|In Memory of
Willie Mae Pritchett Lawson
March 25, 1937 – November 19, 2014
When this precious lady and dear friend passed away in November, my heart was flooded with sweet memories of growing up as her neighbor in Brundidge. The Lawson’s lived two doors up the street from my us. She often recalled the time we first met when Pam said, “Mama, that little red haired girl is coming over here”. She will always be “Miss Willie Mae” to me – though she went by Mae or “Mae Mae” later in her life. I wanted so badly to find photos that captured the spirit of this sweet lady and our awesome neighborhood but the truth is that we made relatively few pictures back then. Not to spark a debate over the use of social media, I’m just saying that one thing right about it is the documentation of precious memories. My teenage daughter documents everything in photos and she can always go back to those moments through pictures.
If we had Instagram “back then”, I am sure there would have been photos of the countless trips to the “store” (Piggly Wiggly, Dime Store, Dykes Drugs, etc.) that “Miss Willie Mae” took us on! I am sure there would be pics of our “toys” or “coke floats” or whatever she got for us – in the same way Elle takes photos on every trip to Starbucks.
If we had Instagram “back then”, I am sure we would have countless pics of the many spend the night parties at the Lawson home. Their home was like my second home – always very welcoming.
If we had Instagram “back then”, we would have no doubt made pictures when sweet Pennie was born of Pam and I getting to hold her. “Miss Willie Mae” told us we could hold her when she woke up. Not sure if we ever told her that we shook the bassinet a little to get her to wake up! She was true to her word and let us hold her.
If we had Instagram “back then”, we would have had pics from the “6th Grade Graduation Swim Party” that my parents, the Lawsons and hosted for us at the Country Club. It even made the newspaper – The Brundidge Banner! Everything made the Brundidge Banner!
If we had Instagram “back then”, I’m sure their would be photos from the many trips to P.L.A.S. to football games, band camp, 21 Club, play practice, etc. – you know, the kind everybody takes now driving in the car.
If we had Instagram “back then”, I am sure that Greg, Rita and I would have taken a photo of the pot of peas we cooked with “Miss Willie Mae’s” help. She was the “stay at home Mom” in the neighborhood and we would go to her for everything when our Moms were at work. One time, Rue (Greg and Rita’s Mom) had asked the housekeeper to cook a pot of peas to have ready when she got home from work. The housekeeper didn’t show so we took it on ourselves to call “Miss Willie Mae” for help. They turned out great! She was always just a phone call away.
If we had Instagram and I Phones “back then”, my phone would surely have run out of memory! We had some good times in our little neighborhood and, for me, so many of them involved the Lawson girls, who were really like sisters to me. You could always count on my Mother and “Miss Willie Mae” to confer and see that our “stories” were straight! She was always kind, encouraging, warm, loving, giving, an example for all to follow!
At her funeral, her grandson Hunter recalled that their were 3 things he learned from her 1) Family first, 2) Keep traditions and 3)A pack of Lance Crackers and a Coke were always good for a meal! He talked about her strong faith – that was no surprise because of the way she lived her life.
The pastor told a story about a time when she was at an arts festival that little boy was going from person to person, asking for money. Not until he asked “Miss Willie Mae” did anyone give him money. When they were leaving she saw him buying food. As the pastor related the story, he said that her philosophy was always that she would rather know that someone took advantage of her than to know that someone needed her help and she didn’t help them. Yes, that’s the precious lady I knew!
As we grew up and lived in different towns, I have always felt as close to this family as I ever was. Time did not change our relationship at all. I am so glad that this little red haired girl walked through “the weeds” (that’s what we called the empty lot between our houses that was there when we first met) to play with the Lawson girls. We didn’t see each other that often, but just like when we were growing up, I always knew she was there! We will miss her terribly and my heart goes out to Pam, Patti, Pennie and all of her wonderful family. I know that she has a special place in heaven right there with Mr. Charlie. See Pop’s Legacy .These two left a special legacy that will be lived out in the lives of their precious daughters. To know this family is to love them and I love them very much!