Bodine - One of Teague’s True Treasures
IT’S A FAMILIAR SIGHT on South 5th Avenue to see Bodine sitting in his chair outside of his junk business, “Bodine’s Place.” Always with a big broad smile, Bodine will greet you and tell you, “Look around and buy something.” He is a great salesman and jokes with everyone who comes in. But don’t let his joking and hard-hitting sales manner fool you. He has a huge heart, loves God and his family, and cares for everyone in Teague. Teague would be a very sad place without our one-of-a-kind Jay Fain Bodine. (Photo compliments of Studio G Photography)
You can call him ?Bo? or ?Jay,? or ?Bodine,? but don?t call him Mr. Bodine. ?I?m not Mr. Bodine,? he says, ?just plain Bodine.?
Jay Fain Bodine was born on March 13, 1931, to Sam Perry and Lena B. Bodine, the youngest of five siblings. His mother died the week he was born. His sisters, at the age of thirteen and seven, were left with the responsibility of caring for him. As the girls grew up and moved on, his last brother, Joe Paul, who was four years older than ?Bo?, took over the chore of raising him. His dad remarried a couple of times and operated a second hand and used item business in the Teague area.
?Bo? had to start school earlier than most, so that the older siblings could all go to school daily instead of one having to stay home to care for him. As he grew up the local business people would give him candy when he visited or was just passing by. To this day he still has a tremendous ?sweet tooth.?
He started paying these folks back in their elder years, for their kindness, by visiting them in the nursing home facilities throughout the Tri Counties and passing out packages of chewing gum to all. He still does this faithfully every Sunday morning. Bodine says it?s ?only to see the smile on their faces.?
He graduated high school at the age of 16 and was hired on to the railroad as a yard clerk shortly after. While still employed there he opened up a feed mill on south 5th Avenue. This was approximately 60 years ago.
He ground feed for the county ranchers, bailed hay, shipped peas raised by the county pea farmers. He had a contract with the railroad to take care of all the grain spills from the railroad boxcars. Later he started a furniture moving business in addition to the feed mill. This included local customers and moving to the Dallas and Houston areas. This was the beginning of what is now known as ?Bodine?s Place,? the land of ?Trash, Treasures, and Junk.
Jay was known as one of the stoutest men around in his younger days. He had the knowledge, stamina, and strength to move even a Baby Grand piano up three flights of stairs with only the help of one other man. If there was a job to do it was done without hesitation. He could pack a three-bedroom house of furnishings in one bob-tailed truck and pack a box of dishes without paper and never break a piece.
He has returned the favors of his elders many times over in his lifetime. By helping those less fortunate than himself. He bought junk that he knew he didn?t need just to help them out. He?s paid for motel rooms for a night to sleep and bathe for a friend in need. Put fuel in a vehicle, bought meals, or even a pack of cigarettes to help out the citizens of Teague when they were down on their luck. He has been known to give his last dollar for the day to others in need. He has a faith like few around that ?God will Provide.?
Bodine married Shirley Ray Isham 60 years ago on February 27, 1954. They had five children (one past shortly after birth). He raised four very responsible, smart, and respectful children. Rochelle, Jay Fain, Jr., Lena Beth, and Brenda Kay. He never had to lift a harsh hand to any of them. A sensible tongue lashing from him taught them that they were responsible for any wrong doing.
Bodine helped raise his half brother, Sammie Bolin and put his brother-in-law, Sammy Isham, through high school. He provided a very important nephew, Terry Harrison, a home while working to save for college tuition.
As a young man, Jay began to lose his hearing and wore a hearing aid for many years. He lost his hearing completely and has been deaf for approximately 40 years now. He reads lips to understand a conversation but a hand written note always helps. His vocabulary remains excellent today. If a new person comes around they quickly learn to face him when talking. Although some will say, ?Shake a dollar bill and he understands perfectly!!?
Bodine can be seen and talked to daily on South 5th Avenue, in Teague at ?Bodines Place.? If there is anything or anyone in the Teague area from the past 60+ years you want to know about just go ask him. He will either tell you or steer you in the right direction. Just ask the UPS man!
Bodine has been on a few television documentaries and had a couple of magazine articles featured on ?Bodines Place.? We have a celebrity in Teague right under our noses.
Very few people 60 and younger will remember getting a piece of Juicy Fruit or Spearmint gum when visiting ?Bodine?s Place.? this is a habit that still prevails today.
Bodine says, ?The smile on your face is the first thing a person notices and that is what they will remember most.? Jay Fain Bodine loves each and everyone he comes in contact with.
Let?s celebrate and appreciate the man who gives of himself and makes Teague a much more colorful place to live.