By Carole McReynolds Davis
“Let’s play today in my very special playhouse today,” said pretty little ‘Bittie’ Puller. “Want to play dolls with me today, Daisy Evelyn Lewis?”
“Yes” said, Daisy Evelyn. “Moma said that I could come and play with you today, Bittie, be there in just a few minutes, ‘see you later alligator, after while crocodile’, Bye Bye, Bittie.”
Then Daisy Evelyn goes back to her old black telephone, the one that you hold the receiver and talk into the tall black part of the telephone...she says, “Miss Dot” may I please get you to get Bittie back on the line once again for me, and Moma said to say ‘Hi” for her too, and how are you doing today, ‘Miss Dot?’ “Thank you.”
“Bittie, its Daisy Evelyn again, do you want me to bring along my dolly all dressed up in her long purple evening dress, you know my doll I named Elizabeth, the one with the long black hair we can brush and comb? “Sure, bring Elizabeth too, see you in a few minutes, and I’ll be outside of the big house in my little house waiting for you to come over and play with me today.”
Two little girls playing for hours with their dolls in a real fancy little playhouse right here in Starkville, as they enjoyed laughing and playing make-believe, lost in a world of their very own, as near by neighborhood children back in the early 1900’s.
Can’t you hear them now and see two little dear friends spending the entire early morning together in their make believe world!
When we first meet a new friend, we ask the one big question? Who are your people? We are very interested in your ancestry and your pedigree. Just who are your folks? Where did you come from?
Well, let’s go back to our two precious little girls, Bittie Puller and Daisy Evelyn Lewis. Who really are they? Bittie Puller is the only child and daughter of “Pinkie” Gunn Puller and Shep Puller. The big white house which is called The W.H. Gunn House, 1910 (100 years old this year 2010) is located in the Greensboro Historical District, and is on the National Historical Homes of America. It is located next to the Greensboro Center which use to be our old Starkville High School where my moma graduated years ago.
The W.H. Gunn house is behind the Greensboro Center which is the west side of the center and south side of the street. In the side yard is this ‘top of the line’ playhouse with its own little sign which reads, “Bittie’s Playhouse, 1926. Daisy Evelyn Lewis was my aunt who lived down on the end of Louisville Street in the big white family house, 501 Louisville Street, “She’s A Grand Ole lady”/ The Pearson Place, 1911, (99 years old this year 2010,, and “She” turns 100 years old this coming year in July 9, 2011, the very day my moma, Elizabeth was born.
Louisville Street and many of the older homes and others near our street joined in with the Greensboro Historical District, and it too became a part of the National Historical Homes Of America. Daisy Evelyn’s moma was my ‘Granny’, Daisy Pearson Lewis and her Daddy was William Elmer Lewis, my ‘Grandaddy.’ Daisy Evelyn was the youngest child and daughter plus moma, Elizabeth Lewis McReynolds and M. P. ‘Sonny” Lewis, their brother who was in the middle of these three children.
Papa Pearson, Wiley Bartley Pearson, built our home, and he built the two houses on each side of ours for cousins—the Cora Dean Norris House and The Adair House. The Gunn Clan lived close to the big white W.H. Gunn house too.
Mr. Bobby Gunn told me days ago that his both of his own grandaddys served as mayors of Starkville—Mayor J. O. Gunn and Mayor P. G. Sudduth.
There was a Gunn relative who lived right across the street from Bittie’s house who was the Starkville Postmaster for years. Bobby’s home use to be where the old Buckley house stood once on Louisville Street going back towards our family home at 501 Louisville Street south, but was later torn down for the little garden homes to be built on Louisville Street next to the Greensboro Center today.
Back in the early 1900’s cousins enjoyed living side by side and everyone was then one big family growing up and playing together.
The Gunn Clan all lived near by each other on Greensboro Street. Old sidewalks connected us all as cousins, neighbors, and good dear friends as well. In a way, we were all “kissing kin” and to us we all seemed related by blood and certainly by friendships.
Bittie Puller married Bill Allen who, like her own daddy, Shep Puller was a pharmacist downtown in a drug store on the corner of Main Street. Bittie Puller and Bill Puller had only one son, Bill Shep Allen, who was with the FBI for years, and he and his wife, a Starkville native, Betty Thompson, the daughter of’ “Pasture” Thompson who was with MSU, then Mississippi State College, who was with the Agronomy Department and wrote a text book about pastures thus, “Pasture” Thompson became his nickname. The Thompson’s also owned a fine antique shop in town too.
Daisy Evelyn married Vernon Pace, II and they are were the parents of four children, Vernon Pace, III, Sherry Pace, Bill Pace, and Tena Pace.
The Puller’s house is still standing as well as the little house on Greensboro Street, and the Pearson house is still standing on Louisville Street. Both the big houses and the little house have stood the test of time for now generations of children to play and grow up in.
I think that ‘Bittie’s Playhouse, 1926, is 84 years ‘young’ today because it is still charming, darling, delightful and most enchanting. It has a magical power to make each one us just a little girl again in our very souls. This magical fascination gives us our delightful and enraptured feeling deep inside of us. ‘Bittie’s Playhouse’ is still standing tall and proud today right next door to the big house just like ‘Bittie’ left it 84 years ago!
The little playhouse has the most ‘welcoming’ front glass door and I painted two of the glass windows one on the front porch and one on the right side of the playhouse.
Look at the cute roof top shape and the green shingles. The little porch is supported by two very southern columns which match the columns of the big W. H. Gunn House, 1910.
It is autumn of the year, and notice the huge tree besides the playhouse and all the colorful leaves still on the tree. See the leaves that have softly fallen on the overhang of the front porch of the playhouse. See the yellows, oranges, browns, reddish browns, mixed in with all the darker greens.
The playhouse is standing as its foundation on big solid concrete blocks and one concrete block is at the left hand side of the house used as step up to get to the front porch and the front door way. Two pots of plants are near the front door, one green plant, and one pink geranium still blooming in November.
The blue, blue, almost cobalt blue sky above blends in nicely with the colorful autumn foliage surrounding the playhouse as if it is nestled among the fallen leaves. The little stuffed, “Mr. Snowman” peeping outside the window at all the traffic passing by, gives this playhouse the very breath and life the entire painting needed to make it come alive again in 1977.
I suppose our little snowman finally did melt away, (he is not standing by the front window anymore... he suddenly disappeared after years of being there...what happened to him?) ... just like our memories fade and melt away.
Our memories are stored forever within our very hearts... all of our lives on earth and then in heaven.
I can almost see my aunt, Daisy Evelyn, finally arriving that day with her doll, Elizabeth, in her long purple evening dress with her dark black hair ringing the bell of the big W. H. Gunn House, 1910, and there stands, Bittie.
“Come on Daisy Evelyn, let’s hurry on over to my playhouse, let me run to get my doll, Priscilla, to play with your doll, Elizabeth.”
“My Moma said we could have real tea in my pretty little tea set with the tiny purple violets on the China tea pot and those tiny little cups and saucers to match with Moma’s tiny real cloth napkins too. Don’t you think your Elizabeth and my Priscilla will have so much fun too?”
And Daisy Evelyn would say, “Bittie, I’m so happy you called me up and invited me to come up to the end of the street to play dolls with you in... BITTIE’S PLAYHOUSE, 1926.”