My great-grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 98. At her funeral they read a beautiful…something, that she had written. I can’t call it a letter or a journal entry. It seems to literally be something she wrote to be read at her funeral, recapping her life. I’m going to post it here and please remember that she was born and raised in a different time. She wrote this on October 25, 1998. “Wilma Jean, 3 years old” who she mentions in the letter is my mom’s mother. My grandaddy’s first wife passed away of tuberculosis. Her name was Annie and I am named after her (My middle name is DeAnn). My Aunt Joy read this at the funeral…and even me, who isn’t a crier, cried.
I, Lucille Katherine Ivey Alvey, am the daughter of William Washington and Mary Elizabeth Rudd Ivey and am one of thirteen children. We were very poor, but we always had plenty to eat, and had clean clothes to wear. Our clothes weren’t always the best, but we made out with what we had. I remember they would pick blackberries and my Mom would make jelly. We all got along good and we were a happy family.
As my older brothers grew up, they left home to get work. I would see my Mother cry and it hurt me so much. I said, “I will never leave my Mom and Dad” and I didn’t. I am the only one out of the thirteen children that never lived anywhere but in Paducah, Kentucky.
My Mom and Dad moved around a lot. They were raised in Ragland, Kentucky, just a neighborhood where their relatives lived. We lived on Cold Springs Rd. and then we moved to Graves county and then back to High Point on Noble Rd. When we first lived on Cold Springs Rd, we went to Sunday school at Palestine Church. I remember there was a colored lady that would come by our house in a horse and buggy and pick us up. After that, we started going to a Pentecostal church. They held their services in a barn and in the summer they built a brush harbor to hold their services and then built a church. That is where we always went to church.
My Dad had a 1923 model Ford. Sometimes it would run and sometimes it wouldn’t. During those times, we would walk to church and it was about 2 and a half miles. Sometimes our boyfriends would walk with us. We never got to go very much because our Dad was really strict on us. He always had to know whom we were with and where we were going.
I met my husband, William Alvey and they didn’t mind me going with him. We went together for a short while and we got married. He had been married before and had two children; Katherine Francis, 8 years old, and Wilma Jean, 3 years old. After three years of marriage we had our only daughter, Mary Helen and four years later we had our son, Wilburn Leon. I was only 17 when we got married.
Bill worked at the shoe factory and he told me he would work and I could take care of the girls, which I did. After we had our children, there were three girls and one boy. I took care of them and did the best I could to raise them right. We never had any problems and we were a happy family.
My husband passed away November 6, 1989 and we had been married 58 years. He has been gone nine years and it has been a long lonesome life for me, but if you are a Christian, you have the Lord. The first night I spent by myself I prayed, “Lord, it is just you and me and you will protect me from danger and give me peace and comfort.” As I prayed, a breeze swept over me like a rushing mighty wind and I felt the presence of the Lord and I knew at that moment he had given me peace and comfort. I haven’t ever been afraid to live alone. I thank the Lord for all he has done for me. He has kept me all these years and given me good health. I thank the Lord for that and I am glad I am a Christian and that I have lived like my Mother and Dad raised me. Thank the Lord!
I have so much to thank the Lord for. On September 19, 1998 I turned 85 years old and I have lived the longest of any of my family. I sold my home and moved to an apartment in Paducah and I am happy to live here until God calls me home. Praise the Lord, for he is a great savior. I would love to tell it to the whole world!