During my high school years, our family attended The First Methodist Church of Waynesville. It was a relatively large church with an upscale congregation. Not everyone had a lot of money but they were generally better off than the average citizen in the area.
Dad was required to dress in coat and tie, usually a suit to fulfill the job responsibilities as a school principal. He, of course, wore these same clothes to attend church.
Mother didn’t have a lot of nice clothes that she felt comfortable in wearing to church. She felt underdressed. Therefore, Willie Boone did not attend church regularly.
Mother also didn’t have as much education as most of the attendees of First Methodist. She had to drop out of school early to attend to her younger siblings since her mother, Maggie, died young, at age 48.
Sometimes, from all the way back in the Great Depression years, Mother would receive a package in the mail from Aunt Eleanor, wife of her brother, Hugh. Aunt Eleanor had very nice clothes and sometimes she had a surplus.
Her husband had a good job with the city of Greensboro, N.C. Hugh Medford was an engineer and very well thought of in Greensboro. They named a street after him.
Dad’s sister, Aunt Iva Willis, also sent clothes to mother occasionally. Mother needed these clothes and seemed glad to receive them. It was gracious and kind of Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Iva to think of Mother.
These boxes of clothes affected me differently, although I knew Mother needed them. This made me feel like we were receiving charity. To me, it was like these gifts of love were CARE packages.
This proud boy of the mountain did not want any sort of welfare. I came from stock that was self-sufficient who would rather do without than be on the dole in any way. I know that my Mother did without so that us children would have decent clothes to wear to school. This made me feel sad and hurtful.
Most of the family went to church with Dad, but Mother would usually stay home to prepare us a good dinner, which would be ready when the troops returned from church. This made me feel guilty, so I would usually stay home with Mother.
With five or six children at home, a lot of things would get out of place. I would spend a lot of this time just putting the house in order. I knew that this gave my hardworking Mother some relief and also held my guilt at bay.
These boxes of clothes affected me differently, although I knew Mother needed them.
I wanted so much for Mother’s situation to improve. My prayers were answered. Our family finances improved gradually as we children left the household.
When there was only my little sister, Dale, left at home, Mother could dress better and Dad could even take her out dinner on occasion. She began to enjoy attending church and felt more at ease in her surroundings.
The rewards of a frugal life and hard work finally came to Mother and she no longer needed the care packages. There is a God.