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Life in Guinea

Elwood West has lived his whole life in Guinea, most of it on the same patch of land on Line Fence Road. Eighty years old and going strong, he still holds close friends who also spent their lives in the neighborhood, and when he takes a mind to go to church, it’s the church of his childhood, Union Baptist.

One of Elwood’s most vivid childhood memories is of the fire that briefly took him and his family away from the old homestead when he was 8 years old.

Elwood’s older brother, William Franklin, was preparing to spend the night away from home when, according to Elwood’s recollection, their mother, Addie, suddenly told him to check on their six-week-old baby sister, Elizabeth Ann, asleep in another room. William Franklin opened the door to find a wall of flames surrounding the woodstove. He quickly ran in and grabbed Elizabeth Ann, who was blackened with soot but alive. They lost the house, but not Elizabeth Ann. After the home was rebuilt, they moved back in.

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