“It takes grandparents and aunts and uncles to raise kids,” said 58-year-old Randy Haynes, who lives with his wife, Nancy, just up the street from his 26-year-old son, Russ, his wife and their sons, Hunter and Avery. “It doesn’t matter how good the schools are.”
Randy eats breakfast every morning a few houses away with his 80-year-old mother, Margaret.
“Where else in America can you find that?” laughed Randy.
Randy has lived in Wellborn all his life, except for a stint in Atlanta and a military deployment in Iraq.
Family is what has kept him here.
Randy said he has lived a good life in Wellborn, and he’s loved every minute of playing with his children and his grandchildren. He retired a few years ago from the Anniston Army Depot, and Russ is the fifth generation of the family to work at the Depot. Two older Haynes generations are buried in the cemetery a couple miles away.
While a sister and brother live elsewhere, Russ said he enjoys having his family close by. His son Hunter, 9, hops on his motor scooter and rumbles down the street when he wants to go play at his grandpa’s.
“It just makes things easier,” Russ said, as Hunter and Avery playfully ran around Randy and Nancy’s home one evening. “My kids are close to their grandparents. They see them every day. Kids in a big city might not get to see their grandparents on a regular basis like this.”
Randy and Russ Haynes both said Wellborn might not have the best reputation around the area, especially after the long-running lawsuit involving PCB contamination a few miles away. But they like it just the same.
Randy said he has noticed younger families moving into Wellborn as houses go up for sale. With the new football coach, Jeff Smith, Nancy said she thinks Wellborn might see more families moving to the area so their sons can play football at Wellborn High School.
Nancy, originally from Oxford, calls Wellborn a “well-kept secret.”
“It’s a special family,” she said. “Everybody loves everybody and everyone pulls together.”
To Randy, there are both givers and takers in the world, he said. The people of Wellborn are givers, he said.
“People out here are just good people,” Randy said. “That’s what you look for. The people out here fit the definition of the word ‘neighbor.’”