Annie Mae McLemore was a teacher, Practical Nurse for 27 years
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights Annie McLemore, who will turn 80 years old on Oct. 31.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in Laurel, Miss. on Oct. 31, 1926. Sometimes I say that I am a witch because I was born on Halloween.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: Mary Leggett and she was also from Miss.
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I had one brother who passed away. His name was R.J. Moss. He lived in Miami, Fla.
Q: Where did you attend high school and/or college?
A: I went to Brewton High School, but I got married when I was 15 so I left school when I was in the 10th grade. I went back and finish school in 1992. Then I went to Jefferson Davis Community College and graduated from there in 1998. I also went to a school in Montgomery to become a practical nurse.
Q: How did your family travel when you were younger?
A: We always had a car when I was younger. I remember my parents had a Ford pick-up truck.
Q: Do you remember the first vehicle you bought?
A: It was a Chevrolet and it cost me about $500. I remember having to work two jobs to pay for it. We always had a car, too. You have to have a car to get back and forth to work.
Q: What jobs have you held?
A: Well, my first job was at Skinner Macaroni Company in Pennsylvania. My first husband and I moved there because that's where he was working. Back then, you moved to where you're husband got a job.
I had to lie about my age to get that job. I was only 16 and you had to be 18 to work there.
I started out in packing. One day the boss tapped me on my shoulder and asked if he could see me in his office. I thought that I was in trouble for lying about my age.
When I got in his office he asked me if I wanted to work as a shipping clerk and I would get a dollar an hour raise. I thought it was funny because I thought I was getting into trouble and he wanted to promote me. I worked there for about seven years.
Then I moved back to Mississippi and took care of my grandmother until she passed away.
After she passed away I moved to Jackson, Miss., where my aunt lived and I did home healthcare for about six years.
Then, I started having children and my main job was taking care of them.
I still had little jobs that I would do while my husband watched the children, like cleaning offices at night, doing a little bit of home health care, and canning vegetables at home for the winter.
I became a teacher's aid at Poarch in 1971 and while I was doing that I took night classes to finish high school.
When I finished the night classes I became a full time teacher at Poarch.
Then they passed a law where every school was required to have a nurse present. So, I went to Montgomery and got my Practical Nursing License.
I worked at the Poarch school for 27 years. That's where I retired from.
I never knew what it felt like to not have a job or have nothing to do. I still sit with the elderly to this day.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: I married Woodrow Pitts when I was 15 years old. The first time we saw each other we said we would see each other again. And we did, but we had to be secretive about it. That just made it more interesting. He passed away when Margaret, my daughter, was 18 months old.
Then I married Bert McLemore. His brother lived down the road from me and Bert's niece and I were good friends and she introduced us. That was many years after my first husband passed away.
He was a construction worker and he worked all over the United States. Where ever he was working is where we moved, so I have lived in almost every state. I have lived as far north as you can go and as far south as you can go without going out of the United States.
We ended up in Atmore and Bert had a heart attack and died when Gina, another one of my daughters, was 18 months old.
I kind of like being single. I have no one to answer to or tell me what to do. If I want the heater on then I can turn the heater on. If I want to go on a trip all I have to do is pack up my stuff and go.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: I have six children, four girls and two boys. Margaret lives in South Carolina, Diane lives in Florida, Anita lives in Daphne, Gina lives in Atmore, Danny lives in Florida, and Glenn lives in Florida.
I have 12 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Q: Where do you attend church?
A: I am a member of Cross Point Baptist Church and I have been a member there for six years.
Q: What keeps you busy these days?
A: If you walked out into my back yard and saw all of my flowers you wouldn't ask me that question. I love gardening. I worked in a nursery for a little while. I even have a flower that I brought back from Hawaii. Two of my daughters took me there on vacation.
I still do a little home healthcare and I love to read.
I am also trying to get my other house on 110 Maple Drive back in order from where Ivan messed it up. It had about seven trees laying on it.
Q: Have you traveled much?
A: Oh yes. When I was married to Bert we traveled all over th United States.
I still like to travel, though. I travel to South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi to see my family.
Q: What is your favorite television show?
A: I don't have a favorite television show. I watch the news and that's about it. I read most of the time. I read almost every night.
Q: What advice can you give on staying healthy?
A: Don't smoke, don't drink, and eat three meals a day instead of one large one.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact Stacie Cofield at 368-2123 or e-mail her at composing@atmoreadvance. com.)