Monday, June 18, 2012

A Mother's Memoir ~ A Daughter's Treasure

I have decided to start a little genealogy project by interviewing my mother to learn more about her life when she was younger, how she grew up and what her life was like in those times. Even though she is my best friend in the whole wide world, there are still some things about her that I don't know and have never bothered to ask about. I will start with the formalities and things I do know and then continue on from there. This should be fun!

 If given the chance, what family member would you interview and why?

Me: What is your given name?

Mom: Carolyn Ann

Me: What are your parents' names?

Mom: My fathers name was Claude Flemon Dodson, he was born in October of 1903 and he died in 1987. My mother was Dora Younas Worley-Dodson. Worley was her maiden name. My mom was born on April 20, 1907 and she died on December 11, 1990. It was a day before your cousins birthday and right before you gave birth to your first son, John.

Me: Do you know why your parents named you?

Mom: They named me because my brother, Otis liked the name. He was killed in a head on car collision when I was three years old.

Me: Did you have a nickname?

Mom: No. But when you were born your grandmother, Lucia, called you "Little Carolyn".

Me: When and where were you born?

Mom: I was born in Belair, Maryland 

Me: Where did you grow up?

Mom: Phoenix, Maryland

Me: Do you remember the house in which you grew up in? Can you describe it to the best of your recollection?

Mom: Yes, I remember it. It was a 2 story red house with a basement but the outside had red shingles on the walls. It had an L-shaped porch and when they remodeled the house and built an extra room they added the porch. There was a basement that had 3 rooms for storage; there was a washing machine down there. On the first floor, there was a living room, den, big kitchen, two bathrooms and a bedroom. One of the bathrooms was originally a closet. On the second floor, there was three bedrooms and a hallway that led to the attic. There were two other rooms in the attic and another storage area that we kept all of our Christmas stuff in. It was just big enough that you could walk through. 

Me: What is your earliest childhood memory?

Mom: Umm...let's see! Learning to swim and I was a Brownie in the Girl Scouts. I also remember going to Bible School. We never missed a Sunday at church because my mom would never let us miss a Sunday service. We had to go to church no matter what.

Me: What kind of games did you play growing up?

Mom: Hopscotch, jacks, jump rope, hide and seek. 

Me: Did you have a favorite toy? Why was it your favorite?

Mom: Yes! I had a Tiny Tears doll. The very first one. Because I could dress it up and feed it. If you fed it water then it would pee.

Me: (Laughing) 

Me: What did you like to do for fun when you were little?

Mom: Ride our bikes and go sleigh riding in the winter time. 

Me: Did you like to read? 

Mom: Yes, I read all kinds of books. 

Me: Favorite color?

Mom: Yellow

Me: Favorite flower?

Mom: Hibiscus, Roses, and Pansies

Me: I thought your favorite was the daisy, because that was in your wedding bouquet! 

Me: What was your favorite book as a child?

Mom: The Three Little Puppies. I liked Cinderella, Bambi, Donald Duck. I liked a lot of different stories and read many different ones.

Me: Did you have to do any chores when you were younger? What were they?

Mom: Milk cows, feed chickens, clean the barn, pull weeds and pick vegetables out of the garden. I washed clothes and hung them on the clothesline. Had to iron them too.There's a lot of stuff we did! 

Me: Did you have a least favorite?

Mom: Pulling weeds.

Me: What was school like for you growing up?

Mom: I used to cry in first grade when I went to school until I got used to it.

Me: Didn't you go to Kindergarten?

Mom: No, there wasn't a kindergarten back then.

Me: Oh! That's interesting.

Me: What was the name of your elementary school?

Mom: Carroll Manor. That was my elementary then I went to Ridgley Middle School and I ended up graduating from Towson High School.

Me: What year did you graduate? 

Mom: 1964 

Me: What was your favorite school subject?

Mom: Reading

Me: I should have known that answer! Because you are always reading on your Kindle app on your iPhone!

Me: Do you remember any fads or fashions that were in style when you were in high school?

Mom: Oh! Hold on! I have to get my laundry! 

(Intermission of sorts while mom gets her laundry in the dryer! Hahaha)

Mom: I used to wear skirts, blouses and dresses. Poodle skirts were the big thing then. We wore skirts with a belt that tied in the back. 

Me: What kind of clothing did you wear to elementary school?

Mom: My mom used to make our dresses from feed sacks and there was a lot of print, no solid colors.

Me: What kind of music did you listen to? Who was your favorite artist?

Mom: Rock and Pop music of the 60's. Dionne Warwick and the Supremes and Frankie Avalon.

Me: Did you go to prom? Who did you go with?

Mom: Yes, I went with my neighbors son, Glen. He asked me and he had a crush on me back then.

Me: What did your dress look like?

Mom: It had a flower print that came down past my knees. I looked glamorous in that dress!

Me: Did you have any pets?

Mom: Yeah I had a rooster for a pet but he didn't have a name because I never named him. I had a Cocker Spaniel named Trixie, a Boxer named Mack, and another dog named Freckles. 

