Family History Recordings

on the Grow and White Families of Colquitt and Pearson, Georgia

Collected by Gerald Owen Grow between 1978 and 2001.

This material touches on the family history of the Elva White Grow (later Clark) family of Pearson, Georgia.

And the William Alton Grow family of Colquitt, Georgia.

Elva White Grow Clark is the speaker on the first set of tapes.

Gladys Corbitt Kirkland McPhee, of Pearson, Georgia, is the speaker on the second set of tapes. She mainly discusses the family history of Elva White Grow’s mother’s side of the family — the Corbitts and Starlings.

Juanita Geer is the speaker on the third set of tapes. “Miss Juanita” gives her recollections of some aspects of the Grow family history, and tells stories of being a fraternity housemother at FSU.

Lester Weaver was the last person interviewed, after brother Billy and I looked him up and took him to lunch in Tallahassee when he was an old man, and interviewed him in the car on the ride back home.

The original audio cassettes were copied into MP3 digital format Feb. 2004. The resulting files were divided to create segments to make it easier to locate stories when the files are burned onto a compact disc.

I (Gerald Grow) used some of this material, along with other conversations with my mother, to portray her time as County School Superintendent. It is at:

Notes below indicate some of the topics covered in each segment. Files of tape segments contain a date and end with the suffix “.mp3”.

You can listen to any of the material online, or download it all and listen on your computer.

Download the 688 MB ZIP file containing all these recordings here.

1-Elva Grow Family History 1, 1988

Apr. 10, 1988. Gerald Grow interviewing Elva White Grow, in the car.
Topics: Elva’s mother and maternal grandparents.

Elva’s father and paternal grandparents.

Ancestors’ arrival in south Georgia.
Paternal grandparents, more details.

Her grandparents, continued.

Her grandparents, continued
Her maternal grandmother, Candacy Corbitt

Elva’s maternal grandfather, Newsome Corbitt

Newsome Corbitt, cont’d
The Story of Nan the Lamb

Newsome Corbitt, cont’d
How Elva is like him
The Starlings and Corbitts

Any Black Sheet in the family? Royalty?
How James O. White and Lila Corbitt met when he taught her in school.

Marriage and life of James O. White and Lil Corbitt.
Their church. Differences among churches.

2-Elva Grow Family History 2, 1991

Elva Grow 01-89_91.mp3
Recorded May 21, 1989, in kitchen of Elton Clark, in Omega, Georgia
[Elva and Elton had married in June of 1988]
From page 22 of Recording Your Family History, by Fletcher
Elva’s parents, James O. White and Lila Corbitt White

Elva Grow 02-89_91.mp3
(Gerald’s wife and son, Christl Kaserer Grow and Stefan Robert Grow, age 3, join the tape)
Elva’s parents, James O. White and Lila Corbitt White, cont’d

Elva Grow 03-89_91.mp3
Elva’s parents, James O. White and Lila Corbitt White, cont’d
Lila’s brothers and sisters.

Elva Grow 04-89_91.mp3
Voice of Ruby Young : “That’s a good thing…”
Lila Corbitt White. The winter coats arrive. The beaver muff.

Elva Grow 05-89_91.mp3
Lila Corbitt White. Elva’s older sister Evelyn.
Her elopement with Tim Morris. The help they received.

Elva Grow 06-89_91.mp3
Evelyn White Morris Rix , cont’d.
Elva’s parents, cont’d. Her father’s generosity.

Elva Grow 07-89_91.mp3
May 19, 1991, Clark residence, Omega, Georgia
Lila Corbitt. Her cow and chickens.
Her peach merangue. Tea cakes. Crocheting.

Elva Grow 08-89_91.mp3
Lila Corbitt.
What they sang at Lila’s funeral: “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”
Lila singing the baby to sleep.
“My latest sun is sinking fast…Bear me away on your snowy wings.”
Lila’s grandfather Starling’s story about the log-sized alligator lying across the road. His letting the baby walk off the porch.

3-Elva Grow Family History 3, 1991

(May 19, 1991, Clark residence, Omega, Georgia — cont’d)
What traits Elva inherited from her mother, Lila Corbitt White.
Lila’s personality. Her worrying. Not demonstrative. Strict but not severe.
Acted as if she hated every boy who dated one of her daughters.
Calling bedtime, or dropping shoes, to signal that it was time for a suitor to go home.

Lila Corbitt. Her temper.
How Elva is like her mother: “I think I’ve spent my life with too many little ‘busynesses.'”
Evelyn’s marriage to Tim Morris at age 15.

The effect of Evelyn’s three marriages on the family.
Papa died in 1947. Evelyn died in ’55. Etta in ’65. Momma in ’75. Toots died in ’72.

Lila Corbitt. Her religion.
About the Primitive Baptist Church.
Lila’s health. Death.

Elva’s mother’s death.
What Elva learned from her mother.

About James Owen White, Elva’s father.
Education. Teaching school.
His first store. Riding the ladder.
What he sold in the store.
The coffins.
His farm.
(Tape runs out.)


4 Elva at the Grow Reunion, Thanksgiving 1985

Recorded at the Grow-Sloan-Jinks family reunion at Lake Seminole State Park, Thanksgiving, 1985

Present: Elva White Grow; Gerald Grow; Sandi Wilson Grow; Joy Jinks; Christl Grow; Stefan Grow (infant);

Elva Grow’s recollections of “Grandmother and Grandfather Grow” — Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow.
Lou’s dairy business.
[Crying in the background is Stefan Grow, born July 21, 1985]
[Voice of Sandi Wilson Grow: “Gerald, we have turkey…’]

The relationship of Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow:

Lou’s lack of humor. Roy teasing her. Bitterness between them.
Story of how Roy had Lou’s trunk of remembrances burned while Lou was away at her mother’s funeral.
[The “Gerald” mentioned is Gerald Branch Grow, son of Lou and Roy Grow, died at the start of WWI.]
Lou would say, in front of Roy: “I loved Oscar Lovett (Lovely?), but Ma and Pa wouldn’t let me marry him!”

Memories of Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow, cont’d
Their house. Their quarreling.
Sending Sherrie to “tell Papa to hush” quarreling.
[Voice of Joy Jinks: “They had either black people or poor white trash to do the work…”]
Comments on farms and farming.

