The Dunnavant Family History
... according to Tom
How a red neck and a classical vocalist
got together to have a house full of boys.
My mom was born Anna Marjorie Hughes in Giles County Tennessee in 1929. It was the beginning of an unforgetable year for the Giles county, Tennesse, The South, The USA and the world, later that same year, the stock market crashed and plunged the world into the largest depression we have ever had. She was the oldest of four childern born to Floyd Edward Hughes ( one of 7 children ) and Julia Olice Stapp both were from southern Giles county.
Her siblings were brothers Carroll Cameron and Alvin Earl and one sister Angeta. I am not really sure where my grand mother came up with her childrens names, but they were unsual then and still uncommon today. One thing for sure, my aunts and uncles were all strong folks, just like my mom. I remember my grandfather Hughes, we called him PaPa, and my grandmother, whom we called "Hoozie" and her father Mr. Stapp. Folks say i have the same stature as he did and familar looks. Well i was 5 years old when folks began to tell me that, and he was in his 80's, so i could never see the resemblence.
My mom had it tough as a kid. He dad had been a semi-pro baseball player, playing with the likes of the famous Slick and Dick Coffman's from Limestone County but a kidney problem pre-empted his turning pro. He was less than 20 when his kidney had to be removed and over time, he continued to have many problems with this, but lived to be into his sixties. Her mom and dad had bought a farm near Columbia, Tennessee. PaPA would farm all week and barber on Saturdays in Linville, Tennessee. He did this as long as he could, untill finally the depression, high interest rates and low returns on farming forced him and his family out of farming. To make things worse, Hoozie became very ill and was hospitalized for several months. My mom was the oldest, and still a youngster, but she did what she could to hold the family together cooking for the family and getting the cleaning done. Finally the family moved to Pulaski.
There, PaPa became one of a handfull of policemen in the town and operated a used car lot as well as a gas station. What i remember most is his love for fishing. He went as often as he could, and though i only went fishing with him once, i watched him clean fish almost every time i went to visit him.
Things became fairly normal. Her mom, finally well, ................................. As the war broke out, my mother was entering high school. In spite of the war, mom flourished. She got involved in the high school band, the chorus. Her grades were so good and her musical abilities so wonderful, she had won a four year scholarship to Western Kentucky in music. She had been packing her bags for months prepareing for what she thought would be the next four years in Kentucky and then on to New York to Juliard.
She had also turned into one of the most beautiful young women around, so when she showed up one day for a chance to sing a song on my Dad's radio show...he was real intrested. She could sing, she was smart and she was georgous! Dad's radio show featured local talent and news about Pulaski 5 days a week. Hard to belive now, but he operated his live show from the lobby of a chicken hatchery. So when one of his buddies made him a $20 bet he would never be able to get a date with her, he took the bet and got a date with her to attend the movies.
My dad and Mom had their first date in the summer of 1946 at the Sam Davis theater in Pulaski, Tennessee. Dad knew what he wanted and soon found out that mom was planning to leave for Kentucky in a few weeks so i guess he put on what we might today call a full court press. It didn't take long for him to propose and on September 15, 1946, mom and dad were married in Athens, Alabama by A.J. Rollins at the Market Street Church or Christ.
They honeymooned at the old Ross Hotel in Athens, and then moved to Elkmont, Alabama into a one room apartment. They had kitchen prividleges and the bathroom entrance was from the porch. To this day, Dad never got his $20.
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