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UPDATE-Oct.1, 2001 -Mama has been diagnosed with alzheimers. I hope you enjoy reading her story and I'm very glad that I got in down before she forgot it. ENJOY.



This Page Is Dedicated to my Mom.

She is 88 and this is her story in her own words.


Chapter One

I was born on March 26, 1915, to William Ruffin Smith and Clara Leona Phillips Smith. We lived on Dudley Street in Memphis, Tennessee, which was just down the street from the Memphis Furniture Company where my Daddy worked for almost all his life. He was a foreman of the cabinet room and was still working there when he retired at age 70. Mama cooked lunch for many of the men who worked at the furniture company. She cooked full, hot meals everyday, and charged a quarter a meal. The men would fill their plates and just sit where they could.


Daddy (in black) at the Furniture Factory

I was the third child born to my parents. The first was Gladys Mae, the second was Arthur Nolen, then me. Walter R. was 15 months behind me and then William Eugene brought up the rear 10 years later. Mama was so embarrassed to have a baby at the "old age" of 43.


I have never known how Mama and Daddy met but I know that they only saw each other two or three times. He came to see her in a horse and buggy. Grandma Phillips said "He's after Clara" and he was. He was a widower with two small children that Mama had never seen. They were Elizabeth Maude and John Hugh. Mama always said that they were her best children. They loved her dearly. She was the only Mama that they ever knew. Their true Mama was Cora Belle Allman. She and Daddy married in 1899 and she died in 1907. My Mama and Daddy married in 1908.

Mama was little and short with a twisted foot but it never slowed her down any. Mama's foot was operated on when she was 16 but it didn't help much. She always limped and wore high top shoes for many years. She was a tomboy (I guess thatís where I got it). She had three brothers named Joseph Edward, James Hinton (we called him Uncle Short. I don't know why because he wasn't short) and Ezekial Henry. They all played together like four boys, climbing trees, swinging on branches and even cutting them off with each other on them.


I didn't know until I was half grown that Maude and Hugh were actually my half brother and sister. It was something that was never mentioned. When Hugh was about 16, something happened to his knee and his leg was amputated above the knee. I guess they didn't know about artificial limbs, so he walked with crutches. He was so tall a handsome with black curly hair and I think he always felt inferior after that. He could walk faster than any of us, even with only one leg and a crutch. He worked several jobs but his talent was woodcarving and he was good at it. He carved some beautiful things. He married Idell and they had three children, Bill, Jesse Earl and Norma June. He died suddenly of a ruptured appendix in 1937.

Idell was a strong lady and she took in boarders, raised lots of vegetables and did a good job of raising hard working kids. Bill had some of Hugh's carvings but the boarders stole most of them. Bill was nine months old when Gene was born, so Daddy had a son and grandson almost the same age. Mama was really put out with Daddy for buying his grandson a bed when Gene (his own son) didn't have one himself.



Grandma Smith, Clara Leona Smith, Maude, Gladys, and Nolen.
Mama was pregnant with me.


Please continue on to Chapter Two


This Story is Nine Chapters Long. You might want to bookmark this page so you can return to it if you are interrupted. Please sign the guestbook below and let us know how you like her story.

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