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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Citizen Spotlight: Bronson Andrews

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Let me introduce you to someone

His name is Bronson Edwin Andrews. Bronson was born, lived most of his life within pitching distance from his birthplace, and one day, more than likely, he’ll meet his Maker within the city limits of Lavaca.  At 84, his slow talk and walk will fool you because he maintains a large piece of land, and owns and cares for properties all over the town.  He’s a good storyteller too!

Bronson was born on February 18, 1935, in Lavaca at Cason Bottoms.  His mother was a Gantt, another familiar name in these parts.  He had to have been a handful then because he still is one today.  Bronson and his family lived in a two-story home. He recalled it having a high front porch that was perfect for playing beneath in the dirt. (Maybe it was a premonition of things to come?) He said he could play in the upstairs by himself all day long without a problem but, when he misbehaved, his mother put him upstairs and closed the door.  In the darkness, it was a place of punishing time out and he was terrified when that door closed. 

As a young man, Bronson reminisced about a friend who had a car.  He said it never had gasoline and didn’t have a battery.  All of his friends approached him about taking them to a favorite swimming hole north of town called Doctor’s Ford.  (Bronson said it made him angry to pass there now because the actual name of the place is Cox’s Creek, he demands)  The gang collected enough money to pay for one dollar’s worth of gas.  Then, the boys all gave the car a fast enough push so the driver could pop the clutch and start the car.  Bronson said that lots of people swam there, and many were baptized there, including him.

In the early 1950s, Bronson worked in the post office. It was a job he would keep until retirement into the 1990s. 

Bronson met the lovely Pat Floyd who lived not far from Cox’s Creek on what is Boy’s Ranch Road today.  They made their first home in Barling, living in rooms behind the old Motor Lodge cabins that stood behind the present-day Sonic Drive-In.  Most of the cabins were rented to soldiers from Fort Chaffee.  After a year or so, through a Farmer’s Home Administration loan, they built their present home on Lavaca’s Main Street.

His father was Walter Andrews and was known far and wide.  He had a store on the corner in downtown Lavaca for a number of years.  The sidewalk to the store was made of wide wooden planks that had been there since close to the beginning of the town.  A crowd gathered, including young Bronson.  As the boards were brought up, men and youngsters dived to grab the coins and treasures that hadn’t seen light since the turn of the century perhaps.  Bronson was pushed to the back of the crowd and didn’t get even a souvenir from his own father’s store.   Walter eventually moved across the street to a two-story building and then, later on, built a brand-new grocery store and hardware store in the intersection of Highways 96 and 255.  Bronson later bought the grocery store from his father who kept the hardware and dry goods to run him. New stores were added later and it all became Bronson’s after his father passed.

Bronson retired from the Post Office and from the grocery business.  He rents the stores to businesses that come in and out.

He and Pat had three children: Mike, Cheryl, and Mitch.  They are all grown now with families of their own.  The Andrew’s live quiet lives in their Lavaca home, surrounded by antiques and mementos of their lives. Bronson will write occasionally for the local paper, telling entertaining stories of the past.  Today, they watch the town go by through large windows, out across a large a yard shaded by old oak trees and beautiful shrubs while birds play and perform in Pat’s rock garden. 

The Andrew’s will always be remembered as one of Lavaca’s first families who lived a life here and made memories with so many people in this town.

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