Homecoming for long time Alabaster woman

Published 3:48 pm Monday, June 14, 2010

Imagine living in the house your great-grandfather built.

Such is the case for Marsha Kent Roach and a well-known house in Alabaster, which sits regally on a hill off U.S. 119 South and is known as the Kent farmhouse.

Roach’s great-grandfather, Roy Kent, bought the land on which the house sits in 1929, but there was much work to be done. Power lines had to be run from a nearby lime plant, a barn built and general repairs to the existing two-story home, which burned to the ground in 1931.

Kent, along with Charlie and Jim Harper, rebuilt the farmhouse. Originally, more than 700 acres were included in what is now Kentwood subdivision, Lake Forest subdivision, Douglas Meadows subdivision, the Thompson High School property, the Whitestone Shopping Center and Alabaster Post Office.

One lonely silo still stands out in the pasture to remind all of a time gone by.

Roach spent the years of her childhood, along with her sister, Michelle, shelling peas, showing cattle at the local 4-H events and living the good life.

In 1982, a second bath and four rooms were added to the original farmhouse, when Mike and Peggy Kent moved their family in. Later, a swimming pool, large barn and garage were added, but a constant over all the years is the kitchen table, built by Roy, from a barn door five generations ago.

It is still in use today. Now, Roach is getting a wish fulfilled as she and her family prepare to move into the farmhouse where she was raised.

“My children will be the fifth generation to be raised in this home,” she said. “I have so many wonderful memories. My kids will have the opportunity to run and play on the same land that generations of Kents have farmed and operated their dairy.

“My sister, Michelle Kent Brakefield, also lives on Kent land, so all five cousins will have the excitement of growing up and playing together. We will be gardening, swimming, appreciating the land and actually be able to play baseball without hitting a neighbors’ house,” she said.

Tyler, 7, and Marlee Grace, 5, are Joey and Marsha’s children. Joey was a friend of Marsha’s Greenville cousin’s and tutored Marsha in calculus at Auburn University. Both are graduates of Auburn. They married in 2001 in Jamaica. Joey is a mechanical engineer and Marsha will be a computer aide at Creek View in August.

Get this pet peeve: No panty hose. “I’m not a fancy girl,” she said. She doesn’t need any with her lovely tan.

A dream vacation to New York City and taking in Broadway plays is on Roach’s list, but for now Fort Morgan, Ala., is still her favorite place to vacation.

Saved at an early age but baptized at Westwood when she was 30, Roach said, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am not worthy of his grace but thankful for the blessings he gives me. Count it all joy, James 1:2, ‘even the broken leg.’ ” She broke her ankle while moving into the farmhouse.

She is a Vacation Bible School director, director of Studio 3:16 (children’s worship) and serves in Awana on Wednesday nights. Her life revolves around church, family and the ballpark.

Don’t remember Marsha as the smiling Thompson High School cheerleader or the Auburn Diamond Doll. Rather, think of Marsha Kent Roach as a Christian and a friend.

Sandra Thames writes a weekly column for the Alabaster Reporter. You can reach her at bobthames192@yahoo.com.