[Voice of Joy Jinks, remembering the ice cream Lou Bush Grow made]
[Sandi Grow: “Some of the children felt unloved…]
Gerald Branch Grow leaving for WWI at age 17.
Telegrams about his illness and death.
If you get sick, stay in bed. [Session ends]

5 Elva Grow Clark c1990

Date unknown. My best guess is that this tape was made after Elton Clark’s death, when Elva had moved back to Tallahassee and was living on Villas Court. Her sister, Evadelle White, visited her and is heard on this tape. Interviewer: Gerald Owen Grow.

Memories of their first car. Evadelle fell out and got run over, but recovered.

Names and dates of birth of everyone in her family, starts here.
James Owen White. His origins. How he and Bigmama met. Marriage in 1902. His first store. Birth of Etta Mae White, 1903.

1914 Not till then did the family moved into the big house.
Evelyn Alleen White born Nov. 28, 1907.
Dec. 3, 1909, birth of Elva Geneva White.
Aug. 17, 1912, Evadelle White born, the fourth girl.
Sept. 16, 1915, James Owen White, Jr. (“Toots”) born.

July 27, 1917, Eula Lee White born.
1919, Edwina White born. When older, she changed her name to become Marian Edwina White.
Story of Nicknames
Elva = Candy
Evadelle = Flump
James, Jr. = Toots

How Edwina came to be called Tee.

Going to Sunday school.
Memories of the church building.
Papa, J. O. White, Sr., finally got out of debt in 1947.

Sketches of lives:
Etta Mae White
Evelyn Alleen White

Embarrassed by skipping grades in school.
Evelyn, cont’d. Her elopement. Joanne born in 1930.
Evelyn operated the phone system in town during WWII.
Her son James in the Marines in WWII, wounded at Okinawa.
Marvin went into the Navy in WWII. Afterward, wanted to go to med school, but did not get in, and so got married and reinlisted for a Navy career. Worked for Federal Aviation Administration after retiring from the Navy.
How Bigmama (Lila Corbitt White) got her nickname.
[Tape runs out here. End of session.]

6-Elva Grow Family History, 1991

Recorded in Tallahassee, Fla., after Elva White Grow Clark moved back there, after Elton Clark’s death in 1991.

Her father, James Owen White, Sr.
When he spanked her.
Visiting the Mormon church.

James Owen White, Sr., cont’d

James Owen White, Sr., cont’d
Good with people. Plain spoken. Could be abrupt.
County School Board.
State Representative for the county.
Toots was elected superintendent, then had to go to WWII, so they appointed his father, J. O. White, Sr.
“If you didn’t want the bare truth, you’d better not ask him.”

James Owen White, Sr., cont’d
Generous to a fault.
Never saw him sick in bed until his fatal illness.
His death in 1947.

James Owen White, Sr., cont’d
The most important things Elva learned from him.
Self-confidence. Determination to do with your life the best you can. Not to be defeated by failures.
Heirlooms: She kept the old nightshirt that he slept in.
Revival meeting memory: Preacher Williams. Papa (JOW) put his “letter” back in the church, so that he again became officially a member. For some reason, he had once withdrawn it, even though he continued to attend.

Aunt Scrap, who lived next door. Aleph Constance Corbitt, who married Johnny Clayton Morris. (Not much on this.)

Visiting Grandma Corbitt’s and Uncle William and Aunt Pink’s, whose son Gaston was Elva’s age.
Uncle Martin Corbitt was fun with children, something of a tease like Toots. Gladys, close to Elva’s age, was Elva’s aunt.
Uncle Hosey.
Kit the mule, who sometimes would not let them catch her. She would let herself be caught when the children wore grandpa’s overcoat and wide-brimmed hat.
[Stefan Grow, age about 5, speaks at the end of this segment.]

Gaston Corbitt, mother’s first cousin and playmate. Son of William and Pink Corbitt. Father very strict on him; made him work all the time.
Gaston would slip around and smoke, to get out from under.
Lived in New York state, worked for Gerber Baby Foods. Cross River, NY. Married, adopted a child. Died of lung cancer.
Have not tracked down her father’s great-grandfather.
General discussion about the cousins.

Voice of Stefan Grow, about 5 years old. Tape stops and restarts.
Interview is mostly with Evadelle White, with Elva White Grow Clark adding in.

Voice of Evadelle White, sister of Elva, talking about the outdoor tub for washing clothes in. Another for making syrup in.
Changes their generation saw?
Had gas lights when the house was built, with the mantles (bags that glowed with burning gas).
Papa got a Delco unit (generator) to provide electric lights for the store and house.
Kerosene lanterns. Candles.
[Quietly in foreground, Elva is playing a game with Stefan involving letters and talking to him.]
The time grandma walked across the mill pond race on ice.
Time grandma (Waugh?) climbed a tree to escape an alligator.
Ari finding an alligator skull on the coast near Wakulla Beach.
Electricity. Radio. Airplane.
The first radio – 1925.
No paved roads in Pearson area. Waycross had some brick roads.
The first paving near them.
Woman’s Home Companion, McCalls — magazines they had. Saturday Evening Post. Collier’s. Reader’s Digest: Subscription three dollars.

Elva White Grow Clark and Evadelle White
New Easter dresses mentioned.
The new dress for going to Pavlo Beach or St Simon’s Island, described in detail.
Memory of a northern visitor dozing on a bench on a ship, while the girls watched the dolphins. He jumped up and said, “There’s a whale!” and everybody laughed.
Papa went to Baltimore Bargains (later Butler Brothers) to buy goods for the store in Pearson. [See the picture of J. O. White in his store.]
When ancestors came to south Georgia.
Elva’s Grandpa White came around 1820. He was given land for service [in the War of 1812], in Florida. They were on the way to Florida . . .

. . . and they got as far as what is now Axon, Ga., and stopped there to rest. The grandmother went down to the creek, probably Red Bluff, and caught a string of fish. She came back up with it, they cooked it. She said, “For all we know, this might be Florida. Why don’t we just stay here?”
She did get some money for a land grant after he died.
[Break to brush Stefan’s teeth.]
Evadelle off to college in 1928 to Tift, when Elva was a senior there.
They didn’t get to come home till Thanksgiving. Evadelle: When I came home at Christmas, I wanted to stay. Next year, went to Norman and liked it better. Evadelle didn’t like the rules, signing out, having to go to town only in groups, didn’t like the initiations. Some details on the initiations, like bowing to seniors.
Evadelle graduated from Norman in 1930.

Comments on the strict and the liberal presidents of Norman, where Elva also spent her first year. Then taught in Atkinson County and in Nashville, Ga. Went to two summer schools and rejoined her class as a senior, and graduated in 1929.
Elva recalls the day the president announced that a young man had made a flight across the ocean in a single engine plane.
The Crash of 1929 and its effect on their father, J. O. White.

