The House has Strong Bones
By BECKY ANDREWS
It’s more than brick and mortar. More than a series of numbers indicating its location. More than a place to hang your hat. It’s more than all of these things to Suanne Bone. Her home, located on one of Wilson County’s most beautiful tree lined streets, was built by Suanne’s late grandfather, Sam Bone. It holds an abundance of memories for Suanne and her family as well as many residents of the area. “I run into people all the time who say, ‘I can remember having Sunday lunch at your grandparents house.’ or ‘your grandmother hosted my bridal tea at this house.’ That is so neat to me. That this house holds precious memories for so many people.” Suanne says.
The Georgian Colonial built by Sam and Margaret Bone in 1955, was the location of weekly Sunday lunches hosted by the Bones in the family dining room. While the lunches are not as frequent as they once were, Suanne hasn’t abandoned the tradition. “We rotate now. I’ll host one Sunday lunch with my family, then my mom will host the next and my sister in law, Tracey, will host the following and on the fourth Sunday we usually eat out.” Suanne’s immediate family includes her brother, Hal Bone, his wife,Tracey and their four children and her mom and dad, Pat and Gordon Bone.
The story of Sam and Margaret Bone started at Cumberland University, where Margaret caught the first glimpse of her future husband playing basketball through the chicken wire surrounding the courts. After marrying in 1931, the Bones settled into domestic life in Lebanon. Margaret began teaching 1st grade at McClain School. The family room is adorned with antiques which Suanne’s grandmother acquired when she set up housekeeping in the 1930’s and 40’s. While most of the kitchen has been updated, Suanne kept the fold away dining table that was part of the original design and Sam, a successful businessman, took a position in the finance
division at Cumberland University. They soon welcomed children into the mix with the birth of Robert Bone. Soon after, Robert was joined by Stratton and finally Gordon Bone completed their little family.
It was over the years of their marriage that Margaret acquired many of the antiques that create a warm and welcoming environment you feel upon entering the home today. Each room tells a story and that story usually centers on what the Bones were so passionate
about family. “I spent so many of my formative years here. It was here that I learned some very valuable life lessons.” adds Suanne. Those life lessons include understanding the importance of friends and family and perhaps the most important was equality. “My grandfather always had these very simple and powerful statements and one of them was, ‘You have to treat everyone fairly. No matter what religion someone is or where they come from or the color of their skin, we are all the same.’”
It’s the traditions her grandmother started that Suanne tries to carry on. “She loved to entertain and so do I but something I’ve had to learn is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. People just love knowing food is prepared and there is a place to eat and talk. I think my generation needs to open up their homes more and take the time to enjoy your friends and family instead of fussing over the things that really don’t matter.” Living in the home that her grandmother put so much love into is of great comfort to Suanne who was extremely close with both grandparents but especially Margaret who she affectionately called Grandmommie. “We had some of our best talks within the walls of this house. Living here makes me feel that much closer to the woman who had so much to do with the woman I aspire to become.” Suanne says with her striking blue eyes welling with tears.
Besides adding a master bath and an updated back door entrance much of the original architecture remains the same including a kitchen feature popular in the middle of the 20th century. The practical fold away table in the eat-in kitchen was used to help create additional space in case of a houseful of people, which happened quite often in the Bone household.
Whether or not you are a lifelong resident of Wilson County or a new to the area odds are you probably know someone who spent a Sunday afternoon eating good food, listening to stimulating conversation or relaxing on the side porch at the home of Sam and Margaret Bone. If not, any one of us may be lucky enough someday to get an invitation to see what it’s like to visit a home that holds fingerprints from a generation that cared more about the people surrounding their table than the brand of table at which they sat.