By JOYCE GRAHAM
Most people are not able to walk up, point to a spot and say “This is where I was born”, but Barbara Buffkin and sister Marie Bennett can.
Bennett lives in the house where they were both born, the house where their grandparents, Hattie and James Gerald, lived, and where their mother, Eunice, was reared before marrying Clifton King.
They have tales to tell about the Bayboro area property that they have been tied to all of their lives.
“Our farm would have been much bigger, but our grandfather lost one tract of the land in a poker game, many years ago,” Bennett said. The farm is located on Hwy 410, right next to the old Bayboro Church and its cemetery. Their grandfather later was the bookkeeper for the Holiday brothers in Gallivants Ferry.
Buffkin is known for her years in the banking industry in Tabor City before her retirement. Bennett lived in Greenville, SC and made her living in antiques. She moved back to the old home place after retiring, and she and Buffkin both make the farm their home now.
Buffkin has a house right behind the old farm house, which Bennett has totally renovated and restored, and she and her husband live there.
“The house still has the original floors and walls, and some of the furnishings. We added some to the house,” Bennett said. The furnishings are all antiques, as are the accessories, and is absolutely breathtaking.
The property has an original barn located between the house and cemetery that is more than 100 years old. It has been restored as best they can.
A smaller, 1923 barn on the other side of the house was not salvageable, and had to be torn down. The sisters had an absolute replica built in its place, and opened an antique store there, called La Petite Antiques. One of the most unique items they have to sell in their shop is an autographed poster of Mary Pickford, an actress from the silent movie ears.
They take turns opening the shop, the first and third weekend of each month, and by appointments. The shop is filled to the loft with antiques and some vintage items, all in the theme of the whole property. The ladies still shop for treasures to pass on to their customers.
“It’s wonderful to live here,” Bennett said. “Barbara and I both have such wonderful memories of this place, it’s great that we get to live here.”