Charlie and Betty Meet


Mom had flown out to Lubbock, TX to attend a graduation of pilot training.  A friend of Dad's was marrying a girl from Bainbridge (who lived across the street from Lenna).  Mom rode back with this man to Bainbridge (Lenna's).  Mom wore shorts, barefeet, hair rolled up and no makeup, since it was summer.  Here comes this flighty little man talking to Lenna.  Mom thought something was wrong with him.  Lenna introduced them (Lenna said that they all assumed Charlie was a confirmed bachelor).  Charlene was getting married in July.  Dad lived with Pete and Niza Lane at the time. 


Niza (c), at 90


Pete was supposed to be an usher in the wedding.  Niza had to go to the hospital to have a baby, so Dad filled in for Pete.  Mom was a bride's maid.  That night they had a rehearsal dinner at the First Baptist Church in Bainbridge.  Mom and Dad were attracted to each other.  Dad asked if he could drive her home to Thomasville (40 miles).  Then Dad thought about how much gas he would use, but he still did it.  Dad walked her to the door, but they did not kiss.  The next day was the friend's wedding.  Afterwards, Dad started dating Mom.  Dad would take her to the movies and he went to sleep every time.  One time they were in Bainbridge.  Dad took her to an old airfield in the dark and knew every place there.  They went to Atlanta so Mom could get some school supplies.  Spent the night in a motel (separate rooms).  Mom walked a long way the next morning to get groceries and cook breakfast for Dad in the motel room.  Mom wanted to wait until June to get married, but Dad wanted to get married then.  They got married during Thanksgiving of 1955.


They went to Plant Seed, FL the first night.  Then St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach.




In 1955, Mom was teaching 3rd grade.


Betty:  "The school was my first class in Bainbridge, Ga. in l955/56--the first year I was married.  The third grade.  The most wonderful group of kids I ever taught.  It was in Elcan-King School."



Dad was a flight commander at this time.  Dad took the GED in 1956 and scored very high (except for English).  They rented a little house that used to be a garage on Evans St. (across the street from Lenna).  Mom got pregnant and moved to an apartment in front of it.  They had just painted the house with a lead-based paint and Mom got ill.  They moved to a house on Cameron Dr.  Here Kim was born-the last day of school before the Christmas holidays and Mom was sick (for weeks).  Kim was the last baby to be born in the hospital.  Mom went in labor Wednesday and Kim was born Friday afternoon.  The scales went to 10 lbs. and Kim tipped then.  Four babies were in the nursery with Kim and people were amazed at her size.  Kim was weighed after one week and weighed 11.5 lbs.  Then they bought a house on Julian Dr.  The base was closing so they had to sell the house.  They rented a house on Julian Circle.  Here Chip was born--Mom had a false start.  They called Claire Power who lived next door to us on Julian Dr.  Mom left Kim with her. 


Mom:  “I began having pains before day on Sept 19th.  I got up, woke C up, called Mamaw to let her know to make her plans to come and arose Kim to get her ready.  We left her at Clara and Horace Howards, former neighbors.  Got checked in the hospital and they took me to the labor room.  I remember the nurse telling me to turn on my left side and hold on to the bed side (a rack to keep me from falling off the bed.)  After 8 hours of labor, they rolled me in to the delivery room.  There, I laid for quite a while.  A nurses's aide came over and put her hand on my abdomin and said, "Boy, you're going to have a big one".  The doctor got very upset with her and orderedher out of the room.  He knew that had scared me to death as he knew about the l ong, hard labor I had had with Kim.  Later, you were born. ( It was entirely different from Kims birth.  Nothing could have been like Kim' birth.  It was a nightmare.)  Right after they took you from me, the doctor and nurses got very quiet and were moving around the room quickly..  I KNEW there was something wrong and I got so scared.  I was so upset that they told me the truth.  The cord had wrapped about your leg and your leg was almost black.  The doctor told me later that he feared the loss of your leg!!!!!!!  I really knew in my spirit that you were a special boy!  I was right.”


