Born on the day of the stock market crash in October 1929, Pattie grew up on a subsistence farm in Stewart County, Tennessee during the Depression years of the 1930’s and World War II years of the 1940’s. In her rural neighborhood of Standing Rock Creek, there was no electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, or telephone service. At her high school graduation, Pattie was sixteen and too shy to give the valedictory speech. She entered Murray State College in Kentucky that fall of 1946 and graduated four years later, at age 20, with a degree in Elementary Education, certified to teach elementary school.
Because her sister and brother-in-law lived in Crestview, FL, Pattie found employment at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle. She taught two first grade classes each day on the military base – 35 Air Force children in the morning and another 35 Air Force children in the afternoon. Inevitably, with an abundance of young officers to date, she wound up married to one of them.
Their marriage lasted 54 years (until her husband’s death in 2006) but only by living apart for the final 22 years of the marriage. Her retired husband, Col. H. H. Macurdy, joked that three counties between them was just about right. Though living apart, their relationship was amicable. Colonel “Mac” was happy building a hangar with living quarters at Little River Airport near McAlpin, FL in Suwannee County. From a kit, he built a single seat RANS-9 airplane and flew it. The wooden box in which the kit was shipped, became his clothes closet inside the hangar apartment.
Air Force life suited Pattie, who thrived on moving from place to place around the world. Her stories reflect how much she enjoyed the cultures of Japan and Spain. While married to her fighter pilot husband, Pattie lived in San Rafael, CA, Yuma, AZ, Nellis AFB, NV, Colorado Springs, CO, Fukuoka, Japan, Media, PA, Everett, WA, Canilléjas, Spain, Madison, WI, Sarasota, FL, and Fernandina Beach, FL before moving by herself in 1985 to Gainesville, home of the University of Florida. Pattie had long dreamed of living alone in a college town, and she finally made her dream came true.
In 2015, Pattie’s 89-year-old hiker/birder woman-friend, Sunny, died unexpectedly. Concurrently, Pattie and her 87-year-old gentleman friend had a spat about politics and stopped seeing each other. To fill the new void in her life, she joined the Writers Alliance of Gainesville (WAG) as an 86th birthday gift to herself. It was not her nature to sit around alone while growing older.
WAG turned out to be the perfect answer. The Dissociates Memoir Critique Pod accepted her, and Pattie submitted one story per month for thirty-six consecutive months. Fellow pod members have included Phil Springer (who sadly moved away), Becky Micha, Bob Crow, Sandra Strang, and Jackie Trudeau. All are smart, wise, dear, encouraging, kind, and very helpful. Pod members meet monthly at Pattie’s patio home in The Villages of West End and sit around her dining table. Because she is old and has difficulty getting up from a chair, Pod members make themselves at home in her kitchen by fetching their own drinks or snacks. Through their writings, personal truths are revealed, and the group has bonded and deeply value each other’s friendship.
Pattie’s stories describe growing up in rural Tennessee, losing a brother in World War II, living in Japan and Spain as an Air Force wife, losing a son to HIV contracted through a blood transfusion, and pursuing interests in birding, music, art, literature, and dream interpretation, as well as politics, religion, and various other absurdities.
Recently Pattie has started hosting Chinese “visiting scholars” and their spouses, in her home, for conversational English. Pattie’s grandson Andrew’s capable lady friend, Ellen, helped her start this blog, and together, they have taught her how to post her stories. Another grandson, Stephen, helps with posting appropriate photos.
Through participation in the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, Pattie has begun to explore the possibility of publishing her collection of stories in a book titled PATTIE REMEMBERS. Experienced authors and writers in WAG are knowledgeable about publishing and have a generous willingness to advise and encourage novices in the process. Pattie benefits enormously from their assistance and expertise and will be forever grateful for their help and friendship.