Thursday, March 21, 2013

Celebrating Woman's History Month: A Tender Moment-Saying All She Could

Day 21 Blog Prompt from The Accidental Genealogist
Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

Azile Daughrity Roberts (1921-2009)
Gilbert Ernest Roberts (1920-1944)

 My maternal grandmother, Azile Daughrity Roberts Sullivan, was widowed at age 22. Her husband, my grandfather, was killed in the South Pacific in August of 1944. He died 2 months before their 4th anniversary.
 Grandmom never talked about her first husband, Gilbert Ernest Roberts.

 My mother, Brenda Roberts Hudson, never really knew anything about her father. She was only 3 and her brother, Gilbert "Gil" Roberts, Jr. was just 5 months old when he died.
There were pictures of him in her grandparents home and although she visited there often, she doesn't remember anyone ever talking about her father other than he died serving his country.

 In the early 1990's I decided to tape record an interview of my Grandmother. I asked her about her parents, her grandparents, friends and other memories of growing up in Sumter,SC.
 Then, I asked about Gilbert. She took a deep breath and told me how they had met on the side walk in front of her house. He and some boys from Camden, SC had ridden over to "see what the girls in Sumter were doing".
 Gilbert had friends that were dating girls from her neighborhood.
  She remembered him coming to visit on Easter Sunday wearing a white suit. She said that he rode the bus from Camden and when she went to pick him up "he was the funniest sight I had ever seen- dressed in a white suit, walking in the snow!'
 Sumter had experienced an unexpected snow fall that day.
  They married after dating for a couple of years and moved to Charlotte,NC where Gilbert and his family were working in the Cotton Mill. The Roberts family would be transferred by the Mill back and forth from Camden,SC to Charlotte, work became available.
  "What kind of person was he?" I asked her. "Oh", she said, wiping her eyes again,(she had been doing that since she began talking about him) "he was a good father, just like your husband is with your kids. He would get off of work at 2:00 on Friday afternoons, and then Brenda was his. I never had to do a thing for her when he was home. He would take her to the petting zoo in town and to the drug store. He did everything for her while I took care of the washing and everything else until it was time for him to go back to work".

 She never did talk about him enlisting in the Marines,other than he could have been differed because he had children, but "he would never do that" she said.
 She never talked about the time he was away Training Camp.
 She never talked about sending him off to San Francisco where he would leave for the South Pacific
 She never talked about that terrible day she received the telegram informing her of his death.
 She never talked of how difficult life was for many years as she struggled to take care of her children and try to get over her grief. 

She did talk about taking her time in deciding to get married again. She wondered how someone could quickly get over the death of a spouse and move on. She said " I still felt very connected to my first marriage". 
  I believe she always did, and, although she didn't say much, I believe she said all she could. 

© Cheri Hudson Passey


  1. I'm so glad you interviewed her. Here are the precious stories for the descendants to remember. I love the part about him getting off work early on Friday to be with his daughter, Brenda. Wonderful! And the part about him in the white suit, during an unexpected snowfall. Pictures are wonderful, too, but stories give life to the pictures. Some griefs are just too great to "get over." No one gets over them, and that's OK. They're part of you. I lost my little sister in 2002 when she was 46, and I don't try to get over that. Every day I have a bit of silent conversation with her. That's what counts.

    1. I am so glad I interviewed her too! Now that she is gone it is so wonderful to hear her voice.
      You are so right. You can never "get over" someone. They will forever be a part of you.
      So sorry about you sister. I love that you talk to her everyday!