A love story

Mamaw met Papaw before she left to attend college. You can credit her best friend for setting them up, even though it may not have been love at first sight.

Mamaw explained that down home on saturday nights, everyone went to town, which was Ashburn. Everyone would walk around, meet people, go in a store, look around, and then go back out. Mamaw’s best friend told her to come to a hardwood store to meet one of her uncles, who turned out to be Papaw.

The next monday at school, her friend told her that Papaw would like to have a date with her. But little did she know, her friend had also told Papaw that Mamaw would like to have a date with him.

Papaw ended up calling her, and setting up a date. When Mamaw told her older brother, James, that she was going out with Lincoln Hale, James told her to ask Lincoln if he knew a Snake Hale.

That night Mamaw asked Papaw if he knew a Snake Hale. Papaw laughed and explained that he was Snake. Mamaw said that everyone at home called him Snake, but Papaw never would tell her how he got the nickname.

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They kept in touch, writing letters, when Mamaw went off to college, but they were only friends, not anything serious.

Around the time that Mamaw moved to Atlanta for nursing school, Papaw moved to Atlanta to work in a hardware store. Since Mamaw was roommates with his niece, she saw Papaw every now and then. Papaw started to ask her out again ,and they eventually started dating.

Mamaw didn’t have a car, so when she went grocery shopping with her roommate they would have to take a bus back home or walk with all the groceries. One day, Papaw bought a car and surprised them at the grocery store to give them a ride home.

They often went to a drug store off Ponce de Leon in Atlanta. The drug store was open 24 hours and had good coffee, which Papaw liked to drink. Mamaw eventually took up drinking coffee since he loved it so much.

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Mamaw said after they started dating they were pretty much together all the time after that. He would come to her apartment every day, but he still stayed with his Aunts near Grant Park.

They dated about a year before Papaw decided it was about time to get married. Mamaw was excited thinking she was going to get married in a few months, but Papaw meant they should get married right away. She refused to go to a Justice of the Peace to get married so on March 21, 1951, they went to Griffin, and were married at the First Baptist Church, in the preachers study.

On the day of their wedding there was a terrible storm, that let up a little as they made it to Griffin. There was no big ceremony or reception. Just a nice supper at his Aunt Ruby’s house.

After the wedding they started back to Atlanta. Mamaw was worried about her best friend being alone in their apartment in the storm, but Papaw wasn’t worried about her. They went to the Peachtree Hotel for the night instead.

Papaw’s mother had also passed away when he was young. Because of this they made it a point to be home with one another every second that they could. They made sure to get home to one another after work was over.

The one time Mamaw spent away from home was a trip to Hawaii with her friends. Papaw said that it was ok for her to be gone, but he didn’t do so well with her leaving. Mamaw said that he didn’t sleep at all the night before she left, but she made sure to call him every day to check on him. After that trip, Mamaw decided not to leave him for that long again.

My Mamaw still loves my Papaw very much. She still wears her wedding ring, and will be quick to tell you that it has stayed on her finger since the day he put it on there.

A few more things I’ve learned from my Mamaw.

  1. My dad is just like my Papaw. He acts more like him every day.
  2. I need to figure out where the nickname Snake came from…
  3. Its ok that I want to spend all my time with my husband… My Mamaw was the same way.
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I’m So Blessed

A while back my family started working on our family tree. I get obsessed with things, and learning about my family history was something that I easily became obsessed with. But, I learned really fast that I had a lot my “facts” wrong. Even things as simple as where my grandfather was born. I learned all this by talking to my grandmother. It made me realize that I didn’t want to tell my family story wrong. And if I’m being honest, the best person to start telling my family’s story is my grandmother.

I called my grandmother to make sure that she would be ok with me “interviewing” her and writing everything down. She told me that it would be ok, but not on Sunday’s because she would be at church, and not Tuesdays, because that’s her old ladies day. Any other day would be fine but, she didn’t really know what kind of stories I wanted her to tell me. Really, I have no clue… I want to hear it all.

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It took a few days, but I finally made it to my Mamaw’s house. My Aunt Lorey was just leaving. My Aunt told me that Mamaw was excited to talk with me, but was a little worried I would put her on “The Google.” My sweet grandmother doesn’t have internet and has no idea what “the google” is. After we explained it a little bit, she decided that “the google” was like a dictionary, and that would be ok.

We headed inside and got started right away. She decided that she would tell me why she is so blessed. It’s mainly an overview of her life growing up. She also told me about meeting my grandfather, but I think that their love story should be its own post.

Mamaw was born in Chula, Georgia. She lived there with her mom, dad, and two older brothers. Her father worked in the turpentine business and they lived on his bosses property. He worked six days a week and preached on Sundays. When Mamaw was a year old her mother passed away.

Because her father was away so often, Mamaw’s father took her to live with his parents, in Ocilla, GA on a tobacco farm. Her middle brother (who was three at the time), went to live with the other grandmother (Grandma Thompson), and her older brother (James) stayed with her father since he was eight and was in school.

In the summer time, when the crops were really busy, Mamaw’s grandmother took her on the train to Miami, FL to stay with her aunt and her husband. Once things slowed down she would head back to Ocilla.

When Mamaw was four, her father got remarried to a teacher in Chula (I have always know her as Mamaw Green). After a time all the children came back to live with them, and the family moved to Sycamore, GA.

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The school eventually burned down and school was held in different houses. Mamaw Green’s brother and sister-in-law (Mamaw Dess) offered to have my grandmother stay with them in Athens, GA, so that my grandmother could attend school. Mamaw stayed with them for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade. Mamaw Dess was good to her and really was like a mother.

Once Mamaw started high school, her father insisted that she return home and finish school in Sycamore. As soon as summer break started Mamaw would hope on a Greyhound Bus and travel back to Athens to spend her summer with Mamaw Dess.

When she finished school around the age of 16, her father told her she could go to college wherever she wanted to. She decided to go school in North Carolina, and headed off to Mars Hill University with her best friend. After a while they decided to swap majors from business to nursing, and decided to go to Georgia Baptist Hospital.

After this point Mamaw added in my Papaw, so I’ll write about that next time.

I learned a few things after sitting down with my grandmother…

1. I love to hear her tell stories. Even when she isn’t sure what to say next.

2. Mamaw doesn’t give a lot of names… remember to ask for them.

3. Don’t turn off the recording when she tells you she is done with her story for the night… she isn’t done and you will miss some of the best parts.

4. I hate the way my voice sounds recored… talk less, listen more.