Friday, August 03, 2007

Carrie Goad's Dream

by David Parmer

I knew Carrie Sharp when I was a young boy growing up in Burnsville. Carrie and her husband, Walter Sharp, an engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, lived in a nice comfortable home, on a neatly dressed lawn, on lower Main Street in Burnsville, between the homes of Nelson Mitchell and Charles Crutchfield.

I didn’t know Carrie was the daughter of P. N. Blake, the famous “Uncle Zeke,” who wrote a humorous column for the Braxton Democrat under the banner of the Buzzardtown News, nor did I know that Carrie was married previously to a Mr. Lallathin and a Mr. Goad. I just knew Carrie Sharp as a petite, silver haired lady, who dressed impeccably and always wore a stylish hat. Later, when I was in high school, I delivered the Charleston Gazette to the Sharp residence. However, my first face to face meeting with Carrie occurred when I was in the first grade at Burnsville Grade School.

Above is Carrie (Blake) Sharp. To the right is young David Parmer.

In the 1940s, the Burnsville Post Office was located in a wooden frame building on Depot Street, adjacent to the old theater building. That old post office building is now gone. If my memory is correct it was replaced by a hardware building which was built by Tom McPherson in the early 1950s. Now back to the story. One day as I went home for lunch, instead of taking the more direct route by way of the swinging bridge, I decided to take to the long way home by way of Depot Street. As I passed the post office, I decided to go into the post office and ask Virgil Knight for the mail. After being told by Mr. Knight that the mail had already been picked up, I noticed a stack of papers on the customer counter anchored to the wall opposite the post office window. I looked at the stack of papers, which was about two inches high, and noticed that an important auction sale was being announced. Being a mere first grader, I really wasn’t sure what an auction sale was, but I thought that it was important enough that everyone ought to be aware that an important sale was going to take place. The idea struck me that if I distributed the auction notices someone might pay me if I delivered the notice to their homes. I took about half the stack of auction notices and left the post office with a plan in mind. My plan was to start delivering the auction notices at the lower end of Main Street, but it had to be quick because a school lunch hour is not very long. The first house on my sales mission was the home of Carrie and Walter Sharp. I knocked on the back door of the Sharp residence. Mrs. Sharp was in the kitchen, dressed as always, impeccably, but with a long apron covering her pretty dress. I told Mrs. Sharp of the important auction and handed her one of the handbills. She studied the sale notice for a few seconds, smiled sweetly at me, and said “Just a moment.” She was gone for a few seconds. When she returned, she smiled again and handed me a buffalo nickel and thanked me for bringing the auction notice to her. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I thought it would be all worthwhile to miss lunch if everyone gave me a nickel for one of those important papers. My luck however did not continue. Heading back up Main Street, I stopped at three more houses and offered the auction notices to the ladies of the house. Each lady looked at me rather funny, but not with Mrs. Sharp’s sweet smile, and said “No, thanks.” My luck had run out. Not only that, I knew I was going to be late getting back to school. I also remember thinking that it was too bad that more women were not as nice as Mrs. Sharp. That afternoon in school, the buffalo nickel in my pocket was turned over and over and rubbed like a genie’s lamp. I remember thinking of the kindly Mrs. Carrie Sharp.

It was many years later, and after her death, that I came to know more about the life of Carrie Sharp. Carrie was born in 1893, the daughter of P. N. and Lorena (Godfrey) Blake. She was raised in the Posey Run area and attended the Posey Run School. Carrie was first married in 1916 to Charles Lallathin. Charles died in the early 1930s. In 1934, Carrie married Walter Goad, a native of Fayette County , who was employed in Toledo , Ohio . Misfortune again struck when Goad died suddenly within a year of their marriage and Carrie once again was a young widow. Later, Carrie married Walter Sharp, whose parents, Cam and Vergie Sharp, also lived on Posey Run, and who were close friends with Carrie’s parents, P. N. and Lorena Blake. Carrie Sharp died in 1966 at the age of 73.
Carrie Blake is standing next to her mother Lorena (Godfrey) Blake (in the dark dress) and Carrie's father, P. N. Blake (Uncle Zeke) is on the other side of his wife, in a dark shirt..

Readers of this webpage have read many stories about Carrie’s father, P. N. Blake. “Uncle Zeke” never was short on expressing his exhaustive opinions on certain favorite subjects. Uncle Zeke detested the “modern” woman’s propensity to use rouge and lipstick, or to smoke those “awful” cigarettes. Uncle Zeke was also dead set against the use of alcoholic beverages, and loathed the bars and saloons. Uncle Zeke also pointed a finger at the makers, drinkers and sellers of home brew and moonshine and cursed their evil ways, and was sure they were bound for Hell. It is easy to imagine that there was just one opinion in Uncle Zeke’s household, and that one, unified, and final opinion belonged to Uncle Zeke. But did the women of Uncle Zeke’s household roll their eyes at Uncle Zeke’s prejudices and have an opinion about these serious subjects? Did they “make jokes” about Uncle Zeke’s intransigence and about his list of social ills of the day?

