Mrs. Vivian Walker -Remlap 1938
Submitted by Terry Jackson
This is the kind of stuff we hope flow thru our own veins. TJ)
The Zanesville Signal
Savings from Relief Allowance, WPA WAges and CCC Camp Pay Built This
Pretty Little Cottage
Remlap, Ala.--Peace has its heroes no less than war and one of them is
Mrs. Vivian Walker.
In a little cottage in the hills near here, she lives with her three
fine little girls. They are very proud of the cottage. And they should
be, for Mrs. Walker built it herself.
She had only what could be saved from relief, WPA salary, and allotments
from her son's CCC pay. She had the kindly help of neighbors and
friends. She had her own hands and she had dauntless courage.
It was in 1931 when she returned to Blount county with her four
children, penniless and grieving over the recent death of her husband.
She was 34. For a while she lived with her parents. But she wanted a
home of her own, just as she had dreamed of it when she married.
Ed Flowers, a neighbor, had an old house, ready to cave in, and he let
the Walkers live in it rent-free. Here they lived for a year, with not
income but a little relief and some help from neighbors.
Early in 1934 her son went to a CCC camp, and $20 of his pay began
coming in every month. With $12 of the first check, Mrs. Walker bought
the shack they were living in.
Her father gave her a little plot of ground out in the country, half a
mile from the nearest neighbor. Then she began to make her dream come true.
She tore down the old shack and sorted the lumber. She pulled out and
straightened the nails in each plank--five gallons of them. A neighbor
hauled the lumber to the new site.
Somehow, she contrived a foundation, and walls began to rise. She bought
$49.50 worth of galvanized roofing by saving $100 amonth out of each CCC
check. An uncle, a carpenter, helped put on the roof.
Her hands cracked and bled. Sometimes she was deadly tired. But she kept on.
Before the house had ceilings, doors, windows, or partitions, the family
moved in. They continued to build the house literally over their own heads.
Her son then left the CCC and married. He was unable to help further.
Mrs. Walker had to go on relief, but she did not quit. She managed to
get some wallpaper, and papered the four rooms. Then she got a
$19-a-month job with a WPA sewing project in Oneonta.
She and the girls, the oldest 15, cleared and planted an acre and a half
of garden. In two years she canned 1100 quarts of vegetables. They built
porches, lattices, an arbor. They bought a cow and raised 100 chickens.
The girls keep the house. Mrs. Walker rises at dawn and works in the
garden until time to go to the sewing room, when the children catch the
A brick foundation and a chimney remain to be built. Improvements to the
house bring it nearer every month to the dream home Mrs. Walker once
visioned. She adds something to her income by cutting hair. In the
evenings when the girls have done their lessons, she teaches them piano.
The house is rather isolated, but Mrs. Walker is not afraid. The little
cottage on the hill is proof of that.