Tuesday, April 12, 2016


 Mother's mind was always tinkering with somewhere to go.  If no one accompanied her on some wild chase or if she had no personal transportation, those reasons failed to stop her.  I love telling this one adventure.

My sister and I were privileged to attend summer camp in Montreat, NC in 1944 and 1945, During the second summer Mother decided she needed a vacation, put her job on hold and moved temporarily to Asheville to be near us. She found a job in a small hospital as a telephone operator.  She loved being in a different place, without the hassle of her husband.  She'd take my sister, seven-years old, and twelve-year-old me out to lunch, after chugging to the camp up the mountain side in a taxi. Some days she took us to a movie.  We never let on that we missed the camp's activities. We loved our mother too much to complain. 

At the end of the summer she rode the train with us back to Mississippi.  During that time, and many times later to different audiences, she told us of her famous taxi ride.  She hopped a taxi when she first arrived in Asheville without a hotel reservation. She asked the driver to ride around so she could check out the hotels.  He did, and during that ride looked through the rear view mirror and said, "Where are you from, Madam?" (Now I must remind you in those years women felt very comfortable alone in public.) Mother said Mississippi, to which the driver replied, "I was stationed in Jackson, Mississippi, a few years ago -- at Hawkins Field." Mother then added, "I was switchboard operator at Hawkins for six months." He introduced himself, as did Mother and they realized they had shared one incident together.

Mother went to work at midnight at the field. She drove her car down the paved road leading to the sentry.  A short distance from the entrance, she saw four servicemen getting her attention with waving hands. She stopped and they breathlessly asked, "Can you give us a ride through the sentry? Otherwise we'll be late, and that can't happen." Mother agreed and they mushed themselves into the small car, she sailed through the sentry with her pass, and the guys unloaded down near the barracks.

"I've never forgotten you. Your name's Ann, isn't it?" She said yes.  "Well, this ride's on me. I'll show you a good place to stay while you're here.  In fact, anytime you want to see the sights of the city, I'm at your service."  Mother, not wanting to lose an opportunity, said, "I want to see a still." I'm not sure if this announcement surprised the driver. He answered, "Give me a few days to find one rather safe for you."

In due time Mother tromped through tall grass and around bushes to see a whiskey-making still in action. She was thrilled when she took a taste, and even more thrilled when the makers gave her a jar of their famous liquid.  

I never have heard of another mom desiring a visit to such an operation. She remembered that experience the rest of her life.

No comments:

Post a Comment