Monday, June 05, 2006

After Recuperation

After months of recuperation, Lee moved to Lenoir City, Tennessee where he found work as a night watchman at Clinton Engineer Works, codename SiteX at Oak Ridge. There production and separation of uranium and plutonium for the Manhattan Project were secretly under development.

After time on this job, Lee and a partner/friend opened a restaurant in downtown Lenoir City.
The dishwasher they hired was Frances Elvira Silvey, born in 1932 near the town. Lee remarked, "She is the prettiest thing I've ever seen." Frances was paid $8.00 per week and stopped attending school after seventh grade.

They married in 1946 when Lee was age 30 and Frances 14. Frances' mother was only two years older than Lee and would not agree to the marriage. As a result, they drove across the state border into Rossville, Georgia where an untruth about age enabled them to get married.

Most of Lee's family were stunned by the news of him marrying this young girl. Frances would later write in her memoirs that marrying Lee was "one of the wisest things I have ever done." Later, Mrs. Silvey's feelings about Lee's marriage to her daughter would turn to acceptance, admiration, and love.

While in Tennessee, Lee developed stomach problems and underwent surgery. Later, when back in Dozier, doctors surgically removed one-half of his stomach due to ulcers. In addition to his amputated arm and crooked leg, Lee would live with limited capacity to eat and the need to avoid certain foods and spices. During the next 46 years, Frances prepared home-cooked meals for Lee. They rarely ate in restaurants partly due to his diet restrictions and partly due to expense.

It was difficult to make a living in Lenoir City so Lee decided to return to Dozier with his young wife.

Jack Bodenhamer, Lee's brother-in-law, built a store with two rooms in the rear for Lee and Frances. This store was located on Vienna-Dozier Road at the Waller Road intersection (the store building is now a residence). Lee and Frances moved into and operated the store there for a short time.

Frances became pregnant and wanted her baby to be born in Tennessee. So the store closed and they moved back to Tennessee where their daughter Dorothy was born in 1948. They soon returned to Dozier and rented a house owned by Ada Bean.

Return here Wednesday, June 7 for more about the life and times of J. Lee Anderson.

Have a good day!



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