My Tennessee River pearl was found in a tub of cooked mussel meats headed home with Mama to be used as hog food. It was 1945, soon after my brother, Dale, was killed in action by German artillery fire in the Battle of the Bulge in December of ’44. Mama was in need of a distraction. To fill that need, she joined other women who were cooking mussels in vats on the river bank to separate the live mussels from their shells.  Continue reading



Twenty-nine-year-old Capt. H. H. Macurdy, USAF always knew how to get his way. I gave in to his urgent insistence, by agreeing to go as far as New Orleans with him for the weekend, when he was really pressing for marriage. This was my small way of compromising.  I was a 22 year old first grade teacher at Eglin AFB Elementary School in the Florida panhandle.  My teacher friends would lie for me, telling the school principal I would be back to work on Tuesday. Continue reading


My mother was neither socially refined nor culturally polished, but she was good with flowers. She was a jewel with rough edges, and her flaws were many. Her domestic talents lay in growing wonderful garden vegetables, making hot biscuits from scratch before daylight on a wood-fired kitchen stove, wringing the neck of a chicken and turning it into mouth-watering chicken and dumplings. She yanked feathers from the bellies of squawking ducks to make us feather beds, and canned homegrown fruits and vegetables using a pressure cooker on top a red-hot, wood-burning stove in July or August with no air conditioning or electric fan. She ordered fabric from the Sears Roebuck catalog to make dresses for herself and her four daughters, using a foot-treadle-powered Singer sewing machine and made beautiful quilts from the scraps. Continue reading


Just a Sad G.I. is the title of a poem written by my brother, PFC Robert Dale Martin, a few days before he was killed in the WWII Battle of the Bulge on the Belgium/German border in 1944. He was the driver of a personnel carrier, and was sitting in his vehicle with other young, cold, homesick, young men when this poem was written. It was a few days before Christmas, and his date of death is Dec. 21. Below is his poem typed, then a photo of his handwritten version on a 5×7 yellow tablet page:  Continue reading


(This story was written in July 2016. Bob Hancock and John Bynum have since passed on.)

Ninety-year-old friends are in a class by themselves. I am a few years short of ninety but am privileged to be friends with some of these older folks. Ninety-year-olds have learned what is most important, namely friendships. I am privileged to have six such friendships, three with men and three with women. Continue reading


Carter Parker’s 1941 Tennessee license plates have been in the devoted care of his younger brother, Dudley Parker, all these years. Carter died November 12, 1944, during World War II, in the long and bloody infantry battle of Hürtgen Forest in Germany. His grieving parents, Mr. Crockett and “Miss Ethel” Parker had been sheltering his 1933 Chevrolet four-door sedan, expecting that Carter would return home from war and drive it again. But that was not to be. Continue reading