Me: Those are cute names I like the name Freckles.

Me: What was your first car?

Mom: A 1963 Cadillac that I received when I graduated high school.

Me: What was a typical family dinner like? 

Mom: Everybody ate together as a family. Not like today where families eat at different times.

Me: What was your favorite food back then?

Mom: Ham, green beans, and potatoes.

Me: Green beans? Yuck!

Me: Any Christmas traditions in the family?

Mom: Every year on Christmas Eve, we went to the Christmas church service. Me and my brothers and sister would decorate the tree and sometimes my mom would help. I remember getting up on Christmas day and the presents would be under the tree and there was so many presents that it seemed like they were everywhere in the living room.

Me: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Mom: I had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. I had two brothers and one sister that died in a car accident. One of my brothers was married and his wife died in the accident too.

Me: What were their names?

Mom: Exie, Otis, and Clara. I was only three years old so I don't remember if Clara was my sister's name or if she was the wife of Otis.

Me: What was the full name of your husband?

Mom: Billy Edward Cornett, he was born March of 1944.

Me: How did you meet dad? What year did you meet?

Mom: When I was bowling. I used to belong to a bowling league. We met in 1971. I used to have plenty of trophies from bowling. Me and your dad were on the same bowling team and we both had trophies. 

Me: Wow! That wasn't a very long courtship then since i was born the year after! 

Mom: No we were hanky pankyin! 

Me: Oh my! I don't need to know the details. Hahaha

Me: How did dad propose marriage to you?

Mom: He asked me in a car, we were parked on the side of the road across from his house in White Hall, Maryland. We were just talking normally when he popped the question. 

Me: Did he look nervous like most men do, when he proposed to you?

Mom: Yeah he looked nervous because he didn't know what I would say, I guess.

Me: When and where were you married?

Mom: St. John's Lutheran Church in Sweetair , Maryland on April 24, 1971 

Me: Was it a morning or afternoon wedding?

Mom: I think it was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. After the ceremony we had the reception down stairs in the church hall. 

Me: Did you have a honeymoon?

Mom: No. 

Me: Why didn't you have one?

Mom: We couldn't afford it at the time.

Me: Was dad a romantic kind of guy?

Mom: Not really.

Me: What memory is your most favorite about your wedding day?

Mom: Walking down the aisle

Me: Did he cry when he seen you walking down the aisle towards him?

Mom: No. We were both very nervous. But after the ceremony, everyone got together and we cut the cake. 

Me: So you guys had that deer in the headlights look on your faces? 

Mom: Kelly, you're funny....

Me: Wedding gifts?

Mom: I had a wedding shower at his moms (Lucia's) house and we opened the gifts then. I should have pictures somewhere. 

Me: Do you remember what some of your gifts were?

Mom: Vacuum cleaner, towels, dishes, and we were given a money tree but I don't remember how much it was. That was a long time ago! 

Me: Does that mean I'm old?! Gee thanks mom!

Mom: Don't give me that look either! (laughing)

Me: How would you describe dad? What did you admire most about him?

Mom: Quiet and shy. I liked his personality and he always had someone laughing. He liked to joke around quite a bit. 

Me: How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time?

Mom: I was nauseous and I had bad morning sickness. 

Me: Were you and dad happy about it?

Mom: yes

Me: You're not just saying that? Because that was me in that belly of yours!

Mom: No!

(Both of us are smiling)

Me: How did you come up with my name when you named me?

Mom: Sue, your dads sister, liked the name and was going to name her baby Kelly. We were pregnant at the same time and she ended up having a baby boy, so she chose another name for her son. So I decided to take that name. But if you were a boy, you would have been named Daniel Eugene. 

Me: I'm so glad I am a girl!

Me: How did you choose my sisters name?

Mom: I just liked that name. Because you had my middle name, Ann, and when I named Amy I wanted her to have part of my first name of Carolyn and used that for her middle name for Lynn. That's how I did it :)

Me: Last question. What is one thing that you would want people to remember about you and your life?

Mom: Kelly Ann! I am dependable, like to help people, and a very lovable person. I don't know, I didn't think you would give me such a hard question. 

Image Source: From My Mothers Personal Collection, "Mom's First Grade School Picture"

Image Source: Mom and Dad's Wedding Photos- Taken by a Family Member

Mom and Dad Cutting Their Wedding Cake

Eleanor (moms best friend), Jane (moms sister), Mom, Dad, and Robert Sewell (Best Man)

Bridal Party 

Robert Sewell, Mom, Dad, and Bobby? (one of dads best friends)

Wedding Party 
(After Ceremony Pictures)

My Favorite Photo of My Parents On Their Special Day!

Moms Parents, Dora and Claude Dodson 
with The Bridal Couple

Claude F. Dodson, Dora Y. Dodson, Mom, Dad, and Lucia Rose Cornett

Moms Nephew, Glen with
Bride and Groom

Wedding Shower Gifts!!
Wedding Shower Took Place At Lucia's Home


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