From left are Judi Jarrett and her mother, Helen Reed, and Eleanor Ellis with her daughter, Pam Bullock. Reed and Ellis are sisters; Jarrett and Bullock are first cousins. The Columbus women are pictured at Bullock's home Nov. 14 with Jarrett's whole wheat dinner rolls and Ellis' pecan pie. They are a preview of items that will be at the 59th annual Country Store Bake Sale from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Stephen D. Lee Home at 316 Seventh St. N. The sale benefits maintenance of the historic home. Photo by: Jennifer Mosbrucker/Dispatch Staff
November 20, 2019 9:55:00 AM
Pam Bullock and her cousin Judi Jarrett were both born and raised in Columbus, and each made their way out into the world when they were grown. As adults, they traveled great distances, as military families do, and lived in different, often exciting locales. Today, however, they are happy to have made their way home, back to Columbus, where their mothers, sisters Eleanor Ellis and Helen Reed, still live. Bullock returned in 2011. Jarrett in 2013. Interestingly, wherever they lived, no matter the distance, it wasn't unusual for them to call home to ask their moms cooking questions about a signature dish, especially at holiday time. Those family favorites are just one of the traditions shared by the women. Another is taking part every year in the Country Store Bake Sale at the Stephen D. Lee Home each November, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The mothers and daughters are all members of the Association for the Preservation of Antiquities in Columbus and Lowndes County, which organizes the event to help maintain the circa 1847 home and museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For Ellis and Reed especially, helping out stirs memories from long ago. As young girls, they each took home economics classes in the Lee Home when it served as part of the S.D. Lee junior high school, before the school was destroyed by fire in late 1959. The home was heavily damaged, but a determined preservation effort saved it from being demolished. Today it serves as a community venue. The main floor offers an elegant setting for weddings, receptions and numerous other events. The second floor houses the Florence McLeod Hazard Museum.
"The cafeteria was on the bottom floor. Mrs. Spurlock had her home economics classes upstairs," recalled Ellis.
"She was very strict," Reed added.
What the sisters gained in those classes complemented lessons learned at home.
"My mother always had us help her in the kitchen," said Reed, one of 10 siblings. "My dad always wanted to help out, too."
Having made goodies for the Country Store Bake Sale for many years, the sisters are pleased to have their daughters equally involved now. Jarrett, who was recruited into bake sale service by Bullock, serves as co-chair with Paulette Garton for this year's Nov. 26 event. Rita Douglass serves as president of the antiquities society.
About 60 or so bakers will bring homemade cakes, pies, candies, breads, jellies, jams, cheese straws and more to the Lee Home at 316 Seventh St. N. The made-from-scratch treats will be festively presented to shoppers eager to fill out their Thanksgiving feasts.
The sale begins promptly at 10 a.m. next Tuesday with the ringing of a bell. However, beginning at 8 a.m., shoppers may stop by the Lee Home for a brief preview and to pick up in advance a number for the line-up that forms prior to the 10 a.m. bell.
"It works quite well; we have coffee and cookies for those who want to come by and get a number," Bullock said. "When the sale starts we open the door and let in five numbers at a time. They'll have a about five minutes, and then another five people go in."
Proceeds make a difference
Funds raised by the sale have provided numerous benefits for the historic home in the past, from roof repair to handicapped access improvements. This year's event will go toward renovation of the kitchen and to add canvas awnings over some of the entrances, Jarrett said. The antiquities society also strives to maintain an emergency fund for unexpected repairs.
Ellis said, "I am thrilled and thankful that they saved the building because there are a lot of memories there. It's important that we take care of it and leave it for the next generations to come."
Jarrett, her niece, agreed.
"I think it's important that we continue to keep the Lee Home as preserved as we can," she remarked. "I think it's a part of our heritage."
IF YOU GO:
■ WHO: The Association for the Preservation of Antiquities in Columbus and Lowndes County
■ WHAT: 59th annual Country Store Bake Sale
■ WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-noon (Beginning 8 a.m., shoppers may pick up numbers for the line that forms prior to the 10 a.m. start bell)
■ WHERE: S.D. Lee Home, 316 Seventh St. N., Columbus
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light Karo
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
(Source: Eleanor Ellis, originally from Geneva Redus Shelton)
EASY WHOLE WHEAT DINNER ROLLS
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
2 packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups hot water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
(Source: Judi Jarrett)
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.