ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- It's the show generations grew up on, the familiarity that sticks with millions. The Andy Griffith Show.
Before that, were the memories and the real life Mayberry...Mount Airy, North Carolina.
"A lot of people didn't realize it was based on a real town. and I said, 'wait a minute, there's too much real life stuff in there.'" They said "'we thought it was made up.'" I said "'no, it's not entirely made up. It was crafted around real things,'" Jewell Kutzer said with a smile.
Kutzer is 76 years young, and the author of "Memories of Mayberry." She grew up a few blocks from Griffith, and knew from childhood he was a talented fella.
"We all went to Rockford Middle School. Both of us had our first performing experience on that grammar school stage," she continued.
Kutzer says Griffith's death didn't come as a surprise. He had some health problems, and overcame several major battles over the years.
She says his kind, loving spirit and philanthropy often went under the radar. She got a kick out of watching scenes on the show, because she knew the back story behind a lot of them.
"I know why Barney and the choir singing that song "Welcome Sweet to Springtime." It's because Mrs. Coleman made us sing it every single spring for eight solid years and we were sick of it by the time we went to high school."
Kutzer still gets back to the Blue Ridge Mountain town that started it all when she can.
She'll never forget her childhood friend, and knows the world won't either.
"The show was about love and that's what people would remember. It was about love."