The big yellow machine pushed on the wall and it came crashing down, creating a loud noise, as I stood inside Hinesville City Hall. I pressed my face to the window to watch as the old LeRoy’s Men’s Store (formerly Greenberg Furniture Store) was demolished to make room for the growth of The Heritage Bank.
Many thoughts swept my mind. I traveled back to when that building was an integral part of my life. In fact, it is why I lived in Liberty County for many years.
My husband, Harlon H. DeLoach, began working with Greenberg Furniture in the Glennville store in 1965. In 1967, it closed and he was transferred to manage the Hinesville store. It was busy, and I think the only competition was Fussell and Son’s Furniture Store. Greenberg’s, in the heart of downtown, was also a gathering place for politicians. They sat around a large dinette table near the back and discussed issues, the weather, fishing and anything else. The coffeepot was always full, and a checkerboard sat on the table. This is where Harlon became acquainted with the city and county leaders.
City Hall and the Fire Station were across the street where the Pirkle building is now. Many times, I remember walking across the street and seeing City Clerk Onetha Mingledorff leaning on the counter as I passed. Albert Greenberg, Joe LeCounte and Harlon were members of the Hinesville Volunteer Fire Department. Six days a week, they mainly made up the force. When the alarm sounded, all three ran across the street to the fire trucks. Harlon drove a truck most of the time. I have a picture of him running to put out a fire, holding a large water hose and wearing a white shirt and tie. I have seen him leave a customer standing when the alarm sounded. Faye Greenberg could take care of the customer. The fire was more important. Harlon rose to the rank of captain of the volunteers. He loved this job. Once a year, in early December, the volunteers were paid $5 for each fire they fought during the year.
When a new Hinesville City Hall opened, I saw the clerks walk back and forth to the banks wearing red smock tops. I asked my husband why so many Dairy Queen workers came by so often. He laughed and told me they were from City Hall and that was a uniform they wore. It was not in my wildest imagination that I would be one of "those girls" 15 years later. (That "new" City Hall was demolished in 2010.)
On Thursdays at noon, most of the stores in Hinesville closed for the afternoon. My babies, David and Paula, and I went with Harlon to work on Thursdays so I could go grocery shopping. I shopped at the Friendly Grocery on Memorial Drive and Dykes IGA, where Poole’s Deli is now. Sometimes I went down Main Street to Shave’s Dime Store, Polk’s Jewelry or LeRoy’s Men’s Store. Later, Bee Thrifty was there. The Dollar General Store was a great place to shop. It was located where the new Law Enforcement Center is now. In fact, at one time the Police Department was in the old Dollar Store that had been remodeled after it burned on the inside. While I did the grocery shopping, David stayed with his daddy at the store. They ordered grilled cheese sandwiches from the Whiteway Café across the street. They walked across Bradwell Park and went in the back door through the kitchen.
That little café served many people. Bob and Marge Nottingham ran it at that time. It was hard to see through the cigarette smoke in the place. By the time I had finished shopping, it was time for the furniture store to close and for us to head back home to Glennville.
Albert Greenberg began selling motorcycles and parts as a sideline to the furniture. I can still see those shiny motorcycles lined up on the sidewalk in front of the store along with the rocking chairs, bicycles and tricycles. Harlon enjoyed selling the motorcycles as he made an extra commission on them and the parts he sold.
He liked them so much that he bought a dirt bike from a guy and learned to ride it. We enjoyed riding many miles through the woods on trails. Heck, I even learned to ride it by myself! I must have been very brave back then!
In 1971, Harlon found a small plot of land for sale in Walthourville and bought it. He was tired of driving between Glennville and Hinesville six days a week and having no contact with his family from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We had no telephone at home and only one vehicle.
We moved to Liberty County on March 17, 1971. Shortly after, Harlon became a member of the Hinesville Police Auxillary initiated by Mayor Carl Dykes. He had to give up his position on the Fire Department. In August 1972, we added Bruce to our family. The Greenbergs wanted to decrease Harlon’s pay just as he was going to ask for a raise. When Bruce was 13 days old, Harlon went to work full-time as a Hinesville police officer, where he worked the next 26½ years until a massive heart attack claimed him on Feb. 18, 1999.