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Betty Jean

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Betty Jean - Page Text Content

S: Betty Jean

FC: Betty Jean | Revisiting the legacy of a beloved mother and family legend

1: to Leah for coming up with this whole idea and working so hard to put it all together. Thank you Chelsea for all the leg work you provided collecting info and for financing this. Thanks so much to Aunt Bobbie, Aunt Liz, Aunt Pattie, and Mom (even though you were unaware all of the questions about your mother weren't just for curiosity's sake) for telling us your stories and impressions of Grandma Betty. Thank you for slaving over scanners (you too, Paul) to get us these pictures and finding websites to help make this book. I honestly thought this was just going to be a Mother's Day gift for my mom when we started, but now it feels more like a gift to us all. I'm so grateful to have been given the opportunity to get to know her better and fall in love. Jessi Myer | Thanks | Liz, Kim, and Bobbie 1963

2: Betty was born January 4, 1935 in Pleasant Ridge, TN Aunt Pattie: "She was the 2nd of nine children. She always took care of us. She would cook and sew because my mother was sick with diabetes. The thing I remember the most was that she taught me my ABCs and my numbers. She would do all the things that a mother would normally do for her children. My mom never took us out to buy bras or underwear or anything, so when Betty was married and came to visit she'd always take me out shopping for underwear and that sort of thing." | Aunt Bobbie: "When Betty married Bob she told him that she couldn't cook, so for the first year they were married, he cooked. When they went back to Tennessee to visit, her family bragged about her great cooking so the game was up and she cooked ever after." | Bob & Betty May 23, 1954 | Air Show 1957 | Mom in Kitchen 1954

3: Aunt Pattie: "We used to live on a farm when we were younger. We grew corn and tobacco and cotton. We did lots of farm chores: milking cows and collecting eggs. We had most everything we needed right there. Later, she moved in with Uncle Tom and was working as a waitress when she met Bob." Aunt Liz: "She was a waitress in an Air Force base in Tennessee. When they were dating, Dad didn't have a car, he had a plane. So when they went on a date, they flew." Aunt Bobbie: "She continued to take care of her family when she married my dad by sending them care packages. She also did that for Kim when she went away to college in Utah. Her 2 youngest brothers (Uncle Rudy and Uncle Ray) lived with us at different times, for a long time. Her dad, Felix Holman, also lived with us. I had to give up my room for him and bunked with Kim until she left for college." | Rudy, Betty, Bob, & Liz: The Family in 1960

4: Mom and Baby Kim 1961 | October 1961 at church | Aunt Bobbie: "She was always so proud of us and supported us however she could. She was a Girl Scout leader. She would volunteer for the Dance Team in high school. I remember her loading the break-through I had painted onto the bus which was no small feat considering by then she had arthritis in her hands. She came to every game and stood up and cheered after every performance." Aunt Liz: "Mom would stay home on Sundays while we went to Sunday School and fried up chicken in a local park where we'd go walk the trails." | The Family in 1961

5: Liz, 8 1/2 month old Kim, and Mom 1962 | Aunt Pattie: "When your mom and them went to Turkey she used to take a lot of pictures and send them to us because we wasn't around to see [the girls] growing up. And different places she would go in the world she would always buy clothes and send them to mom because she wouldn't buy them for herself. She would go to yard sales and Goodwills and buy things and mail them back to her. I thought that was neat. She was a caring person for other people. She really was." | 1962 Mom, Liz, & 9 month old Kim

6: Aunt Bobbie: "Story goes that she just married [my dad] to get out of Tennessee. She loved to travel, which they did, even when we came along, living in both Turkey and Germany." Aunt Bobbie: "I remember we had just gotten to Turkey and taken a cab to our penthouse. There was no base in Ankara, so we lived in apartments like on the 5th floor and there wasn't an elevator. We used to have to walk a mile to get fresh water and carry it up all those stairs. So I had fallen asleep in the cab (who wouldn't after a 12 hour plane ride? I was 6) and my mom reached in to get me. At the same time Liz says, 'Just leave her there' and slams the cab door. My mom had to have 3 fingers sewn back on because they were just barely hanging on by skin. She never yelled or screamed or cried that I remember. She developed terrible arthritis in her fingers years later and never complained. One day when I was a teen I walked in to her room and she was sitting on the bed holding her hands, rubbing them and quietly crying." | Letter from Kim to Mom 1971 | Ankara, Turkey 1968

