Friday, March 6, 2015

Clara Jean's Box of Special Treasures

Being an Air Force wife is not an easy job. You pick up your family and everything in your home and move it, lots! From the time my mom married my dad on September 14, 1956, until she passed away, she moved at least twelve times. Some of those moves may have been in the same town where we moved from an apartment to a house. Her final move was to San Antonio in 1981. Considering that some people never leave their original homes, twelve times in 25 years is a lot of moves. Clara Jean Garrison Hatch knew how to pack. She had the moves down to a fine science. Since we were limited on weight by the movers, it was also a time to purge unwanted/unneeded items.

The first move in my mom’s life was from the hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina to her parent’s home in West End, just a few miles down the road. Mom was born on February 10, 1939. She was one of the first of her family to be born in a hospital. Very early in her life, she was nicknamed “Tukie” and was referred to that even later in life. When she would return home, her family called her Clara Jean or Tukie but the military friends she made with each move, always called her Jean. I wish I had thought to ask why she dropped the Clara.

Being the youngest of 12 and only one of four girls, I suspect her older brothers watched her over, carefully. Many of them were quite a bit older. The first born, Ira Paul, was 25 years older. That is a whole generation difference in age. The next oldest brother, Albert Hamilton Jr., 22 years older, was married and already had a son, Charles, who was born two years before mom. A niece and nephew were actually in the same grade with her, for all their years of school. That would be odd to be in elementary school and have someone call you Aunt Clara Jean. 

Mom's Baby Doll 

Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about mom’s early years, except what I can glean from a box of her “special treasures” that she left behind. Buried inside were so many surprises; many fun things I had never seen before. One was this little doll. She is very old and I have no idea what the story is behind her but she was important enough for mom to keep her for her entire life. I think her little bonnet is original but the dress is handmade. It was probably not the one she had on when mom got her. 

I found a certificate from grade school that declared her as the “School Champion Speller”. She was the winner of the spelling competition in 1951. Also, I know from a picture I found, that as a child she was in a play. I wish I knew what the play was and who else is in this picture with her. I think her niece Arlene is second from the left.

My mom, Clara Jean Garrison, is sixth from the left.

The box also had lots of memorabilia from high school and her early years of marriage. She had numerous newspaper clippings of her friends, classmates, sports events and boyfriends. Mom was very active in high school. She belonged to the Future Homemakers and Beta Clubs. She attended many of the school's athletic events.  I found one of her punch cards for the home football games in 1955.  All the games were punched.

She was on the Pinehurst High School basketball team and from what everyone says, she was a very good player. She loved the sport.  In fact, she received her letter for playing on the team.  (see picture below)  She was always an athlete. Later in life she tried her hand at golf and was hooked right away.  

One of mom’s boyfriends in high school was James A. Barber, Jr. who went to the rival high school in Southern Pines. Jimmy was a very talented athlete, playing both baseball and basketball. After graduating from high school, he went on to State College in Raleigh. On my mom’s sixteenth birthday, Jimmy had just finished one of his sport's practices, fell while taking a shower and was found by classmates a few minutes later. They called for the doctor but he did not survive. As a child, he had a heart condition. That had to be an awful time for his loved ones and friends. Mom rarely talked about this event but she kept many of the obituaries from his death in her treasure box. 

Thank goodness he had a best friend by the name of James “Jimmy” Hatch.

Today's Terri's Tidbit:  Some time ago I discovered the website  In fact, I think my brother Kevin told me about it.  Any time I am going to a store or ordering something online, I go to this site to see if they have any coupons or coupon codes I can use.  Many stores are now using to list their current specials.  I was at the local shopping center the other day and they had banners all around reminding you to check them out before you bought anything in a store.  You can get some great savings.  Click here to see their website. 

1 comment:

sage said...

There was a lot of pride of those who attended Pinehurst. My dad played football, basketball and baseball, but graduated in 55, so that ticket wouldn't have been for his games. I think they played 6 men football.