CHITCHAT CORNER

Returning home

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There is a sense of peace and calm that settles in when returning home, whether to a person, building, location or something as simple as a tree. Like a magnet, it draws in as if an invisible welcome mat is always there – home is where the heart is.

Though I had been there before, it had been years since I had circled the drive at the home on Gladewater Street. The front door was open to the home was well over 100 years-old on this spring day, and a hand-operated well pump to the west of the porch steps dared you to try it. Beautiful sycamore trees surrounded the house, adding shade in the summer and creating visions of the number of children that had played there, of friends who gathered under the large limbs to discuss everything from politics to the latest invention. Continue on around the drive and your eyes rest on cannons which will inevitably cause a smile to cross your face. Immediately, you know you have arrived at the home of Earline and the late Bill Watson. The love emanates from every inch.

“The home is very special to me,” said Earline. “This is the home I was brought to when we were married and the home I brought our two children to when they were born.

“Originally, it had no bathrooms and consisted of an entrance hall, three bedrooms, living room, and a kitchen/dining area with a porch running along the entire back of the house. A well where the family drew water was on the corner of the porch.

“At one point, the house was blown off the off the blocks by a tornado. They just picked it up and set it back on the blocks. That was well over 90 years ago.

According to Earline, “During the oil boom that porch was turned into a bathroom and running water added to the house. Of course, that happened before we were married.”

The house was moved to its current location in 1903 – nobody is sure where and when it was actually built. The property originally belonged to the Willoughbys. In 1946 Bill was given the home by his father, John Robert Watson.

“Dad was born in the front bedroom,” said Bill’s daughter, Gayla. “He always joked about being born in the front bedroom, traveled around the world during World War II and came back to live in the back bedroom. His grandparents, Arthur and Laura Borders Godfrey lived across the road behind Merritt Tool and helped raise him after his mother died. That house still exists, too.”

“My Grandfather Watson added a bathroom and closets and it became a two bedroom, one bath house that I grew up in,” she continued. “When I moved back in 1970 with my husband Kevin, the well was filled in on the back porch and more space was added. It became my summer job to help with the renovation and painting.”

Bill and Earline chose not to change the front façade of the house, wanting to keep the original look.

Bill Watson went to his heavenly home on March 20, 2018, but his legacy lives on through his wife, daughter and grandchildren. Bill worked as a cattleman, in the oilfield and owned Bill Watson Auctioneer Service for which he is most noted.

He was known to set his auctions around the schedule of Walt Cave seen on Storage Wars. The two were good friends and claimed to have learned from each other.

The cannons, too, were very much a part of the lifestyle of Bill Watson. The large one, purchased from Magnolia Oil Company (now Mobil Oil) was used to entertain guests at his home on New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July. A couple of the smaller cannons were built by Bill and were used at football games.

His daughter, Gayle, has her own business and sells mobility scooters. She takes them to Canton Trade Days, malls and other areas. The canopies for the scooters were designed and manufactured by Bill after deciding at the age of 80 it “was the thing to do” according to Gayle. Hundreds have been sold over the years.

His auctioneer service continues under the capable hands of a grandson “B.W.” Sellers. An auction has been scheduled at the Watson Auction House for May 19 and 20 and can be previewed on the 16th through 18th. The items arriving from the San Antonio area will be auctioned off by a good friend of the family and auctioneer Johnny Gathright. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Highway 80 Mission.

Home is definitely where the heart is. Bill and Earline made a home filled with love and continued memories. They had 71 precious years together. May He Rest in Peace and may the love found within and surrounding a century-plus home continue.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at 903-984-2593 or chitchatlinda@aol.com.

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