Friday, February 3, 2017

Piedmont College and my mother

Today I mailed off a package to the College Archivist at Piedmont College in Demorest, GA. It contained about 50 slides of the college taken back c. 1965, and some letters written by my mother at that time. How did I happen to have these? Well, when my father died in 1957, my mother was left virtually penniless, and she had to work. She was 56 years old at the time. She lived with me and Shirley in the parsonage at Dummerston for a few months, but learned that in Vermont, as a woman,  she could be a lay minister, and so for several years she served churches in Glover and Bridgewater, VT. Then she tried being a housemother at St. Johnsbury Academy, but that did not last for long. It was then she decided to go to the place where she and my dad had met, the summer of 1925 - Piedmont College. Mother had been a student at Atlanta Theological Seminary for a year and was taking courses at a summer session at Piedmont (she had never gone to college). Dad had just graduated from Piedmont and was teaching at the summer school. I think he heard mother singing - she had a beautiful voice - and was smitten.

Here is what I wrote to Craig Amason, the archivist:

In addition to the slides, enclosed are two documents written by my mother, Olga W. Crockett. The first is a letter she wrote to me and my wife, Shirley, May 7, 1965, almost exactly 40 years after her first arrival at Piedmont. It describes how she arrived at the college unannounced one evening, Monday, May 3rd, was very kindly accommodated and eventually re-connected with "Dr. Schultz," a member of the Piedmont faculty whom she had known at Atlanta Theological Seminary. She ended up being offered work by President Walter, and staying at Piedmont almost exactly a year. Eventually she found the work, and especially the travel it entailed, to be too stressful. She was 64 years old at the time and had some health issues. She lived only a year and a half more after leaving Piedmont in the spring of 1966.

       The second document is a talk which she apparently gave to groups in various places in the surrounding area about the college. I imagine that the slides might have been shown on the same occasion as her talk, but her talk does not refer directly to the slides. Her talk includes a little personal history about how she had originally come to Piedmont and met my father there in 1925. 

I had written Piedmont and asked if they were interested in the slides and letters. They were. It was good to find a home for them. 

Here are some scenes from the college in 1965:

Entrance sign

Newly built Daniel Hall

President James Walter

New Gymnasium

An early dormitory building


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