Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Chance Encounter

On June 30, 2010, I boarded American Airlines flight 1629 in Dallas, Texas en route to San Diego, California.

I was seated next to the aisle. The two seats directly across were empty until the last passengers boarded. A distinguished looking Mexican-American man made his way toward the empty seats. He appeared to be in his sixties, a thin physique, smartly dressed in casual attire, salt and pepper mustache, and the same coloration of hair extending below his white ball cap.

I noticed the insignias on the cap and when he settled into the seat, I looked over to him and said, "Airborne!"  Without hesitation, the stranger responded with, "All the Way!"

These words "Airborne!" and "All the way!" are often exclaimed when one paratrooper meets another. The insignia on his cap was that of the 173rd Airborne Brigade along side a miniature Purple Heart Medal. He and I immediately started talking about our military service and combat tours in Vietnam, the dates (his was '67-'68), places, parachutist school, length of service, and our lives after the military. He continued his college education with the help of the G. I. Bill and became a lawyer in San Diego.

We enjoyed conversation off and on throughout the flight and exchanged email addresses. He encouraged me to attend the July 3rd parade on Coronado, which is across the San Diego Bay. He said he would be marching with other veterans and 70,000 people would likely attend it.

As Doreen, Jennifer, and I toured the city over the next few days, we spent one day in Balboa Park. We went into various museums, gardens, and saw other cultural venues. Our meandering stroll through the park led us to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center at Inspiration Point.  We paid the entrance fee and began the self-guided tour. As I looked at the many displays, I came upon one of particular interest to me because it involved the Vietnam War. It included a full-sized mannequin clothed in an army dress uniform with ribbons, medals, and trousers bloused inside paratrooper boots. Beside this mannequin was a display cabinet filled with photos of a young soldier and his medals. One photo showed him in the hospital recovering from a bullet wound to his shoulder. The actual bullet was cleaned of his flesh and blood and laid beside his Purple Heart Medal. Additional combat paraphernalia was there regarding this hero. See the photos below and click to enlarge them for better viewing.

When I read the placards about this man, I realized it was the same person I sat beside on the flight 1629 from Dallas. I had no clue before that moment.  He is a prominent citizen and community leader in San Diego. Read some of his accomplishments in the photo. He came to the United States from Mexico at age 7, passed up an appointment to the USMA to join the military to serve in Vietnam, became a lawyer, and served on the San Diego school board, just to name a few.

I attended the parade on Coronado and spotted him marching smartly in the Color Guard of the San Diego All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association.  As he marched dress-right-dress with other veterans, he gripped with both hands the flag pole of the SD 173rd AirborneAssociation.  I learned later that he is currently serving as President of this group of veterans. 

The top picture is a commercial plane flying low over Balboa Park to land in San Diego. This happens every two minutes. The next picture is a view of San Diego from Coronado.

Have a good week!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One More About Lettie Moore

Lettie saw no indication that anybody on the staff at Old Richmond School followed up to inquire about her sudden and ongoing absences. Her parents didn't push hard enough to get her to return and Lettie never told them her reason for quitting high school until years later.

Lettie loved sports in school and played on the softball and basketball teams. She said, "My early love of sports explains why I attended many balls games at Northwest Forsyth Little League and at other places." Lettie's brothers and father played serious baseball and participated in community leagues in the 1940's and 50's. As the oldest child in her father's second marriage and the only daughter, Lettie (born in 1930) involved herself in the ball games and in the farm work.

Lettie admired her father Lanier Laurrine Doub (1885-1968).

Around 1937 her mother, Jennie Irene Woosley Doub (1904-1992), cut Lettie's hair too short to please Lanier (pronounced Lane-yer). See the haircut in the school picture above. He ordered his wife to never cut Lettie's hair again.

Lettie's next haircut didn't happen until around 1957. It was naturally curly and grew very long during those twenty years. See Lettie's long hair in the picture with her mother. This picture was taken in the early fifties when she was a young woman. The bottom picture was made in 2005 and shows long hair then.

Lanier was first married to Eva Mayetta Bowman (1888-1926) of East Bend, North Carolina. They had two sons born in 1919 and 1922. Their names were Lanier Lestro and Bascom Bowman "B. B." Doub. One daughter, born in 1918 died within days after birth. They named her Mildred Louise.

After Lanier's first wife Eva died in 1926 he married Jennie Woosley in 1928.
In addition to Lettie's two half-brothers, she has five brothers, Kermit Calvin (1931-), Junius Winburn (1932-1956), Maynard Ray (1934-1972), Belmont Grady (1936-1987), and Aubrey Allen (1939-).

