The Literary Corner: Renegade Writers Guild

Published 9:06 am Thursday, November 30, 2017

“Mary Lee”

By Marie Craig     

I found an interesting photograph on FindAGrave.Comfrom Rose Cemetery in Mocksville. This is what the tombstone said: “Mary Elizabeth Lee; Nov. 30, 1868; Nov. 30, 1968.”

What sources would you use to prove that Mary died on her birthday when she was 100 years old? Just dying on your birthday would be amazing. Living to be 100 years old would be amazing. But even more amazing would be dying on your hundredth birthday.

Trying to prove this is accurate, I read old newspapers from Davie County. The Davie County Enterprise Record of 5 December 1968 had her obituary which said that Miss Mary Lee, 100, died last Saturday morning. It also gave her birth date of Nov. 30, 1868. Obituaries previously used words such as “died last Saturday morning” instead of putting the exact date. Hooray, for not doing that now.   

I used a genealogical software program which has a tool to show a calendar with any date. I choose 30 November 1968 and discovered that this was a Saturday, which agrees with the obituary. So, she did indeed die on her birthday at 100 years old. There are no vital records to prove that she was born on 30 November 1868. Southern states did not require these until much later. But the obituary states this date. Perhaps a family Bible would have that date listed.

The obituary describes her as a teacher of English, French, Spanish, and music. She came from a big family.  Her father,the  Rev. William D. Lee, M.D., was married twice. He and Nancy Elmira J. Oxner Lee had two sons, William Bowman and Henry Mood Lee, and two daughters, Mary (above) and Anna.  He and second wife, Sarah “Sally” Bailey Lee, had a son, Thomas Bailey and two daughters, Bertha Marvin and Alice Johnstone Lee.

William Bowman Lee was a minister who served a mission in Brazil for the Methodist Church for 60 years.  Thomas Bailey Lee was an attorney privately and for the Mocksville Board in 1938 and received $20 per year. Bertha was a teacher at Greensboro College and later was the first woman to serve on the school board in Mocksville.  She also was valedictorian at Greensboro College and gave her graduation talk in Latin.  Alice was active in her church and community.  Newspaper articles describe all members of the family as being good citizens in Davie and either teaching in the schools or supporting programs as volunteers.


By Gaye Hoots

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with all my family, my sister’s family, and extended family. Their ages ranged from eleven-month-old twins to over seventy-five years old.

We had the traditional meal prepared by various family members. The blessing was asked by my grand nieces.

It was heartwarming to watch the twins and my sister’s grandchildren who ranged in age from two years old to seven years. My great granddaughter is now eleven years old. These children have grown so much in the last year. They are all healthy, happy and thriving. My own grands are between twenty-seven and thirty. They are struggling with making their own way in the world, but they are making progress and remain close to family.

We are all acutely aware that my youngest granddaughter, Alex, is missing. Her father and step-mother came by as well. It keeps us aware of the dangers lurking in this world and renews our determination to keep each other close.

My thoughts today are of my memories as a child celebrating my first Thanksgivings. My grandmother prepared a turkey or chicken from the barnyard. I don’t know how she managed to do all this from scratch. Every family member came until her grands married. Most of us still managed to make every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My grandparents had lost my uncle in WW11. The family spoke of him often, but their faith sustained them. His memory has been passed on to us. I was born on his birthday. My cousin carries his name, and my sister’s two-year-old grandson is named for him as well. We do not forget our family members. They are still with us when we gather.

Our present Thanksgivings mingle with memories of Thanksgivings past. My grandparents and parents managed to provide a childhood that was happy and safe. That is what we attempt to do with each of ours as well. God has always provided a way for us to work and sustain ourselves. We believe He will continue to do this.

This year our children provided most of the food and cleaned up afterward. The roles are changing. The children have learned to bless their food and to enjoy and cherish each other. The importance of family is strengthened with each family gathering. The babies are learning that their needs will be met, and their environment is safe. The world is a wondrous place to them. We hope to keep it that way.

“The Drive Back”

By Kevin F. Wishon

One January day, in Atlanta, Dave sat in an outdoor café enjoying the unusually warm weather. Several flowering bushes surrounding the patio were already budding, and it seemed as if spring was just a day away. This beauty was not lost on Dave as he enjoyed a lovely meal of Italian food. All of this was appealing to him, undermined only by the fact he had to drive back to North Carolina, a few hours later. Regardless, Dave refused to let it disturb his enjoyment of the nearby scenery. This business trip had been productive and enjoyable.

Returning to his hotel room, Dave collected his belongings and checked out. While stowing bags in the rear of his car, he took one last look across the parking lot enjoying the moment before he set out for home. The warm weather was superb, but clouds moving in from the west assured him the weather was about to change. Navigating several signal lights, Dave returned to the I-85 exit and took the on-ramp heading north. He planned to depart before the heavy work traffic hoping to escape with the least amount of stress. Unexpectedly, a multitude of cars swallowed his vehicle as they rushed by competing for position. In multiple lanes, which led out of Atlanta, Dave joined the other motorist in an aggressive swarm of vehicles.

Several miles outside of the Atlanta suburbs, clouds moved in, and a thunderstorm overtook the drivers, soaking I-85 thoroughly. The wash and spray flung up off the highway by constant passing traffic made driving a hazard and impaired Dave’s vision. Giving safe distance, Dave struggled to hold the car in his lane as the slick highway and mist made it incredibly dangerous. Worse, highway construction was occurring in this area. Concrete barriers separated the median between two opposing lanes of traffic. Dave strained to keep a watch on the taillights of the car in front of him; even with the weather, other drivers continued to press for the least of advantages. Several miles further, Dave encountered a large curve in I-85; the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic appeared through a significant gap in the concrete barriers.

What happened next would chill Dave, unlike any event he had ever experienced. Dave tried to pay attention to the car ahead of him, but a late model, metallic-green car in the oncoming traffic drew his attention as they passed in the curve. The highway was awash as flows of runoff caused the rear tires of the metallic-green car to hydroplane. Dave watched as the rear of the car slid sideways striking the last concrete barrier before reaching the opening. Overcorrecting, the metallic-green vehicle then slid through the opening of the concrete barriers and into the lanes of oncoming traffic; particulates from the struck concrete barrier spattered the back quarter panel of Dave’s car as the out of control vehicle narrowly missed him. Shaken, Dave returned his eyes to the road ahead of him and glanced once into the rearview mirror. It was a scene of chaos; a tractor-trailer truck was turned sideways across multiple lanes of traffic while other vehicles attempted to flee the carnage. The traffic behind Dave had swallowed the metallic-green car.      

Understanding the severity of the situation, Dave reached for his cell phone to dial 911. After he had relayed the situation and location, he tried to refocus on the drive home. The rain had stopped, and the sky began to clear. Inexplicably, Dave found himself alone on I-85; there were no vehicles visible ahead of him or behind. A chill slowly crawled through Dave as he realized how serious an incident he had narrowly missed. The eerie feeling remained with him the remainder of the trip, and Dave was thankful to return home safely. While he was not able to find any information on the outcome of the incident, Dave never forgot the scene he had witnessed in the rearview mirror that day, nor did he forget just how fast situations could change.