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Excerpt for You Can Take It with You by , available in its entirety at Smashwords






You CAN Take It with You

A Southern Grandma Spills the Beans

about growing up

(and, consequently, growing OLD)

in the South

SMASHWORDS EDITION

Published by
Outer Banks Publishing Group
on Smashwords

You CAN Take It with You

Essays by Lucia Peel Powe

Illustrations by V.C. Rogers

Copyright © 2019 by Lucia Peel Powe

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.





You CAN Take It with You

A Southern Grandma Spills the Beans

about growing up

(and, consequently, growing OLD)

in the South


Essays by Lucia Peel Powe

Illustrations by V.C. Rogers





Outer Banks Publishing Group
Raleigh/Outer Banks



You CAN Take It with You. Copyright © 2019 by Lucia Peel Powe. All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America by Outer Banks Publishing Group – Outer Banks/Raleigh.


www.outerbankspublishing.com


No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


This book is a work of essays. All the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are products of the author’s memory as the author recalls them. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is intentional.


For information contact Outer Banks Publishing Group at


info@outerbankspublishing.com

Illustrations by V.C. Rogers

vcrogers@nc.rr.com


FIRST EDITION – February 2019


Library of Congress Control Number:  2019931112


ISBN 13 – 978-1-7320452-6-2

ISBN 10 – 1-7320452-6-7

eISBN – 978-0463268360

Dedicated

To my seven daughters and step-daughters:


Lucia Claire Peel, Williamston, NC

Sarah Margaret “Mimi” Peel Roughton, Hillsborough, NC

Sydney Eldridge Peel, Woodside, Knoxville, TN

Elizabeth Chase Peel-Solow, Durham, NC

Louise Powe Kelly, Woodland Hills, CA

Katherine Powe Dauchert, Durham, NC

Josephine Powe McGuire, Calabasas, CA

To the Reader

All the proceeds from sales of this book will go to

KidzNotes, a nonprofit that helps at-risk children by teaching them to play classical music. KidzNotes is the Triangle branch of El Sistema (“The System”), which was founded in the 1970s in Caracas, Venezuela by Dr. José Antonio Abreu with eleven children in an abandoned garage. Since then, the program has helped open the eyes and ears of over two million of Venezuela's poorest children. It is now all over the world, though not yet in every country.

When we founded KidzNotes in Durham in 2008, it was the first El Sistema program in the Southern U.S. The following year we hired Katie Wyatt, a violist with the NC Symphony, as KidzNotes first director.

Ms. Wyatt was one of ten musicians (out of more than 200 applicants from around the world) to be named an Abreu Fellow and trained in the El Sistema method at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. The classes she started in Durham and Raleigh now reach over 50 children a year, and she was recently named National Director of El Sistema, USA. (The program is known as “KidzNotes” only in the Triangle area.)

In 2017, the national office of El Sistema moved from Boston to the School of Social Sciences at Duke University in Durham. Why there and not the Music Department? Because study after study has shown that classical-music training keeps at-risk, headed-for-prison young people IN school, OFF the streets, OFF drugs, OUT of gangs and OUT of prison!

The new director of KidzNotes in the Triangle is Nicholas Malinowski, an opera singer and music educator (and basketball player!), who was previously the Community Program Manager for the Seattle Opera.

I invite my readers and all other music-loving citizens to send their ideas, their prayers - and their donations - to:


KidzNotes, P.O. Box 200, Durham, NC 27707

(919) 321-4475


Visit their website at https://www.kidznotes.org/ to learn more.


  • Lucia Peel Powe


Chapter 1

Andy Griffith and Me (2016)

“What? Grandma, you knew Andy Griffith – star of The Andy Griffith Show?”

Well, darlin’, not exactly. Here’s how the “event” occurred:
The original big, amazing Bonner Bridge was being dedicated connecting Bodie Island and Pea Island in about — oh, who knows what year? Maybe around 1960, ’55 ... over half-a-hundred years ago.

Your granddaddy was a North Carolina Senator (before Governor Terry Sanford appointed him a Superior Court Judge) and he was invited to sit in the grandstand with the State officials, Governor on down, and I, can you believe, was invited to sit beside him and to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” accompanied by the Manteo High School Band.

We were led to our nice seats in the front row and there, beside me, sat the TV and movie actor Andy Griffith. We introduced ourselves, all in good Southern order, and the program began.