Lettie loved farm life where they grew tobacco, corn, wheat, watermelons, fruit trees, and other crops. The animals included cows, goats, hogs, and chickens. Lettie was responsible each day for milking one particular cow. That cow's name was Star because of her blaze. Brothers Winburn and Kermit were responsible for milking two different cows. During winter months the three siblings went to the barn with lanterns to carry out this chore before going to school.

Mr. Doub peddled farm produce in nearby Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His door-to-door selling occurred a couple times per week and consisted of vegetables during the summer and fresh meat during the winter. Mr. Doub instructed Lettie to always select the "best of the best" for him to sell as she helped him get ready for the trip to town. The Doub family food came from the leftovers, which was plenty and of good quality. The same best of the best guideline applied to the eggs for Mr. Hugh Pfaff of Tobaccoville who came regularly to buy them for resale.

Lanier sold in areas of Winston-Salem referred to as Buena Vista and Ardmore. Lettie said, "Dad always said that is where rich people lived. Many of Dad's customers there had butlers, maids, cooks, and chauffeurs." During cold weather months, the Doub family killed and butchered hogs. Country sausage, hams, and shoulders were taken to town to his affluent customers. Surplus meat and chitlins were sold in the "East Winston" section of the city. Lettie explained how her mother scraped and washed the intestines from hogs to get them ready to sell.

Lettie helped her mother can garden vegetables for food to eat during the winter. "We sometimes stayed in the kitchen until midnight," said Lettie.

Eventually Lettie got a job in the city at S. H. Kress for a short time before she married Lloyd D. C. Moore and moved to Alabama in 1954. When she returned with Lloyd in 1967 to Kilmurry Hill Road, the farm she so fondly remembered had changed. She said, "I certainly didn't find the farm I loved, but I still have my memories."

During the past seventeen years of living alone, Lettie helped elderly women in the area who needed a caregiver. She stayed with LaRue Jones for about a year, then Jessie Randleman for about the same amount of time, and finally, Blanch Poole, a close neighbor and a "really sweet woman," said Lettie. She's had many other requests to provide care, but she turned down the offers. Lettie concluded, "Now I'm doing the things I really like doing, which includes mowing my lawn with a push mower."

I like calling Lettie Lorena Doub Moore, a friend.

Have a good week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More About Lettie Moore

The hummingbird and cardinal are favorites among all the birds around her home. The cardinal because Lettie loves to watch the parents feed their young and the hummingbird because of its flying speed and hovering ability. Lettie can identify most birds native to this region as she watches bird feeders in her backyard.

The top picture shows her cozy home, her reliable car, and the trees that attract the squirrels and birds. This home is very near the site where she was born and grew through childhood.

Lettie has always been inquisitive and a learned person. Her ability to spell and find mistakes in grammar is remarkable. See the sample of her handwriting in the picture. Click on the text to enlarge it and see the steady hand and excellent motor skills for an eighty-year-old.

When her father drove her to Old Richmond School to enter the first grade in 1936, she said, "I was scared to death." "I thought Mama and Daddy were trying to get rid of me", Lettie said as she remembered the experience. She went to school that first day in the back seat of her father's 1934 Ford. Older brother Lestro was also in the car. That's all she remembers about the first day of school.

Throughout her schooling, she refused to talk in class and dreaded to give oral book reports out of fear of speaking in front of other students in the classroom setting. In first grade she received a whipping from the teacher because classmate Lawrence Shamel was "cutting up" while the teacher was outside the room. When the teacher returned and asked who was making the noise, Lawrence reported that it was Lettie. First grade teacher Mrs. Odell Kearney believed Lawrence's story and spanked Lettie in front of the class, which embarrassed her greatly. A similar incident occurred in fourth grade. Again, by not speaking up, she took the blame for classmate Eugene Long and received a whipping from fourth grade teacher Mrs. Williams.

Change happened to Lettie in the tenth grade. Classmate Emma Jean (Shenny) Creech was sitting in the same row in the second desk in front of Lettie. Shenny, for an unknown reason, tossed a book over a student's head and it landed on Lettie's desk. Lettie tossed it back to Shenny. The same thing happened again. The third time, Lettie tossed the book through an open window to the outdoors. That's when teacher Miss Arrington saw what was going on and became involved. The teacher ordered Lettie to retrieve the book, but Lettie refused because it wasn't her book. The second time Miss Arrington insisted, Lettie left her desk, walked to the door, stopped, turned to the teacher and said, "I'm going, but I'm not getting the damn book." Lettie walked home and never returned to school. Lettie knew she would be in serious trouble for saying that bad word if she returned.

