retirement in 1987 as manager of the Davidson office, then called First Union. (The bank and its Davidson branch have been through two more name changes since then, to Wachovia, and now Wells Fargo.)
Don and Frances built their Davidson home on Dogwood Lane in the early 1960s. The town was much smaller then and everyone knew everyone else. An overdrawn account at the bank prompted a phone call to your home to hustle downtown and add some money to make it solvent. Piedmont Bank had special promotions to add new customers with the lure of a country ham for savings deposits. A special drawing was held at the end of the promotion giving two account holders a chance to win the “whole hog!” Later the bank offered cut glass stemware to new depositors … perhaps to fill with cider to wash down that salty ham!
One spring Piedmont Bank even sponsored a live Dolphin Show with the tank filling most of the Port City Shopping Center parking lot in Mooresville. The bank also sponsored a baseball team at McEver Field annually, always welcomed elementary school classes to learn about money and see the vault, had a presence on The Green at Town Day, and encouraged tellers to dress up for special events.
The building has changed slightly too: A closer look at the old façade of Piedmont Bank compared to the new look of Wells Fargo tells one that the building has been updated but the windows, columns and roofline remain the same. Interior views are the best showing the curtains decorating the walls and front door entryways of Piedmont Bank in its infancy.
In addition to being an “institution” at Piedmont/First Union Bank, Don served in the Davidson Lions Club for 50 years. He laughed when remembering the Lion’s annual Davidson Calendar with town residents’ birthdays printed on the individual month’s pages. Who can forget the inclusion in the calendar of the birthdays of some of the community’s best known pooches. (No leash law then and residents not only knew the dogs, their owners and their homes – but also could wish them a Happy Birthday on the proper day!) Don thinks that Cliff Archer saved ALL the old calendars. That collection would be a separate trip down Memory Lane. (We contacted Cliff’s son, Frankie, who promised to look for an old calendar and share it with us at a later date.)
Now in failing health, Don wanted his friends to know that he always felt blessed to be a part of Piedmont Bank from that first day on the job in Davidson. He delights in his almost 50 years of marriage to Frances as well as his sons, Don, Jr., of Houston, Texas, and David of Cornelius, and four beautiful granddaughters. We thank Don for cleaning out his desk and making us each smile with the good memories of our town he has provided. What better way to celebrate Don Howie than to reintroduce a ham giveaway – or better yet a whole hog to some lucky customer!
Talking with Don Howie and remembering simpler days in Davidson brings to mind a few issues of late.
SWING HIGH, SWING LOW
Gone are the days of tall slides at swimming pools, Fire Department Egg Drops on Town Day and pick-up games of basketball on the outdoor courts at Davidson College. Litigation, or the fear of such, has spoiled so much for small town America. But your correspondent continues to rail against the decision to remove the simple rope/wood disc swing from the water oak on The Green due to safety concerns. Surely if children can risk life and limb climbing the magnolias flanking the library, they can ride a swing at their own risk.
MONEY WELL SPENT?
And then there is the issue of paying a “service” to scatter the geese at Roosevelt Wilson Park. Was it $400/month to scare these waterfowl away? Rocket science is not required to deduce that there are currently as many geese as ever.
Okay. So let’s talk common sense. Take the money from the Geese Patrol and use it to address two things of major annoyance to our citizens. FIRST, take some dollars and move that “Hunk of Junk” to a less conspicuous spot – but perhaps not a round-about as Bob Manning suggests in his lengthy commentary this week about Andy Dunhill’s “Bouquet for Davidson.” SECOND, take the leftover change and purchase some Adirondack chairs for townspeople to enjoy on The Green.
We know that Davidsonians are too nice and too reserved to voice their opinions in print on DavidsonNews.net. But Around Davidson hears you loud and clear – on a daily basis – as residents stop me to voice opinions on issues. Let’s do something to make citizens smile. It ought to pay great dividends in PR for our Mayor and staff!
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