Retro Crossroads 0107
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- In this episode of Retro Tennessee Crossroads we're going back to 1991 to visit Elliston Place, one of Nashville's most interesting streets. Al Voecks takes us to Shelbyville to meet a vet and his flock of racing pigeons. Jana Stanfield meets a Nashville man who repairs telephones from the good old party line days. And finally, we'll go to a place called Holly Berry Inn in Tullahoma with Al Voecks. That's the lineup for this episode. I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome. Well, I'm in the studio again with Becky Magura. Tell me, which segment has piqued your interest? - Oh my goodness. I am so excited. I'm always excited to be here in the studio with you, Joe, and doing Retro Crossroads. And you know, I'm kind of interested about that pigeon racing. I can't, I can't comprehend that, but we're gonna love it together. And then I'm a huge fan of Elliston Place, you know, the whole - Well, - I remember so many great places down there but we'll talk about that later. - Well, this will bring back lots of memories and we're headed there right now. - Welcome to Elliston Place, a one of a kind place in Nashville, Tennessee. It's a unique street where the hip and the square come together. Where a store full of old books faces the shop full of brand new records, where entertainment can be as old fashioned as a home cooked meal at this famous soda shop, or as modern as a hot night of rock and roll. But whatever you come here for and whatever you call this place, it's a special place in Nashville and a great one to come and watch people. We've come to watch a very special person who's been here on Ellison Place longer than anyone else. He's a businessman, a craftsman, and the unofficial mayor of Elliston Place, Mr. Buford Anthony. Mr. Anthony arrives at work sometimes in his vintage '62 T-bird to run a business he's had here for about 45 years. His jewelry store is the kind that used to be in every city's neighborhood and on the main street of every small town. Mr. Anthony has seen a lot of changes on this street since he came here. Back then there were large residential homes sharing a street with old family businesses. Mr. Anthony learned his craft as an apprentice in his hometown of McMinville. But it's a craft he's watched die a rather slow sad death. - Well, of course most all the good watchmakers passed on. There's two or three still around in Nashville and, but the watches now, they're buying throwaway watches. They pay $10 or less or 20 or less. And if you bring one of these old watches in for repair they're going to shoot you 50 to $75 to repair it. So therefore, we've just choked ourselves out as watchmakers on the repairing course. Because people just not willing to pay that kind, unless they got sentiment to them. You know, something like that. - Occasionally, he'll put on his eyepiece to work on a watch or two, but for the most part he's pretty much quit the craft himself for several reasons. - I quit repairing about- Lee James was with me 33 years and he did all the repairing. So I actually quit repairing. And so naturally I just don't have the touch that I used to have and I really don't want to. One reason. It's tedious work, in a way. And if you've got good, solid hands and can settle down and not flip everything you touch with your tweezers or lose it and everything, you- I could still do it if I wanted to, but I just don't enjoy it like I used to. - Thanks to a new interest in old watches though, Mr. Anthony now does a pretty good business selling to collectors. - Now this is what we call a tank watch here, it's sort of a rectangular-type watch. Some have Roman numerals and some have regular letters of course on, or maybe just could be bits on it for the time, each hour, you know. They collect similar to these. Now I've had some finer watches and these and you have to collect, but these are not that fine. But they do have the style they love, you see. - Are pocket watches coming back? Are they making a comeback in any way? - They run in sort of spurts. In other words, you might have, would you believe most of the ones that buying these are women for their boyfriend or their husband or something. Now here's an old watch, 18 carat gold, key wind. And some people love that type watch and some don't. - It's pretty. - But you wouldn't use this as a timepiece. It's more of a collector's item to enjoy looking at, hang up in a glass dome or something, you know? - Nashville magazine recently gave him the title of mayor. But why did he get it? - Well, I guess maybe being here on the street longer than anyone, they finally gave me the title of mayor. - Mr. Anthony wisely bought up much of the property along Elliston place over the years. He's made a lot of good friends among the tenants and other neighbors. He's seen the coming of Friday's and Tony Roma's and he's continuously fascinated with one of Nashville's most eclectic streets. - We've got a mixed crowd here. We got doctors, lawyers, musicians, street people. Anything you want to see, if you're stand there and watch in this window you can see it before the morning's over, you know? - Yeah. It's hard to describe Elliston Place. - You can't describe it. You just can't. - Every city should have a street like Elliston Place. And every such street should have an unofficial mayor like Buford Anthony, a man who still enjoys his title and his life's work of 45 years. - I'm slowing it down. I'm not trying to do everything anymore. I worked pretty hard here for a number of years. So basically I just want a place to make myself think I'm occupied. I'm retirement age but I don't wanna retire for I think I'd be very, very unhappy. - And no doubt the people of Elliston Place would be unhappy. Why, they'd miss his store, his red Thunderbird, and most of all the warm, friendly smile of the mayor. - Wow. Joe, that brought back lots of memories. I love Elliston Place and I bet you loved being there. - I did. And gosh, what changes have been there? Some places gone that I hate to see, but you know, - Well, me too. - Progress, I guess. - Let's talk about that. 