Archive for August, 2009

Andice, Texas

Friday, August 28th, 2009

  

            Williamson County has many small villages and communities scattered across the expanse of the area.  Some are gone with few signs of life to show their place in history, but some are still vital, and growing.  Richard Wear and I visited his hometown of Andice a few days ago and found it alive with memories of the past as well as faith in the future.  I asked Richard how the village got it name.

He replied with a sly grin, “The store had a sign on the façade that originally said ‘Beer and Ice,’ but the Beer part fell off and that left ‘and Ice,’ and that is how it got its name.”  I didn’t really fall for that story, even though it is a good one, so I dug a little deeper.  I found the real story just as interesting.  The area was first called Stapp for an early settler who built a church/school building in the 1850s. (The Stapp family still own property in the area.)  In the 1870s the storeowner, Andrew Jackson, applied for a post office which he called Berry’s Creek.  It closed three years later.  In the 1890s William Isaac Newton applied for a post office with the name of his son, Audice.  The postal service in Washington miss read the name and granted a post office with the name of Andice.  So there are two stories, both charming, we can take our pick.

            While in the area Richard pointed out old farms, schools, and events of the past.  One school, Whitehouse, which was once filled with the laughter and lessons of 30 or so students is now gone without a trace. Another school, Smart, has a few rocks showing the foundations of the building.  This was Richard’s first and second grade school.  He said his teacher, Mrs. Stapp, required all her students learn to read at an early age.  This gave them an advantage as they moved into the higher grades.  Mrs. Stapp was an excellent seamstress.  Should a kid come to school with a torn garment, she would let them go into a closet, hand out the offending shirt or pants, and she would repair them.  We drove by Richard’s folks home place and admired a new structure, St. Catherine’s Chapel, built by his brother James.  This handsome building, paying homage to their mother, gives family and pilgrims an opportunity for prayer.  Just a way down the road Richard pointed out the large stock tank Mr. Wear had built for his cattle as well as a swimming hole for all the kids in the neighborhood.  Further on, we opened a gate, drove through, and were quickly into a field of cedars and mesquite.  Richard said when he was a kid this was his fathers cotton field.  He said it still made him sweat just seeing the place.  Stapp and Berry’s creek come together here with a few pools of water still showing in this dry, hot weather.  And sure enough where there is a creek there were campsites for the Indians.  We searched the ground and found many flint flakes where the original owners had worked their projectile points.

            We returned to Andice and the local store and café.  We ordered hamburgers.  Now if you haven’t had a ‘real hamburger’ in some time, this is the place to go.  The buns were hot, the lettuce crisp, the tomatoes ripe, pickles tart, and the meat cooked just right.  A perfect meal for a couple of old guys making a trip into the past.

 

Hollis Baker  17 August 2009

 

         

More Green Stamps

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

  

          Many of the younger set, may have never heard of S & H Green stamps and their redemption stores.  It was a practice that those stores participating in the ‘Stamp’ business gave their customers a stamp for each ten-cent purchase. It was a discount, and ‘ thank you’ for trading with the store. Those stamps were then licked and stuck into ‘books’ that could be traded for merchandise at the S & H Green stamp redemption store.  All kinds of merchandise were on display and in their catalog.  Toasters, furniture, sports gear, camping equipment, and of course, kitchen dishes were available. A wide range of stores gave ‘Green Stamps’ including businesses that sold groceries, gasoline stations, clothing shops, and even insurance companies.  Sperry and Hutchinson founded the business in 1896 and it quickly became popular.  The peak of business came in the middle ‘60s.  At that time the company printed three times more stamps than the U.S. Postal department. Their catalog printing was the biggest publishing business in the United States.

          Alice was one of those persons that saved each stamp she could find.  I found a bar-b-que grill in one of the catalogs that I just had to have.  I managed to convince her that we really needed that grill.  She made a game of the endeavor.  She got the kids involved by having them stick the stamps into the books, while she shopped only the stores that gave stamps.  Some stores even had double-stamp days and you can bet that is where we shopped.  We managed to get the required books to trade for the grill and hurried to the store.  The sales lady flipped through the books and found a page or two with missing stamps.  Embarrassed, we hurried to the nearest grocery and bought enough supplies to get the required stamps to fill the books.  I got pretty good at grilling hot dogs and hamburgers on that bar-b-que grill.

          Well those ‘sticky, stampy’ days are gone it looks like.  But no they are well and doing great.  You can now get, on the Internet, S & H Green ‘points’ that can be redeemed for almost anything you would want.  When you buy a ‘Gift Card’ from Starbucks, JC Penny, Shell Gas, Macy’s, Olive Garden and a long list of other businesses they will give you ‘points’ to trade-in for stuff.   So if you need desperately a bar-b-que grill, Google S & H Green Points and buy enough gift cards and you will have that cooker in no time.  And you don’t need to lick any stamps.