7: Aunt Bobbie: "I love the picture of her and my dad on the flight line. Have you ever seen that movie Blue Sky with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones? They remind me of my mom and dad (Aunt Liz even looks like Winona Rider who plays the daughter in that movie). Rent it if you can." Aunt Bobbie: "When we lived in Germany (in 1968), my mom couldn't drive a car, so she decided to teach herself! Late at night, when everyone was asleep, she'd take the car and 'drive' until she learned how. Later in Mississippi, my dad bought her a silver car and she was known as 'The Silver Bullet.' " Aunt Liz: "[We] moved every 8-10 months and that woman's head would not rest on the pillow until there were pictures on the wall and the sitting room was all arranged. I can't touch her work ethic or drive." | Mom and Dad on flight line 1954

8: Aunt Bobbie: "She had lots of what's now called social intelligence. She genuinely loved people and always gave them the benefit of the doubt. When I was having trouble with kids at school she would tell me that I didn't know what that person was going through at home and maybe that's why they were mean. It gave me a tolerance for people that I still carry with me. Although, one time I remember coming home crying because this girl was making fun of my name (at the time no one named their girls boys' names). So she comforted me and asked what that girl's name was. I said, 'Betsy' and she said, 'Isn't that the name of a cow?' Mom never said to make fun back at her but I did and I never had trouble with that girl again. Problem solved!" Aunt Bobbie: "Mom was very creative. She sewed lots of our clothes and her party dresses. She knitted and crocheted with string (very difficult) and taught us how. She also loved paint by numbers." | Christmas, Keesler Air Force Base in MS | Paint by numbers

9: Aunt Liz: "She worked at the Broadwater Beach Hotel in the 1960s as a waitress. She'd come home with $60 to $70 to $80 in change." Aunt Kim: "She worked as a waitress her whole life. I remember when I was young, she would come home and dump out her apron and it was just filled with hundreds and hundreds of coins. I just remember thinking it just looked like a pile of nickels." Aunt Liz: "When she was working as a waitress at King's Inn she waited on Johnny Cash and June. He had just gotten out of prison and was so mean to her." Aunt Liz: "When she was married to Jim, he wanted her to stay home, but she always preferred to work. She had such a strong work ethic." | Broadwater Beach Hotel, Mississippi

10: Dad, Mom, and Gino 1961 | Homemade cake

11: Aunt Liz: "[Mom and Dad] went to the Non-Commissioned Officer's club every Friday night. While Mom got ready, Dad would take us to McDonalds to get our hamburgers. When we came home, Mom would be ready and the babysitter would already be there. It would have been nice if he'd taken her somewhere else just once, but it was there or nowhere. The men were all shipped out at the same time to the same bases so the men formed a bond. I'm sure it was just more comfortable for them to hang out together." Aunt Bobbie: "She and my dad were constantly entertaining. He was so gruff and insulting but she was the consummate hostess and everyone loved her, so their parties were well attended." Aunt Liz: "She always made sure that when Dad came home he had something to eat. She'd be at work but there was always dinner and always a cake. Usually yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Always from scratch, never from a box. She tried to keep things normal." Aunt Pattie: "Betty was a real good cook. Always made the best cinnamon rolls when we come over for breakfast. She'd have biscuits with cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. Probably wasn't a recipe. Just something she did." | Mom in color, 1967 | Mom w/ Dad's Parents

