A proclamation by the city of Walthourville’s mayor and council designated the month of July as Lyndol Anderson Month in recognition of her service to the city and citizens of Walthourville.
Anderson, the city’s first mayor, was honored for her 90th birthday Sunday at the Walthourville Baptist Church.
Lyndol Helmuth was born July 29, 1922, on a farm in Bulloch County and graduated from Claxton High School with top honors.
In 1942, she married William Hollis Anderson, a local farm boy. In 1943, he was drafted and served in Europe during World War II.
Hollis, Lyndol and daughters Melinda and Deborah were living on a farm in Evans County when Hollis got a civil service job at Camp Stewart. He left before daylight, and sometimes got home about dark. This caused much of the farm’s operations to fall upon Lyndol. She first learned to milk the cow. From then on, it was her job. She kept plenty of milk to drink and churned fresh butter and sold the extra. She learned to plow the fields with the tractor, became good at it and had some of the straightest rows around. In addition to planting cotton, corn and tobacco, she grew all the vegetables they needed and canned them for the winter. She made their ketchup and even their mayonnaise. Jellies, jams and preserves were made from wild blackberries, plums, peaches and pears. Few items had to be purchased in town.
Melinda recalled that after the tobacco was sold, Lyndol would “splurge” and buy some real bologna sliced off the large roll. She fried it for sandwiches with store-bought sliced bread. What a treat! After all, they had to eat pork chops, homemade smoked sausage, roasts, steaks, hamburger, fresh vegetables, biscuits, cakes of cornbread, homemade cakes and pies and homemade ice cream. Never any fast-food treats!
Hollis became tired of the long drive to work and they moved to “Wheelerville” in 1957 just inside Long County on Highway 84. Lyndol became a Stanley Products dealer. In 1958, they purchased the old Fletcher Store in Walthourville, which was where the Chinese restaurant is today. In 1962, they bought land across the road and built a home and new store that were connected. It was named Anderson’s Grocery. It truly was an old-fashioned general store. She tried to stock whatever customers wanted.
Many young soldiers lived in the community and visited the store. Sometimes they needed items or food and simply did not have any money. Lyndol provided food free of charge many times over the years. When Mother’s Day arrived, she did not get only two cards, she got a box full of them from people scattered all over the world that remembered her kindness and generosity.
Lyndol was an expert seamstress and made all the girls’ clothing. Melinda said her mother still made panties for her even after she married! Some of the dresses were made from the cloth sacks that chicken feed came in. The girls would go to the feed store with their daddy and pick out the sacks they liked and wanted for school dresses.
Cooking was one of Lyndol’s great pleasures and she was good at it. If one ate a slice of her homemade German chocolate cake, he or she never forgot it. When the girls were in school, they volunteered Lyndol whenever items were needed for snacks or parties. She attended every school event her children were in and all PTA meetings. She still enjoys watching the Cooking Channel.
One of her great joys in life is planting flowers and pretty plants. When I moved to Walthourville in 1971, I saw a large clump of daylilies by the store’s back door. These were the first daylilies I ever saw. Lyndol shared them with me, and that began my love for daylilies. She can grow any plants. She not only has two green thumbs, but also eight green fingers!
Several people were asked to describe Lyndol Anderson. The same words came up repeatedly: caring, responsible, compassionate, dependable, trustworthy, down-to-earth and determined. Old people who could not read trusted her to read their mail to them. She was never interested in diamond rings or the latest jewelry. She would rather dress comfortably and wear shoes that were good enough to wear in her garden than keep up with the latest fashion. She would rather spend money on her children, her five special grandchildren or someone in need rather than on herself.
Lyndol became Walthourville’s first mayor in 1974 when the city was incorporated. She had an all-woman council. City water was provided to all homeowners under her leadership. Noel O’Steen provided legal counsel to the floundering mayor and council. He was paid very sweetly — by pounds of homemade pecan divinity, chocolate fudge and peanut brittle made by the mayor. He said that was some of the best pay he ever received!
Lyndol’s husband and soul mate, Sweetie, passed away a few years ago and still is missed terribly by her. Her health began failing as the years passed and she could not keep up with the demands of Anderson’s Grocery. She leased the store and it now is Anderson’s Feed and Garden Supply. She still lives in the adjoining house, and one can still find her often in the store “helping out.” She spends much time with her girls and five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She still slips out to her garden every time she feels like it.
I stopped by her home Wednesday afternoon to take her picture for this article. She had just returned from a visit to her eye doctor. She agreed to have her picture taken among her flower garden.
“I am what I am,” she said.
Lyndol said she did not feel like she was 90 — on some days!
A good friend like Mrs. Lyndol Anderson is like a good bra: hard to find, supportive, comfortable and always close to your heart! Evans County’s loss in 1957 was certainly Liberty County’s gain.