Family celebrates 50 years of growing together

Published 12:26 am Saturday, November 2, 2013

The story of the Elmore and Addie Boswell Green family isn’t exactly a rags to great riches story. But, it is a story of rags to a whole lot better.

It’s a story of how a family of 10 made its way, in the dark of night, from Corner Flat in rural Pike County to their own corner of the world.

Today, the Elmore and Addie Boswell Green family will celebrate the occasion of being on their corner of the world for 50 years.

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Will Green kind of thinks that the celebration is more for him because it was on Nov. 2, his birthday, 50 years ago, that the Green family moved from Corner Flat onto the land and into the house that Elmore Green had provided for them.

“I was 14 years old when we moved to Meeksville and I’ll never forget that day,” Will Green said. “We moved into a house that an electric light hanging from the ceiling. We thought that was the most amazing thing we had ever seen. We couldn’t believe that something that wonderful was happening to us.”

The Greens had lived in a “shack” at Corner Flat that had cracks in the floor big enough for a dog to fall through.

“We had cardboard up on the walls to keep the cold out but the wind would blow it off,” Green said. “We could see the stars and the moon through the ceiling. It was so cold in the winter that we had to burn the woods down to keep warm.”

The living conditions for the Green family continued to deteriorate and Elmore Green, a sharecropper, knew that his family deserved a better way of life.

“Back then, black people didn’t get many chances to own land, but a man sold our daddy enough land to build us a house. At nights and on weekends, he worked and built us a house,” Will Green said. “We still had an outhouse and a wood stove and a wood heater. We didn’t have running water but we had an electric light. It was so exciting.”

Earnest Green was six years old when his family loaded their meager belongs onto a mule-drawn wagon and moved to what is now Elmore Green Drive in downtown Meeksville.

“Greg was two weeks old and Mama put him on a pallet and I had to watch him while they moved in,” Green said.

“I wanted to help move in our new house but all I could do was watch ‘the baby.’”

The Green family had moved “up town” and no one could have been as proud as they were of their new home. The family joined together and planted a big garden and raised hogs and chickens. Life was good.

“Our parents knew how important it was for us to get an education,” said Addie Green. “They made sure that we went to school and that we studied and learned.”

Green said eight children grew up in the house their daddy built for them.

Elmore Green continued to work as a sharecropper and also supported his family by pulp wooding.

“We moved up in the world,” Will Green said. “We had a little money for snacks like the other children and even got to go to the Whopper Burger stand a few times.”

Elmore Green believed in putting back a little of each dollar earned for a rainy day.

“He said that the sun is going to shine but the rain is gonna come and you have to have something to fall back on when it comes,” Will Green said.

As he could, Elmore Green bought a little more land. He knew the importance of people owning land and he wanted to make sure that his children always had a place to call home.

Today, the Elmore and Addie Boswell Green children all have a home on Elmore Green Drive. Today, the Green family has been on their land for 50 years. Four generations of Greens are on that land.

“We appreciate what we have,” Earnest Green said. “You appreciate things more when it didn’t come to you on a spoon and you just took it off.

“Our daddy wanted us to have something and he wanted us to be something. This land, this place is his legacy. We honor him.”