Kim jumped on the bed and Claire told Kim to stop.  Kim told her "I could have stayed with Niza."  They rolled Mom into labor at 5 a.m.  “It was Sunday night and I was nervous as could be.  I knew the time was nigh.  We had sat out in the front yard with neighbors late Sunday afternoon until almost dark.  I began having labor pains early Monday morning about daylight.  Called Mom to alert her and then called a former neighbor to see if I could drop Kim with her to stay until Mom could get here.  Went on to hospital and you were born early that afternoon.  Could not believe that I was going to have a baby in one day!!! It took Kim 3 days to get here!!!!  When you were born [about 2 p.m., Dr. Willis], you looked like a Japanese with black fuzz from your hairline down to your eyebrows.  Everyone teased me about having an Oriental baby--you see , there were some Japanese student pilots at the airbase.  When they told me it was a boy, the first thing I thought about was that I did not know how to take care of a 'tallywak'.  After you were born, I knew there was something wrong. I told them to tell me exactly what they were talking about and what was wrong. The doctor said the chord had been wrapped around your leg and your leg was black. That scared me to death!!!!! Well, you turned out o.k except for forgetfulness, but I guess I can live with that!!!! I have for 40 years!!!!!”  Dad used to fix Chip for bed.  He was changing his diapers when Chip let go and hit Dad in the face.  After the base closed in Bainbridge, Dad worked selling mutual funds.  He would sell some to his students and some to his mother.  While Dad was unemployed, he and George Hicks built miniature golf courses (Chip used to play with the orange bricks).  Mom taught school.  Mom sold one of the golf courses in Douglas, GA (she wrote the Chamber of Commerce).  After a year, and while standing in the unemployment line, one of Dad's former co-workers told him about an opportunity to go through rotor wing training to become a rotor wing instructor at Fort Wolters, TX (Southern Airways).  He got an offer and took the job.  He went there while the family stayed with Man and Memaw.   Dad kept telling Mom there was no place there to rent.  Mom got on a bus and went to TX.  She couldn't find a place either.  She went back to Thomasville.  Mom and Kim went to TX and stayed in an efficiency unit (with Dad) until a house opened up.  A house opened up next door to the Olsens.  They moved in January.  Man and Memaw came (got stuck in Dallas because of snow), and they had a rocking chair tied to the top so they could rock Chip.  They rented a little brick house until they could move on post.


Ft. Wolters, 1963


Mom and Dad got into Happy House there.  They wanted to get into something they could do when Dad couldn't fly.  Mom and Dad went to Minneapolis for a training program.  They had to go to a gift show in Dallas.  People told them Happy House just filed for bankruptcy.  They took Mom and Dad's money and Mom and Dad got nothing from it.  No one showed them how to display, buy, etc.  It took $9000 to get in.  They had borrowed $1000 from Grandpa Fields, $2000 from Man, and Louis signed a note for $3000.  Dad had $3000.  Dad was working half-days as a flight instructor.  Dad did the cleaning while Mom did the display and buying.  They went in the red every day.  They did this for three years.  After they had lived on post for a while, they were able to get into a house off post.  They stored much merchandise in the house.  Aunt Lottie would rearrange boxes in our house all the time.  It was around this time we got Georgia, the dog.  Dad had gone to Fort Rucker (1961) to put in for Civil Service.  He crashed in a OH-23 in 1963 (student pulled pitch in a hover).  In 1966, while instructing at Fort Wolters, Dad heard from Fort Rucker asking if he was interested in fixed wing instructing.  Dad drove all night (with the family) to take a physical.  He had high blood pressure.  The doctor told him to come back Monday, but he couldn't because we lived in Texas.  The doctor OK'd him and he passed the physical.  Dad took a flight test (he hadn't flown fixed wing for five years) and passed.  He quit Southern Airways.  They went out of business with Happy House and still had the original debt.  They finally paid off the debt.  The inspector wouldn't give us back the cleaning deposit for the house.  We stayed in 12 Oaks motel because of a storm.  The next day the family took off in two packed cars.  We got dropped off in Thomasville.  One thing I do remember about that time is that Dad gave me a ride in a TH-55.  I believe one of his friends owned one.  Dad took safety courses at USC, January 1966.  Mom went out for his graduation for ten days.  Dad went to Hinesville to work at Ft. Stewart (Chip was in 1st grade at Jurger school in Thomasville) while family stayed with Man and Memaw.  Dad made $10,000 per year at Ft. Stewart.  He switched jobs to safety while at Stewart, then later worked at Hunter.  They found a place in Ludowici (Dr's. old home).  Rented it for $300.  They had to clean everything.  The water barely trickled out and the wallpaper was peeling off.  They heard creaks, scratches, and stayed awake all night.  They moved out the next day.  Mom and Dad rented a little brick house in Hinesville.  Mom finished teaching 1st grade there.  Chip was in Mrs. Smith's 1st grade.  We moved into a house in Savannah.  Dad:  "Remember how we played football in the front yard at 12428 Northwood rd? I always wanted you to play offence but you always insisted on playing defense when we went for the home run ball.”  In June 1967 (last day of school) Mom learned that Uncle died.  She went to Thomasville for the funeral, then back to Savannah.  Chip went to Windsor Forest, Mom got a job teaching there, and Kim went to Jr. High.  We lived on Northwood Rd. until Dec. 28, 1971, when we moved to Ozark, AL.  Dad went from the Safety Center at Hunter (Savannah) to what was then named USABAAR (United States Army Board for Aviation Accident Research).  Dad:  "I was 58 at the time and was interviewed by Col Conrad the CO of USABAAR.  Elmer Geiges who worked there got me the interview.  One other safety at Hunter had gone to USABAAR and retired shortly after.  Col Conrad didn't like that as USABAAR paid for his move from Savannah to Fort Rucker.  He thought that I might do the same.  However, I came thru the interview and was told to report on 7 Nov 71.  I give Elmer credit for getting the interview for me.  I retired 1 Mar 85 so you can see I stayed there almost 14 years and of course had several CO's by then and was 72."  Elmer Geiges:  “During his tenure at Rucker he was an instructor in Aviation Safety.  This job resulted in his travels to all parts of the United States and overseas.  I feel this was a very important part of his contribution to Aviation Safety.”  Dad was also a crash investigator at Fort Rucker.


