AUNT BEULAH WAS ANOTHER HALF!
I was constantly reminded that I was a “half”—half-sister, half-aunt for sure– and sometimes I worried that I might even be a half-daughter! So I was delighted to find out that Aunt Beulah was also a half. Arley’s half-sister, she was born to his father Jasper Eaves by his second wife when Arley was 13. After the death of his mother Sallie, Arley and his younger sister Pearl periodically lived with relatives because Jasper worked on the railroad. I don’t know if or how long they ever lived with their stepmother.
But Arley always loved his little sister Beulah. She developed diabetes as a young adult, which Arley said was brought on by drinking several Coca-Colas every day! Since then, she’d had daily insulin injections, watched her diet and still had frequent health problems.
In 1921, Beulah married Charles Perry, and they had two daughters, Geraldine and June. They lived in Hickory, North Carolina, and her father Jasper spent his final years with them there.
it was always fun when they came to visit us in Athens. They obviously enjoyed each other—and after Gerry married Bill Moser and June married Avery Wilfong, the whole crew (including grandkids) came along.
We only made one trip to visit them in Hickory. Arley decided on a rare family road trip one summer, and somehow we crammed four kids (Jerry, Joe, Bill and me), Tootsie, and my parents into our non-airconditioned Dodge for the trip. It was a grand adventure—at least from our point of view—but one that Arley never repeated.
Aunt Beulah died at 57 (six years after Arley died) when I was in college. My oldest half-brother Monte drove Tootsie and me to Hickory for the funeral. It was another very hot trip—just like our family visit years before. On the way home late that day, we stopped for a hamburger at a roadside restaurant. Monte said he just had to have a cold beer—and I decided to have one too (my first). Tootsie didn’t approve! I think Aunt Beulah would have—although she would probably have wanted a bottled Coca Cola instead!