Trudie Colbert DeWise was a welder at age 16 during World War II
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights Trudie DeWise, who turned 78 this year.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in my grandmothers house in Popular Springs, but I just say Uriah and I was born on May 10, 1928.
Q: Who were your parents?
A:Willis and Lillian(Gibson) Colbert. They were married in 1927 and remained married until my father passed away.
Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I have three brothers and one sister.
Leon Colbert lives in Pensacola, Charles Colbert lived in Monroeville, and Billy Ray Colbert. Billy Ray is deceased, but he lived in California.
My sister's name is Linda Cook and she lives in Magnolia Springs.
Q: Where did you attend high school and/or college?
A: I went to Blacksher High School in Uriah. I didn't finish, but back then it wasn't a big deal to not finish school.
I quit and got married when I was 17.
Q: How did your family travel when you were younger?
A: Well, I was about 15 when my daddy bought a car so before then we walked every where we needed to go.
We lived in Eliska and my grandmother lived in Popular Springs and every summer she would drive her horse and buggy to our house.
She would spend the night and the next day she would take me back to her house to stay a couple of weeks.
I can remember her taking me to the "Big Store," the general store in Uriah, every summer and buying me a new dress.
I'm not sure why my brother never went to my grandmother's house. He was glad to get rid of me because I used to boss him around.
Q: Do you remember the first vehicle you bought?
A: It was bought by my husband and I. It was some kind of Ford. It was a one-seater with a rumble seat.
Q: What jobs have you held?
A: My first job was working on our farm when I was little. I chopped cotton, hoed cotton, and hoed peanuts. I didn't get to plow because the mules didn't mind me much.
Then, when I was 16, we moved to Uriah. It was during World War II and my daddy went to the shipyard in Mobile and got a job as a burner. This was during the time when all the men were being drafted so I went to Mobile and put in my application to be a welder.
They hired me and sent us to school to teach us welding. We went to class for an hour then we would weld for an hour. We did that for about four weeks. When we got good enough they sent us out into the shipyard. I worked there for about two years.
I was actually working there when the war ended. You could barely drive a car down the streets there were so many people. There was water in the streets that had been there a while so there was that green algae growing in it and it was so funny to watch the sailors in their white suits jump in those puddles. They would look like lizards when they were through.
After that I went to work at Vanity Fair in Monroeville. I worked in the cutting plant for a total of 37 years.
I say a "total" because I got pregnant with Ronnie and had to take some time off. And then I went to work at a pants factory in Frisco. It was supposed to be for the summer, but it turned into about a year.
I retired from Vanity Fair 18 years ago.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: I married Elevearon DeWise. Most people called him "Boots" or "Shorty."
When we moved from Eliska to Popular Springs, I was the new girl in the neighborhood and, you know how boys are, they have to check out the new girl and he was the one who won the date.
We celebrated 50 years June 29, 1997. He passed away in November of 1997.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: I have three boys and one girl. Sarah (DeWise) Wiggins lives in Frisco, Larry DeWise lives in Megargel, Murell "Sonny" DeWise lives in Mobile, and Ronnie DeWise lives in Uriah.
I have six grandchildren, but one is deceased. Alton Wiggins, Timmy Wiggins, Stan DeWise, Jeremy DeWise, Tiffany DeWise, and Tammy Wiggins who is deceased.
I have four great grandchildren, but three are deceased. Connor Wiggins, Sarah Wiggins, Taylor Wiggins, and Brandy Wiggins. Sarah, Taylor, and Brandy are deceased.
Q: Where do you attend church?
A: I am a member of the Megargel United Methodist Church. I have been a member there since we moved here. Probably about 50 years.
Q: What keeps you busy these days?
A: Well, I'm not a person that sits around and feels sorry for themselves. I get out and cut my own grass, clean my own carpet, and clean my own house.
If I want to sit in my recliner and watch t.v. all day I will. If I want to get out and go somewhere I will.
Q: Have you traveled much?
A: I've traveled from coast to coast, from north to south.
I've been to Chicago, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and California.
Q: What is your favorite television show?
A: My two favorite shows during the day are "The Young &The Restless" and "The Bold and The Beautiful."
At night I like to watch "Dancing with the Stars" and news shows like "Dateline" and "60 Minutes". I like good movies, too.
I used to be able to dance like those people on Dancing with the Stars, but not anymore.
Q: What advice can you give on staying healthy?
A: Be happy, don't smoke, don't drink, don't cuss, go to church, don't over eat and don't drive too fast on motorcycles.
You just have to be happy everyday. Things aren't going to go your way everyday so don't worry about them. Just think God every morning that you can get up out of the bed.
(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.)