(Posted Aug. 11, 2017)
Editor’s note: Mary Andrix is grand marshal of this year’s Lilly Chapel Homecoming parade, set for Aug. 19. The parade kicks off a day of festivities hosted by Trinity United Methodist Church. Look for Andrix at the head of the parade, riding in a convertible owned by her nephew, Madison County Commissioner Mark Forrest.
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With a keen eye for detail, Mary Andrix paints a likeness of her alma mater, Fairfield School, on a brick salvaged from the school after it was torn down. She has painted about a half-dozen bricks in this way, one of which sold for $1,000 a few years ago at the annual Lilly Chapel Homecoming at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Just as she uses a brush to craft pretty pictures on brick and canvas, through stories about her childhood, Mary, 94, paints a heartwarming picture of life growing up in Lilly Chapel.
Mary and her family moved to the tiny burg, situated a few miles outside of West Jefferson, when she was 5 years old. Much of life then revolved around the school and church, she said.
“Mom had me and my four brothers going to church to teach us respect and how to behave,” she recalled. “We had to sit there for an hour or we got a good pinch or scolding when we got home.”
Mary tells of hauling water from a neighbor’s house to the chicken suppers for which the church was famous. The old church, located just down the road from the current one, had no running water for drinking.
“That was fun for us (as kids). We didn’t have televisions. The church was our gathering place and fun place, that and the Grange at the school,” she said.
Mary remembers the suppers costing no more than $1.25 per person. If the church served 70 people, they were “tickled” with the turnout, she added.
Mary graduated from Fairfield School in 1940 and pursued studies at The Ohio State University. The Great Depression and the financial stress that came with it cut short her college education. She had wanted to become a teacher.
When her brothers entered the military to serve their country in World War II, Mary found a way to do her part, too.
“I always wanted to do what they did,” she said of her brothers.
Mary joined the women’s branch of the United States Naval Reserve, better known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). She served as a yeoman for two-and-a-half years at a naval air base in Florida where pilots learned how to land planes on air craft carriers. She managed ordinances, kept track of pilots’ hours, and worked in the mail room.
In 1947, shortly after her military service, Mary met and married Jim Andrix. They lived on Lilly Chapel O’Possum Run Road for 40 years. He worked for over 22 years at Westinghouse; she worked for 16 years at Lazarus. They farmed, too, raising cattle and growing corn and soybeans. Mary remains connected with the family farm.
Mary and Jim raised one son, John, who is retired from the insurance industry and splits his time between London and Florida. In 1996, Mary and Jim moved to London, where Mary continues to reside. She is active in the Madison County Senior Citizens Center and is a member of bridge clubs at both the center and the Coover Club House in London.
“I’ve had a wonderful life. I am thankful for all my friends and family,” she said.
34th Annual Lilly Chapel Homecoming at Trinity United Methodist Church
8530 Lilly Chapel Georgesville Rd, London
Saturday, Aug. 19
Noon—Opening ceremony featuring Madison-Plains marching band
2 p.m.—Kiddie Pedal Pull
3:30 p.m.—Corn hole tournament ($10 entry, cash prizes)
4 p.m.—Live music
5 p.m.—Silent auction concludes
6 p.m.—Live auction
All day—Food, crafts, goodies, kids’ games, bake sale