Sheldon Livesay

Sheldon Livesay

When I visit my dad, Jack Livesay, who turned 100 in January, we love to sit and reminisce about life in Hawkins County 50-90 years ago.

My grandpa Walter Livesay, started operating a water-wheel mill in 1911 and eventually grew that operation into the Rogersville Milling Company on McKinney Ave., that sold our products in grocery stores and feed stores in the surrounding 7 counties.

Farmers from those counties would also come to Rogersville to sell their wheat and corn to us or to McDonald’s Mill.

We often talk about the thousands of transactions each year with farmers and at years end, there wouldn’t be 3 checks returned from the bank with non-sufficient funds, and those were usually quickly paid off.

My dad and his two brothers ran the operation after my grandpa and we worked together until it closed in 1997.

In recent years we have locally seen many transitions. Somewhere though we seem to have lost some of the values that made us great.

Anyone my age remembers when we could go to Knoxville and leave your doors open and the windows up and no one would bother anything. You never lost your car key because you always just left it in the car when you went in a store.

And who thought they needed to sign a business agreement because we knew, “a man’s word was as good as his bond”.

I remind dad all the time, the only drug problem in those days was our parents would drag us to church, every time the doors opened. They believed the Bible, at least the part that said you spoiled the child by sparing the rod.

Those were the days when we sat in the old Roxie Theater all day on Saturday for 15 cents and watched movies over and over and with another dime got a big drink and popcorn.

What happened to us?

I also remember we started every school day with prayer and scripture reading.

Every teacher had a copy of a Bible on their desk a copy of the Ten Commandments on their wall.

We believed in the divine order of things, knew those commands and believed they applied to us.

Do you ever wonder if it is because those things God valued are missing, the things we value are missing as well?

My dad remembers the day our grandparents didn’t have electricity, inside running water, TV’s or telephones, but they did have a Heritage of faith, love, trust, honesty, and things money couldn’t buy.