searching for mayberry…

December 10, 2010

somewhere between the 1 flashing red light and the almost spiritual football stadium, we grew up…

{nothin' like those friday night lights...}

{seriously, nothin' like it.}

in the little oilfield town that nestles in the pine tree-covered hills of east texas …where the dairy queen stands at the edge of town like a beacon in the night and where, at the local grocery store, the boys still carry your groceries out to your car….even if it’s just 1 jug of milk.

it’s where you can walk from the downtown florist to the post office and to the library all during your lunch break…and still have time to grab a slice of meringue pie and a cup of coffee with the mayor at the city café.

it’s where we rode in the beds of pickup trucks to my parent’s pizza place for lunch….

fitting as many as possible into the cab and the bed became a bonafide sport.

{we were so proud of this old's old 1980 GMC work truck...aka sanford}

and on halloween, all-out water balloon combat broke out…and every house was lovingly adorned with toilet paper. it’s where boys were required to tuck their shirt tails in before class (a moment of silence for dear CoaCH ChESTER ROy), to take their caps off at the door, and to walk a girl to the door after a date.

{small-town ChRiSTMAS and amie with fellow 4-H'ers on our homemade 4-H float}

it’s where the old school with the auditorium circa 1932 still stands….dusty, faded, green velvet curtains and an old wooden floored stage. we stood on that stage for plays, for speeches, for blood drives, for taking school pics, and then walked across it to graduate….me crying my heart out as i sat in the creeky wooden chairs…knowing this place, these people, this world was a very, very special part of my life. and scared to death i may never know this kind of wonderful again. where life was sweet and good.

{me with mom and dad on graduation day...yep, red-faced from all the cryin:)}

the halls were alive with energy on game days as cheerleaders would stand between the classroom doors and hold mini pep rallies while everyone rushed to class. the principal believed your word and you held to it…because you had respect for authority and pride for your school.

we didn’t have fancy classrooms or a nice parking lot or high-tech teaching tools….but we had so much more. we had love for our school and town. pride. respect for our teachers. we were challenged just as equally…and inspired…and amie and i believe we are the luckiest girls alive to have grown up in Overton. our Mayberry.

as my granny sikes always said…”time marches on..” and somewhere between then and now, we graduated high school, moved away to college (texas A&M, whoop!), ended up with jobs in the cities, became certified junkologists when we started junk gypsy, and had babies…and although our address was no longer overton, tx…our hearts never wanted to be anywhere other than a small town.

no matter where we roamed, we’ve always heard the beckon of the country. the call of mayberry. the lure of big green pastures and wide open spaces.

{the country is calling....}

and now, we’ve finally answered the call….

stay tuned for big news on our next big adventure….GeT ready MaYbERRY, here comes the JuNK GypSIES 🙂



(big thanks to matt prosser, literary aficionado and fellow overtonite for lettin’ me steal his overton pics off flickr :))

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  • Reply Matthew December 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Your words were like a string of pearls, weaving my scattered images into a vibrant home-spun tapestry… excellent.

  • Reply Michelle Dudo Harvey December 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Beautiful. Are any other words needed?

  • Reply Angela December 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm


  • Reply Misty December 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Jolie this is so cool i loved it when your parents owned A.J’s they were always so nice. Overton is a pretty cool little town to grow up in. I wish you and your family the best!

  • Reply Susan Bobbitt December 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Awww…this was great. Miss you guys!

  • Reply Shannan December 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Ladies, you are a testament to the spirit that thrives in all of us Rusk County Girls. Thank you for the walk through halls of our past, to where home really always is…in our country-fied hearts!

  • Reply Claire Pitts Sanches December 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    You wrote so beautifully. With all its warts, it is still a wonderful place to live. Best to your mom and dad. Really do miss them.

  • Reply Heather December 11, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Well said Jolie…brings back lots of memories. Everytime I see that movie “Varsity Blues” it makes me think of tha days when pep rallies in the “old gym” drew in the whole town and away games meant the town was empty. And of course, lunch everyday at the famous AJ’s pizza! 🙂 Miss you!! xoxo

    • Reply Jolie December 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      ahhh, yes VaRSiTY BLUES…that movie and friday night lights are sooooo overton! (with a little bit of LoNE StaR state of MinD throw in!:))
      thanks for readin’, heather! miss y’all too!!!! XOOXX!

  • Reply debbie york December 11, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Even tho’ the age difference between us is as vast as Texas…growing up in McKinney I share so many of the same memories. Makes you kinda feel sorry for the “big city” kids…they have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a generational town!
    P.S. Have I told you lately you look just like your mother?
    P.P.S. BTW…Janie..who is that lady looking all June Cleaverish?

  • Reply Deanna Liles Sheffield December 11, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Even though I didnt graduate with you guys, My time in Overton my Junior Year will never be forgotten. Ive been back several times and the place, I swear hasnt changed much. Good Times and GREAT people.. Carry On Gypsies, Carry on. xoxo

  • Reply Missy December 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I do believe…. if you keep writing like that… you could resurrect small town living all over… makes me want to pack up and move! I loved the photos too!

