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Along Norrell Road

By Leigh Anne Butler

“I am going to start walking down memory lane, literally walking the road, house by house and try and remember who lived there and maybe a little bit of the lives we shared together while living on Norrell Road,” Lorie Looney Keene reminisces on her podcast “Along Norrell Road: Snippets of a Southern Girl’s Life.”

Keene, a Tallassee High School graduate, started her podcast a little over a month ago as a way store and share memories of living on Norrell Road in Tallassee. 

“I want to try and record my life for my children so they can have some concept of what it was like growing up as a child on a family owned dirt road in southern Alabama in the 70s and 80s.  Having traveled a lot, I realize how rare and unique my upbringing was in Tallassee.  Not many people have the chance to live and grow up among so many family members and life long friends.  I hope to somehow store some of my own memories as well as those of family and friends who shared a similar childhood,” Keene explained.

Lorie (right) and her sister Rachel during the Norrell Road days

“I named it, "Along Norrell Road" because Norrell Road is the name of the road I grew up on.  It is where I was formed, I guess you could say.  Norrell Road was named after my grandfather, Aubrey Norrell, and it began at the end of my street with my great aunt’s house and it ended at the end of the street with a church named Liberty Baptist Church.”

The podcasts are short, snippets of family history, stories and memories.  “All of these stories are 100 percent true.  They are going to be crazy because I am from a very large family,” Keene jokes.  Annual Christmas gifts of pickled eggs and Slim Jim’s, memories of hard, plastic kiddie pools in the heat of summer, being the recipient of “homemade” haircuts are just a few of the funny topics Keene discusses in her podcasts.

“I have been pleasantly surprised how well people seem to enjoy the stories.  I hope more will allow me to interview them or be guests for an episode.”

Keene’s goal is to do at least one podcast per week. 

Keene graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery with a nursing degree.  After spending a year in Poland as a missionary, Keene decided to return to the United States and attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. where she earned a Master’s in Education and a Master’s in Theology.  Keene met her husband, Stephen, while a student there.  Stephen is a Baptist minister and together they have served at churches in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.  They have a 12-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter.

“I turned 45 this week and I was reminded by my creaking hip that I’m not quite to retirement age but I’m also not young any longer,” Keene details in one of her podcasts.  “I’m going to go ahead and put some of my memories down so hopefully if things start to fade over the years my kids have a place now they can remember a little bit about who I was even before they knew me.”

“Along Norrell Road” podcasts can be heard on Apple, Spotify or Anchor.  You can also follow “Along Norrell Road” on Facebook where Keene posts photos related to the podcasts.  People can also post comments or memories on the public Facebook page.

“Fiction is fun, but real life stories are timeless,” Keene concluded.