By Teresa Barbian
As we get older, our ability to recall memories starts to fade. But for one local storyteller, that was not the case. Eugene “Jeep” Spurgin was an amazing storyteller who sadly passed away in October of this year. His wife Donella, who preceded him in death, always said that Jeep was the only person she ever knew that could remember things three or four years before he was born. Some of his friends lovingly joked that it sometimes took him a while to tell a story. His good friends Tom Martin and Rowland Foster agreed that Jeep never met a stranger. Jeep had a very good sense of humor about life as well. From stories about his childhood to his time in the service and throughout his adulthood, Jeep could really make you chuckle when he told his stories. Linda Langford and David Langford captured his remarkable storytelling on DVD and the DVD which is titled “As I Remember It” is available at the Anson Public Library for $15. You can watch as Jeep tells how he remembers some of Anson’s history. Jeep tells about his paper route he had while in high school and the fact that he was making between $30 and $40 per month delivering papers on his bicycle (an astronomical amount back then for a teenager). He goes on to describe how he volunteered for the Army Air Corps, which today is referred to as the Air Force. He also talks about life as the City Secretary and then the City Manager and how he got his nickname, “Jeep”. There are two DVD’s, one about history in Anson and one that covers his days during WWII.
I think one of his most memorable stories he told was the one about the statue of Anson Jones that still stands at the courthouse today. Jeep insisted that he had no idea how that whiskey bottle ended up on the statue when it was un-veiled. He laughs at the time Mr. Heidenheimer chewed him out for the water leak just outside his store. He also tells about the time he was shot trying to steal a watermelon as a teenager. One thing he said he couldn’t remember was how the term “No dancing in Anson” came about because he remembers when they roped off the east side of the courthouse and they had street dancing. He also talks about the dancing at the Buttermilk Tavern which was located near where the golf course is today.
After Jeep got out of the military, he married Donella and drove the school bus every morning and afternoon. He held several positions in County and City government. Jeep held positions on boards and was involved with the Lion’s Club for 69 years. So, it’s easy to understand where he got a lot of his stories; from being involved in numerous activities. He was an avid bird hunter and talks of some of his hunting memories on the DVD. He was also an avid golfer.
If you are a history buff or just want to listen to Jeep’s impressive storytelling technique, stop by the Anson Public Library and get your copy of “As I Remember It” and hear how he remembers it.