Memories


          You were asking for family stories from your brothers and sisters. Herewith, then are four stories of my earliest memories.


Mother And The Car


          First is the story about Mother and the car in Camp Lejeune. This was before Laviece was born, so is one of, if not the earliest of my memories. We lived in a green-and-white two story house with a garage and attached servants' quarters in Camp Lejeune. I remember being in the back of the car(the old Chevrolet) with Betsy when Mother, leaving the car running, ran back into the house to get a hairbrush. And the car, slowly but surely, started to roll backwards down the driveway to the street. I remember being absolutely stupefied with terror. I couldn't even call out. But Mother ran back before the car reached the street and stopped it.

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Striking The Colors At Sunset


          Second I remember Mother taking Betsy and Laviece and me to see the lowering of the flag at sunset at Parris Island. I remember the long dark shadows, the bugler, and all the other women and children there. This is really a composite memory, since I would have seen the flag ceremony many times. And I remember the low white houses overlooking the sound and the trees. Dad and I visited Parris Island two years ago on the way down to Florida to see Uncle Bob and Aunt Geri. And the white houses and the live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss were still there in the officers' quarters. The houses were, surprisingly larger than I remembered (you know the way places look smaller to you as an adult than as a child) and the live oaks were unsurprisingly, larger than I remembered, too.

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Aunt Laviece And The Debutante Ball


          Third is a very early memory of Aunt Laviece's debutante ball. I remember being with Mother and Betsy in the balcony of Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh and looking down as, one by one, ladies in long white dresses were met by men in evening clothes. The couples gathered together to make a circular figure. One of the reasons I am sure this is a real memory, not something I was told is that I remember the ladies in the long white dresses coming out of a little lattice work gazebo. It was dark behind the gazebo, except for a lot of little red lights. When I told Dad this, he said the red lights were the cigarettes the men were smoking while they waited to escort the debutantes in the figure. After the figure, Mother took us away. I remember stumbling over the feet of a lady in the dark. She was wearing the high-heeled, open toe, platform shoes fashionable at the time and gave me a dirty look. After asking Mother about this, she told me that I remembered seeing the figure at Aunt Laviece's debutante ball in 1946, when I was not quite three years old.

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Gwin Lee`s First College Football Game


          Fourth is not a real memory. I have reconstructed this story from what Nanny Oliver told me. It might be titled "Gwin Lee's First College Football Game." Mother and Dad were going to New York for Thanksgiving so they left me with Nanny Oliver and Kaka and Betsy with Nanny Cox and Big Daddy. I think it was before Laviece came along. Nanny Oliver and Kaka had tickets to the Duke-Carolina game that weekend, so they took me along. They sat on the Carolina side, of course, but Nanny bought me a ribbon in the Duke colors and pinned it to my coat. And I had a little Marine Corps pin on my coat too. And, as Nanny told me, Duke just tromped Carolina that day. And, every time Duke made a touchdown, I would stand up and yell, according to Nanny, without any prompting. (Probably the first and last time I understood what was happening at a football game!) And, finally, after Duke scored for the fifth or sixth time, an Air Force man sitting near them turned around and said,"Would you please get that child to be quiet?" Nanny explained that my father had not only been to Duke but was a Marine and he said it figured. But Nanny said it was really funny; the dead silent Carolina fans and this one small child standing up yelling at every Duke score. Of course, I expect it was funnier to her than to Kaka, since she didn't go to Carolina. I think I must have been about three at that time.


Gwin Lee Cox

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