Blackstock’s flowers beautify neighborhood

Published 6:37 pm Friday, April 5, 2019

WEST POINT — This has been a very good year for azaleas in the Greater Valley Area. Local yards have splashes of pink, yellow, white and nowhere are these flowers prettier than in the yard of Nathan Blackstock, who lives on Roper Avenue at the foot of Cherokee Hill. Next door neighbor Althea Head raves about Blackstock’s yard and how it helps beautify the entire neighborhood.

“He’s such a hard worker,” she said. “You always see him out in the yard working with his flowers.”

All that hard work pays off this time of year when the azaleas are in full bloom.

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“I’ve been retired for nine years now,” Blackstock said. “I love getting out in the yard and working it. I’ve been really pleased with the way my azaleas have looked this year. I don’t have as many as I once did — I used to have 75 of them — but they are still all over my yard. It’s gratifying to see them the way they look now. I don’t have a green thumb or anything, but I take care of my flowers the best I can.”

Blackstock, 81, has one of the biggest ferns in West Point.

“It’s 90 years old,” he said. “I got it from Ruth Laney, who used to own a mattress company in Lanett. She got it from someone else.”

The house Blackstock lives in was built by Batson-Cook in 1943.

“They were building lots of homes back then,” he said. “They are more into building skyscrapers now.”

The house was approximately 1,500 square feet when he and wife Barbara moved into it in the 1960s. He’s added close to 1,000 square feet to it, making it much more valuable than what he paid for it. Mrs. Blackstock passed away in 2009.

Their children are now in law enforcement. Son Matthew is a lieutenant with the Columbus Police Department and has 26 years experience there.

Their daughter, Natalie, has been with the LaGrange Department for 25 years.

Blackstock’s grandson lives next door to him and is heading toward a career in law enforcement. He recently graduated from the police academy.

“It’s all he’s ever wanted to do,” Blackstock said. “He’s now with the Hogansville Police Department.”

Blackstock had a long career in retail sales, first with Rhodes Furniture in downtown West Point and later on with WestPoint Pepperell and Columbus Mills.

Blackstock was doing such a good job with sales and the carpet department at Rhodes that it caught the eye of WestPoint Pepperell officials, who hired him to work at the mill store.

At that time, the company had a handful of mill stores scattered about. That number grew to more than 60 at one point.

“We grew faster than we ever dreamed,” Blackstock said. “We just didn’t have enough dedicated people to keep running it at that level. WestPoint Pepperell was good to the local area for a long time.”

When Blackstock left Rhodes for WestPoint Pepperell, wife Barbara took his place and worked there for 20 years.

Blackstock said he loves working in the yard and frequently has a rake or a hoe in his hand when he’s out there.

“I’m out here when I get bored watching TV,” he laughs.