SOLACE OF HOME
Story by Gregg L. Parker
Photos by RAW Images
During almost 50 years of marriage, Edie and Allen Clemons have moved 17 times in six different states. Now they can relax, having settled into their home in southwest Hartselle.
Built circa 2001, their one-story brick rancher covers 1,840 square feet comprising three bedrooms and two baths – 10 rooms total. The couple bought the house in mid-2017 when Allen retired. “We love our house and don’t have one room that is our favorite,” Allen said. “Edie enjoys the living room where she can sit and read. The fireplace makes it especially cozy and warm in winter.”
Putting it together
Edie and Allen have accumulated “a blend of traditional and country cottage that expresses love of home and family.” They followed up their first purchase, an Ethan Allen cannonball bed, with early American pieces. Now gone, those items furnished their children’s dorm rooms and first apartments.
One furniture piece they hold dear is a mahogany rice-carved poster bed, which they bought in 1977 while living in Dothan. Councill Craftsmen, then in Denton, North Carolina, made the bed. “Councill specialized in 18th-century reproductions. Exquisite sheaves of rice and tobacco leaves carved into the bedposts represent agricultural activities in 18th-century Charleston, South Carolina,” Edie said.
One conversation starter is a surfboard coffee table. Their daughter Meredith bought the table at a consignment shop in Asheville, North Carolina. “Meredith tired of it after a while and gave it to us,” Allen said. “We know little about this particular table or surfboard design – other than it became popular in the 1960s.”
Rooms reflect bright, clean lines in understated color. With Antique White in the living room, one wall features white-framed photos of children and grandchildren. The dining room and kitchen walls boast Revere Pewter, while the surfboard room is painted in Reticence. The couple chose Toasted Almond for one bedroom and Southern Breeze in the master. All trim is Designer White.
Colors of the wind
On the front porch, Edie decorates with seasonal color. In summer she spends hours on the back patio. She reads, relaxes in the trees’ shade and watches with fascination the hummingbirds that flit around her feeders.
Edie also tends to herbs, like basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, cilantro and chives, along with collards and kale. She is partial to blooms of hydrangeas, geraniums and mums and likes her ferns’ foliage. Allen enjoys yard work – mowing, trimming and pruning. Their front yard’s prominent plantings are boxwoods, crepe myrtles, a maple tree and a birch tree.
Retired but revitalized
Edie and Allen are both retired. Edie worked as licensed cosmetologist in New York in 1969 and in Alabama since 1978. In her hometown of Bennington, Vermont, Edie lived near famous New Englanders: Norman Rockwell offered to paint Edie, but her father dismissed the “local guy” as insignificant, and poet Robert Frost visited Edie’s classroom to read to students. Edie owns prints from painter Grandma Moses, an ancestor.
“Edie has primarily been a wonderful mother, wife and homemaker but also has done stints as a fashion model, movie extra, seminary teacher, Boy Scouts of America employee and Tennessee State Board of Optometry citizen member,” Allen said.
In addition, Edie has engaged in politics and community service. In veteran support, she helped to build a house for a Marine who lost his legs to an IED in Afghanistan. For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she serves as public affairs specialist for her Decatur congregation.
Allen’s grandfather, the late Edward “Preacher” Waddell who farmed for F. E. Burleson on Red Bank Road, said Allen rode with him to town as soon as he could stand on the truck seat. Allen remembers their nighttime deliveries to Main Street’s cotton gin.
In the U.S. Navy, Allen was a submariner and nuclear propulsion plant operator on the USS Andrew Jackson, a ballistic missile nuclear submarine. He trained other nuclear operators in Idaho. In 2017 he retired as nuclear facility training manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He enjoyed time at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and now cherishes visits with his 90-year-old mother, Mildred Waddell Clemons.
Edie and Allen have four children: Jennifer, who is moving from Tennessee to Utah; Allen Todd, in Utah; Jonathan in Tokyo, Japan; and Meredith, in Missouri but potentially relocating to Maine. Their 10 grandchildren range from 2-19 years old.
Edie and Allen pursue humanitarian work, especially citizen policing, First Methodist Church of Hartselle’s food pantry and Committee on Church Cooperation in Decatur.
For 40-plus years, Edie has ground wheat on a countertop grain mill Allen bought in Idaho. After she bakes freshly ground flour into bread, Allen gladly taste tests the slices.
Edie takes pride in her pantry, stocked with cooking essentials and favorite utensils. After making homemade pasta, they enjoy a spaghetti sauce recipe from Edie’s father.
“We always tried to ensure family meals together when our children were growing up,” Edie said. “When our children bring their children to visit, we gather in the dining room to enjoy food and company.”