Monday, August 01, 2011

My Grandmother Pauline: A Life-Long Story 1914-2011

Part 1
My Grandmother Pauline with Me ("Crissy") and Little Dog, Candy on a Tennessee Porch
On September 20, 1914 a girl was born to William James and Sallie May Pulley. Their house was already filled with kids, and more would follow this born-in-the-middle, spunky girl who would earn the nickname "Top" amongst her seven siblings (being 8 kids in all.) Every one of the Tennessee Valley Pulley kids had nicknames, too, and there was plenty of teasing and fun in between their hard work that no one got out of on a farm where a family cemetery already cradled their kin before them. Life wasn't easy, but there could be joy between the sorrows and pain. On July 30th she joined her kin both in the cemetery on Warren Hill, but also at the reunion in heaven.

It's fun for me to peruse through the names of those people who share my history, but Pauline Pulley Warren Pope would do more than just make me dresses, sew my wedding quilt or send me small tokens of jewelry for birthdays--she would take me (and my dog, Candy!) into her home when I was a small child still in diapers and drinking from a bottle, while my mother battled for her life in a TB hospital in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

But back to her siblings. See if you think her brothers and sisters had interesting names and nicknames. I knew their nicknames long before I ever knew their real names!:

Effie Opal ("Jinks")
Gladys Leona ("Short")
Ernest Clayton ("Doc") He got this nickname from doctoring his sister with a dung ball covered in flour to resemble a pill to "help" his sister's headache. Yeah, pesky Doc! 
Pauline (no middle name) ("Top")
Earley Clifford ("Cliff") A man who was full of "ginger peachy" until the day he died.
Ollie Larken ("Lark") Another pesky feller.
Mary Lois ("Head") I remember her warm, kid-filled house, and her boys who found it funny to loose-saddle a horse for me, hitting him on the behind, and then laughing themselves silly as I hung on while my saddle slid underneath.
James Edward ("Ton") He won my dad's marbles back for him when some mean boys at school scammed him out of his only toy. He was my dad's best friend and died from cancer way too soon, his son and wife being a friend to me when I was just a kid. 

My Dad, "Wibby,"(Grandmother's 1st son) with his uncle "Ton" (Grandmother's youngest brother) in "fun" days

I don't remember Grandmother Pauline talking much about her childhood, except calling her father, "Dad" and about how much he loved his children. She spoke about him with respect. When she was 16-years-old, she fell in love with a 24-year-old man named Roy Lee Warren. She planned to elope with him one evening, but before she could "run off," Dad caught wind of it from one of her brothers, and he sat her down to talk to her. He was a little heartbroken, and said to her (quoting Grandmother, and I hear it in his Southern accent) "If you think more of him than you do me, then go on and run off. But you can stay with us if you have another thought." 

A Young Pauline
She was wild about the raven-haired Roy, so off she went to marry and keep house on April 4, 1931. Justice of the Peace J.F. Melson officiated. 
Roy Warren, Pauline's First Love on a Tennessee Road

Her first child, Clara Nell ("Nell") was born nine months later. She wouldn't have her second child, my Dad, Wilburn Andrew, (who took creative license with his birth certificate at 16,) until a year later. 
Nell (Warren) and Rob Davis

My Dad has a story all his own and at 16, he ran away from home to Indiana, got a woman to attest to being present at his birth in Tennessee (she wasn't,) and dropped the hated "Andrew" name. I'm pretty sure my Dad gave Grandmother more gray hairs than she should've earned. To fit into Hoosier life, he also changed the childhood name "Wibby" to Bill, and "Wibby" was always called this by his Tennessee family, but everyone in Indiana called him Bill.

"Wibby" Warren, my Dad, with my mother's nephews, Mike & Dan, long before I was born

When Dad married my mother he called home and said, "Get the cradle out, I'm bringing home a wife." My mother was not pregnant and on top of this, he had told my mother that he was adopted. He wasn't. Imagine everyone's surprise when she brought this up to his sisters and mother. Grandmother in a half-way teasing voice said , "Law, if he weren't mine, I'd a'never taken him!"  

Lillian and Wilburn Warren in Tennessee early in their marriage
Besides leaving the bosom of his family and never moving back home, (which most of them never left Wayne County, Tennessee,) he brought home a strange "Northern" woman with a Minnesota/Scandinavian accent. Pauline's second child was a worry to her from early on.  
Sue Warren (Morris) with my mother, Lillian Warren in Tennessee

A year later after Wilburn was born, she would have another child, Melba Sue, and then she got a reprieve from being pregnant for eight years.  Alton Lee wouldn't be born until 1942. Alton would suffer from "spells" (epilepsy) until he died in 2008. He was my Grandmother's "baby." 

Linda Ann, the youngest of Pauline's and Roy's children
Two years later the last child which she would be pregnant with, Linda Ann, would come to live with the Warrens, but she would not be the last child Pauline kept in her home. All of these children called her "Mama," including her grandchildren, and she worked hard both at home and at her jobs. When her daughter Nell married young, had a daughter, Gayla Paulette, divorced and then married Rob Davis, Gayla came to live with her grandparents and didn't move back with her mother until later. Gayla would always call her grandmother, "Mama." 

All of the Warrens: L to R back: Alton Lee, Wilburn & Lillian, Pauline, Roy, Rob & Nell. L to R front: Linda Ann, Gayla, Sue
She worked 24 years at the shoe factory, GENESCO, in Wayne County, Tennessee. She was not without hobbies though, and sewed, crocheted, played mean games of ROOK and BINGO, and loved fishing more than anything else. 

Through both her marriages (my Granddaddy Roy died in 1972 and she married Hiluard A. Pope in 1976 who died in 2002) she fished whenever possible. The early years would be on the "river"--Buffalo River or Tennessee River--near Clifton, Tennessee, and the family homeplace and then she fished the Atlantic Ocean when her husband, H.A., would take her to Florida for deep sea fishing. 

Nothing was better than fishing, and I think she didn't even care if she got to eat the catfish, brim,bass or perch that they caught. Her hushpuppies were renown, though, and she could not only bait her own hook, but could expertly clean and cook her catch, too. Later when she no longer could go fishing, it was a treat to go to local establishments to eat fish and remember "good times" on the river. 

Part 2 of Pauline's Story


Story and Logic Media Group said...

Your grandmother was an amazing woman. I don't think they make them like that anymore.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

It's wonderful you have a detailed record of your family history. Your grandma lived a long, productive life.

Susan :)