How many of you remember Andy Griffith and Mayberry? Of course, you ALL do. His show is a mainstay of Americana. But did you know Andy was from Mt. Airy, NC and modeled the fictional town of Mayberry after his hometown?
Last week Cyndi and Bill and I took more than a day trip to Mt. Airy, we took a step back in time to when life was simpler and people were friendlier. Being in Mt. Airy was like being on the set of the Andy Griffith show. We started the day with lunch at Barney’s Cafe where pictures of Deputy Fife adorn the walls. We all had a “Barney Burger” and it was hands down the best bacon cheeseburger I’ve had in a long time. We topped lunch off with ice cream at another shop. I had chocolate chip mint while Cyndi and Bill had moonshine ice cream. This is the South after all!
|Russell cutting Andy's hair|
We then stepped into Floyd’s City Barber Shop, formerly owned by Russell Hiatt, a barber who used to cut Andy Griffith’s hair and is now run by his son, Bill. Bill, at 71, isn’t a barber but he employs barbers so it’s still a barber shop. “Two chairs, no waiting.” Bill talked with us for nearly 45 minutes, cracking jokes and taking our picture as a memento of our visit.
tour of the town in a black and white ‘60s era squad car. We saw the house where Andy lived for nine years and is now owned by a hotel and rented out for overnight visitors. His parents bought the house in 1935 for $600. We saw the Baptist church where Andy worshiped and the school he attended. We started the tour at Wally’s garage with the siren blaring and ended back at Wally’s, again with the siren blaring.
Next to Wally’s was a replica of the courthouse and jail with Sheriff Taylor’s desk on one side and two jail cells on the other. One cell was plain—a cot and a sink, the other had a TV, rocking chair, table and lamp, and a sign indicating it was Otis’ cell. So much fun.
Even though no episodes were ever filmed there (they were all shot in Burbank), you can easily imagine Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Gomer, Otis and all the rest walking the streets and going in and out of the buildings. Betty Lynn, who played Barney’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou, is now 91, lives in Mt. Airy, and goes to the Andy Griffith Museum once a month to sign autographs.
Shows come and go, but I’m here to tell you that the town of Mayberry lives on, not only in our hearts but also in a little town called Mt. Airy, North Carolina.
Thought for the Day: The days may come, the days may go, but still the hands of memory weave the blissful dreams of long ago. George Cooper