'Cause, you know, my favorite place on Elliston Place was Rotier's. - Oh yeah. - The best burger. Just this little incredible, I don't know, just hideaway that was so dear. And the food was amazing. And of course it was right there near the park. - Yeah, a lot- many a Vanderbilt kid has been there too. - That's right. That's right. - So, you know, - What about you? - Well, I, you know, I kind of love the fact that Elliston Place Soda Shop, which we feature in Tennessee Crossroads has been there and still thriving. So, you know, some things never change. - Some things go and some things come back. But here we're gonna go to something that that maybe is gonna come back. You think? Pigeons? - We'll see. I don't know. You know, you think a story about prize-winning animals in Shelbyville would be about horses, right? Well, once upon a time, Al Voecks met a guy down there who raises and races thoroughbreds of a different feather. - For most people, the family pet is, well, it's the family dog. This is the animal of choice for most people with pets. And yet for some other people, the animal of choice is, well, of a little different variety. But for Dr. Ed Perryman, when he goes and plays with his pets, it's unlike what most people would realize. All told, he has about a hundred of them. Ed Perryman is a veterinarian in Shelbyville, Tennessee and a few years ago got interested in pigeons. - As a child, as a boy, I always flew with pigeons in barns and a lot of boys my age used to climb up barn lofts and catch pigeons. And when I came, when my father came back from World War Two, he brought some white pigeons and they were pets. Unfortunately, I had cats for pets and cats caught the pigeons and that wound it up. Then I had a friend who gave me a pigeon and for a while there we had a big bunch of pigeons just playing around the barn. But over the years, I'd forgotten it. And I remember going to a fellow's house and he had some pigeons and I thought, why? Why would he fool with pigeons? I remember thinking that. I didn't even want to go to look at it. I thought that was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen. - Well, it may have been silly to start with, but for Ed, it soon became a passion. - This is, I guess, my youngest baby. They're born or hatched with their eyes shut. Now, already we began to look at these fellows for various things. You'll notice that he has hair. At this stage he has no feathers. This is hair or down. Chickens, if you compare them to chickens, chickens are hatched with their eyes open and they can walk. These things cannot walk. They're really helpless. And we check the navels. I had one of these who had a bad navel. His eyes will open in three or four days. Now, the pigeons feed them crop milk and it's made in their crop. And both pigeons, they have they have their timing so synchronized that both pigeons, male and female, will produce this milk in their crop. And it's, it looks a lot like cottage cheese, is what it looks like. And they will feed these babies this material. After about four or five days, they'll began to pick up grain and give them grain. You saw one, one day old. Now this one is about seven days old and you can see how much it's changed in seven days. Just for a comparison, There's two. And then they actually double almost every day for a while. They grow very fast. It's very high protein food. Let me show you something about a long distance bird and a short distance bird. This pigeon is bred for long distance. These, the flights of the pigeon are divided into primary flights. The first ten on the end are called primary and these are called secondary. The short distance pigeon, the length of your secondary flights is shorter. His may come, say, to right here. These are what really maintain the pigeon in flight. And you want for a long distance pigeon, the longer, the better you like it. Also in a long distance pigeon you want the wing tips. You want good, strong wings and you want these ventilated like your fingers. Notice that there's space in here. That's a good sign. And that's what you look for. A good long distance pigeon should be shaped, apple-shaped, wider here and taper into a point. Now this is our speed-type pigeon and he will not relax. You'll notice that he is a much higher-strung pigeon. And if I turn him loose, you'll see. And he'll let you look at his wing. But he little rather you didn't. He has a lot of wing for a speed pigeon. - What makes the bird you have here different from the type that's sitting on the Shelbyville courthouse right now? - He's a larger pigeon. He's- I think a lot of it is what's up here. I think a lot of it's in their head. And that's the one thing you can't measure about any pigeon is what's in his head. Over half of his entire weight is made up of these big pectoral muscles right in here. And they're what really drive him. A good pigeon, a good racing pigeon has a short, thick neck. A long-necked pigeon gets tired of holding his neck out on a long race and he's got to go down. The same with too long the legs. If his legs, his legs really attach back here, on too long a trip, he gets tired and those legs drag him down. Too long a tail or too short a tail is also another problem. You want a good stocky-made