Charles Caldwell visits old Caldwell home
Thomas Wolfe wrote the book, “You Can’t Go Home Again” but that never stopped Charles Caldwell from visiting his old home.
Despite not living in the Caldwell house for more than 45 years, Charles still calls the historical Caldwell home, his home and enjoys visiting it when he is in Abbeville.
Caldwell, born in Baton Rouge, moved to Abbeville when he was a teenager because he wanted to live with his grandmother, who was the wife of the deceased Vernon Caldwell, who built the house in 1908.
Charles lived in the home from his sophomore year at Abbeville High until he graduated then SLI (now UL-L).
Charles, now in his 70s, visited the Caldwell house Sunday afternoon in connection with Abbeville High’s homecoming and the Omelette Celebration.
Charles drove from San Diego in his RV and stayed in Abbeville for a couple of days visiting classmates and, of course, the Caldwell house.
“The house has not changed,” said Charles Sunday afternoon. “The appearance is much brighter. There have been lots of renovations done on it. The house is the same, really.”
Charles said one of the biggest changes on the house is the kitchen. When he was in school, the kitchen was not connected to the house. It was separate and they walked on a ramp to get to the kitchen..
The Caldwell’s cook was a lady named Gussy, who Charles said could cook good chicken stew and corn bread.
“She was the best cook,” he said.
Mark and Darlene Frederick now own the house. They purchased it two years ago from Becky Stokes who remodeled the house. After Mark bought the house, he flew to San Diego to meet with Charles and learn more about the house.
On Sunday, the two met again at the Caldwell house. It was the first time Charles had been in the house since 1978. He walked through it and went into his old bedroom.
Mark has always had an infatuation with the house. Growing up in Abbeville, he would ride his bike in front of the house en route to the Knights of Columbus Hall to swim.
Mark, who lived in California at the time, drove by the Caldwell house a couple of years ago and noticed it was for sale.
“There was something about this beautiful house,” said Mark. “Something said to me to buy this house and do something with it.”
Today, the house is a bed and breakfast and is rented out for special occasions.
Charles said he heard the house had been sold and wanted to meet the new owner. Mark and Charles met each other in San Diego and shared stories about the house.
The two have kept in touch the last two years. Mark invited Charles to Abbeville for the omelette celebration.
“I wanted to keep in touch with whoever purchased the house,” Charles said. “This was my old home.”
“What I think is great about this house is that the Caldwell family name is still associated with the house,” Mark said.