I drove into Winder, Georgia and visited the Old Lions Club on East Broad Street and the grassy area in front where the annual county fair was established in the late fifties and early sixties.
Oh…the memories exploded in my mind as I looked up at the old white Lions Club building. I smiled as the flashbacks created past visual images in rapid succession.
I remember the October day was a little overcast and a slight chill was in the air at the start of the early nineteen-sixties Barrow County Fair.
Grandmother Mary Lee had always entered the baking contest, but this year she didn’t and I decided to uphold the family tradition and cook a pound cake. The baking contest was a big deal at the time.
I wanted to use Mama Katie’s Lemon Pound Cake recipe, but decided to use a plain pound cake. I wanted to win the blue ribbon. This was important!
I decided to make this trek to Winder, in late 2009, as part of my research for my third novel, the 2011 National Gold Medal Winner Ghost of Atlanta. I’m glad I did as the visit created visual images of key scenes that used in the beginning of the novel.
I got out of the car and walked through area and looked around. I remembered coming to the Barrow County Fair in my uncle’s old Ford. I remembered carrying the pound cake and going through the doors of the Lions Club.
I talked to the lady in charge and left the cake.
We drove back to my Grandmother’s old family home in Statham. I talked with my Grandmother about my chances of winning.
A couple of days later, my Uncle Charles drove me back to the Lions Club building. I opened the door an walked to the area where the baking were judged.
I looked for a second…and smiled.
My Pound Cake Had Won a Blue Ribbon!
My uncle carried me back to Statham, and I hugged my grandmother and we talked all night about me winning the blue ribbon. It was a joyous feeling.
A couple of days later my Grandmother Mary Lee put me in a car with a family friend, Athens, Georgia, who carried me and my sister, Rochelle, to the train station in Athens to ride the “Silver Comet” to a new life up north.
We were on our way to Brooklyn, New York and a new life as part of the great migration of southern blacks to the big cities in the north.
The days of old southern living with my Grandmother Mary Lee were over, but I still remember the time in the kitchen in Statham, Georgia cooking the pound cake on the old iron stove.
It was a winner then, and it’s now a winner again as a key part of my novel, Ghost of Atlanta!
If you would like the recipe, email me: Juliusthomwrites at gmail.com and I will send you the original Lemon Pound Cake recipe!