Tuesday, November 30, 2010
My Marriage, Children, Grandkids
The first time I saw Houston Honeycutt, a tall dark haired, handsome man, was at church when I was 16. He and his brother Ralph would come to church with their Uncle Harvey Baucom. I could hardly wait for Sundays, and had been looking for him and watching him every Sunday, not realizing that he was also watching me!
I started praying for him and that God would bring us together! Even though he had never spoken to me, I continued to pray! One Sunday after church, my cousin, Claude Simpson and his wife Ruth asked to drive me home and he rode with us! This was truly an answer to my prayer!
After that first Sunday, every weekend, he would walk about 6 or 7 miles from his home to see me! Then two months afterward, he asked me to marry him! I didn’t give him an immediate answer because I was so young, but the next weekend, I told him yes I wanted to be his wife! We were madly in love and wanted to get married so much, but did not have any money; however, five months after he asked me, we got married! He was working for my uncle Lemuel Simpson, so he borrowed some money from him and we got married on August 7, 1937. Claude and Ruth took us to get married and we stayed with them on our wedding night!
We moved into a small house across the road from my sister, Betty Lee and her husband, Lloyd Price. My daddy gave us $35.00 to buy used furniture to furnish our house. Houston’s dad bought us four chairs and a cow named Sunshine! Houston made about $4.00 per week and our rent was $2.00 per month! The previous renters had a garden out back of the house and had left some Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes. We were so thrilled and thankful that we had these vegetables!
We were very happy and really wanted a family. We had been married for about 6 months and not pregnant, so I was afraid I would not be able to have children. We discussed children before we got married and agreed that we wanted to have six, which is exactly what we did have!
Later when we learned that I was pregnant, we were so thrilled and on Sunday, January 1, 1939 we had a beautiful baby boy we named Jerry! He was born there in our little home. I did not realize what a mother’s love was and how my mother loved and cared for me until that moment! We were just kids ourselves and Jerry could not be more loved! When he could sit up, we put him in a shoe box and pulled him around the house!
One day Houston was working in the field for my brother-in-law, Lloyd and I carried him some water. With water picture in one hand and Jerry on my other shoulder, Jerry started slipping down, so I pulled my arm up, but pitched him on the ground over my shoulder! He was not hurt at all, but I was scared and cried and cried! Houston was very upset with me!
We had the same wonderful feeling of joy and love with each of our new born babies and the hospital nurse would always ask if the baby was our first because we were always so excited!
We struggled with finances and when Jerry was about 6 months old, Houston was fortunate to get a job working third shift at Cannon Mills in Kannapolis. That also meant that we would need to move. We got the opportunity to move near Mooresville into a two story house with Houston’s cousin Madry and her husband Carl Belk. My brothers, Roy and Marvin and their families lived in Kannapolis and later Florence and her family moved there.
We also had our first car, which was a 29 A Model Ford. Houston had traded our cow ‘Sunshine’ for the car. We were living there when our second child, Geva was born on October 3, 1940. As before, I was planning to deliver at home, but there were difficulties that prevented our plans, so Houston drove me to Cabarrus Memorial Hospital in Concord on a very cold frosty morning for the delivery!
We moved to Kannapolis on Lane Street and Florence and her family lived beside us. Our homes were identical and so close that a car could barely drive between them! Then ‘Pearl Harbor’ came! I will never forget the Sunday we were in Union County at daddy’s home and we heard the bad news. Houston and I had our little family; we were so in love and had never spent one night apart!
So Houston had to register for the military draft! Soon we received the bad news that he had been drafted into the U.S. Navy. I thought I would die and cried continuously! He left on December 10, 1943. I was devastated and so was Jerry, who was almost five. Geva was too young to realize what was happening. I was just a kid myself with two small children to care for and never felt more alone! I went to work at Cannon Mills to help with the expenses and my brother Smith’s daughter, Faye Simpson came to care for the children while I worked. She only stayed for couple weeks because I cried all the time and it was too much for her! I quit the job and depended on the government check we received from Houston’s military service.