As a bank, director, J. O. White couldn’t get his money out, so he sold a farm to help put them through school. “We didn’t have a lot; but we didn’t know it.”
Mama was like Grandma Corbitt. She was as afraid of death as of a rattlesnake.
Papa: if you couldn’t pay for it, you didn’t borrow to buy it — like Elton Clark.
Fighting about which of the visiting grandchildren got to sleep with Grandpa Newsom Corbitt. Farm near Hosiah Church.
Big sycamore trees out front. How the children loved him. He died at 63, the first death in the family in Elva’s childhood.
Newsom sitting in the chair on Sunday, looking out across the field, whistling a tune, pretending he was all right. And he died on Wednesday.
The Corbitts came from South Carolina, as did the Whites. The Starlings came from North Carolina. The Rodgers came from North Carolina.

With Evadelle White.
Charles Griffis, Revolutionary Soldier, the first ancestor to come to S. Ga., buried at the Guest Pond Cemetery. Came from South Carolina, place called Brinkley Plantation.
Brinkley Corbitt didn’t migrate to Georgia, but his son Isaam did, from Tennessee.
Story of Corbitt boys swimming in the Tennessee River: alligator killing one of the friends. In Georgia, they lived not far from the Alapaha River.
Gerald’s childhood nickhame of Bubashing. Elva said it came from “beautiful thing.” Gerald thought it might have been an unconscious echo of the Bush family’s German background, from Bubchen, German for little child.

Elva White Grow Clark and Evadelle White, cont’d.
Remembering that Mila Grow, Milo’s sister went to live in Italy when she was Lamoile Grow Thatcher.
Evadelle: some Cowarts came from Mexico, which is where they got the dark hair. The Coward/Cowart group on the Grow side of the family were a northern family who changed the spelling to Cowart.
Nellie Mims of Colquitt; collecting family history information.
The logistics of a large reunion.

Chatting. No direct family history in this segment.
They had tried to watch a video of Driving Miss Daisy, but the TV conked out.
Movie mentioned: Fried Green Tomatoes.

Ross Perot, presidential candidate. Clinton. Bush.

Chat about the coming presidential election. Perot, Clinton, Bush.

Chat about the coming presidential election. Perot, Clinton, Bush.
[End of tape]


5 Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977

Interview with Gladys Corbitt Kirkland McPhee, of Pearson, Georgia, with Candace Kirkland Brown, who lived next door, participating. Gerald Grow taped it and asks some of the questions. Another man is present, who makes an occasional comment. I think that was Candace’s husband, Wade.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_01.mp3
(Begins in middle of conversation. Lawnmower in background.)
End of story of her visit to the “plantation cemetery” outside Barnwell, S.C., where Brinkley Corbitt is buried. Tracing Corbitt ancestors starting at Barn(s)well: Brinkley, Isaam, Newsome (her father).

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_02.mp3
Brinkley Corbitt’s father was named Joseph. Born in England in 1690. Settled at Cape Fear, N.C., where Brinkley was born. Brinkley married “Margart” from North Carolina, and settled in South Carolina.

The Starlings came from Scotland. William Starling the first settled in N.C.
At the time, they had no last name and adopted the name of the ship they arrived on. Also landed at Cape Fear, N.C. Story of taking the name “Starling.”

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_03.mp3
The Starling ancestors.
William Starling the Revolutionary Soldier was born in N.C. in 1755 and died in Patnaw County, Ga., in 1830. Wife was Sarah, also from N.C.
He was son of the first William Starling, who landed and took the name.
There were four Williams in a row.
The second (?) William Starling married Katherine Rodgers, daughter of a Revolutionary Soldier.
Mary Cowart was daughter of John Cowart and Elizabeth Griffis, daughter of Charles Griffis, R.S. (Revolutionary Soldier).
The Spanish blood. Grandma Starling’s father, John Cowart, was a full-blooded Spaniard — son of Nathanial Cowart. That’s where we get the jet-black hair.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_04.mp3
(Looking through her geneaology books.)
Grandpa Starling, the Scotsman, was stingy, short-tempered. Story of pushing his little granddaughter off the porch.
Story of Sam, the Negro who let people hit him on the head, and Grandpa Starling hitting him. He lived on the West side of the Guest Millpond. Alligator ate his dog: “Serves you right. You ought to have stayed at the house.” This Starling was Gladys and Lila Corbitt’s maternal grandfather.
This William Starling was married to Mary Cowart.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_05.mp3
Her father: Newsome Corbitt, Irish, jolly. Could dance a jig. Played a jews harp. Sang Oh, Susanna; Camptown Races; Irish ditties. Would pick up the brogue as he sang. Extravert. Loved children, wanted them all to come visit.
Elva, Evelyn, Gaston, and Gladys would beg him to tell them an old tale.
Told of a young neighbor’s boy who was sent to bring in the cows late in the afternoon. When he failed to return after dark, they notified the neighbors and organized a search. They finally heard his screaming coming from a swamp. The Indians had captured him and put him spreadeagle on the ground and had put fires that burned from his feet. His feet were burned so badly that they had to be amputated.
Once at Newsome’s father Martin’s house, they were killing hogs. A young man came in his father’s place. At the end of the day, the young man was covered with blood and loaded down with hog parts. As he was crossing the swamp, a panther jumped him. The boy threw him the meat, then the panther jumped the boy. His family heard him screaming. The panther had clawed his back down to the bone, which they had only turpentine to cure. But he survived.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_06.mp3
Panthers were in Araby Swamp as late as when Sister Mary’s first child was born, about 15 miles from Pearson.
She wouldn’t dare let the baby cry, because a panther would answer down in the swamp. One day the panther got between her and the house, and she ran around back to the child. She sat and held the child and a shotgun until her husband returned. Story of Vickers boys bringing their hounds to hunt the panther. Lost in the peat. Peat fires.

Visit of five Indian women to Lydia Currey Corbitt, to get fire.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_07.mp3
Grandpa Starling, who lived by the Guest Mill Pond, made a trip once a year to Savannah for coffee, salt, and cloth. He had a pair of oxen and a cart, and the trip took 2 weeks each direction. When a month was up, he had not returned, so his wife Mary took the buggy and rode to Savannah herself. She found Grandpa there in jail! He had “had one nip too many celebrating with the boys.” She told the jailer, “We need him at home now. If you don’t open that door instantly, I’m going to split your skull with this ax.” So she took him home. Time: 1880s or 1890s.