    • Reply Jolie December 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      thanks missy! maybe the country is calling your name too??? 🙂

  • Reply Donna Starks December 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Ya’ll come on home and show us whatch got !
    Love your site !

  • Reply Debbie Sparkman December 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    You could have inserted the small West Texas town of Aspermont that I grew up in & pretty much described my upbringing as well. I think you have captured the spirit of small towns throughout our awesome state. Thanks for sharing & taking me back in time!!

  • Reply llkeck December 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I’m not from Overton — heck I’m not even from TX, but your memories remind me so much of growing up in my own little town on the prairie in South Dakota!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply Kristi December 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you so much- I needed this- I too grew up in “Mayberry” small town life and small town pride. Everything is so true to heart and it takes me back home. God Bless the Junk Gypsys!

  • Reply April Coker December 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Those curtains could have been red velvet, the graduation gown red, and the football jerseys red, and it would have been my little hometown of Van, Texas, not too far away from Overton. The only difference? No railroad track running through town. . .but plenty of oil wells! Jolie, you are a writer extraordinaire. . .thanks for taking us back. . .

  • Reply debi beard December 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    thanks for painting that wonderful picture for all of us.
    Relationships and community are the most precious gifts of living.
    Beautifully said. This was a sweet reminder that human kindness can be shared anywhere.
    A city girl, a fellow junk lover and a fan!
    xo Debi Beard

  • Reply Misty Marshall December 13, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Overton sounded like a wonderful place to live. I myself come from a small town (Hayward, CA) but it seems that these days the good manners and sense of virtues that you described are few and far between. Or maybe that’s just the way people are in California. When I hear stories about the friendliness and hospitality of the south, it’s like a whole ‘nother country!

  • Reply N.Nicole Vento-Jones December 14, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Junk Gypsies- You were born for greatness!!! Thank you for the window to your souls 😉 May God continue to bless, protect and favor you, Jolie, Amie and your sweet Mom and Dad. Your humble beginnings have made you all the amazing, God loving and fearing family that have touched so many hearts. We will follow you anywhere the blacktop will take you all. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all for safety, for absolute joy and for peace. You have made a living out of something you love and have done so with passion. That is all that God has asked of us…that we may share with others His light and that we may do so to the glory of His name. Thank you for keeping CHRIST in CHRISTmas and for keeping His Precious Mother Mary Holy. See you all soon. Our family sends many CHRISTmas blessings, love and prayers of abundance. Thank you for the “pieces of you” in our home that make us feel as part of that Junk Gypsy soul. Love you all, N. Nicole Vento-Jones SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS <3

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      n. nicole…wow…i’m speechless. thank you sooo much for all of your support and kind words and thank you for allowing ‘pieces of us’ in your home. we are proud to be deemed worthy. XOOXOXO

  • Reply Diane December 14, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Oh, this is lovely! I grew up in the “big city” of Shreveport, but all of this resonates with me, especially as I have since lived in several small towns, in Arkansas, California, Texas, and even western Germany…

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      diane…sounds like you’re a small-town girl at heart! thanks for your comment! OXXXOO!

  • Reply Robyn Rapp December 14, 2010 at 8:47 am

    You just described where I live!!! Only my Mayberry is in Oklahoma!!

    I always say if people knew how wonderful small town life is there wouldn’t be any small towns!!! LOL

  • Reply Suzanne December 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

    You should write a book- maybe one day all these road ramblings will make one!!!!
    I’m with you on the respect and pride for authority- seems it is all but gone for most kids- then there are those of us that still require it, and teach our kids to respect nature- old stuff and our elders! I’m so glad another Mayberry style has come your way- We can’t wait to see more of ya’ll!!!!
    Thanks for sharing what so many of us cherish and remember about small towns- and why they are important- Churches on every corner downtown, values imparted from following generations, family owned restaurants where they have your sweet tea waitin when you walk in….. Love small town life!!
    Keep up the great work- and thanks for sharing part of your lives with the rest of us!

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      i have lots of ramblin’ in my head that’s for sure…:) knew you could relate to this post! thanks for readin’ and commenting! and yes, FOR SURE! cb will sooooo be in 4-H when he’s old enough!

  • Reply Suzanne December 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Forgot to mention- The 4-H Float is AWESOME!!!! Good to know that 4-H is still alive and well in small towns too—- Hope CB gets involved in it when the time comes! 😉

  • Reply Melody December 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I’m inspired. I’ve never lived more than 2 hours from home but I’m about to go away for the first time. We’re moving 9 hours away in February. I’m gonna miss it.

