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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MY MOTHER - WILMA ELIZABETH BUTLER HASTY



I did a post about my dad so I thought I'd do one about Mother.
above, Mother and Dad in 1923


  1. She was a flapper and could do a mean Charleston.
  2. With a twinkle in her eye, she said if she just stretched a bit, she was five feet tall.
  3. She took some tests and exempted her freshman year at Bessie Tift College, in Forsyth, Ga. She began as a sophomore.
  4. Her younger sister, Miriam, began college with her. Mom wrote all of Miriam’s homework essays and any writing homework. They laughed about it for years because with one particular professor, Miriam made an A and Mother made a B.
  5. There were seven Butler sisters and Wilma, my mother, was the middle one. Also, there were four brothers, three older than she. She especially adored her younger brother, Dan. She also adored his wife and the two families were close. Their two middle children lived with us for various periods of time.
  6. She liked to write poems and several were in her high school yearbook.
  7. A handsome, young, big league baseball player, from the area, joined her group of friends, in Marietta, when he went home for the winter in 1922. They met, fell in love, and married, April 3, 1923.
  8. Connie Mack gave them their honeymoon for a wedding present.
  9. My Butler grandparents had seven daughters, five of whom went to college, and two that went to business school. That was quite a record for those times. My grandmother, Beulah Phillips Butler, had gone to a girls’ finishing school, in Nashville.
  10. With so many children to be educated, Grandaddy Butler turned a room in their home into a schoolroom … and hired a teacher- governess. I think her name was Miss Janie Foote. I believe some of the older ones went on to senior high, in Marietta.
  11. Mother was a grand southern cook, having been a Home Economics major. She’d have been horrified at the crunchy, undercooked vegetables popular these days. On our first trip to New York City, she explained that ‘’those people’’ ate lots of raw, green peas and they would surely give us a stomach ache if we ate them. She also said that their desserts were usually delicious.
  12. Mother and Dad lived in Philadelphia several years and made some very good friends there. Later, they lived in Oakland, Ca. and did lots of traveling in the area. My oldest brother, Bob Jr., was born in Oakland. Don and I were born in the old Marietta Hospital.
  13. Mother had a lovely, clear singing voice. She studied in college. She also played the piano, which was a tremendous help to me when I sang.
  14. Her older brothers had some of the first cars, in Cobb County. She started driving when she was about ten years old, always bringing a sister along to work the pedals. She was too tiny to reach them, plus steer. In later years, she drove from California to Georgia several times. She was a really good driver though a tad fast. She sat on pillows.
  15. She started and organized a Soup Kitchen in our school, during the 1930’s, so the children could have a hot lunch at school instead of going home for lunch, where they may or may not get something to eat. She was in the PTA so got parents to contribute time and food. They served soup, cornbread, and milk. I believe they got oranges from the government, too.
  16. Mother was a bit of a mischief, and often played jokes on people, mostly family. We all ate together at our big dining room table. Sometimes, when we had company, she’d start passing serving dishes around the table, never putting them down. The trick was to see how many times a polite guest would continue to pass the bowl of beans around. Of course we kids would have the giggles.
  17. One of her standard pranks was to slip a hairbrush down in the guest’s bed so that feet would encounter the brush and come flying out of bed.
  18. She did not drink alcohol, she said, though she didn’t mind a highball every now and then. She did enjoy Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry and I tried to make sure she had a bottle in later years. She was extremely cold natured and a tiny bit of sherry warmed her.
  19. Mother was a good seamstress and enjoyed doing handwork as well. She made lots of my clothes with doll clothes to match. Later, she made almost all my formals, and some of Dee’s clothes. She sewed various items for presents, such as aprons with cute pockets, table linens, and guest towels.
  20. She was always involved with various women’s groups at church etc. Like most southern women, she carried food to sick folks or to homes where there was an apparent need. My daughter and I continue that practice, though she does most of it these days.
  21. After my dad retired, Mother announced that her feet would not hit the floor in the mornings until she smelled coffee and bacon cooking. He thought that was funny and took great pride in getting it just right. He made coffee in a Pyrex perculator and broiled the bacon in the oven of their gas range.
  22. She taught Dad to make the pound cakes he loved. He got a kick out of sharing his cakes with friends and family.
  23. Like me, Mother loved all the old timey Hymns. She loved having a group of young folks stand around the piano and sing.
  24. When she was worried about something or someone, she sang GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU. That was how I knew she was upset.
  25. By far, the greatest and finest gift she gave me was an abiding faith. I could not live without it.
    above, Mother and some of her sisters, late 1960's