Lydia Curry Corbitt and Martin Corbitt came from N.C. and settled in Harrison, Tenn., now part of Chattanooga. (There are several Corbitt buildings in Chattanooga.) Martin went off to the Civil War. She loaded her children on a cart and started toward her home on Mud Creek, where her Burkholder ancestors had lived.

During the trip, at one camp, one of the children became ill with bloody diarrhea and was dying. An Indian woman appeared with a cup of something for the child to drink, and the child recovered.

Meanwhile, Martin deserted Lydia for another woman. In his old age, he returned to her in Mud Creek and she took him in and nursed him till he died. Both are buried at Mud Creek cemetery.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_08.mp3
Curries were dark, perhaps with French or Irish. Dark eyes and dark skin.
James Curry fought with Gen. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With the 5th Regiment of the Continental Army, acc. To records in Washington.

Gladys’ Uncle Jewel (Marshall Lafayette Corbitt) was sitting on a fence with Uncle William when a wounded Yankee leaned up and shot Uncle William dead.

Uncle Jewel was with Gen. Lee at Appomatox. Shook Lee’s hand. Walked home with no shoes.

When he finally reached home, the family were sitting around the fire when Grandma heard a whistle and said, “Listen! That’s Jewel!” He told them, “I’m covered with lice,” and got scrubbed up before anyone could touch him.

Gladys listened to his stories of the Civil War, their feet leaving a trail of blood in the snow.

Jewel was Irish to the core. Gay personality, storyteller, happy, flowing white beard. Strong and lovely personality.

Married Rowena Zachery (?) after the war.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_09.mp3
L. C. Coward, M.G. (“Minister of the Gawspel”)
Women running the South after the Ciivil War.
Candace relates letters from a Southern soldier giving his wife directions on how to run the farm, in detail. She thought the letters were in the war museum in Richmond.

During the war they had no coffee. Grandma would slowly roast corn, then make a coffee-like drink from it.

Aunt Queen (Fanny), who read tea leaves.

Married Will Lewis, a very wicked man who was mean to her. She hired Doc Browning to come farm for her, and she married him next and had children by him, including Charter Browning.

A terrible storm came one day. She went to the front porch to check on things and found Doc sitting there with his best suit on. He said, “The storm might pick me up and set me down in Savannah and there I’d be in my dirty clothes.”

Her hair was black and her eyes green.

Story of Aunt Queen refusing to tell the fortune of a particular young man who was passing through. She said later she would not tell him that she saw his death; he soon died in an accident. She would never tell anybody when she saw the possibility of their death, to keep their fear from making it come true.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_10.mp3
Recommends some books by Goodspeed in Boston. She ordered two books, then, 20 years later got them in the mail when they came back into print.

Uncle Jewel’s tales of the Civil War. His sorrowful memory of hand to hand combat. The gruesome sight as they left a ditch full of dead and dying Yankees, running with blood, stayed with him the rest of his life.

Catching food — fish, cows in the woods, eating the mules, a small alligator. Typhoid killed many.

Aunt Millie (Telidia?) Curry’s fiancĂ© caught typhoid; she brought him home from Richmond and nursed him till he died. Buried as a Papard.

Millie Curry Papard had two girls, Elizabeth and Amelia.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_11.mp3

Estelle has a letter about Grandma Corbitt’s death. Grandpa Corbitt came to live with James and Lila later. The first house was still standing in the 1980s, having been used as a crib. Gladys had Grandma’s feather bed made into a comforter.

Gladys had Mary Cowart’s dress. A picture of Grandpa Cowart in a suit made from wool from sheep they had raised — butternut stained trousers and natural wool coat. He had a carpenter’s shop. Made shoes for everyone.

The book under her arm in the tintype was Byron’s complete works, but it burned in the house. It’s title is not legible in the later print made from the tintype.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_12.mp3

About Jim and Lila White. Met when he taught her in school. Etta was born a year later. Then a stillborn boy. Then Evelyn four years after their marriage. Gladys, Elva’s aunt, was born a week apart from Elva.

Jim active, slender, fastidious. Believed in bathing everyone. Generous to a fault; would give anybody anything they needed out of the store. Helped Gladys’s father and brother go into business with a general store. Quite prosperous until typhoid struck Gladys’ brother, Jim, and Lila. Etta was almost a year old at the time. They were ill a long time. Gladys’ mother took Etta and kept her for a year. Brother Johnny died at 21. He had been engaged to a young lady named Lilian, who was later postmistress at Brunswick.

When Lila and Jim recovered and came to get Etta, she didn’t know them and screamed to be taken away.

Jim White’s father was a Seventh Day Adventist preacher who converted to Mormonism, then converted all his family to Mormons except Jim White. Jim and Johnny had gone to Ashburn, Ga., and took the course on merchandising, then went into business running the store.

Lived in Dr. Smith’s old house. Jim was “a laughing man.” Very opinionated. Fully believed he was right in what he was doing, until somebody convinced him he was wrong, then he’d turn around and laughingly say, ” Well, I was wrong, you were right, we’ll do it your way now.”

Outspoken, completely honest.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_13.mp3

Jim White: State representative to Atlanta. Ran against Charlie Stewart, but Stewart stole the ballot box, so they had to hold the election again and have the sheriff sit with the ballot box all night.

Story of Jim jumping off the Dixie Flyer when it passed through at 4 a.m., when it did not stop.

Jim’s brother Parley was an alcoholic. So was his brother in law, Charlie Davis. Charlie came into Jim’s store one Saturday being so abusive that Jim picked up an ax handle and knocked Charlie out, then doused him with water. Then Jim set him up with a new suit and hat and shirt and said, “Now, get out of here!”

Uncle Parley would get drunk and be abusive to aunt Donna and the children. One night he came home and passed out. She sewed him into the sheet, turned him over, took a slat out of the mattress and beat him from one end to the other; the blood was coming through the sheet. He didn’t beat her any more, and he didn’t drink any more.

That’s where the family saying comes from, “You’ve got to sleep some time.”

Going to Sunday school, then visiting the parents.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_14.mp3

They rolled up to Grandma Sarah Wall White’s one Sunday afternoon, and there she was out doing her washing. Jim said, “Ma, what in the world do you mean washing on Sunday.” She replied, “Well, I got my days mixed up and thought it was Monday. Here it was I sat around here all day Saturday and done nothin’ a tall, so this morning I thought it was Monday and I got up to do my washing.” So she wiped her hands on her apron, quit that, left it all right there, and waited till the next morning to finish the washing.