As an aside (a mere aside), when the moment arrived for yours truly to rise and step before the microphone, the wind turned, very forcefully arriving from the land-side, blowing out to sea — big time! Ooo-kay. The band was between me on the grandstand and the ocean, with their music notes being blown towards the water and away from me! I could not hear a thing!

Did I look frightened? Shocked? Probably. So, I watched the band director’s baton, tried to imagine the right Oh-oh-say-can-you-see... First note — and on key!

I glanced about to see if everyone was laughing. No one was. No one was looking at Grandma. I was shocked and relieved. So, following the baton’s every cue, we arrived, all together, at the same note at the same time, my never having heard the band at all.

So, enough of that. Back to the real story.

First, Andy had grown up in Mt. Airy, N.C., graduated in acting drama, theatre, you name it, from the University of North Carolina’s Drama Department and had performed as Sir Walter Raleigh in The Lost Colony, in Manteo on the Outer Banks. He was capable of speaking the Queen’s English. However, his career did not take off until he created, and made a hit recording of (are you ready?) “What It Was, Was Football!”

From there on, he went up, up, up, on TV and in movies; his longest-running character was as Sheriff Andy Taylor in his own program, a true family show, every week, while he spoke in a Southern small-town brogue: “’I’se right ‘chere y’all.”

All right. So, what happened on the grandstand that afternoon? Are you ready?

Miss North Carolina was brought aboard, introduced, and she gave a nice, brief welcome speech to all assembled. (The wind cooperated and did not blow her words away!)

Then, I overheard to my right (but pretended I did not hear it), I heard Andy lean over to the fella on his right (a Senator? a Judge?). “Hey” — as he pointed to Miss North Carolina’s upper parts — “do you guess them thangs are real?”

I tried not to smile. Shocked! But trying so hard not to smile!


Chapter 2

Christmas Pageant

December 22, 1936

Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church Durham (2013)


Two little five-year-old blonde angels, one of whom was me, wearing wings and halos, crawled on their hands and knees across the floor in front of the choir, the shepherds and the angels, Joseph and Mary to take a peek at the baby Jesus in the manger on the other side of the altar. They pulled themselves up, took a gander and were shocked! Plopping back down, they stared at one another, mouths open, shook their heads and started crawling back across. What had they seen in the small, wooden manger?

A pile of straw and a light bulb.

Sitting back down, one yawned. The other yawned. Then the first gave another great yawn. Members of the congregation started yawning, then the choir. People in the congregation started giggling, then the choir. Some members of the congregation started laughing out loud. That’s when my mother had to stand up and leave, as she was mortally embarrassed.

Later, whenever Mama told this story, she always had to mention the “power of suggestion.” If she were alive today, she would be 108 years old. If I, her “littlest angel,” now 82, would try to correct her — as in, “Mama, the ‘power of suggestion’ could not possibly be that strong!” — she would merely smile at me. She knew better.


Chapter 3

The Vet on the Bus (2016)


Why is it that I cannot recall the names of important people, the titles of books, street names — but I cannot forget a five-minute event that I observed in 1944 when I was a mere 13 years old?

May I describe it? I was in the eighth grade at Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Every Monday and Thursday afternoon I had to catch a city bus after school to ride down Hillsborough Street to the State Capital, step off and walk two blocks to my piano teacher’s studio in her home in the Oakwood neighborhood.

One day, as usual, I sat down near the front. At the very next stop, the doors clanged open and there stood an African-American soldier in uniform, holding two crutches, one under each arm. One leg of his uniform was pinned up to the thigh. Obviously, there was no leg there.

He hesitated for a moment, studying how to let go of the crutches to grasp the metal handles on each side of the door and step up onto the bottom step of the bus — maybe one-and-a-half feet off the street. As he pondered how to accomplish this easy (for those of us with two legs and two available hands) task, I glanced at the bus driver to see if he might help.

He stared straight ahead down Hillsborough Street, never once even looking at the soldier.

I looked about at the others near the front, but they, too, were looking out the windows. As I was about to put my books aside and go help the soldier, he somehow, miraculously, managed to lift himself up that high step without falling back onto the sidewalk or losing his crutches.

After he put his nickel (remember, this was 1944!) into the slot — the same amount that I had paid — he sat down with relief beside me and searched for a place to put his crutches.

Before he caught his breath, the white bus driver jumped up, pointed to the back and shouted, “Boy, you get to the back of the bus!”

I froze.

