By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
To say that Vicki Howerton loves Madison County would be an understatement. She moved here in 1971 after she married her husband, Colin Howerton, a longtime Madison resident. Prior to moving to Madison, Howerton graduated from Waycross High School, then attended Ga. Southern College for two years. “I then graduated from Valdosta State University with a BS degree in Elementary Education,” she said.
“I loved the gorgeous yellow brick Court house and especially our yellow brick First United Methodist Church. The Four Freedoms Monument was something that I loved with the beautiful stately angels standing guard over this pretty town. The Country Club was beautiful, and College was very special too —along with Cherry Lake where we all loved to go skiing,” Howerton said, when asked about her favorite parts of Madison County after first moving here.
Over the years many stores have came and gone through Madison. Some of Howerton’s most cherished memories included those stores. “I remember Lucille’s Dress Shop with the beautiful slippers, robes, etc.. The Eagles Store was a favorite. Madison Dress Shop was always fun to go in-a shop where you could find pretty outfits and jewelry and also visit with all the friends who stopped by to shop and to chat,” she said.
She also said, “The K & M Restaurant was open, as well as the Madison Restaurant owned and operated by Jack and Toy Stewart; that was where we all went after Church on Sundays for a delicious lunch. I miss Smith’s Drug store that was an amazing gathering spot with great coffee and Louise Bland’s fabulous pimento and chicken salad sandwiches. I also miss Comer’s Drugs (and Norris Pharmacy/Ladybug cafe along Jenny Week’s Madison Hotel and the One Eleven Restaurant that were all here more recently.) In the ‘70s, The College Inn was a favorite, and the Hillcrest Dairy Bar was totally amazing with their Slaw burgers, Slaw dogs, and was a part of everyone’s daily life almost!! It was a special gathering place! We all loved seeing John and Wanda. We enjoyed our daughter, Memy, along with all their children and all our local youth growing up together and spending much time at the Dairy Bar with friends and families.”
When asked what she and her husband would do for fun, Howerton responded, “We played a lot of golf and went to a lot of dinners and golfing events at the Madison Country Club. It was very active back then—especially the annual Pot Williams Golf Tournament. Every Thursday night dinner was served at the MCC for many years. We all served on committees to make it happen. During the summers, all the moms and children gathered at the pool to let the children swim in the afternoons while the moms chatted; many times the dads would often be playing golf. Tennis was also a huge part of the MCC for many residents. Wednesday Bridge Club was a way of life for the ladies, and the men would play couples bridge with us on weekends and have dinner at each of our homes as we would rotate hosting the Bridge parties-luncheons and dinners.
Also we went to Valdosta with friends and family to restaurants, shopping, movies, and also golf tournaments/events. We went to Tallahassee and Gainvesville sometimes to shop- or football games and restaurants—but mostly Valdosta. We went there weekly for one reason or another….still do!”
Howerton also shared the best part of living in a small town, “For me, the best is the wonderful relationships that we all enjoy as residents of Madison. We are all one big family and that is such a blessing to all. The worst is knowing that there are great needs that are common to every town today and not being able to change and meet these needs immediately to make it even more outstanding/excellent in every way. However, these needs are constantly being forcefully addressed, and we do know that we have committed people and many prayers to see things turn around especially for children and families, as more jobs will be coming to Madison; spiritual revival as well is continuing to happen in our county.”
Anyone interested in being interviewed for this article can call 973-4141 and make an appointment with Kristin Finney, or may drop by Greene Publishing, Inc. any day before noon. Those interviewed must have lived in Madison for a large portion of their life, and be able to recall a few things that have changed since that time.