Elmer and Jeanette wanted us to move to Meadowlake Dr., Ozark, AL.  They shortly afterwards moved to Germany.  We lived in Ozark 14 years.  “I was a GS 13 and Chief of the Acquisitioj & Records Djivision. I had respnsibility for gettint the accident reports - ground & aviation- in and determining the classification of the accident and what went into the computer. I have a wiring digram of when I retired and I had 22 people working under me.  I remember the ball playing in the front yard at 710 Meadowlake. I was always glad of the high ground between our house and John's - it meant I didn't have to chase the ball so far when I missed it or a wild pitch (you can guess which one).  What was the name of the Braves first baseman who we mimiced takeing his foot off the bag?"  We sold that house so soon Mom and Dad had to move to an apartment in Dothan.  Mom had to go to the hospital twice because of some odor.  They then rented a tri-level house with pool on Joseph Dr. for a year.  Dad retired March 1, 1985.  They moved to PTL.  Both cars were packed.  They lived there for 2.5 years.  Later, Mom and Dad went to Asheville on a free weekend pass.  They drove by Kenmure and Dad loved it.  They bought a condo there.  Mom's leg went bad there because it was on concrete slabs.  Then they found out about Carriage Park.  They were the fourth family to build there so they got to select their lot.  They later moved to the Oaks, then to 985 Greenwood Dr.  Then they moved to Country Meadows lane.  They paid $655 a month rent for the 3 bedroom/2 bath apt.  Mom and Dad totaled 17 moves in 42 years.  The government moved them once (Savannah to Ozark).


Charlie:  "I don't know what Mama told you about Food Lion but think it best that I tell what happened.  Mama gave me a list as usual with numbered items to do.  One of them was to pick up strawberries.  I did my planning so to get back home by 12:30 so could see The Young Restless.  I was running a little ahead of schedule so pulled in Food Lion lot and listened to Rush before going in store to get Strawberries.  While sitting there I thought to look at the list again and noticed I had not done one thing - pick up a Town Tooter.  The place was not far from where I was so drove around there and got one, came back to Food Lion parked and listened to Rush.  I thought to look at the list once more and noticed she mentioned highway 176.  I was on highway 25.  Checking further I found I was supposed to go to Bi-Lo for the strawberries.  So that is where I went.  No problem."


Mom:  “Last Thursday, Dad went to the post office to mail a package to you, to mail some letters for me. He had the customs receipt along with the letters in his hand and dropped them ALL into the mail box. He had to get the superintent to let him go back into the back area to get someone to retrieve the customs receipt. He saw a mailman in uniform standing against the wall in the hallway and walked by him and said, ‘Howdy.’ The man did not respond. When Dad got down to the end of the hallway, he turned and looked back at the man as he was rather upset that the man had not spoken to him. He realized that it was a dummy!!!!!!!! That's a true story and you wonder why I worry about him when he goes out alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!


