"I got into the business because my parents liked antiques, so I grew up liking them too. They couldn’t afford to buy a lot of pieces, but they owned a china cabinet, table and chairs, and a buffet. A matched set. Mama was always telling us to be careful around them, don’t mess them up. Well, I was the youngest of eight kids, and one time I was doing a school project on the buffet and using black shoe polish. I laid the bottle down and it leaked out and made a big ole spot, a stain that wouldn’t come out. There wasn’t anything I could do. Let’s just say Mama was not happy. I don’t know where that buffet is now, but I imagine that stain is still there. I felt bad about it, but I was a kid, you know."
Chris Abraham is the owner of Echoes of Time at 1725 Madison. The shop carries a little of everything, including lots of shutters, frames, ironworks, and windows and is a great place to browse.
"I lived in a little town in Mexico, way out in the country. No traffic. Not like here. I came to America because there was no work there. I've been here twenty years, and now my whole family is here. I work construction, work in warehouses, pour slabs. My children speak Spanish and English. They learned it in school, but I didn't get to go to school, so my English is not so good."
“The summer I was 9, my dad sold everything he had and bought a boat, a 30-by-18-foot wooden trimaran. He, my older brother, and I left Oklahoma and sailed the Verdigris, Arkansas, White and Mississippi Rivers down to the coast. We lived on the boat all that summer. In the fall, I went back to Oklahoma to be with my great-grandmother, but my dad and brother stayed in Long Beach, Mississippi. When I turned twelve, I joined them, and we lived on the boat until I was fifteen. There was no privacy, so we had to learn how to get along with each other in small spaces. Plus, everything we owned had to have a purpose. That philosophy carries over into the pieces I create now, which I would describe as hand-made, utilitarian, stoneware pottery. If I sell a piece to someone and find out they’re actually using it, it makes me really happy. Even though I studied ceramics in college, my dad is the one who taught me how to throw pots, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Erica Bodine works out of a studio at the Art Factory. See her work at http://www.facebook.com/ericabodinepottery. You can also catch her in action at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market most Saturdays. It is fascinating to see her beautiful pots take shape right before your eyes.
"My father taught me how to be a man, to take responsibility, go to work, take care of business, and take care of my family. He taught me things I never would have learned out on my own. He has his own hardwood flooring business. He taught me that, and now I'm teaching my sons."
“That storm we had last night blew branches all over this yard, so I had to get out my chainsaw , cut 'em up, and haul 'em to the street. I’m a farm girl. I can do anything. Besides, who else is going to do it? People always say, ‘Honey, why don’t you just sit down?’ But I can’t. I’m just wired, I guess. My daddy never let us sit down. We were always busy.”
Besides gardening, Boots loves painting.
"I’m a military baby, and I’ve traveled all over, but I’ve lived in Memphis now for twelve years. Got married two months ago to a girl I met here. I have to say marriage isn't easy. First, there was all the planning that went into the wedding. And then adjusting to being married. I’m responsible for another person now, not just myself, and I have to make sure she has what she needs. But it’s good, and I’m happy. If I had to sum it up, I'd say I’m just a simple guy who’s glad he’s married now."
*Occasionally, the person I'm photographing hesitates to give me his or her real name, as this young man did. I always tell them it's fine if they want to make one up. He said, "Just call me 'Kyle.'"
"The marriage didn’t work out, but I have two wonderful children, a boy and a girl. I always tried to teach my kids to be honest, stand by their word, pay their bills, and just live a good life. I'd have to say that finding God is the most important thing that ever happened to me."
"I love working here. It's like a big extended family. Most of the customers are regulars. We know them by name and know pretty much what they're going to order when they come in. People like to come to a place where they feel comfortable and where they don't have to worry about anything. It's like a small town. I love it."
Bob's Barksdale Restaurant is located at 237 Cooper.
"I’ve been painting for 35 years. I didn’t have anybody to teach me, so I taught myself. This job here will take me three days. I don't have a lot to say. I'm just a regular guy. All I really want in life is to have a nice home for my family. That’s all."
"Growing up, there were six girls and three boys in our family. Mama and Daddy (mostly Mama, since Daddy died when I was five years old) made us get up and go to church every Sunday. Every week. I always said that when I grew up, nobody was going to make me go to Sunday School. We called it BTU back then. But I go all the time now. Bible class and choir too. Mama doesn’t have to be there anymore to make me go. I’m 75 years old, and I thank God I’ve lived this long.
"I want to be remembered for knowing Christ and for being a giver. Not just a giver with money, but with other things too. If I see that I have too much, I look around to see who might need something, and I give it to them. We need to treat other people the way we want to be treated.
“I didn’t always do the right thing though. Growing up, I was Grandma’s baby and spoiled rotten. She wouldn’t let us play cards. Her nor Mama either. But I loved playing, so my sister and I would sneak out the side window in the back room and go out and play cards anyway. We did that regular. One night, just as we were climbing back in the window, we heard Grandma coming down the hall toward our room, saying, ‘What’s going on back there?’ Scared us to death. I jumped under the covers with my clothes on like I was asleep. Grandma opened the door, looked in, and said, ‘Well, I guess it’s nothing. Jean’s sleeping.’ Oh, we were so scared. I never will forget that. I was 21 years old then. I never told her what we were doing.”
Jean has this to say about the Orange Mound Community Center:
“There are so many activities for seniors here: aerobics, for one, and all kinds of exercise even for those who are not quite as active as I am. I’m wild. There’s crocheting, knitting, piano---and they serve us nutritious lunches, which I always stay for, since I don’t do much cooking anymore. I love this community center. I’ve been coming for years. I was an RN, and when I retired, one of my friends said, ‘Why don’t you go to the Orange Mound Community Center?’ So I did. You have to be at least 55 to be considered a senior.”
Jean earned her Bachelor’s degree from William Carey College (now University) and her M.S. degree from Trevecca Nazarene College (now University). She and her late husband had one daughter, who lives in California and calls her mother every week.