The soldier jostled, scrambled himself up, gathered his crutches and before I could say, “Mr. Driver, let him have my seat and I will go to the back of the bus,” the soldier had struggled halfway to the rear.

That moment stuck in my 13-year-old gizzard. It has never left. 

Chapter 4

Grandmother's Mulberry Tree (2008)


My mother’s mother’s house was built around 1870 or so with stones in the chimney bearing bullet holes from a Civil War skirmish nearby. The house still stands beside the original road between Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia.

In the side yard, during my childhood and beyond, was a very old mulberry tree with one heavy low limb that had broken partially loose and fallen toward the grass. To save the limb, my grandfather, before he died in 1933, found a heavy metal chain to tie to the main trunk and attached it to the outer end of the low limb. Whee!

We children could jump up on the old thick limb, hang onto the chain and swing, dance, wiggle, kick, hang loose, or fling our bodies over it and land on the ground. I hope this picture is clear.

I innocently played on that magical old tree, but never ate but one mulberry. Yuck. Besides, the ripe mulberries attracted yellow jackets!

When I was a junior in high school, a boyfriend dumped me just before Valentine’s Day. I was devastated. I can still remember the painful tart-sweet odor of the strawberry-flavored lipstick that I was wearing at that time and can picture its dainty white tube.

One night, six months later, he came to see me at grandmother’s house and asked me to go out and sit on the tree limb with him, where he asked to come back into my life, for me to “take him back.” I still recall the yellow cotton sundress I was wearing.

Somehow, sitting on grandmom’s big old tree limb, I was able to look him in the eye and say, “No, no. That time is over.”

From that night on, I seemed to be able to control my life ... as far as men were concerned.

Unlike most of my friends, I did not marry until I was 26. They married during college or shortly thereafter. Probably I was considered an Old Maid at the time. When I did marry, I never suffered one regret.

Thank you, grandmother’s mulberry tree. 

Chapter 5

I Pity Pretty Girls Today


I really pity any single girl today, pretty or not.

I already feel depressed merely approaching this subject — major cultural changes in society in the last half-century.

The saddest is the role of single women. While gaining their equal rights, they lost their magic.

If they date at all, they are expected, sooner or later, mostly sooner, to “put out.”

How can a high school or college girl possibly discover who she is, what she thinks, stands for, what the purpose of her life may be, if she is encouraged to dress herself to attract the male of the species early on (13 years old?) while testosterone is banging around the space behind his eyes that was originally designed (let's not go there) to house a brain? Many models, such as in W magazine, are posed, exposed and dressed like pitiful streetwalkers in low, lace, see-through tops above tight, tight jeans, exposing navels, navels, navels. Is there anything sexy or interesting about a navel, that place where the umbilical cord was cut, pinched, chopped off? Whatever. Ugh. Who wants to look at one? Do boys really like to look at navels?

But I digress.

“In my day....” All right, but we had it so good. We had so much fun! Happy little virgins.

Never expected to do anything, to “put out,” nothing. Not even a good-night kiss under the front porch light, if we didn’t want to. We always double-dated, triple-dated, home by 10 (11 after ball games, 12 only after chaperoned dances, where we danced with everybody). I felt sorry for the girls who “went steady.” That meant they probably had to kiss a lot and dance with only one boy all evening.

A certain group of us preferred to never go steady, but to date, one boy Friday night, another Saturday night, all in the same group — joke, joke, laugh, laugh, nothing vulgar. The guys never used four-letter functional words in our presence. I don’t think they were in use then. Not even when I was in college. No one needed vulgarity nor cursing to make a point. Perhaps the guys respected us?

Why is it needed now? Maybe shrinking vocabularies require more cursing and vulgarity.

We cheerleaders wore knee-length full skirts that twirled when we turned, with long-sleeved “letter” sweaters over shirts with collars. One cheerleader was kicked off the squad for sitting in a boy’s lap down on the front row of a basketball game. The principal explained to us that we were supposed to “set an example” of appropriate behavior to younger students while representing our high school in public at all times, in all places, even out of the cheerleading uniform.

We felt safe, secure, special. Our parents, the school officials and the boys treated us like princesses. We loved it. I liked saying, “Mother won’t let m date the same boy two nights in a row or stay out after a certain hour.” Really, what do kids talk about after 11 o’clock, anyway? The guys felt obligated to “smooch,” they called it then, and I didn’t care to kiss those boys on the mouth or, by today’s standards, in the mouth. Yeueew! Looking back, a few boys might have seen matters a little differently, but I preferred to play dumb. Put everything off. It was possible, at least then.