She cooked on the fireplace, even after her son Jim brought her a cast iron stove.

She was a little woman. One day she walked into town from the Mill Pond, about 15 miles, carrying a little sharp knife for protection.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Annie went to Brunswick, where she went into a department store. He went in later looking for her and said in his loud voice, “Anybody in here seen Annie Waugh?” She replied, “Here I am, Dan, over here.” He rather sheepishly said, “Well, Annie, I thought I’d lost you.”

When someone aked him if he thought he was going to make a good crop, he’d say, “Well, no, I’ve given up all ideas of being rich or even well to do.”

Had rain? I believe we’ve had a little rain. We can’t sleep for the frogs a hollerin’.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_15.mp3
Some of the Waughs are buried in Jim White’s old farm, where William White lives now.

Gladys: Graves face east because the Indians worshipped the rising sun.

Miss Florence Emerson, the music teacher, stayed with people and taught music and art for her keep. She stayed with Jim and Lila, and with Minnie Corbett, and with Aunt Bertna and Dr. Morris. Candace has Miss Emerson’s personal silver spoon.

She could not hear very well, wore a wig, and painted her face, which was unusual around here. Evadelle as a little girl pointed to the rouge on Miss Emerson’s face and became embarrassed and hid under the table through the meal.

Under Miss Emerson, Elva painted a picture of one of her father Jim’s bird dogs.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_16.mp3
Miss Emerson’s beau was killed in the Civil War. Late in the afternoon, she’d walk the back yard up and down. Evelyn, being an outspoken child, asked, “Why do you do that every afternoon?” “I’m sad, child.” “Why ?” “Every Jill has her Jack, and my Jack died.”

A most talented artist. Taught Elva, Evelyn, and Etta White. People would keep her one month at the time, at one house or the other.

Gladys heard stories from Uncle Jewel, who fought in the Civil War.

Starting in the seventh grade, rural kids had to come into town for schooling, where they stayed with someone in town.

What was Lila like? About 22 years older than her sister Gladys. She was a great storyteller. Sang.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_17.mp3
Lila used to sing, “Hello, Central, Give me heaven, for my mother’s there.”

Lila singing with the angels.

Glady’s brother’s wife, Pink, was dying. About two o’clock in the morning, Gladys was in the room with her mother and Lila. She said, “Listen, listen.” “What do you hear?” “It’s angels. The room is full of angels. Can’t you hear their wings? They’re singing, ‘Bear me away on your snowy wings.'”

Lila sang the hymn all the way through as the angels sang to Pink, and she died, with Lila singing to her. Lila is the only person Gladys ever heard of who sang with the angels.

Jim loved the ladies. Lila was true and staunch and strong and stayed home knowing Jim would come back.

A few years ago, when Lila was suffering from dementia and remembering her early childhood, she put both hands on Aunt Kite’s shoulders and said, delightedly, “He’s a comin’! He’s a comin’!”

Jim used Grecian Formula to keep his hair from turning white. Always wore a vest with a watch chain across. Faithful to the church; sat on the front pew. If the church needed anything, he always got it.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_18.mp3
Lila was very active in the Missionary Society.

Memory of Jim White taking Gladys and a bunch of girls to the beach for the day, because he thought they should see the ocean.

Jim White drank a lot of Coca Cola. He closed the store for a couple of hours in the afternoon and went out to the farm. He was accomplished with a yo-yo. He was known as “Chewing Gum Jim.” You never saw him without a wad of gum in his mouth.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_19.mp3
Scrap was an incurable romantic, always match-making.
Lila sent Edwina to Bill and Elva’s because she didn’t want her to get married, but Candace’s father went over and got her. She was 19.

Edwina (Tee) as a little girl sitting on the edge of the low pulpit throughout the sermon.

Preacher: “Brother Griffis, will you lead us in prayer?”
Griffis stood up and said: “What are we paying you for? You do your own praying.” And sat down.

Gladys McPhee_8_22_1977_20.mp3
Story of two boys in trouble with the law whose mother, Aunt Millie Ann, pulled a pistol on the sheriff to keep him from taking them. They then fled the area.

Gladys’ cousins Oscar and Oliver Starling (her mother’s brother’s children). Oliver’s marriage to the window of a man he was in the hospital with, after WWI. Oliver later a prison guard and guarded Al Capone when he was in Atlanta. Oliver married five women in all.

Story of Oliver preventing Oscar from shooting a man who was cheating on him while gambling. ‘I’ll always be indebted to him for saving me from killing a man.”

[End of tape]

6 Juanita Geer 1978


Juanita Geer moved to Colquitt, Ga., married Peter Zack Geer, who died in 1951. She became a housemother at Campus Inn at FSU, then two years at the ATO fraternity at Florida State (1956-60), then housemother at SAE at Emory for 12 years, then again at FSU as sorority housemother. She was widely appreciated for her resilient good nature, her frankness, her personal warmth, and her stories.

Also present: Elva Grow, Rosemary Grow, Pawnee Grow, Gerald Grow.

The tape of 11/1/1978 contains some of Juanita’s recollections of her time as a fraternity and sorority housemother.


Stories from Campus Inn (the ATO fraternity house), where she was housemother when she first came to Florida State University. Brother Kingman. Charlie Dean. Gene Lewis. Weakness of the fraternities


The SAE housemother who listened to opera while the boys got drunk on the lawn. “It’s either opera or listening out the window.”

Juanita receiving the invitation to become SAE housemother at Emory, while ATO housemother at FSU. Sonny Grow couldn’t study because he was madly in love with Hilda.


Invitation to SAE at Emory, cont’d.
Diamond Lil, the current SAE housemother, and the students’ efforts to get rid of her by aggravating her to death. It didn’t work with her. At 10 p.m., she would just unplug their music and go to sleep.

Walked through the SAE house with Rosemary Grow. It looked like a war had just passed through it. Boys sitting on lawn playing poker.

About the previous housemother. “It couldn’t get any worse.” Her quarters looked like a cell.

Telling ATO at FSU that she was leaving to become SAE housemother at Emory.

ATO boys from Emory who came to welcome her to campus and offer their services to her as new SAE housemother. “One of the nicest things that ever happened to me.”


Rosemary: Juanita had a fraternity boy like Zero in the movie “Animal House.”


“Zero.” Had a car and a little money. A played-out football player. They called themselves The Animals. He made it his business to know all the girls. He’d lend them his car or take them out to dinner if they would write papers for him.