  • Reply Sarina December 15, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Although small towns are seemingly unable to keep a secret long enough to let the original story to come out of a persons mouth, those of us who live there wouln’t know what to do if we hadn’t had to worry about our mama findin’ out about what we had really done last weekend… I always say i’m gonna leave and stay gone and yet i always come back! People know me here they don’t look at me strange for my accent and never forget to ask how the family’s doin’. We love them, we hate them and, yet can’t seem to forget them.

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

      sarina…well said, sister.

  • Reply Kim December 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    OMG….I live in Carthage!!!! Right down the road!

  • Reply Rochelle Wiggins-Jones December 16, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Hey Jolie,
    This makes me homesick for the way things used to be! So Simple–And to think that I lived “in the country” and wanted to come INTO town! lol I really miss lunch at AJ’s–with Philip’s song selection on the jukebox.
    Miss and Love you all! Merry Christmas!

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

      rochelle…those were certainly good times!!! and yes, those songs still give me warm fuzzies! chantilly lace by the big bopper, american pie, runaway, hey good lookin…oh, the list goes on and on….
      thanks for your comment, sister! XOXOXO!

  • Reply Cathy December 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Overton is a beautiful part of Texas. My husband’s family is all from up and down east Texas from Pt. Neches and points north to Overton. His parents went to East Texas Baptist in Marshall, where he played football. Loved your post about small towns. I wouldn’t trade living in the country for the world!

  • Reply amy~ the gypsy chick December 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Jolie, i can not tell you how much i loved this post. I have had this same battle with my family for almost a year or so. i told my husband the that i just want to live in a place where they keep the shoe polish on the window’s of the bank from football season and when you go into pay for gas the lady at the counter knows your name. You just don’t get that in a big city.
    i wish you, Amie, & the whole junk gypsy family many blessings during the holiday season!
    amy boland

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

      thanks so much amy! there is certainly a special energy and pride in small towns! we’ve done the city…but you know what they say… “you can take the girl outta the country but you can’t take the country outta the girl!” 🙂

  • Reply Tammy Spencer December 19, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I loved reading this post since I grew up in New London. Your gift with words and photos is such a blessing to so many. I hope your Mayberry is near East Texas!

    • Reply Jolie December 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

      tammy…thank you sooo much for this comment! although…it’s easy to write such words when you have such passion and love for a place. 🙂 all my love to you and all of east texas! XOXOX!

  • Reply route66gal December 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    —and those iconic hometowns are the best part of Texas! We live in one too, way up in the Panhandle. Our school is so old that the elementary rooms still have the original hardwood floors and skeleton-key door locks. The school is still heated by radiators, and the biggest discipline problem is the little boys tee-teeing on the radiators in the boy’s bathroom! SALUTE them roots!!!

  • Reply PATSY ANDERSON December 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm


  • Reply PKNR January 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I love it Jolie! i LOVE it Jolie! i love IT Jolie! i love it JOLIE!! I LOVE IT JOLIE!!!! You made me cry when I read this!!! Kaylynn got to enjoy everything you wrote about…Something I always wanted for her! I hope she looks back and feels the same way as you!! Love ya Forever!!!

    • Reply Jolie January 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

      ThaNK you soooo much PKNR1!!!!! missssss and love y’all!!!! and tell kaylynn to QUIT growin up!!!! 🙂

  • Reply Melanie January 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    There’s nothing quite like growing up in a small town. (Although Kilgore isn’t quite as small as Overton) 😉 I wouldn’t trade my small town upbringing for a million dollars. Small Town/Country is real Americana.

  • Reply mattie May 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

    yall just inspire the pants off me .even though I lived in the big city of Nashville tenn. I spent my summers on my familys farm in Erin tenn .one red light .one store and the sidewalks close @ dark .pitch black sittin on the porch after dark as there were No street lights @ all .my family was tobacco farmers and we spent days in the barn and riding the one old horse and mule my uncle had . we swam in the old swimmin hole .and went to the one room church on sunday .I would not trade those days for “nothin” so wished I had them back . I cheerish those memories . the ywill live on in our minds eye for ever .you guys should write a book ,make a movie something .I would be right there. lovin it all . keep it home town ,home grown country girls.xoxox

  • Reply Joyce Howard Jarrattr July 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Wow does all this ever take me back. I grew up in the little oil field community of Price,Texasand went to Carlisle High School (and junior high and Elementary. Just a stone’s. throw from Overton. We played Overton in football, basketball, etc and shared our band director with you. I thought Carlisle was the center of the universe!! Still like small-town living. Went to Kilgore College where I was a Rangerette and Gussie Nell Davis instilled in us the importance of that big smile and a great attitude about life.
    LOVE JG and have been there a few times with my daughter. Love what you do. Xoxo. JJ

  • Reply Shirley K Joyner September 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Reading your blog brought me such peace.To know there is such a wonderful place in this crazy fast paced world is wonderful. Hope to visit you one day from N.C but until then your blog with great pics will do.Thank you both for sharing with us all . Shirley

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