pigeon. - How do they do it, Ed? How do they get from point A to here? What drives them? What keeps them on course? - They've done a lot of testing to try to find out. One of the things they know is that pigeons can detect the magnetic pull of the earth. Some way they can sense gravity and magnetic pull. They also can detect, they go by the sun and by the stars. And something else I admire about them, their ability to fly. There's no bird that enjoys flying so much as a pigeon. Most birds fly for their food. They fly to catch something. Pigeons just love flying. They really enjoy it. - A wise man wrote years ago that if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was. For Dr. Ed Perryman, rest assured all his birds are his. - If I could be any bird, if I could be any animal, I'd be a pigeon. - You like pigeons? - Well, you know what, I do like pigeons. I like to go like, I like to go to the courthouse and see 'em hanging out and, maybe around some statues and you know, you can feed them anything. - Yeah, they'll eat anything. But you know, some people will call them rats in the sky. - No. Do they? - Yes, they do. Well, let's talk about telephones. - Oh, you know what? Maybe I'll just take a call then. - People can- okay, you go ahead and do that. And I'll talk about telephone technology which has soared since the early days of Crossroads. Remember those bulky telephone bricks back in the early nineties? Well back then Jana Stanfield met a man who was more obsessed with telephones of the past and he had a collection to prove his calling. - You did what? Oh my gosh. You're kidding. Oh, I gotta go, okay? I'll call you back. Bye. This is a 1950s Ericofon which goes perfectly with this 1950s gossip bench. If this phone could talk, just think of the fascinating stories it could tell. Unfortunately, a lot of old phones stopped working and wound up in the junkyard. But you're about to meet a man who restores old phones so they can continue collecting the stories of our lives for years to come. - First started doing that when I was real young, probably 10 or 12 years old. Just 'cause I tinkered with with anything. I like to take stuff apart and put it back together and usually it didn't work when I put it back together but I just wanted to see what was inside of it. And so that's how I got started working on telephones. - The first phone Richard Carpenter ever fixed was his grandmother's old wooden phone, The phone his dad used when proposing to Richard's mom. Richard's grandmother let him keep the phone and he's been collecting phones ever since. Many of the phones Richard restores come from a time before people had the option of dialing direct. Now this one doesn't have, what do you call this? A dial? - Yes, a dial. - What's the story on that? - Well, a lot of the rural phone companies a long time ago were not capable of taking a dial impulse and transferring it to another phone so that it would ring somewhere else. And so they didn't have any use for a dial. They'd pick up and it would signal the operator and the operator would connect you to whatever line you want to talk to, to your neighbor or whatever. So that's the story behind the phones that don't have dials. - When you get old phones, what shape are they usually in? - Well, they look like that they've been out in a junkyard in the weather. They've been dragged behind a car and they're in bad shape usually. They're scarred up. A lot of the plastic ones are have cuts and scars in them. And I can usually, if- unless the scar is too deep- I can buff that out and make it look like a brand new one. The metal phones, I have to take down the metal and repaint those. - Richard let us watch the process he uses to turn a beat up old phone back into a thing of beauty. - Most of the components in this phone were manufactured in the- 1946. You can see some of the numbers on some of the parts that dated when those particular parts were manufactured. September 1946. Get one more screw out and then the top will be off and I'll be ready to take it to the buffing wheel to start working on the finish of it. - Richard Carpenter's restored phones can be found in his booth at an art deco shop in Nashville. The phones there are usually surrounded by his collection of fifties memorabilia. While Richard is out searching yard sales for phones, he also looks for fifties items. So far he's collected close to 500 pieces of a kind of dinnerware from that era known as Fiestaware. That's quite a collection considering that some Fiestaware can go from 50 to $500 per item. Richard Carpenter's fifties house full of fifties furnishings takes him back to a time when things were simpler. Especially the phones. Today's phones are harder to repair and easier to break than the old phones. - Some of the phones that I work on are still working and have been in service for 50 or 60 years. - And what do you think about the phone's future? - Oh, they'll stay in service, I hope. You know, I'll- I'll clean them up and make them real presentable where people would like to have them in their home and they use them to decorate with because they are, maybe they have an older house and they want the phone of that era. - Richard Carpenter is so sure of the quality and durability of his old phones that he guarantees them. In the next few decades, we'll probably have high tech video telephones to talk on but Richard Carpenter predicts that even then his restored old phones will still be ringing. - Joe, you know what, did you have a rotary phone? 'Cause I had a pink rotary phone to match my pink bedroom, by the way, when I was growing up. - How nice. No, we had the old traditional black - Oh. - and a party line. You have one? - Yeah, we did have a party line. You know, that was how you kept up with the neighborhood. 