This unfortunate incident and Lettie's reaction affected her life forever. Beginning with that moment, Lettie never again let anyone take advantage of her by remaining silent. However, the book throwing incident has been a "bad dream many nights for lots of years", she said. Lettie never again spoke to Shenny for starting the uninvited book throwing. Years later Shenny telephoned Lettie's mother and said she'd like to talk to Lettie. When Lettie received the message, she thought there was nothing to talk about. During recent years, Lettie regrets not returning Shenny's telephone call. Shenny passed away in 1986. This is an example of how childhood play, teacher reaction, and perceived fairness can impact a life in unimaginable ways.

Below is a picture of Old Richmond School as it looked during Lettie's time there.

Lettie, however, recalls her school experiences with fondness and pride. She is most excited when she thinks about her many classmates. Here is a list of familiar names who were in school with Lettie: Mildred Goins, Paul Blackburn, Hoyal Kye, Wilburn Speas, Abe Whitman, Vance Sprinkle, Beatrice Anderson, Viola Blackburn, June Craft, Helen Lineback, Mildred Long, Marie Edwards, Becky Tuttle, A. J. Stout, Betty Hauser, Faye Nance, Lucy Butner, Henry Watts, Fred Kreeger, Ruth Gentry, Peggy Pfaff, Roy Whitman, and others.

Return here next week for more about Ms. Moore.

Have a good week!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Lettie Moore is in the Pfafftown Spotlight

She stands less than five feet tall, but my friend is a giant when it comes to life, laughter, memory, and mental ability. Eighty-year-old Lettie Lorena Doub Moore is still going strong with her monthly calendar filled with places to be to fulfill responsibilities at church, choir, Grange, crafts, ball games, and visiting the shut-ins.

Lettie lives in a mobile home that is anchored to the ground on a plot of land within a few hundred feet of where she was born in 1930.

She left Pfafftown in 1954 when she married Lloyd D. C. Moore, an Alabaman. They lived in his state for thirteen years until Lettie brought Lloyd to Pfafftown in 1967. He worked for RJR until strokes disabled him 1978. Mr. Moore died in 1993.

Lettie became the breadwinner near the end of Lloyd's life by working at Sears in Hanes Mall for eleven years.

Lettie has no children, but sometimes feels mother-like toward her brother Aubrey Doub who lives within sight of her home. Widower Aubrey and sister Lettie frequently dine together at their favorite restaurants. Of course, tomato sandwiches often keep them home to eat evening meals during hot summer days.

Lettie is interested in astronomy and was a member of the Forsyth Astronomical Society for a few years. When asked her about her favorite constellation, she replied without delay, "Orion" and immediately pointed to the sky to describe the arrangement of bright stars that form the belt of the hunter in Greek mythology.

She's also very interested in genealogy and has been a member of the Forsyth Genealogical Society for a long time. Those meetings take place the second Tuesday of each month. The bottom picture is Lettie doing research in the North Carolina Room of the central branch of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Library where she makes good use of library resources. Lettie possesses much knowledge about her ancestors whose history is prominent in Pfafftown starting in the mid to late 1700's.

She's a member of the Winston-Salem Sears Retiree's Club. They meet bi-monthly for meals and fellowship. She's a member of the Pfafftown Rust and Dust Club. This group meets on the third Saturday of each month. Oh yes, she's also a member of the Sing Along Group. The quartet group members sing with assisted living residents at Vienna Village each Thursday morning. The first picture below is Ms. Moore singing there on June 24, 2010 when I tagged along. "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" in the picture below is just one of the many hymns we sang during the hour beginning at 10:00 am.

She also belongs to these groups: Old Richmond Grange, Pleasant Hill Church Bible Study Group, and Doub's United Methodist Church choir. Lettie is on the go somewhere every day. Last weekend she watched her nephew Jimmy Ray Doub play in two softball games on Saturday and five games on Sunday. This tournament play at Kernersville was in temperatures into the 90's. The team that Lettie was cheering for won the tournament.

This osteoporosis afflicted lady is tough and has endurance. There will be more about Lettie next week when I describe her growing up in Pfafftown in the 1930's and 40's.

Have a good week!