An incident about Zero. “Elva would hardly ever let me stay over there on Saturday afternoon. It was no place for a lady.”

The SAEs and KAs were having a fight. Zero was play-fighting with her. “If you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to burn you with this cigarette.” So she did. During rush, Zero was telling potential pledges that if anybody displeased her, she would just burn them. “You better go get Zero and tie him in a closet somewhere; he’s going to ruin us.”

“You have to know that I exaggerate to carry a point.”


Emory story: “Margueritte, my sissy-britches sister, was spending the night with me.” Juanita had a new silk paisley housecoat. The boys were wild and drinking, because they were getting ready to go to a rush party at Macon.

Rick was drunk and about to drive, so Juanita told them to take the distributor wire out of the car to disable it and put it in her room.

The boys had come back to serenade her two or three times after Margueritte had gone to sleep.

She maneuvered Rick to where he could not see the other boys disabling his car. Rick spilled beer all over her housecoat. Margueritte: “Juanita, what are you washing” at 1 o’clock in the morning? I was washing my housecoat in the bathtub. “I don’t know how you stand it; I do not.” She thought it was like that every night.


Housecoat, cont’d. Here came Rick, “barefooted as a yard dog.” “Mother Geer, some damn fool has taken the distributor wire out of my car and I know they must have thrown it out here somewhere.” She told him she had it. “Rick, I probably saved your life. You should be thanking me.”

After they drove to Macon for the rush party, Rick told the pledges how she took the distributor wire out of his car. “I don’t know why he’s making up this tale, but he’s famous for that…. He still thinks I did it.”

In 21 years, that’s the only two times that something like that happened.


“What educated me was Campus Inn.” [Back to her first housemother job at Campus Inn. The year of the Big Snow in Tallahassee, 1958.]

Juanita was taching in Colquitt in the years before becoming a housemother at FSU. Architect Mr. Mabin was renovating Campus Inn and needed a housemother.


Back to how Juanita came to Campus Inn at FSU. “I had some rough boys.”


Old Boodge, black man from Colquitt who worked at Campus Inn, who got whiskey for the boys. Story of Boodge dialing the Time and talking to the recording.

She found out that Boodge was stealing from the boys, and they were accusing each other. She fired him.

Larry Poole, who fell in love with Rosemary.

The deep-sea-fishing trip.

Juanita Geer 11/1/1978 part 2

Mrs. Mabin.

Campus Inn, cont’d. Miss Henderson, who lived in a garage apartment out back, called the police whenever the boys made any noise. “You call the police one more time and I’m really going to fix you.” I had the boys to shoot firecrackers off all night long. “Every time you call the police, I’m going to have them shoot firecrackers off all night again.” She let me alone after that.

The suicide. Wally.


The suicide, cont’d. One morning he disappeared with his friend’s car, leaving a suicide note. Joe, teasing him, had said: “I can tell you exactly how to do it. Get rid of you for good. Get Mother Geer’s vacuum hose, get George’s car, stuff all the windows with towels and just go to sleep, and it’ll all be over” Wally did just what Joe told him to do in fun.

After Wally disappeared, they couldn’t find him. “Sit down and think:
Where has he been in Tallahassee?” — “When he first came here, we went swimming down at Blue Sink.”

Juanita called the Sherrif to go look, and they found his body in the car at Blue Sink.

Wally’s Catholic funeral as a suicide.


The suicide letter, and how the dean, Sam Neal, revised it before showing it to Wally’s mother, whose husband had died the year before. In the note, he blamed it on his mother and how he was brought up.


Dean Loucks, worried about homosexuals on campus.

How sorority girls are different from fraternity girls: noise.


[A catch breaks on her necklace.]


Jimmy Bolen, Emory, after a break-up. Called Dr. Billy Grimes, who brought some tranquillizers, and Jimmy slept on the couch while she stayed with him — Juanita remembering Wally’s suicide. “Oh, no, you’re not going to drop out of school.”

He wrote her a nice letter when she retired from Emory.

Expression discussed: “Bell a ghost.”


Expression discussed: “Ugly as a mud fence.”

The Dr. Houston children.

Andy, at Emory, whose father wanted him to be a doctor. School psychiatrist told him that his problem was his mother. His mother, Jo, wanted the doctor’s name, so she could “get an appointment and find out what was wrong with my mama.”


Andy,cont’d. Juanita found him a job in Peter Jack Geer’s law office, so he could learn about being a lawyer, instead of a doctor, and he went to law school.

It’s 10:20.


“Speedy” Martin, another black man who worked at the SAE house in Emory. To every inquiry, he’d say, “We ain’t got no mo’.”

Ophelia the cook.

Ed Wilkin charging the pledges to wake him for a test in the morning. Went back to bed wet after his shower and slept through the test. Joined the Marines to “get a little discipline.” Ed told all the ways he thought about killing his drill sergeants when he got out.


Ed Wilkin. The misguided compliment on Peter Jack Geer, Jr.

[End of tape]

7 Juanita Geer and Elva Grow, 1986

Juanita Geer, 80 years old.

In addition to casual conversation, this tape contains specific oral history on the Grows, Bushes, Geers, and others in Colquitt, Ga. There are specific recollections of:

Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow
Wig Geer and Peter Zack Geer
Perry Rich
Her Cowart relatives
Uncle Jeff’s commissary and the sharecroppers
Mr. Fudge, father of Jim Fudge
Edwin Fudge and Chloe Bush
The Dixon sisters
Dr. Smiley Bush
Two Dr. Houstons, including the death of little Larueen by the wrong medication
Dr. Hayes and Juanita’s Grandpa Bush
Juanita’s father’s failure at growing peaches. Roy W. Grow’s success.
Mac Sloan and Betty Kate
Dewitt Grow and Pawnee
Lou Bush talking till she had to gasp for breath.

Chat about child rearing.

Chat about who baby Stefan Grow looks like.
Talk about Roy W. Grow. “Your great grandmother was my mother’s cousin. They were both Bushes.” What her grandmother told Juanita about the feud between Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow.

More on Roy W. Grow and Lou Bush Grow. Betty Kate Grow Sloan said that one of her earliest recollections was waking in the winter as Mr. Grow was building the fire while Mrs. Grow told him how to do it. “She never let him do anything like he wanted to. She was going to take issue with him. And he was the same way. That was the way we started out our day, and it was going to be that way all day long. I was so torn about which side to take.”
Mr. Grow was one of the few really educated people in Miller County. Self-educated. He read.
Elva: When she killed a spider was the only time he spoke sharply to her.

