THE VILLAGE TIMES
Independence Village of Olde Raleigh Resident Newsletter
Meet Clara Godwin
by Pat Simpson
Let me introduce myself. My name is Clara Godwin. I’ve lived here at Independence Village for the last eight years. I also have a twin sister Elma who has lived here since September 2021. (They call us “Toots” and “Boots”.) I was born 91 years ago at our home on Friendly Drive (formerly the south end of Dixie Drive), near North Carolina State’s School of Textiles (Nelson Hall). I was named after my grandmother Clara from Athens, Georgia. All told, I had three brothers and two sisters and a stay-at-home-mom named Pauline Berry. My father was Claude Berry who delivered mail for the U.S. Post Office – mostly in the Hayes Barton neighborhoods.
We later moved to a home (since torn down) at 2800 Hillsborough Street (near the intersection of Bagwell Avenue). I remember the apple trees that adorned the front yard and that I had a yellow cat named Kitty Luke. But my favorite pet was a dog named Bismarck. Sadly, he was killed one day while running across the road.
I made lots of friends in my neighborhood; we played softball, picked strawberries and blackberries, and handpicked plums off the trees. My hobbies included creating paper dolls as well as reading – anything and everything – until this very day.
I attended Fred Olds Elementary School in Raleigh and later Broughton High School. My very favorite teacher was sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Lawrence. She was an excellent teacher, as well as very comfortable to be with.
Having been born in 1930, I am definitely a child of the Great Depression. I grew up during that never-to-be-forgotten decade. The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939.
But I was lucky…and blessed.
I’ve always been known for helping people, forming good relationships and for making new friends. I was also very active at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, even singing in the choir.
I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up – primarily because I wanted to help people – so I decided to attend the North Carolina Baptist Hospital Nursing School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After three years in the registered nurse program I graduated as an RN and pursued my career at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
My twin sister and I then decided to move to Charlotte, N.C. where I worked as a nurse at Charlotte Memorial Hospital for the next four years, continuing my education in their in-service training program. Along the way, I got married but after five years our marriage ended in divorce.
So I returned to Raleigh and began what became a thirteen-year career at the Dorothea Dix Hospital (known at the time as Dix Hill). I took classes at NC State during this time, working on a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree.
Ultimately, I married again and we moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where I worked for 24 years at the Central Virginia Training Center until I retired in 1995. This marriage also ended in divorce. We did not have children of our own but raised the two children of my husband from his previous marriage.
I have three nieces who have been very helpful and caring for me. They are the children of my twin sister Boots, so they are also like my own children. They are my POAs and are always there when needed. I salute them and their mother. Thanks for everything Brenda, Nancy, Laura and Mom (Boots).
I returned to North Carolina in 1995 where I have lived until the present time. Prior to coming to Independence Village I lived in Apex, N.C. for fifteen years where an older brother and his family also lived. But, after he died, I decided I needed to make a change in my life. As someone once said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” Since I was born and grew up in Raleigh, coming back to the area was very compelling to me. So I visited Independence Village in October 2014 and immediately thought: “What a beautiful place this would be in which to live!” It was like coming home!
I have no regrets other than I wish I had traveled more. I’ve been to Hawaii but I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska. I like the beach but I also like the mountains!
One thing of Interest: When I was visiting Canada on 9/11/2001 many of the people in our group were Elderhostel members from all over the country. All the borders were closed so many who had cars wanted to drive home but could not. We (my group of four) were rescheduled to fly home on Sunday (9/16). But no flights we’re flying out from the States. We did not know how long we would be away from home. Finally, on 9/14 we were notified to be at the airport in Calgary, as our flight would be leaving on schedule. We were finally going home – after a sigh of relief!
Eevee’s Story – by Phyllis Woolley
Hello peoples. I hope you are as good as me and Mom. Last week mom and Aunt Laura gave me a new toy basket. They also fixed a nice Amazon bed for me. I use my Amazon bed in the daytime while Mom’s gone, and I take my naps in Mom’s lap when she’s home. I sleep with Mom at night. Can you believe they didn’t ask me where I wanted any of my things? They just put them where they wanted. So the other night while Mom was asleep, I got up and moved everything where I wanted it. I moved my bed closer to Mom’s bed, my toy basket to the other side of the table, and my scratch pad closer to my tower. I knew Mom would be happy so I decided to wake her up. I had already walked up and down her body three times when I heard a strange voice. It said “Call connecting.” Then a voice said, “Phyllis, are you ok?” The voice woke Mom up. She said, “Yes, I’m fine. My cat has been walking across me and must have stepped on my button.” The voice from the little box by the coffee pot said, “Are you sure you’re ok?” He was laughing a little bit. When Mom said she was sure, he laughed a little and went away. Mom said, “Eevee, it’s two in the morning. What are you doing?” Well I forgot all about moving my things! “Aren’t you scared of the voice with no head or body?” I thought. It might be a ghost or maybe Jesus sent an Angel to get Mom and I scared the Angel away. I need to find out where Mom has her button and stay away from it. Mom didn’t seem one bit worried about the headless voice. It sure scared the bejeebies out of me. I know one thing for sure. Next time Mom leaves, I am prolly going to beat up that little box on the counter and knock it on the floor. This morning I sat one of my little mice on Mom’s chair at the table. It was a little gift for her just in case I do something bad today. By the way, I watched Uncle Tony and he showed me how Mom’s new chair moves back and forth. Mom says it swivels. Anyway, if I stand on my back paws, and put my front paws on the arm, I can turn Mom toward the wall and she can’t see the TV. She thinks I do it by accident, but I got news for her. I do it when I want rubs and attention!
