Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 12, 2023

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Mrs. Curry saved my life

Hello, Mrs. Curry

by Annmuma

In Retrospect Contest Winner 

J anuary 25, 1964

Dear Mrs. Curry –

Just a quick note to let you know I had a baby boy today and it’s been a really full day.  Ronnie was here, of course, and Merilyn too.  Aunt Clydel was here as well; Uncle J.T. had to stay home with their new baby.

They are all gone now and I’m alone.  My baby, even though he weighed nearly nine pounds, is in an incubator on another floor.  Seems that is the norm for any baby born via C-Section and I suspect I’ll be seeing him in the morning.  He’s healthy and I did get that first glimpse.  He’s beautiful.  I wish you could see him too.

Anyway, Mrs. Curry, I’ve been thinking about you today and tonight.  I wonder if I would be in this happy place in my life had there been no Mrs. Curry?

I remember the January day in 1957 when you stepped into my life in such a meaningful way.  Of course, I had known you my whole life and spent many hours in your kitchen, listening while you and Mama talked and laughed and drank coffee.  Those were special times of a special kind of education, but they became a distant memory when Mama crossed to the other side on October 26, 1956. 

Things had been tough for Daddy, Johnny and me.  Daddy was lost in grief, worked nights and did not talk to either Johnny or me; we communicated by notes written on a pink pad and left by the telephone.  Sometimes he would wake us up for a midnight Billips hamburger.  Other nights, I laid awake, hoping he would.

Johnny didn’t always come home from school.  He would go to a friend’s house or somewhere, I don’t know where.   Although he was only eleven years old, I knew he was into things he should not be and I did not know what to do. Daddy had no idea it was even happening.  Johnny was always in bed before Daddy got home.  I lay awake until I heard him come in.

I was in need of someone to talk to, someone who would listen and care.  I tried visiting with Aunt Grace after school, but that did not work for her or for me.  Merilyn was a new friend then, but we were not yet in a place where I visited in her home or her in mine.  I didn’t know her family.

Age thirteen can be challenging and, though every teacher, every adult with whom I came in contact, was supportive, no one had time to devote to a young girl drowning in grief and desperate for a listening ear.  Or maybe they did, but I didn’t recognize them.

On this January, 1957 afternoon, as I got off the school bus and began the walk up the hill toward my house, I noticed you standing on your porch.  By the time I reached the corner where the break in the fence connected our driveway to your property, you were standing there.

“Hey, Olevia.  I just noticed you coming home.  Do you have time to come in for a minute?  I have a pot of coffee dripping.”

Just the offer made tears come to my eyes.

“Yes, ma’am. I can come over for a visit.”

Do you remember it?

The beginning of the rest of my life started that day.  Every day that I came home from school or anywhere else for the balance of my high school years, I went to your house first.  We watched TV, we talked and often we played cards until Daddy came home.   

I began every morning by stopping at your house for coffee before the school bus came.  If you were not up yet, I knocked on your window.   You listened to my teenage angst.  You offered advice.  You met my friends and made them feel welcome in your home.  

When I wanted to spend a summer with my brother in another part of the state, you encouraged me and when I came home a bit disillusioned, you welcomed me back.

When I ran away from home, I ran to your house.  You welcomed me and, within a few days, you managed a reunion between my father and me, with no harsh words.  Indeed, it was as if I had never left.

Once I needed a new skirt for something and I tried to make it on my own.  It was a pitiful mess and I brought it to your house, crying.  Your laughter made me laugh and, together, I learned how to cut a pattern from newspaper and add the necessary darts, and allow for seams and hems.  You took apart a dress of your own and spent the afternoon converting it into a skirt for me!

You taught me how to cook and, while I did pretty good, I could never match your chicken and dumplings!  I still can’t. 

When I was in your presence, I felt as if I were the most important person in your life!  I took advantage of you and your kindness, Mrs. Curry and I cannot remember, even once, saying ‘thank you’.

I believe you now see through a glass clearly and you know how grateful I am to you.  God placed you in my life as just one of the many miracles I have enjoyed.

Thank you, Mrs. Curry.  I love you. 

In Retrospect
Contest Winner



Without Ms. Curry in my life, I would have had a much different teenage experience. She blessed my life.

The picture was taken about 1960. Right to Left, Mr. Curry, Ms. Curry, -on the ground me with two of my nieces, Peg & Suse- my dad, my stepmother & Merilyn is standing.
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