114 East Main Street Linden TN 37096
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On Saturday morning, Gene Nelson returned to the Staley
Hotel—now the Commodore—sixty-two years after spending a week
at the Linden landmark on her honeymoon.
“It’s real nice to be back. I never thought I’d get
to see it again,” Mrs. Nelson said just moments after visiting the
room where she stayed in the first days of her marriage to William “Bill”
Nelson in 1946.
Gene knew exactly which hotel room she and her new husband shared more
than six decades ago: facing the hotel, it was corner room on the left—now
Room Five—of the historic Main Street building’s second floor.
“I remember it was hot. We had an oscillating fan but no air conditioning
back then,” Gene remembered. She and Mr. Nelson were married in
June, in Tuscumbia, Alabama, then traveled to Linden where her sister
and brother-in-law, Jewel and Lee Harrison, managed the Staley Hotel.
“We spent the whole week,” Gene said, recollecting too the
restaurant downstairs. She said at the time it had a counter running along
one wall. And she remembers at least one meal.
“My sister was the cook and we had fish, but it wasn’t very
good. The fish was undercooked,” Gene recalled.
Mrs. Nelson, who has resided near Collinwood since her marriage at age
eighteen, was in Linden this past weekend as part of a bus tour. The group
had lunch at the Commodore, then went to Mousetail Landing State Park
to enjoy the Fall Foliage Boat Rides sponsored by the Perry County Chamber
Gene, at age 80, is still very active. She gardens, cooks, still lives
at home, and mows her own yard, a friend said. Mr. Nelson passed away
a few years ago, but they were married for more than half a century.
The Nelsons had four children: twin boys born in 1947, another son in
1948, and a daughter who was born in 1951. She has nine grandchildren
and nine great grandchildren, and her face lit up as she spoke of them.
After visiting her old room at the hotel, Mrs. Nelson joined her friends
in the restaurant, her memories of 1946 rekindled, and with a new story
to tell those grandkids.