Roy W. Grow, cont’d. “There wasn’t anything he didn’t know something about. He had read about it and absorbed it.” Rival with Wig Geer.
Zack was concerned about his client Julian Kimball. “Grandma Bush” said, “I don’t know where he got that from; it must be those old Browns.”

Wig Geer and Perry Rich were great personal friends, but they were public rivals. One would write an article about the other one in the Colquitt Son, then the other would reply the next week in the Miller County Liberal. Then Mr. Grow would come in and write another article about both of them. People couldn’t wait to read what they said about each other.
Juanita’s granddaughter Melany reading early.

Children learning to read. “It’s sad for children to be so much smarter than their friends. It sets them so much apart.”
Oliver: how he mastered subjects then grew tired of them and abandoned them.

A rape case her husband Zack Geer had her come observe.
Back to the Grow’s. Bill thanking her for being a friend to Elva.
All those things about his parents made Bill who he was. “You are your ancestors.”
The one time Bill told his son Gerald about his growing up. Bill’s brother Gerald Branch Grow joined the service to get out of the house. He described how hard the bickering was.
Gerald Branch Grow, Bill’s brother, was in love with somebody. They couldn’t remember who.
Vivian was in love with Crystal Cook, who was killed in a fall from a horse.
Those were the years a father would take a buggy whip or a belt and beat their children.

Mrs. Cowart: “I married Mr. Cowart to reform him. Mr. Cowart never even saw my feet till six months after we were married. She was so modest.”
Juanita’s Uncle Jeff Cowart. “In those days a few huge landowners worked the tar out of the poor blacks and whites.” Uncle Jeff’s commissary where the sharecroppers had to trade. One came in, looked at his bill and said “I didn’t get that.” Uncle Jeff said, “Oh my God, it was here for you! You should have got it.” And he charged him for it anyway. There wasn’t a thing the farmer could do. That’s how the big money was made in Colquitt.

Mr. Fudge, father of Jim Fudge, had the reputation of being a tomcat. The Dixon sisters. Mr. Fudge sent a black boy down with a note that he’d like to come see the surviving Dixon sister, thinking that, with all his money, she would be interested in him. She put on her had and walked to town as fast as she could to where she could see Mr. Fudge sitting in front of the store. She stopped in front of him and, just before he opened his mouth to speak to him, she popped his jaw as hard as she could and turned around and walked back.”

Edwin Fudge killed three different people and old Mr. Fudge paid Wig Geer a lot of money to get him off. Ed gambled and drank and got mean. When his mistress was pregnant with their third child, Wig Geer confronted him and told Ed Fudge he was going to marry her now.
Cousin Chloe Bush loved Ed Fudge. Juanita’s mother was her good friend and went to school with her. Cousin Smiley Bush wasn’t about to have Ed Fudge in his family, and he wouldn’t let her marry him.

Juanita on her husband Zack: a very moral man who saw women as good or bad. “Juanita, I’ll be damned if you believe married people do it.”
Elva on a funeral: what color do you want her married in. “For women of experience, we bury them in purple. For young women, we bury them in white.” He said, ‘What about lavender”
Dr. Smiley Bush’s humorous drawing (Dr. Cupid’s Laboratory).
Dr. Bush had a drug store. Smiley had TB.
Juanita at 3 years old playing under Dr. Bush’s house by the lime barrel with Laureen, when some got in her face and eyes. Juanita’s Aunt Annie took the child and ran to Dr. Bush’s drug store. Dr. Bush got all excited and instead of an antidote, he reached and gave her poison, and it killed her. They didn’t’ seem to blame him. He got excited and got emotional and reached for the wrong medicine.
Cousin Smiley Bush and Juanita’s grandfather were first cousins.
Juanita’s criticism of Nellie Cook leaving the personal stories out of the history of Miller County.
Gerald: Emory Jarrott from Savannah making the connection with the Colquitt Jarrotts. Emory traced the Jarrotts to Virginia.

Juanita’s mother kept her pictures between the pages of magazines, all of which got thrown out. One was a picture of the first courthouse that Cousin Smiley and Jim Built built and gave to the county.
Juanita’s father met her mother when she was engaged to Dr. Hayes.
Ladies didn’t go downtown on the weekend, it was so rough.
Juanita’s Grandpa Bush sent Dr. Hayes to medical school.
Juanita grew up in Montezuma, Ga., where everybody was rich on peaches. Juanita’s family was in Colquitt because her father was the builder for the Methodist Church. Her father sold everything and invested in a peach farm. The first year they had rot. The next year, too much rain.

Juanita’s Grandma’s home remedies. Blackberry wine for a cold. A chest compress. Turpentine. Camphor ice.
Roy W. Grow grew the biggest, best peaches they remember.
Sitting on his porch swing writing poetry on the wall. Writing critical notes to his wife, in rhyme. Make her so made she just about fainted.

Elva: Lou Bush’s dairy business. Roy an invalid with congestive heart failure.
Did Betty Kate and Mac repeat the history of her parents? She would pitch a “Bush fit.” Story of Betty Kate ordering Mac out of the pool room, maybe the part of their long feud.
Rosemary was out there eating. Betty had chewing gum in her mouth at the table. Mac took the gum and rubbed it into Betty’s hair.
Dewitt and Pawnee.

Dewitt got impatient and threw things out of the drawers, looking for something. Pawnee said, “That’s going to stay there till you pick it up. I’m not going to.”
Pawnee: “This is our anniversary.” Dewitt in his decline: “What we gon’ have for supper?”
The Bush sisters: Lou, Tempe, Calista from Savanna, Betty from Columbus, Nell, Tempe, Kathleen.

Lou would tell long, involved stories about people the others did not know anything about. She wouldn’t stop, because if she paused, another one would jump in. Elva described watching Lou Bush talk till she had to gasp for breath. Then one of the sisters jumped in.

Elva and Bill visited Calista and her family in Savanna. Her son, about staying out late when she thought he needed more sleep: “You know mother, more people die in bed than anywhere else.”

Weaning. The child with the spare pacifiers. Carol’s daughter Melanie and the pacifier. The restaurant. The bath.

Juanita’s reflections on child rearing and children. Zack. Ada.

Juanita’s memories of sorority girls after they finished college.
Juanita amazed to be able to talk to England on the phone.

“Dear Abby closes at midnight.”–Juanita’s memories of counseling sorority girls. Boys not liking to be chased by girls. Quoted: “Love is to a man a thing apart. To a woman, it’s her whole life.”

