Allisons HeartBlock Number: 162
MCDOWELL QUILT TRAIL ADDS “ALLISON’S HEART” BLOCK
Early Tuesday morning August 5, 2014 Eunice Allison had no idea what was going on around her home as a pickup truck and other cars were coming up the driveway. Her children and friends had been keeping a surprise from her and she had no idea that she was about to become host for Block #162 on the McDowell Quilt Trail.
Freddie Killough, daughter to Eunice and Executive Director of the Marion Economic Development and Business Association, had been gifted a blank block by a friend of the family. She along with her six siblings decided on a design for the block and that it should be mounted on their home place at Mt. Hebron Road. Upon learning of the block Eunice replied “well, for goodness sake” and that she had “no clue” as to what was taking place.
While the block was being installed by volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker an enjoyable conversation took place as memories of times past poured forth from Mrs. Allison. Sitting under the shade of the front porch she relayed that the farmhouse had been originally built around 1895 and that what is now the front of the home had once been the back entrance. It was some time in the 1920’s that the old gravel road which had been the main means of travel in the area was revamped and a totally new road constructed. This revision positioned the kitchen which had been the original rear entry now the main access to what had become the front of the home.
It wasn’t until 1959 when Allison and her husband Glen took advantage of the fact that banks were just beginning to loan money to buy a home, something not readily available in times previously. When the 40 acreage known as the Walker Farm Homeplace was up for sale at an “affordable cost” the Allisons were able to purchase it and subsequently raised their seven children there. The family roots remained tight as all of Gene’s family lived within 1½ miles of each other.
Although Glen passed away around a year ago, Eunice and Freddie recalled fond memories of the wholesome upbringing the children had in being involved with the operation of the farm in every aspect. Glen’s mother had taught Eunice all she knew about growing, harvesting and preserving garden produce and by the time the children were twelve years old they too had learned the chores inside and out and could even cook.
Their lives were centered around the word of God, the principles of honesty, integrity and the importance of getting along with each other ingrained in the family unity. The children’s “continued training” especially included the importance of parental respect of their father as head of the household while allowing their individual input into the family matters. The family kept on the “straight and narrow” and “Mama’s broom” was also jokingly referred to as a reminder that it “wasn’t an option to be late for school”!!
Eunice would “put up”, or can, up to 1,000 jars of vegetables and fruit of all kinds each summer and freeze or give away what was left. There was never any waste whatsoever and always plenty to share with neighbors or hunters who would often stop by to chat. Everything was utilized even to leftover biscuits which would be made into a fried fruit pie or cobbler. Everyone in the community fed, played and guided each other as their own and all were welcome in each other’s home. Their farm was once referred to as “Walton’s Mountain” with a child’s face in every window.
Farm animals included a milk cow, beef cattle and pigs and all were a big part of supplying meat for the table, supplemented by the boy’s hunting skills. They butchered their own and it was a big day to take the meat to the butcher in town for packaging. Still, there was always time for the special swimming hole down in the creek and riding of the saddle horses and pony kept on the property.
In addition to household chores, one of the boys drove a school bus and another brother was the trusted “flagman” to safely board and then return the children home each day. One day a stray puppy “appeared out of the blue” at the farm and “just never left”. The dog, appropriately named “Hobo” is now a permanent fixture of the residence and the official welcome delegate to the farm. He is a part of the strong community watch system in the area.
Although many things have changed through the years, the Allison’s kitchen always was, and still is, considered the “heart of the home” serving as a comfy gathering place for friends and family, the wood stove offering welcome heat during the winter days. Vegetables and fruits still abound on the farm tended by nearby family and son Jeff raises cattle and hay in the fields. Every Sunday morning the family members gather in the kitchen for a full country breakfast and each October they have a big Bar-B-Que reunion which now includes 6 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
“Allison’s Heart” is a 3 foot by 3 foot block set on the diagonal and can be seen at 1162 Mt. Hebron Road. The pattern consists of seven brilliant sunflowers, a favorite of the family, representing each of the seven children: Glenna, Terry (“Buck”), Freddie, Jeff, Ken, Jackie and Wayne. The flower stalk arises out of a red heart indicative of the “heart of the homeplace”, superimposed over the mountains with Carolina blue tones of the sky in the background.
Jill Lucas, Chairwoman, presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Eunice and Freddie and everyone agreed the block stands out beautifully on the white siding of the old farm house. Eunice, so pleased with her surprise and proud of the block’s meaningful display, remarked that it will be the “talk of the whole community”!