Now, boys today have so much thrown at them, visually, literally and figuratively, that they can truthfully say to a girl, “No matter. If you won’t, somebody else will. See ya’ later.” For some years now, guys have been saying, “Why pay for it when we can get it free ... from nice girls.” In fact, John Grisham treated that very subject in his coming-of-age novel, The Painted House.

If we attended a party at a friend's house, the parents were always present. So what? They were our friends, too. We knew everyone’s parents, from ball games, church, band, concerts, scout troops.

Oh, and we’d never even heard of “co-ed” dorms! What were the school people in the ’70s thinking? Did they think 18-year-olds checked their hormones at the front door? I could almost believe that permissiveness was a dirty communist plot designed to ruin our younger college generation, take their minds off studying. I can assure you, it did. The schools said they were not responsible for the students. They were not intended to “parent” these kids. No dorm mothers. No sign-out books, no curfew, no rules. A girl could be dead in the woods a week and who would know? Her roommate might assume she was staying over in her boyfriend’s room.

I’m not making this up. My eldest daughter, now an attorney, was in one of those dorms at UNC. (No telling who, or what might be in the bathrooms when I visited.) Boys’ rooms on certain floors; girls on the others. But she had to leave the room we had paid for to study down the hall in her nightgown when her roomie, a nice Baptist girl, brought her boyfriend in and smiled at my daughter to exit. One night, she, my daughter, smiled back, continued to study on her bed, and the couple got huffy and went to his room; I assume they ran his roommate out. 1976. Consequences of the infamous ‘60s?

Six sociologists will offer you six different reasons for today’s mixture of morals:


• Television and movies. Need I explain?

• The automobile. Parents have no idea where their daughters are, or with whom.

• Children growing up in large cities where they are nameless, rather than in small towns, known by all. “Alice, your girl Lucy was smoking behind the drug store after school last week.” It really does “take a village to raise a child.”

• The music choices of the young; anything their parents do not appreciate or understand. Rock and Roll now rap and hip-hop. Even the best parents don’t listen to the words of the songs their precious daughters are playing in their private rooms. (Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 2006.)

• The church — any church — having less influence, competing with television, rap music, film, etc.

An increasing percentage of young children with no father figure in the home, both African-American and white. Bad for both boys and girls. The daughters may be out early looking for a male to make them feel special, appreciated and loved, the role a good father might satisfy if he was present.

Are we to accept that “the hand that rocks the cradle” belongs to a lady with her boobs and belly button exposed?

Just overheard: Madonna does not want her daughters to see their own mother’s movies!

Go figure. (2012) 

Chapter 6

School Daze and Marriage (2007)


Naah. There couldn’t be any connection. Surely, the education we received, if any, during high school and the choice of whom we married had no possible connection. Certainly, the cute, happy friends we made during our sophomore, junior and senior years in secondary school had no bearing on which man we selected to wed, plan a family and make a future.

However, strange as it may seem, ironic perhaps, the puzzle pieces in my life did make a picture: My senior year at Marietta High School, I was one of the six cheerleaders. We were all friends but vaguely divided into two groups of three. Amy, Barbara, and Charlotte were so popular and cute. Called “ABC.”

Amy: tiny, short, brunette, twinkling brown eyes, pretty lips, always had a steady boyfriend, one after the other.

Barbara: beautiful, shining, long black hair and bangs, dry wit, always had a steady.

Charlotte: short blond hair, a superb basketball player, pretty skin, totally unselfconscious, always had a regular boyfriend.

My group was “KLM”: Katherine, Lucia, and Merrilyn. We had good times, too, but chose never to “go steady” or have a full-time boyfriend. We had to be home early after ballgames and dates. We’d date, but always, always double-date, going out with one boy Friday night for a ballgame, another Saturday night for a movie, and a third Sunday night for church youth group. No movies allowed Sunday nights. I might be with Jack on Friday night double-dating, and he’d be in the backseat Saturday night with my girlfriend double-dating again. And this was A-OK. So what? Unless you had a secret crush on him. All we ever did was laugh, eat, joke, eat, tease, eat — oh, yes, and no drinking. No sneaking beer, ever. Drugs? We didn’t know what they were. Pot? Something to cook in.

Park? Mercy, no. For one thing, we might get “talked about.” Particularly by the guy. So, we’d give him nothing to brag about — unless he was a liar.

