SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Thomas Wolfe once penned, “You can’t go home again.” But WTOC stumbled upon one very special individual that is trying to show that maybe you can, even after 74 years.
There is nothing really spectacular about this house in the old Pine Gardens area on the east side of Savannah. But it’s special enough to 99-year-old WWII Veteran Euel Akins.
“Just happened to be riding by and saw the for sale sign, and said, ‘I think I’ll buy it. That’s all,” said Akins.
Akins’ daughter, Delores Fleming, remembers the moment when her dad said he was going to buy the old house.
“I didn’t know what to think, I said ‘what,’ and well, he’s worked all of his life but if that’s something he wanted to do, then I wanted him to do it,” said Fleming.
The reason why this place was so special for Akins to buy last month is because it’s the same house he lived in back in 1946. He described what it is about the house that makes it so special to him.
“I just remember being here, and the children and my wife, it really was home,” remembered Akins.
Much of the work Akins did on the home back in the forties still stands today. He built the walkway that goes up to the house and his wife grew Pansies around the porch. Akins also built the garage out back all by himself. And yes, it houses the car that he still drives at the age of 99.
When asked what keeps him so young, Akins replied, “I wish I knew. I wish I could bottle it and sell it.”
Part of what may make this house so special is the times in which they lived. Akins is a World War Two veteran. He was a machine gunner in the campaign to liberate Italy, where he earned two Bronze Stars and an Oak Leaf. He still has a picture that shows an elated husband and wife crossing Broughton Street the day he got back from the war.
“Boy it was wonderful, to get back to Savannah. I was really back home,” Akins said.
And his daughter remembers that day well. She was four the day daddy came home.
“I was old enough, I was the oldest, and I knew he was gone. But I can remember the day he came home, and I was outside at my grandmother’s house, and he was walking down the street, and I knew it was him,” said Fleming.
And like many of the veterans from that war, they really seem to downplay what they did.
“I’m proud of it and everybody that I knew. They all thought this was the thing to do, they didn’t even ask questions, they just went and did what they were told to do,” Akins said.
Euel Akins was a high school dropout. He joked that he was too smart and knew everything. He eventually got his GED, a degree from Troy, and help set up the program for purchasing at Union Camp back in the day when computers used punch cards.