“Sat we went to a grand opening of a new residential area way out in the country. It had free bbq, helicopter rides and Dad met two guys there who went thru Wolters in Texas and Rucker in Ala.  We both got free rides in the heli.  Anyway, we rode this dune buggy back into the wilderness to see some beautiful waterfalls. We rode with the mayor and his wife. (Dad did not know who he was until I told him!!!! Woe is me!!!)  Anyway., later we went to get a bbq plate.  The mayor came and sat down beside us.  Dad asked him, ‘How long have you been out of office?????????’  The mayor replied, ‘I'm still in office.’  I almost went under the table! I wish you could have seen the mayor's face when Dad asked him that question. I was facing him and he had a look of amazement on his face!!!!!!”


“Sent Dad to Hardees with a special coupon to get some fried chicken.  Went over it 3 times with him. He gets out there and walks in. Puts the coupon down on the counter and says he wants that special. The guy looks at him and says, ‘This is Arby's.’”


“This week he was driving out Four Seasons Boulevard, the busiest 6 lane in town.  He was in a line of traffic that stopped for the light across the street from the police station. HE WENT TO SLEEP while waiting for the light to turn green. The next thing he knew, he saw a lady in a white dress walking away from his car door going towards the police station. Her car was parked behind his and her door was opened.  He realized that someone had been trying to get into his car and his door was locked. He looked behind him and there was a long line of traffic backed up with her car behind his with the door opened. He realized that he had been asleep and she had tried to get into his car so she was heading for the police station. She thought he had died!!!!! He took off FAST!!!!!!  Can you imagine the thoughts that went thru that lady's head and she turned around and saw him driving off in a hurry?????????? I hope that lady never sees me in that car!!!!!!! I think it is now time for Dad to quit driving alone.  !!!!!!!!!"


"I usually keep lemonade in a quart jar in the fridge for you know who. Well, with Kim and family coming last weekend, I did not have room in my fridge for the lemonade. (Can't imagine why!) Anyway, I cooked some chicken breasts to make some chicken salad while they were here and had a good bit of chicken broth left so put it in a quart jar in the fridge. You can figure out the story. Dad came into the kitchen to get something to drink with his sandwich and said he was getting some lemonade. I was busy and didn't think about not having any lemonade. Well, he took the lemonade back into the living room where he was eating his sandwich. The next thing I knew, there was a big yell and he came running into the kitchen to the sink!!!!!!! He had taken a big swig of the cold unsalted chicken broth expecting it to be lemonade and was SICK!!!!!!!! Now, how could he have blamed me???????????????"


“We went to a pig pickin bbq dinner in Asheville today.  Our financial adviser opened a new office there and had a big blowout.  There were hundreds of people there.  You go thru this line to get your name checked off the rsvp list and to get tickets to go thru the food line.  Then, you go into the big office where the big cheese greets everyone. (Forgot to tell you, but we got name tags with our names written in large letters.)  As we approached the big cheese, he said, ‘Hi, Charlie, it's good to see you.  Hi, Betty. good to see you too.’ (You've got to understand that we have only talked with him eye to eye about 3 times in all these years.)  Well, his 3 new young associates were next to greet and they all greeted Charlie with a ‘Hi, Charlie.’  As we walked away, Charlie said I can't believe he remembered me and those young guys knew me too.  I reminded him that he had a name tag on!!!!!!!!!!!!”


“I finally got Dad out of the house last night.  We went to see ‘Songcatcher,’ a historical mvie about the Western NC Mountains.  (We both liked it and recommend it.)  It is about the old mountain music. Anyway, one scene was where a husband was shacking up with a mountain gal.  He had promised her that he would never leave her for his wife. Well, in a church scene, she rushes into the church and says, ‘Reece, you promised you would never leave me!’  And with that she held up a shot gun and blasts him.  The next scene is a line of people going up this steep hill to the cemetery.  (Dad is wearing earphones issued by the theatre for the hard of hearing.) He YELLS out, ‘Poh old Reece.’  He was trying to be cute to me.  EVERYONE hears him and turns around and looks at us and laughs.  Dad did not even know that he had YELLED it and could not see the people looking at him in the dark theatre or could not hear them laughing!!!!! I just slid down in the seat!!!!  When we came out, I told him and he said he saw me sliding down in the seat and thought he might have done something funny!!!!!!!!!!  This happened at that little downtown art theatre that only seats about 50 or less people. They have two chairs to each little round table.”



Charlie Fields


Betty Fields


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