“Smacky-mouth” was just not a necessity. We tried to hide our crushes if we had them. Do today’s teens know what a “crush” is? They might call it “the hots.” We were not so crude; young romantics, maybe.

No dating during the week, but lots, yes, hours, of talking on the phone. Actually, truth be known, my “special” called me when his homework was done, usually after 10 p.m. Oh, yes, he was smart, witty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t concentrate to study until after he phoned — wondering if he would call. Okay, so I wasn’t oblivious to someone special; I only tried to appear so. The kids have a phrase for that now, too: “playing it cool.”

Later, in college, I was told my nickname had been “Snow Queen.” And all the time I thought I was sweet and friendly to everybody. You can’t win.

I’d like to think KLM was fun, too, but we agreed never to “go steady.” One problem at the many dances in those years was that a girl would have to dance with her “steady” all night. Dear me. We chose to play the field, never settle. If we stayed home on a Saturday night occasionally, so be it. We read a book.

KLM all attended “church” colleges. Katherine attended Furman and married a Baptist minister — a fun Baptist if you will — and they had three children. Merrilyn and I graduated from an all-girls’ Methodist school, Wesleyan, in Macon, Georgia, she in religious studies. Merrilyn later earned her Ph.D. at Boston College. I started in Christian education and later changed to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music and Drama.

Merrilyn married a business major, who was later Mayor of Marietta, and they reared five children. She taught religion at a prestigious Atlanta private school. I married an athletic Phi Beta Kappa lawyer, a North Carolina State Senator, later a Superior Court judge — all one man — with a winning sense of humor, and we had four children.

I don’t recall where ABC went to college or even whether they did. But Amy married several times, once to her friend Charlotte’s husband after she broke them up. Charlotte married two or three times, and at the last class reunion, I attended she was single again. So was Amy, but she refused to come to the banquet because Charlotte was there.

Barbara, poor dear, married once, came down with MS and was nursed by her sweet husband ’til she died. Among the threesome of ABC, there were only two or three children born.

Now here’s the clincher: At Marietta High School’s 40th reunion, six male classmates produced a skit in drag, “ABC-KLM.” All were wearing cheerleader costumes, wigs, grapefruit inside borrowed bras, and makeup. Get this picture: Two of them had been our football co-captains. One of those, Sam Hensley, class president, went on to be captain of Georgia Tech’s football team his senior year. Another, Robert West, was captain his senior year of the University of Georgia’s football team. Each member of the group wore a large letter on the front of his cheerleader’s sweater and together they spelled “A-B-C-K-L-M.” They danced, sang, and cheered “Go, Devils!” because Marietta is the “Blue Devils.”

The guys had written a song that asked “How did ABC have seven marriages and only two or three children? And how did KLM, the don’t-touch-me, Goody-two-shoes girls, have only three marriages and twelve children?” Their winning premise seemed to be: “Since KLM never learned to kiss in high school, apparently they never figured out what made babies! Ha-ha, but I would add to that, “until they were settled with their husbands in a good home-life.” And that may be the connection between School Daze and Marriage. 

Chapter 7

Miss Jaw-jah, 1953 (2017)


Grandma Powe had no intention of mentioning the “Miss Georgia 1953” year in any form or fashion in this tome until her friend and former editor insisted, she do so.

Dr. Linda Hobson taught creative writing at LSU and other schools and was Executive Director of N.C. Writers Network when I served on the board, so she clearly knows more about what makes a book tick than I do.

So, how did Grandma Powe become Miss Georgia?

I was a graduating senior at Wesleyan College and Conservatory in Macon, Georgia, in the spring of 1953 and thrilled to have been cast as a performer in the very American play Our Town to tour through Europe that summer, playing in a number of universities where students were studying English (American style). However, the year before, a Wesleyan Conservatory piano student, Neva Jane Langley of Lakeland, Florida, had won Miss Macon, Miss Georgia, and — R U ready? — Miss America 1952. Yeah!

So, the Miss America Pageant company was charging the Macon Junior Chamber of Commerce $1,000 to bring the former Miss Macon back to town for the Miss Macon 1953 pageant. That was a lot of money in 1953! The Jaycees came up the hill to the conservatory to beg for five girls to “puh-leeze” compete in their ’53 pageant with five girls from Mercer University downtown. Sooo...

I said, “No.”