'Cause you could just pick up the phone and listen in. - When I was a teenager there was a teenage girl that was on our line and I think she knew more about my life than I did. - I bet she knew more about your life and I bet she happily shared it. - That's right. Well, Becky, after three and a half decades of Tennessee Crossroads, it's refreshing to discover some of our early destinations are still in operation. Well, such as the Holly Berry Inn in Tullahoma. It's a place Al Voecks visited back in 1992. - I would imagine that each of us has a certain dream in life. You know, that certain goal that we would like to achieve. Down in Tullahoma, Judy Ratliffe Powell had a dream, but not until a certain set of circumstances all fell together and the pieces of the puzzle all came together, was she able to achieve that goal. However, because of it, we have the Holly Berry Inn. The Holly Berry Inn is in the historic Depot District of Tullahoma. Under the guidance of Judy, the inn provides a classic dining experience. It is something that she had in mind years ago. - I had a friend who had a restaurant similar to this in an old house, a Victorian house. And I'm an interior designer by profession so I went looking for a house seven years ago that could ultimately turn into a restaurant and accommodate my design business plus gift shop. And it's taken some time to, you know, get here. We've had to do a great deal of restoration inside and out. And so we've been working toward that end for seven years. - The historical value of this house and this neighborhood is something to be preserved. - Yes, it is. Thanks to the Tullahoma Historic Society, It is on the national historic register. We're part of the Depot district and there are five other houses plus the railroad depot. And it's- it has a lot of Tullahoma's history is right here on this street. - When was this house built? - 1907. And it was built for the superintendent of the southern national railroad. - And now you're the chief cook and bottle washer of the restaurant. - That's me. And scrubber of the floors. - Had you had any restaurant experience? - Other than to manage a cafeteria for two years for a private school. And I enjoyed doing that and I also enjoyed playing hostess and so I felt I could do it. My mother was a school cook for many years so I've always loved cooking and I felt it was something that Tullahoma really needed, but long range, I had always wanted to do this with an old house like this. A buffet, that's our noon and we have, we cater to to businessmen and women. Lots of ladies drive out to see us. They enjoy seeing the house. We serve at least three entrees every noon and six to eight freshly prepared vegetables plus salad and soup every day. And homemade bread that I do every morning. - Your rooms are different. Do people actually request a certain room in this house that they want to eat in? - Just about every day we get a request for several different rooms. Some people want the dining room because we have this wonderful Henredon $40,000 dining room set in there and our fine china and that's the place they wanna sit and someone will say, I want to the library. This intimate room for two is all cozy and private. And in our sun porch upstairs, we get requests for that every day too. - Most of the dining inns of this nature provide lunch and dinner. The Holly Berry Inn is somewhat different in that you can have brunch from 7 to 9. You can have lunch from 11 to 2. then Victorian tea from 3 to 5. Supper is from 5 to 6:30 and dinner is from 7 to 9. It keeps the staff busy. - We'll do any of those things. We are gluttons for punishment, I guess. We have supper and it's just a little, it's early and it's for folks who want to come home after work and have a meal and go on home and have the evening to themselves. Then we have dinner, which is candlelight and silver. We light the fires and it's a very special occasion. I would like to think it's all the charm of a country inn and the ambience of a very fine home. - Times have changed, however. Steam engines no longer huff and puff up and down these tracks. They're replaced by the diesel engine pulling trains that don't even stop here anymore. But with a visit to the Holly Berry Inn, well, one can just imagine the elegance of a time gone by. - I'd like for them to think that this was a very friendly place, first of all, and that they'll feel welcome to come back. That they will have enjoyed a beautiful meal here and enjoyed our home. I like to think this is my home and I'm entertaining our guests and I like to treat our guests like my friends and I want them to feel very good about coming back to see us again and having enjoyed a meal and having perhaps had a brighter day because they came here. Enjoy your lunch. - Thank you. - Thank you. - Bye bye. - Joe, I've never been to the Holly Berry Inn but it is on my list. It looks like a lovely place with great food. - And great people there. Well, unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today. But you can join us again the first Sunday of next month at 6:30 PM or watch Retro Tennessee Crossroads on demand anytime on the free PBS video app. We'll see you then.
Retro Tennessee Crossroads
January 01, 2023
Season 01 | Episode 07
In this episode of Retro Tennessee Crossroads, we're going back to 1991 to visit Elliston Place, one of Nashville's most interesting streets. Al Voecks takes us to Shelbyville to meet a vet and his flock of racing pigeons. Jana Stanfield meets a Nashville man who repairs telephones from the good old party line days. And finally, we'll go to a place called Holly Berry Inn in Tullahoma.