By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Ray Williams has lived in Madison for the majority of his life. The only time he has not resided in Madison was during his time in the Army. He was born in 1944 and in all of those years living in this community, Williams still loves Madison and there is no where else he would rather be.
Growing up, Williams attended Lee Junior High School and Madison High School. In school he was a member of the Future Farmers of America. He also played many sports in school, including basketball, softball and baseball. When he wasn’t in school, Williams spent a lot of his time at home, on the family farm.
The family farm was located near Blue Springs, across from where Nestle Water Company currently sits. Williams explained, “When I was a kid there wasn’t a whole lot to do. We didn’t go to town often, maybe on Saturday afternoons and evenings. We spent a lot of our time swimming at Blue Springs or Cushion Ferry. My dad’s family was really big, so we had reunions and fish fries a lot when I was growing up. Back then it wasn’t just family that would come. There were people from the community there too.”
When Williams would go to town, he would often go to the Swan Theatre and see a western or something of that nature. The cost of admission was a nickel. “Madison was a thriving little town back then. Every building had something in it.
There were five tractor dealerships, shoe stores, dress shops, two cotton gins, two dime stores, dry goods stores and four or five grocery stores. All of those are gone now,” said Williams.
Williams reminisced, “I have a lot of fond memories of Madison back then and I think about it quite often. People’s relationships with each other have changed a lot since then. Back then a man’s handshake was his word. It meant more than any contract. But now you can’t do that. People just don’t have time for people anymore. There are no neighborly feelings, or at least not as much as there used to be. Back then people would do anything for their neighbors. If a farmer got really sick and it was time for the crops to be planted, his neighbors would often get together and go out there and plant his crops for him. Back then a farmers’ crop was usually what supported his family through the year. So much has changed since then that is it unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I love Madison. I have been to other places and there is nowhere else that I liked as much as I love Madison.”
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.