I was so thankful that Florence lived beside us! Houston had a 1936 Ford, but he did not teach me to drive before he was drafted. Now that he was not there, I needed transportation. So I decided to drive! Florence and I put our kids in the back seat and away we went to Union County to see our family! Drivers license were not required and I was driving everywhere. We went to church, grocery shopping, driving uptown and anywhere we needed or wanted to go! This helped me so much to be able to do the things that I needed to do. Florence, the kids and I had some really great times together!
Houston and I wrote to each other very often and I treasured those letters I would get from him! The children started school at Jackson Park Elementary. Jerry was in the first grade and Geva in Kindergarten. We had a small dog named ‘Blackie’ that would follow Jerry to school. The teacher would have to send Jerry back home to return him! I was so scared especially at night. So the children and I would sleep together, me in the middle for protection! Three kids growing up together, we had a very special closeness!
Then in 1945 the war ended! Houston had been in the Pacific Theatre, a Gunners Mate on the USS Wisconsin Battleship and covered the landing at Iwo Jima. He also witnessed the bombing of Hiroshima and was in the military for total of two years. Drafted on December 10, 1943 and discharged on December 10, 1945.
In 1946 we moved back to Union County. Daddy had built a smaller house across the road from the home place so we lived in the big house for a short time. We then moved into a new house that my brother Louie had built. While we lived there, Becky was born on May 20, 1947 and Mike was born October 29, 1948. They were so close in age and I remember during church service one Sunday, Becky drank Mike’s bottle of milk while we were standing!
In 1949, we purchased a small 50 acre farm with a four room house on Rocky River Road. Houston was still working for Cannon Mills and riding in car pool to work. His job included picking up heavy bundles of towels and he ruptured a disc in his back. Eventually he had back surgery and I had to go to work.
Our fifth baby was a boy we named Tommy Dale who was born on August 16, 1953 the same year that my youngest brother, R.J. was killed in automobile accident. R.J was in the Navy and stationed in Portland OR. During the Christmas Holidays, he was with friends driving too fast around a curve and had an accident. He died on January 3, 1953.
Jerry graduated high school in May of 1957 and I was pregnant with Randy, our sixth and last baby who was born October 30, 1957.
Jerry enlisted in the Navy and I thought I would die when he left! Geva graduated high school the next year in May of 1958 and was married September 20, 1958 to Vann Hill. Jerry had met Linda Braswell from Unionville when he was on leave from the military and when he was discharged, they were married on June 2, 1962.
We had new house built across the hill on our property and on July 4, 1964 we moved into our first new home! Jerry and Geva were both married, but we still had Becky, Mike, Tommy and Randy and we were all thrilled!
Becky graduated high school in 1965 and married Greg Rushing on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1965. We only had three boys left in our home! Mike was senior in high school, and graduated in 1966. He was soon drafted into the US Army to serve in Vietnam. Geva was divorced in 1966 and on March 24, 1968, married Ken Whitley from Oakboro.
In 1969, Tommy was 15, had his driving permit and loved sports. He was on the football and track teams. Then on April 23, 1969, he was measuring the shotput throw of an opposing team at a track meet and was accidently hit in the temple. He only lived for 19 hours after the accident. Tommy was a sweet and loving person and we will all cherish his memory forever.
When Tommy passed away, Mike was able to come home and not go back to Vietnam. He and Patsy Byrum got married and he was stationed in GA until discharged. They later divorced and Mike married Alice Ball in 1980. Randy graduated high school in 1976 and met Tina Adcock from Crossville, TN while in broadcasting school. They got married in 1978, but later divorced.
Jerry developed esophageal cancer and suffered for a very long time. He passed away in January, 2001 at age 62. It was so hard to lose another child and no one knows the hurt a mother feels when their child is gone forever.
When all of the children were gone, Houston was having many health problems. He was in the veteran’s hospital in Salisbury for several months and eventually went to a rest home. He passed away on January 21, 2003.
In 2004 I moved into an assisted living. I was not able to cook, clean house and take care of my home properly, then after falling and injuring my shoulder, my children convinced me that I should consider making this change. I have really enjoyed being with the new friends I have made and know that it was a very good decision.
I am so thankful for all of my children, who have loved me and cared for me especially during the later years of my life. God has blessed me with wonderful children, grand children and great grandchildren. He has been so good to me and my family and I thank him for His love to me and for His rich blessings upon us all.
Grandma playing piano