12: Aunt Liz: "She always made sure all her siblings had a present for Christmas. They told me that often the only present they got was the one she gave them." One game Mom (Kim) told us they played together when they were little was "smoke." When there were fights in cartoons, it would just show a big ball of smoke with a fist or a leg popping out every now and then. So to play "smoke" they'd take Mitzi, who served as the smoke and roll around in a ball together, randomly sticking limbs out. | Aunt Bobbie: "I also remember complaining that I didn't like doing housework (we all had chores). She told me when I had my own home, I would. And to this day, I keep a clean house. Reminds me that I was also mortified as a teen to bring anyone in because we had a ceramic she made of a black woman in a boat without a top on right on our coffee table! Not to be outdone by the bronze 3 ft statue of the naked pee-pee boy from Brussels." | Aviation Boulevard, Texas | Mom and Dusty in Biloxi, MS

13: Aunt Bobbie: "We took a lot of road trips when we moved back to Texas to visit her relatives in Tennessee and his relatives in New Jersey. We took our dog Mitzi. Most times we drove straight through by taking turns driving. My dad was always afraid to go to sleep because when he woke up he'd never know where she'd driven us. Once she'd stopped by an insane asylum (he called it a loony bin) and he woke up to see weird people staring at us through a chain link fence. One time Kim complained that Mitzi was tired so we stopped at a hotel and Mom snuck her in under her coat by pretending she was pregnant. Liz always said if we hadn't complained that we were tired they never would have stopped." | Mitzi, beloved travel companion and "smoke" prop | Mom, Kim, Bobbie & Dusty

14: Aunt Bobbie: "The 'sexy photo' is so her. She loved to dress up (she was all legs and boobs) and loved pretty filmy negligees." Aunt Bobbie: "She loved to wear wigs! Once, one almost blew completely off at a rest area and another time when we went skating and Dad had one arm and Uncle Gino had the other when they were teaching her to skate. The wig fell over her eyes and she couldn't see!" Aunt Bobbie: "She had this laugh that sounded musical-very infectious. She was terrible at telling jokes; always got the punchline wrong or said it first. You couldn't help but laugh though, because she would be laughing." | Mom with Dad's Relatives

15: Aunt Bobbie: "When I describe my mom to people, I tell them to imagine Lucille Ball and Dolly Pardon rolled into one person. Beautiful, fun-loving, and always up to mischief." Aunt Bobbie: "When we lived in Turkey my parents went to a movie and took us with her. It was an incredibly racy movie for the times (Barbarella with Jane Fonda) but they had us bring toys content with the knowledge we wouldn't pay attention to it. They were mortified for months because we reenacted every bizarre scene." Aunt Kim: "She never gave me the sex talk, but one day I came in to my room and there was an STD pamphlet on my floor." | Betty in 1956 | Betty in 1961

16: Aunt Liz: "She loved to sunbathe at the pool. Never, never, never saw her without her makeup done. Never. She would do her fingers every other night. She was a very girly-girl but she also knew how to get to work." (in reference to the picture with the fish) Aunt Kim: "This is my favorite picture of my mom. She was always so happy, and she looks so happy in this picture. I just love her smile in this. It's how remember her." | Aunt Pattie: "She was a very very happy person, you couldn't be around her and not be happy. She loved margaritas. One time we stayed up drinking and playing cards half the night. That was a fun visit." | Mom and Kim at base pool

17: Aunt Pattie: "I can remember us going swimming and she taught us all how to swim in the river. She taught herself all kinds of things. She was the type to just figure it out, but once she learned she would teach everybody else how. She was a wonderful teacher. | Mom in Gulf Port, Mississippi

18: Aunt Bobbie: "Here are the last formal portraits that I took of Mom when I worked as a photographer for Olan Mills. She was sick with cancer but still looked beautiful to me. Mom and Jim lived with me and Dan until the end. Those last six weeks were so bittersweet. She was lively and gracious the entire time she was ill; always thinking of everyone else besides herself." | 4 January 1935 - 5 April 1985

19: Although she's been gone for years, I think it's a testament to the person she was that she's still remembered so fondly over 26 years later. She's left behind quite an impressive legacy of hard-working, creative, smart, friendly, resourceful kids and grandkids all with hints of that infectious smile that touched so many. All of us can be proud to know that we owe part of our existence to such a strong, effervescent woman.

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Jessica Myer
  • By: Jessica M.
  • Joined: almost 9 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 1
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Betty Jean
  • All about Momma
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  • Published: over 8 years ago