Nursing and weaning, again.

Two old women were talking: “Did you ever think about divorcing your husband?” –“No, but I thought about killing him a few times.”

India, Devon, and their three girls.
Pretty girls without sex appeal.
Girls wanting to know how to attract a man.
Let’s go eat. [End of tape.]

9 Lester Weaver, 2001


This large file has been divided into 8 smaller ones to qualify for uploading.









Interview with Lester Weaver (b. Feb. 15, 1909, age 92) by William A. Grow, Jr., and John David Grow. At Barnhill’s Restaurant in Tallahassee, 5-27-2001; later in the car, at the airport, and at Lester’s home.

Lester: a black man who worked for Daddy, William A. Grow, Sr., in both Colquitt and Tallahassee.

Lester moved to Tallahassee in 1939, then moved back to Colquitt in 1942-47, then back to Tallahassee. Worked with highway patrol starting in 1956. Working with William A. Grow, Sr., on weekends since that time, helping with apartments on Kings Drive and Ingleside Drive.

(The Bill and Elva Grow family — Billy, David, Gerald — moved to Tallahassee in 1955.)

Painting chairs and getting paint on screens in Colquitt. “Lester if you had that in the bucket what’s you, you wouldn’t need any paint!”

Billy remembers painting Bigmama’s porch. Uncle Toots came by and said, “You have more on you than you have on the porch!” At that point Billy stepped off the ladder and spilled the paint all over the porch. You could hear Toots laugh all the way across town.

David: When you worked for Daddy, was that in the ’30s?

Lester born around Iron City, 3 mi. outside of Colquitt. Parents Frank and Ella Weaver. Sisters Nancy and Texas. Plus a half brother and a whole brother, Frank.

Lester: I’d go into the woods and cut gallberry, tie it together and make brooms, put them on my shoulder and walk three miles to town and sell them till I had myself a dollar. Sometimes I’d make two trips.

After he moved to town in Colquitt he did yard work for Mrs. Stein, Miss Charlie Bush, others. With push mowers. For $5 a day.

Remembering Daddy taking a lawn mower and making an electric mower out of it. Billy: First thing I did is run over that cord and cut it in two.

Remembering Miss Charlie Bush as a teacher. “Billy, you get in my class, I’ll give you an A! But I never did get in her class somehow.”

“Lester can tear up, but he sure can’t put nothin’ back together!” — Miss Charlie.

Bill Grow said, “Lester, let me show you something. He’d dip the brush, wipe it off so it wouldn’t drip. I wouldn’t do that: I’d dip it in and paint, dripping paint.” “Me and him painted a lot of houses in this town after I retired. I retired in ’72 and went to work. Mr. Bill was the only one who would raise my salary. I worked for $3.75 and hour. He started paying me $6 an hour. Later on he said, Lester, the way you work you’re worth more than $6 an hour. You know, he got me up to $8 an hour. I really appreciated him. I’d tell the others I had to have more money and they’d tell me, well OK. I always felt good about what he did. Following in his footsteps, Mrs. (Elva) Grow did the same thing. I’d go work for her in the yard.” Friends, more than just workers.

Twenty years ago this month, April 20, Bill Grow passed away.

Nita (Lester’s wife) was cook at the SAE house for about 15 years. She started when David was there. Mother Holton was housemother.

David’s grandchildren.

Lester’s son Loren has a son who is a preacher in Miami.

“Butterbean” a “way-off” cousin in Colquitt.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Lester’s work:

David: “You did a lot of digging for Daddy to put down those pipes.” Lester: “Oh, man, wore out about three shovels!”

“I never did want to sit down and rest none; I wanted to stay on the go. He didn’t understand that. If I sat down, I wouldn’t want to get up. I’d eat then rest standing up about ten minutes, then go back to it. I’d say, ‘I ain’t tired! And I wouldn’t be. I could still be working for the highway patrol. I’d go in 7 o’clock, and by 10 I wouldn’t have anything left to do!”

After his stroke, Daddy went over to do some of Shady Roberts’ job and finished his all-day job in about two hours.”

Lester: “Right now, I’ve still got a little job I like to do.” He had to cut back when his blood pressure went up.

Billy: “Lester, you still do more work than nine people out of ten.”

David: “We used to say about Daddy that he had two speeds: wide open or neutral. He’d sit down in the chair and he’d be asleep in ten minutes. Otherwise, he was up and he was going, full speed ahead. You and he had a lot in common.”

Lester: “He let me have two cars. He give me two almost. A Buick and a Pontiac, a white Pontiac.” David: a ’53 I believe. “He was good to me, Mr. David.”

“He never turned anybody down who needed help.” Lester: “I can say one thing, he didn’t turn ME down.”

(Dessert. Banana pudding.)

Remembering the two-tone 1953 white-and-gray Pontiac with the straight-8 engine.


All the time Lester worked for the highway patrol, 17 years, at 5:15 every afternoon, he was working in somebody’s yard, and on Saturdays and Sundays. The he promised the Lord that after he retired there wouldn’t be any more Sunday work.

Charles Strickland, highway patrol, remembered by Billy. Kirkpatrick, too. Captain Coulson or Coleman.

Lester and son Loren painted houses after Lester retired. He passed about 20 years ago. He’d been married five times.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Driving now.

Billy remembering climbing the mimosa tree in the yard in Colquitt.

Nancy called Lester “Littl’un.” His real name was Lesley, but he was called Lester all his life. He didn’t know this was his official name until he sent for Social Security.

Remembering John Daniel and Clyde Calhoun’s drygoods store in Colquitt. Billy remembering how Clyde Calhoun always treated him respectfully, when a child.

Lester’s reflection on aging and death.

Billy’s airplanes.

Billy and David’s flight to Point Lookout, where Milo Grow died in the Civil War.

Lester Weaver as a baseball player in Colquitt and Tallahassee. Bill Grow played baseball in college.

When Lester first came to Tallahassee. When he met Nita, who was from Bainbridge. Courtship and marriage. Marriage license $5, wedding $1, “so she cost me six dollars.”

Time Nita left him for drinking and he begged her to come back. “Now I’m going back this time. Be another time, you can beg all you want, I ain’t going back. So, ain’t bein another time.”

His birthday, Feb. 15. Billy Feb. 16.

At Lester’s house. How Bill and Elva taught their children to treat everyone with respect. “I never did hear yo daddy cuss or get mad or nothing like that.”

Billy: “I think you were his best friend.” Lester: “Yeah, I believe it.”

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