My grandma, Gloria Williams, turned 90 over the weekend. I flew in for a short visit to just hug that woman and be with family. I'm so glad it worked out. My highlight all weekend was our leisure afternoon, Friday before the party. She started talking and sharing memories with us and I stopped what i was doing and got out my laptop and started transcribing. My fingers could barely keep up and she was giving me these details that I had never heard. Now that I was writing them down I was seeing them and remembering them and realizing ... oh my gosh, THIS is such a precious treasure. She is alive to tell these little details that otherwise will fade! She kept pausing and apologizing for talking to much and i just glowed and stumbled over encouragements to keep talking! It was so so fun.
So i thought i would share a few of her memories from when she was a little girl and on into her time as a nurse and meeting her husband, my late grandaddy. I hope you enjoy these little windows into her childhood set min-century as much as I did. :) | LKM
The great depression was in the 29s and the 30s were spent recuperating. everybody seemed to be on the move. settling. finding settlement. hobos would be on the road, traveling. so they would come to your house and knock and you’d take them to the back door. we had to figure out safety factors. as a child that safety measure impressed me. we’d take them to the back door. they would eat outside. there was an understanding.
I was 5 when we were in Gainsville. there was this thing called the Honeywagon--a wagon would come along and make sure they took care of our sewage. they’d come by and pick up our waste every day. we’d bring it out and they’d take it away. and we’d chase after the wagon like it was a grandest thing.
my father decided farming was really for him. he raised 3 pigs and he was done. so he bought the grocery store in Dunnellon. I would go and visit them. Dunnellon , on first impressions was a typical little grubby country town with old houses,old sidewalks, brick streets. One water tower,one bank, one hotel-boarding house, and another hotel. The favorite place to eat was Miz McDilda’s café. She was also well known for advice to teen agers. “If it can’t be done by 10 0’clock you shouldn’t be doing it”
On my days off I would take the bus to Dunnellon. They traveled thru Williston to Dunnellon, so it was a long . But usually my friend Willie came with me. On one of those times Dunnellon we were hanging out clothes, and a young man hoeing corn on a lot on Walnut Street came over for a drink of water. Later I learned he lived across the street from the corn patch!
I thought to myself, now there is a nice young man. A man who would hoe. (laughing) I don’t think Robert touched a hoe once after that day.
In 1947 I was employed by Marion County Hospital. Actually, from that time on I could fill out an application and go to work the next day. In 1967 I applied for a transfer to the VA Hospital In Sepulveda California, and had to wait a whole week before they put me on schedule..That was my first realization of the feelings of rejection when you are not successful on a job application.
then the war started. and we all started making scarves to go to the british. i made 1. only time i knitted. to send a scarf to a brit. that was the time i saw a b17 on display . the biggest bomber to bomb in world war 22. in those years there were fleets of planes flying over all the time. the trains going by would be hauling tanks and motorized vehicles for the soldiers. if you stopped at a train crossing. you would see all boys in the unit pass by with their trucks. It was always safe to be friendly on the train or bus, because Uncle Sam was chaperone.
my father wanted me to be a secretary and sent me to Jacksonville to learn. i lived with my aunt who worked at a perfume factory and lived right next door. Massey’s Business School and i got a job as a secretary. After a few months I was bored out of my skull. there was so little. A lot of people love office work but that was not for me. I learned how to short hand my own way and learned to use a dictaphone. But i got out of that business school as fast as possible. When they started putting me on machines I fled. I hated machines. So then i got a different job and used a dictaphone. I decided I wanted to go into the navy. There were recruiters looking for woman to fill as nurses and I jumped on that.
I couldn’t go into the US nurses cadet corp until I was 18. I got out when I was 21 and got a job in Ocala. The hospitals had nursing quarters. My friend Willy and I stayed in one of the rooms and the other girls were in the other rooms. I met willy in training. there were 5 of us who were protestant and we kind of stuck together through the programs. Got a job and lived together in the nursing colleges. We lived at and were paid on the property.
so we worked 8 hours a day and went to school the rest of the time. that lasted 3 years and by that time the war was over. the last 6 months of school i could do whatever specialty i wanted and i wanted to go to Jacksonville college and took my 101 courses. i took state board for nursing -- or waited to take them and Ocala hired me before i even passed the state board.
i was a red cross polio nurse, about 3 of us. and the reason that’s important is because that’s why i have all this immunity. most people who worked with polio at the time would get the beginning of the virus -- low grade temperature and mild symptoms. i think we were all just building up an immunity to it.
1948 Robert and I were going together and he didn’t get a job and I went on my life in Tallahasee. He couldn’t stay away. He was burning rubber going up there all the time. so that’s when he decided what he would do about this degree. I was in tallahassee and he was down here and we agreed to go to Alabama and their was no option to do it unmarried. So we got married. He never asked. It was just the thing to do. We got married on christmas day, December 1949 and then left for Alabama.
When we decided to go to Alabama for Robert’s second degree, He already had the basics as far as his degree goes but he got a job right out of college to make gun barrels and Lockhead head hunters found him there in Birmingham and he was a no-brainer. He had an auro-nautic engineer degree. They moved us to Murrieta, California to work on the C130. They would test the engine at night. It had propellers and turbines--a very durable machine. I have heard airplanes my whole life that when I would hear that rumble it was like music to my ears. I always felt so safe as long as i could hear airplanes in the air.
Here are a couple highlights from the modest party we threw for her and a few friends. She was glowing several days after! Such a treasure! | LKM :)