😂 Well peoples, Mom is in her chair drinking her coffee. I am going to get in her lap and take a nap. I love all my peoples! Do something nice for someone today and don’t tell anyone you did it.
Horse Tale – by Margie Lewin
2007 I was looking for a place to live, I happened to rent a small apartment on a horse farm off of Creedmoor Road. no lady I rented from had 150 acres of land and people would board their horses and groom them on the weekends. it was a nice little place. Every window I looked out seahorses in the field. One day when I got from work noticed a beautiful black stallion the Corral by my place. I want over but he turned and ran off. Every day I tried to get his attention; one day I had baby carrots in my hand. He came close to the fence turned and ran off. It was as if he was telling me: “don’t look at me, don’t talk to me and definitely don’t touch me”. One day I cut an apple into small slices and held out my hand to him. To my surprise he came right up and ate the apple off my hand. I was a happy girl! From then on when he saw my car pull in, he would run to the fence and expect a treat. His name is Midnight Safari.
I love my job.
The Failed Invasion of the Spanish Armada – by Richard Smalto
The reason I decided to write about this historic battle was because it included one of the most inspirational speeches a monarch has ever delivered to the troops before the beginning of a battle.
The Spanish Armada was a naval force of about 130 ships. 8,000 seamen and 18,000 soldiers manned ships that carried a thousand guns. Spain assembled the flotilla hoping to restore Catholicism to England by removing a Protestant queen. Outfoxed by the English then battered by storms the Spanish lost more than a third of its ships before it returned home humiliated. The defeat of the Spanish Armada resulted in a surge of national pride. By keeping the Armada from completing its invasion of England the island nation became a feared sea power. It also established the superiority of heavy cannon (which they were using successfully until they ran out of ammunition) when waging war at sea.
It was mid-August, 1588 before the invasion and while troops were assembled near the English coast at Tilbury in the county of Essex. To ward of an attack on land Queen Elisabeth 1, on horseback and attired in military garb, gave a rousing speech to her troops that rivaled and was as inspirational as the St Crispin’s Day speech Henry the Fifth delivered to his troops in 1415. In part what she had to say was as follows:
“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman: but I have the heart and stomach of a king and a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma of Spain or any Prince of Europe should dare invade the boarders of my realm; to which rather dishonour shall grow by me. I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, … I will be rewarded of every one of your virtues in the field.”
The End of Days – by Frank Howes
My friends are slowly dying. No. That statement is a lie. The truth is, my friends are fastly dying. ”Do I lament,” I ask myself? “No,” I answer, “not really.” Instead, I treasure each moment.
I treasure the moments when my friend bids four spades and makes it. Each such moment is precious – a revelation.
I treasure the moments when one of my friends reads her or his words, for occasionally I find delightful rhythms and hidden gems in them.
I treasure the moments when I hike with my friend, even when he is telling bad jokes. Each such moment is invaluable, for perhaps it prolongs my life and health.
I treasure the discussions of my tablemates, for they have valuable things to teach me.
I treasure the smiles of other residents, for they brighten my day.
My parents are my friends, and I will miss my father’s gentle wisdom, and my mother’s abiding love. These things are priceless.
All these things are passing – like smoke in the wind.
If there’s one important lesson I’ve learned in life it is this: one never knows when the end of days is just around the corner. You see, death sneaks around. He is a viper that conceals himself until you step on him, causing him to deliver his lethal kiss. He is a serpent who hides in plain sight, guarding the gate to forever, repeating over and over “You shall not pass. You shall not pass. You shall not pass… until you do.”
Death stalks Independence Village, implacably. Each time I write something for the Writer’s Club I think, “You never know when the last words you write, may be the last words you write.”
My friends are fastly dying. And who knows? Maybe I am too.
Got Something on Your Mind? Cogitate! – by Carol Armstrong
As I grew up, I occasionally heard the words or COGITATE or COGITATING. – usually to describe someone who appeared to be deep in thought.
- means to ponder on, meditate on, contemplate, to think about something deeply or intently.
- first known use was in 1582.
- from a Latin root meaning “to think about.”
- some examples:
- cogitating the possible consequence of my decision.
- cogitating on his career plans.
- cogitating on the mysteries of nature.
Cogitating is often done when you are alone in a quiet place – some beautiful place in nature, in your room with the door closed, on the front porch in your favorite rocker, or during a walk on the beach. It can help quiet and sort out your thoughts, and lead to a solution or decision about a problem or choice. It can take you back to a time and place that was special, to revisit it for a while.
If you have a problem, a decision to make, or a special memory – COGITATE!
Pterowocky meets Jabberdactyl – by Pat Simpson
(As told by Beauteous Bantling)