In an earlier story about the Ladies’ Aid of the United Brethren Church of Orlando, it was clear that the ladies group was God fearin’ and consisted of righteous women in a church that was sure that the wickedness of the world had to be combated. Uncle Zeke, a trustee of the church, was their knight in shining armor and jouster against the evil-doers. But, in the minds of many women, there is some gray in a black and white world. There is also merit in avoiding strict condemnation of life styles that are not in conformance with strict Biblical teaching. And, there is also a time to poke fun at one’s self, or at the single-minded opinions of others. Carrie Sharp, who grew up a daughter in the household of Uncle Zeke, at a Ladies Aide meeting in 1935, decided to poke a little humor at the ladies of the society, and at her father, Uncle Zeke, and at the pastor of the church, Reverend C. W. Scott.
. . . . .
Thanks to Katy (Keller) Stout for her perseverance in locating the following article and sending it.

My Dream

The following article was written by
Carrie Goad and read by her at the
Orlando Ladies’Aid,

Thursday, February 7th, 1935.
I went to bed tired last night and was soon fast asleep. Along in the night I felt that someone was in my room. I awoke with a start, and there stood old Father Time. He said: “Get up and look in the mirror,” and to my great surprise I saw a very old lady. I cried out, “What has happened to me?” Father Time said “You have been asleep a long time. This is the year 1960.” Then I asked him about the members of the Ladies’ Aid. Father Time took me by the hand and said: “Come, take a stroll with me.” We came to a beautiful church, entered and walked down the aisle. Three old ladies were broadcasting over the radio. I then adjusted my glasses to see who they were. Although they were old like myself, I recognized them. They were Maud Freeman, Pearl Edgell and Ruth Strader. They were singing, “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

I said to Father Time, “But where are the other members of the Ladies’ Aid?” He said “we will walk a little farther.” We then entered a large building. A very large gray haired woman weighing about 400 pounds met us. I did not know her until she smiled, and it was my friend Georgia Hamilton. I asked her what she was doing there? She whispered, “Selling home brew.”

We then walked in the park, and there, we saw three little old ladies, feeding the monkeys. They were laughing and having a jolly time. I spoke to them, and who do you think they were: Opal Crislip, Lillie Fox, and Josie Beckner.

We next entered a lovely home and went into a very large room, which was a nursery, with five little beds – a lovely baby in each. An old man with long white beard and a very old lady were singing lullabies. They were Joe and Effie Skinner, and they were the proud parents of quintuplets.

Father Time next took me to the theatre, and to my surprise Minerva Mick was on the stage dancing the rumba. We then went to the circus where two lovely old ladies were walking the tight rope. I had to speak to them after the act, as they had performed so well, and to my surprise they were Lottie Henline and Biddie Riffle.

After that we went into a night club and there was Gladys Helmick directing a Jazz Orchestra.
We next went into a lovely garden where a great number of people were. I said: “Father Time, what is this?” He replied, “A fashionable beer garden for rich society people.” I saw two lovely ladies seated at a table who looked familiar. Although they had plenty of rouge and lipstick on and their hair bobbed and curled, I recognized Mrs. Sharp and Mrs. Scott, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

“But Father Time,” I said, “Where is my father and Preacher Scott?” He said, “Ah! Dear lady, come with me.” We entered a large building with many mirrors and bottles and there was my father [P.N. Blake, aka Uncle Zeke] and Reverend Scott operating a licensed saloon. I cried out, “It can’t be!” Then I heard some lovely music, which woke me to the tune of the alarm clock. And how glad I am that it was only a dream.

Comment 1: David Parmer
A few weeks ago I visited KathleenKaty” (Keller) Stout at her home in Weston. Katy is the youngest daughter of the Reverend E. F. Keller, a long-time, former minister of the Orlando United Brethren Church. While I was visiting Katy, we talked about her father’s Orlando church and the subject of the ladies aid was raised by Katy. I told Katy that I had already written an article on the Ladies Aid of the United Brethren Church. Katy advised me that she had a column cut from a newspaper written by Carrie (Blake) Goad (later Sharp) which was read at a Ladies Aid meeting about a dream that Carrie had experienced. Katy looked briefly for the article but had no luck finding it. She promised that she would continue looking for it and would send it to me when she found it.

Here are two portraits of lovely Katy (Keller) Stout.

In my mail today, I had a letter from Katy. I had forgotten the subject of the conversation that we had earlier this year. Upon opening the letter, I found a yellowed, taped together column about the dream of Carrie Goad which was read at the Ladies Aid meeting. There was no identification of the newspaper in which the article was published, but based upon my memory of the newspapers of my youth, the article appeared to be the same print used by the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram. After reading the amusing article I decided to write a story about Carrie (Blake) Sharp, the daughter of Uncle Zeke, whom I knew growing up in Burnsville.

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