The old Sunday School room is gone

Posted By | September 29, 2008 12:00 am

    My dream of living in town came true almost a year ago. My, it’s funny how time passes so quickly!
As I cross the streets in downtown Sparta, I look around and recall many precious moments from my childhood – visiting  Gooch’s Drug Store for a cherry Coke, going into Hyder’s 5 & 10 for some sour apple candy…and the list goes on and on.
    However, this week brought a little sadness to my heart as I watched a piece of my childhood disappear from view. Oh, I realize time goes on and things cannot stay the same forever.  But, sometimes it is nice to dream about a simpler time when life was less complicated. The old house on the corner of North Church and West College streets was one of those memories that will stay in my heart forever.
    From birth through almost the first 10 years of my life, that old house and the small stone church next door were a very important part of my life.  My parents and I went to church every Sunday at that beloved old house of worship. Back then, it was home to members of First Baptist Church, but I didn’t care what name was on the front door. I just knew I was happy when my mom and dad would hold my hand as we walked through those doors.
    Next door was the old house, where two of the most reverent and dear people lived. I was very young when Bro. Hoyte Huddleston and his wife were the leaders of our church, but I can remember their regular visits to our house. Mrs. Huddleston was always dressed in her beautiful two-piece suits and greeted you with that sweet smile on her face. Bro. Huddleston, whose balding head always seemed to fascinate me as a child, was the epitome of a true Christian.  Those visits were during a time when people still took time to know their neighbors – the days before cell phones and text messaging caused us to forget how to truly communicate with each other.
    As time quickly passed, the old house was transformed from the parsonage to additional Sunday School rooms. We were outgrowing the walls of the small stone church. On Sunday mornings, I would take my short walk from the parking lot to the front door of the old house. I was usually the first child to arrive, so I would sit at the table and look out the big window that faced First Methodist Church. Soon, the teacher would arrive, followed by my little friends. Within minutes, we would open our Bibles and begin to learn about the greatest man who ever walked on this earth.
    The old house always possessed a certain charm. As a child, I believed the arch-shaped windows were specifically designed in that manner to resemble the framework of the church. I was probably wrong in my assumption, but I still prefer to remember the architecture as I did when life less complicated.
    Before too long, we had outgrown the stone church and the old house on the corner. We moved to our brand new house of worship on the Cookeville Highway. But, I missed the old church. I also missed seeing my cousins as they would leave Central Church of Christ and First Methodist after Sunday School. I can even remember seeing Aunt Bessie walking in the doors at the First Presbyterian Church.
    You see, there we all were, in one big city block – all my family. We may have been walking through different doors, but the message was the same.
    I’ll miss the old house on the corner, but I won’t be sad. The vacant lot will soon be turned into a parking lot for Central Church of Christ. That is a good thing. It means the church is growing and more young children will be learning about the greatest man to ever walk on this earth.
And, it also means that more children (just like I did) will hold tight to the hands of their moms and dads as they walk through the doors of God’s house. You know what, that vacant lot doesn’t seem so empty now.

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