November 15, 2021

THE GIRL FROM DURHAM

While he was a student and football player at Duke, Easy met a petite young Durham girl who worked in one of the campus offices. Her dimples and beautiful smile soon captured the heart of this tall handsome Tennessee boy!  

When he brought his girlfriend home to meet the Eaves family, they were charmed.  I was probably just learning to walk. Mother said Mildred was so pretty and well-mannered and they were happy to see how much in love she and Easy were. She was very different from the oher two Eaves daughters-in-law.  And hearing everyone raving about the charming newcomer didn’t sit too well with them.

After graduation from Duke, Easy went into the FBI and the young couple moved to his first assignment in Pikeville, Tennessee.  By the time I was two or three years old, I too became a huge fan of Mildred.  I loved watching her crul her hair and put on her makeup, and thought her polished nails were spectacular.  She would bring me tiny lipstick samples for playing dress-up, and every time she visited, she would paint my fingernails. I thought that was dreamy!

She always enjoyed Mother’s cooking—and her famous coconut cake with the middle layer pink was Mildred’s very favorite.  One always seemed to appear each time she was in Athens. 

She and Easy lived many years in Ashland, Kentucky, where their two sons Buzz and John were born.  They enjoyed an active social life with friends there.  

Mildred loved the sun—and got deeply tanned every summer. Whether she was at their country club pool or on a beach in Florida, she was soaking up those rays. She and Easy were happily surprised when she got pregnant with John—over a decade after Buzz was born.  About six weeks before her due date, they went to Florida and stopped by for a visit with us on the way home.  She put on her bathing suit and went swimming at the Niota country club—tanned, happy and very pregnant! 

About six weeks later, Arley died at home. Easy came for the funeral but Mildred stayed home.  The following month, their baby boy arrived and they named him John Arlie Eaves II.

A few years before I moved to Nashville, their sons hosted a 50th wedding anniversary party for them at John’s home.  Heather catered the dinner and most of the Eaves family came over to join in the celebration.  Kay’s niece and her father provided live music for the evening and the honorees danced away the night. Life wasn’t always smooth sailing for Mildred and Easy, but they were together.  And Mildred still had her great smile!

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