Audrey Hammond lived on a camp car for 15 years

Published 7:24 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

By Staff
Senior Living
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights Audrey Hammond. She will be 95 years old in November. )
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born on Nov. 22, 1911 in the country about five miles east of Jay, Fla., on a farm.
My grandfather homesteaded the land in 1895.
He built a sawmill and sawed lumber for people and sawed his own to build his house.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: My father was Joseph Charles Jones and my mother was Patricia Dixon Jones.
My father was a farmer and did some carpenter work on the side.
My mother died during childbirth when I was about 6 years old.
My grandparents raised three of us after she died.
My daddy later married Ana Adkision of Castleberry and they had children together as well.
Q: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
A: There were four boys and four girls.
I am the oldest of them all. And only the oldest and the youngest, my sister, are still living.
My sister lives in Memphis, Tenn. She comes to visit me.
Q: Where did you attend high school and college?
A: I went to grammar school at Little Greenwood. It has been gone for a long , long time.
After that I went to school at Fidelis High School between Dixonville and Allentown until I graduated.
Algebra was absolutely a failure as far as I was concerned. I didn't see any use of it and still don't.
I did like history. I still love history.
I was in the 4-H club during school and loved to play basketball.
Everyday when I got home from school, I had to work on the farm.
I picked cotton, milked cows and fed the cows and the mules.
I never could plow. I never got big enough to do it.
My brothers did that, but there were days when I was at the end of a hoe that I sure wished I could plow and let that mule do all the work.
Q: How did you travel when you were younger?
A: We had to walk to grammar school, but caught a bus for high school.
My grandparents had a black Model T Ford when I was a young child.
We walked to church every Sunday. I went to the Methodist, Baptist or the Church of God, depending on which ever one my boyfriend was at.
They didn't know they were my boyfriends though. I kept that from them.
Q: What jobs did you hold?
A: When I graduated from high school, I went to work in Brewton at a silk mill.
I learned how to weave silk there. I could run six looms at a time.
They eventually gave me the job of examining everyone else's work.
I worked there until the mill closed some years later.
When the mill closed I got a job working as a waitress in a Brewton cafe.
I met a girl from Bay Minette while I was working there and she talked me into going home with her and to start working at a cafe in Bay Minette. That is where I met my husband.
We married shortly thereafter and I traveled with him for his job before settling in Atmore.
I went to work at the old junior high school and Escambia County High School as the lunchroom supervisor at that point.
I worked there until I retired in 1972. I worked there for 17 years.
After retiring, I worked for 18 years at the hospital as a pink lady with the Ladies Auxiliary.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: My husband was Samuel L. Hammond.
I remember the first day that I met him. I was working in the Bay Minette diner when he came in.
He didn't catch my eye the first day he came in – He made me mad.
I was at the counter working and he was sitting on a stool flipping through a magazine.
I asked him if I could see the magazine. He kind of hesitated, but then he gave it to me.
There was a picture of a girl on the cover who didn't hardly have an clothes on. She was scantly clad for certain. I threw that magazine back to him and went to the back.
I told the other waitress that she would have to wait on him, because I wasn't going to have anything to do with him.
Two weeks later, he came back in. I had pretty much forgotten about the magazine.
He sat on the same stool. It was a Saturday and he asked me to go riding around.
I only had a few hours before the night shift started so I agreed and the rest is history.
We dated for about two months before we decided to get married.
We got married on Friday, March 13, 1937 by the Justice of the Peace in Milton, Fla.
We went and got my sister and her husband to stand up with us.
He worked for L&N Railroad when we met. After we got married I began traveling with him on the railroad. We did this for 15 years.
We lived in what the railroad called a camp car. It was a box car converted into a living space for the workers and their families.
It had a kitchen, bedroom and living area.
We traveled to a lot of interesting places on the train.
I especially remember traveling the coast following storms when the railroad workers would have to clear the rails.
I remember one time being out of New Orleans and both sides of the train were surrounded with water.
We ate a lot of sausage, ham and beans in those days.
We had to use ice for refrigeration and a kerosene stove and kerosene lamps for light.
My husband worked with L &N until he retired sometime in late 1970.
We decided that we liked Atmore, so we moved here July 4, 1950. We bought land and had a house built and have been here ever since.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: We never had any children. I have adopted most of my nieces and nephews though.
Q: Where do you attend church?
A: I have been a member of Community of Christ Church since we moved here.
I was a Sunday school teacher. I think that I taught every class from primary to the adults.
Q. What keeps you busy these days?
A: I crochet, do embroidery work and latch hook.
I also paint. I started painting after I retired from the lunch room. I joined the Art Club and took some lessons and then even taught a few myself. I have always been fascinated with colors. I love to read, especially my Bible and other books. I have been a member of the Homemaker's Club for more than 50 years.
Q. Have you traveled much?
A: I have traveled to Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi and Florida.
Q. What's your favorite television show?
A: Braves baseball. I like all baseball, but I am partial to the Braves.
I will stay up till midnight to watch them.
I also like the news, "The Paula Dean cooking show" and the "Price is Right." I also like "Jeopardy."
Q: What advice do you give to people on staying healthy?
A: I would say that my trust in God and the help he has given me through prayer is the main reason for my long life.
It's important for young people to remember that God owns this world and that He created us, each one and it is our choice whether or not we choose Him. God has already chosen us.
And then, realize the importance of family. I do not have an enemy that I know of and would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all of my relatives and friends for their help and friendship.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact Janet Little Cooper at 368-2123 or e-mail her at

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox