Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Happy Home

Jessie Dorman was a school teacher.  She wanted her own house before she got married, so in the 1940's she bought the house on 205 Broadway in Casa, Arkansas.  To make the payments she walked five miles one way to the schoolhouse to teach elementary-aged children every weekday.
 She was a good teacher.  The house had many bookshelves built in and she didn't know it then but they would all one day be filled with knick-knacks and collectables brought to her by all her students.
 "She could still tell you years later which student brought her which gift," Shirley Bridgeman, Dorman's niece, said.
Eventually she met her husband, a Baptist minister.  They moved to another town for him to preach but Jessie left her sister and parents to care for the house, to which she and her husband returned after only a few years. 
Casa in those days was a booming little town and Jessie's house, and her yard, were well known.  The Dormans, the minister and the teacher, lived right across the street from the doctor.  On weekends Jessie could be seen working in her yard with her azaleas, flowers everywhere in full bloom.
"The yard was the main thing," Bridgeman said.  "People would drive by just to see it."
As a Baptist minister Jessie's husband would often meet with couples planning to get married, sometimes he would meet with them at his house, and when he did they sometimes asked if they could have their wedding there.
"It was so beautiful," Bridgeman said.  "There have been lots of weddings on that property."
Jessie and her husband lived happily in the home for many years.  Jessie is now in a nursing home, one of two of her eight siblings who have not battled cancer and the family has made the bittersweet decision to sell the house.
There are some houses that just feel warm and welcoming for no particular reason.  Some people say it's the "energy" of the home, others believe it's "place memory."  In this case maybe was all the weddings, the joy of two people starting their lives together imprinted on the property.  Maybe it was the flowers, with all their vibrance and colors lending their life to the home.  It could have been the children and their youthful enthusiasm with their gifts for their favorite teacher.  Maybe it was Jessie in her garden, her husband helping perhaps, the doctor waving from across the street as friends drove by to see her flowers.  Whatever it is, 205 Broadway is one of those homes.


  1. I was looking around for auction sites and found this post. This is amazing. I cried! I wish I could have gotten married there! Makes me want to live there and grow azaleas like that wonderful lady.

  2. This story makes attending this auction today so much more meaningful. It is so interesting and there is a beautiful history there. I really enjoyed this.