My roommate, a piano major, wanted to do it and win a scholarship. (It was “all about the scholarships” then.) She said she would participate only if I would do it also, along with her.

I said, “No.”

My mother said, “No. You’re going to Europe this summer with your theatre department.”

My roommate begged.

How do you tell your roomie to go jump in the ditch, “while I tour Europe”? So I agreed, knowing I would not win.

And we had to “do” a talent! I did not major or minor in piano or voice, but I sang a song — I forget what. (It was 64 years ago, remember?)

Guess what? I won the darn thing: “Miss Macon.” I had to hang around that summer and Miss Europe to prepare for the Miss Georgia Pageant. And lo and you-know-what, I won that.

Miracles do happen.

Friends told me that the reason I won those two events was that “you didn’t even try!”

“Oh, I didn’t?”

“No, you just ambled out on stage — not strutting, not marching, not ‘Look at me! See my legs, my hair, my smile!’ You just sorta suggested, ‘Hi, y’all, how’re you doing?’”

“Well, I’ll be ....”

However, I did win two nice scholarships that helped pay off my college bills.

Here’s another amusing part: There was no reason to go to Atlantic City for the ’53 “Miss A” pageant, as there was no way the judges were going to give the title to a second Miss Georgia and a second Miss Macon from the little (450) student body of Wesleyan College and Conservatory up on the hill. But I had to go up there any way to represent our beautiful state. (And my mother chaperoned me.)

It was a delightful experience, meeting all these sweet girls from all over America, and a lovely girl from New Jersey won the “Miss A” title. She was the first entrant ever to win from New Jersey.

I am not sure the Miss America pageant exists anymore. I haven’t seen it on television in many years. But then, I don’t watch TV. Don’t have time. I gave my set to our church’s homeless center several years ago so the homeless could watch it.

I’d rather read. (And write?)

Hey, I’m not against television! I made my living on it, teaching Romper Room on a local CBS station and writing commercial copy for advertisers. I’ve much to thank television for. So how could I knock television — y’all?

Just saying. 

Chapter 8

Dinner Not Ready? (2007)


How did my first husband, a Superior Court judge, ever survive being married to me? I still wonder and that dear man passed away many years ago.

He was so patient with me.

For instance, he might come home for dinner, often driving 80, 90 miles or so from Goldsboro or Kinston (when he wasn’t assigned across the state in Charlotte or Asheville or Wilmington), and “dinner” might not be ready yet! I had no cook, but I/we did have four daughters. Sometimes one might help me, but they had Girl Scouts, band practice, choir practice, homework, piano practice, cheerleading practice, et cetera, rah, rah!

So I mostly cooked alone — after leading a Scout troop, directing three church choirs, chairing a board or three, playing a bit of bridge (three different clubs), or what all.

Therefore, the exhausted Judge Junie Peel might pleasantly give me a hug, grab an apple from the fruit bowl, and go to the den to read the papers or catch up on his ever-present requirement to read all the new cases from the N.C. Superior Court, the N.C. Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court (a judge cannot judge if he does not know what the law is, both present and past — just sayin’), ’til I summoned him and all the four girls to dinner.

(Law’, me. I coulda never been a judge!)

I’m not even convinced I managed a house (home?) for six people, handling groceries, yard, shopping, church (three choirs!), cleaning — I had some help there — trips to Raleigh when husband served in the State Senate, being an active member of the Sir Walter Cabinet...

Well! I obviously was not the best bridge player in town. In fact, once when I said, “I can’t remember who played that jack,” a friend came back at me with, “Lucia, the fact is, you don’t care jack who played that jack!” Can you believe a Southern lady would tell a friend such a rude thing? 

Chapter 9

Junie Junior (1995)


I was so against our naming our first baby, a girl, for me. I feared she might be required to live down my name or, more unlikely, live up to it. In any event, I did not want her to suffer more pressure than normal. My husband, however, Elbert Sidney Peel, Junior, insisted he would name her for me, Lucia Claire. So he did. Now we are known as “Big Lucia” and “Little Lucia.” ‘Course I’m Big Lucia. Fun, huh?

We did not wish to know the sex of our first baby, nor the second, until they arrived all red and squirming, “ongoing about” immediately for sustenance. Then only did we ever learn their sex. At the last visit with Dr. Rhodes before the full-term birth of the second baby, I forgot to mention to him that I had felt little or no kicking or movements the last week or so, and he failed to place the stethoscope to my middle to check movements and listen to the heartbeat.


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