Loss of friends


I do not mind growing older nor the fact that sometimes I cannot think of the name of one of my children. I do mind, however, the loss of longtime friends as they grow older also.

One friend lost last June was Joe Stinchcomb. He was born and raised in Fayette County and also raised his family here.

I met this family when one of his children, Angela, became the baby sitter for my daughter. My daughter is almost 49 years old, so I have known this family for a long time. Unfortunately, Angela died in her early 50s and I was privileged to attend her funeral at Edgefield Baptist Church. I have attended a number of events at this church, some sad but most were happy ones. Sometime I’ll write about them.

Joe had served as a Sunday School teacher and a deacon here and also was a Marine in World War II and received a Congressional Gold Medal for his service.

I miss Kenny Melear very much. A lot of each of our past here in Fayette County was connected. When he died recently I wrote about this association at that time. I have often wondered what his minister brother thought about Kenny having five wives – well, one of them he was married to twice. In the early 1970s I had worked in a real estate office with his first wife who was also the mother of his only child.

I was in a woman’s club with, I believe, the fourth one. She was a goner, though, when she put his favorite chair in the garage.

You could always count on a fascinating conversation with the late General William J. Livsey, one of only four Georgians to attain four-star rank in the United States Army.

I always enjoyed conversations with him as they varied and may, or may not, have anything to do with Army service. I also count as personal friends several who either served with him or worked under him in the Army. Their admiration is endless.

Twelve Fayette Countians carried the Olympic Torch on July 17, 1996 and each of us tipped the flame in our torch to the next recipient in front of us. I tipped my torch to light the one of Gen. Livsey. Even though he was 64 years old then he was still fit as a fiddle and began running with the torch with Georgia State patrolmen running after him. You see, the temperature that day was 98 degrees not to mention that several thousand observers had shown up to see this event in the town square and didn’t want see one of the torch bearers whoosh by them.

At his funeral I got into a conversation with a lady in front of me. She said she owned a house cleaning company and had been hired to go through his house. I told her the Olympic torch story and then I exclaimed “his torch!” She smiled and told me they had found it. I am pleased it remains in the family where it belongs.

The most recent friend I have lost is Rosa Penson Anderson, who would have turned 96 this month. She was born and raised in what is now Peachtree City and was a teacher at Fayette Training School until it closed after school integration in Fayette County in 1970. She was then a teacher at Peachtree Elementary School where she was named Teacher of the Year in 1976.

Having been raised in the North, I was not raised with some of the vegetables best known in the South, namely collard greens. When moving here and hearing about them, they didn’t sound very appetizing. I first had them in Miss Rosa’s home, and you know? They weren’t too bad.

We enjoyed meeting one Saturday out of the month at various restaurants and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Old age eventually took over and we just visited on the phone.

I will surely miss them all.