GHS Class of 1955
I was born in Gleason on January 11, 1937, I suppose born at home. When I was 3 weeks old my parents, Jeff and Pansy Bynum, moved to Chicago, Illinois, for my dad to look for work. My aunt Nell Bynum lived with us there in a four-room apartment.
I was an only child for nine years, and I mean a spoiled only child. When my brother Larry was born and they brought him home, I didn’t know what was happening. Back then, we didn’t know where babies came from—they just showed up. Someone was taking part of my attention. Then 14 months later they brought this other brother, Gary, home, and boy I really didn’t like those boys at all. All they did was cry loudly and get all the attention. I will jump ahead a few years and add this—I love those boys so much now, couldn’t do without them.
I went to school in Chicago until I was ready to start seventh grade, when Mom and Dad moved us back to Gleason. We lived out on the Old Mound Road at the bottom of the hill. As I was growing up my dad went into the chicken business. He bought baby chickens and fed them until they were ready to kill for the market. I mean thousands of baby chickens. Needless to say, as a teenager I had to help with getting the chickens ready for market. Guess what I had to do—cut their heads off before we could put them in boiling water to be able to get the feathers off them! Now they were still kicking and alive when I put them down in a tube type thing and would bring their head and neck out the bottom and then I took a sharp knife and cut the heads off. Oh me, I could not do that now! How I did it then I don’t know, but I did. Dad sold chickens all over Gleason, McKenzie, and lots of other places, I am sure. So much for that.
I can’t remember if it was the seventh or eighth grade, but Mr. Dunn was the math teacher, and me being from Chicago he felt like they did not know how to teach math. He took me under his wing to tutor me, and then I made really good grades in math and algebra.
At my 16th birthday, Mom said I could have a party and invite boys also. I thought and thought, but did not have a clue which boys to invite. Mom said to me “Linda why don’t you invite the Hearn boys? (meaning Jerry and Joe). We go to church together and sounds like that would work.” I said to Mom “I am not going to invite them. If you want them to come to my birthday party, you invite them.” So, she called Maggie Lois Finch Hearn, who talked with her boys, and they said sure they would come to my birthday party. Ok, the afternoon of my party several boys and girls showed up and we had a wonderful time—so much so we all decided to go to a movie in the evening and everyone could go except Joe. He already had a date with someone and would not break it to go with us (admirable of him). Needless to say, that was the last date he had with anyone else, and we started dating the week after my birthday.
Somewhere along the way my best friend, Sue Delaney (Hatler), became like a sister to me. We were together all the time, so when we graduated from Gleason High School in 1955, we moved to Chicago together and lived with my aunt Nell. Joe had gone to work in Lansing, Michigan. It wasn’t long until Joe decided to move from Lansing to Chicago, and soon after that we decided to get married.
We started our family in Chicago, and had our sweet daughter, Jodi (who will be with me at the reunion), in 1964. We made lots of trips from Chicago to Gleason. That last year we lived in Chicago, we made 16 trips to Gleason. Jodi was getting ready to start first grade, so we decided it was time to move back home to Tennessee.
We moved to McKenzie in the summer of 1970, and bought the house where I still live. Joe worked at several feed mills in McKenzie, and I worked at Gaines Manufacturing until it closed in 1999, at which time I was hired at Bethel College, now Bethel University. My saying is: “I am 85, going to work until I am 100.” I never played sports, but I love sports, and I am actually in Bethel’s “Sports Hall of Fame.”
Jodi graduated from McKenzie High School and went to Bethel where she met her sweetheart and husband, Kip Rush. They graduated together from Bethel, and married some months after. Kip became a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, and has a church in Brentwood. They have two daughters who live and work in Nashville.
Joe died in 2017. He had quite a few things going on, that on the day he died he prayed all day for the Lord to take him, he was ready to go. I don’t know that I was ready for him to go, but the Lord answered his prayers.