Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mary's Story Part 2 ~Who is Mary? ~

If you're just jumping into this story, you might want to read Part 1 first. :)

Before I go into details of the difficulties of bringing Mary home, perhaps I should let you get to know her a little more.  All I can do is share with you what we have learned so far...

 Mary Etta Tommie was born on November 4, 1915. She was the eighth of eleven siblings, born to a farmer and his wife in Alabama.

She grew up on the farm, working alongside her brothers and sisters in the fields.  According to Mary, the whole family shared fun, laughter filled evenings around the dinner table.  She remembers her siblings with a smile and says she misses her 7 sisters very much.

Mary and her Mom
 Although I'm sure she had many passions, we've learned that Mary loved to sew.  She told us that she made most of her and her Mother's clothing.  Though we don't have all the details put together yet, I suspect she was the child that "stayed home" for a while to care for her parents, as she remained unmarried until her mid-30's ~ quite uncommon for that time.

Mary's favorite pastime was dancing, she has told us many times how much she loved to dance.  Young handsome soldiers were plentiful in that time and Mary had fun going to dances and making friends.  It was likely that at one of those dances she met Henry Aune, a handsome Navy Officer.  Even though "Hank" was nearly 20 years older than Mary, he was able to sweep her off her feet.  They were married in 1950, and moved from her hometown in Alabama to Cocoa Beach, Florida where they settled into a cozy little home near the beach.

Mary began working for the phone company in 1944, and did so for 36 years, probably starting out as an operator.  I can almost hear her voice now..."connecting you to EF 359" ...

She was popular, she entertained, she had friends and family come from Alabama each year to visit the beach and sunny Florida.  She loved to travel and did so quite often.  Her life was full and busy, and she hardly ever slowed down.

But time keeps moving and people age, bodies decline.  Hank passed away.  Her siblings began to pass away, some at a remarkably young age.  Neices and Nephews began to pass away too.  Visits from family became less frequent, as people became busy with their own lives, tending to their own ailing parents, and growing children. 

Even so, Mary continued to be an independent woman, she had many local friends and often got together for lunch outings, even taking group cruises with lady friends...but that was when she was in her 70's and her 80's...that was a quite a long time ago.

We've had a chance to meet one of her neices from Alabama.  The impression she gave us of Mary was that she was independent, and liked to have things "her way".  Independance has it's place, but if it begins to alienate you from your family, it can become an enemy.

During the course of 50+ years, the quaint little beach town of Cocoa Beach has become a booming party place.  You don't have to live in Florida to know that THE place to be during spring break for college students is Cocoa Beach, Fl.  It's busy, all the time.  Shops, bars, and restaurants line the streets.  It's a tourist town that is bustling all night long, every day of the week. 

We suspect that, over time, her pretty little pink house became more of a prison.  All the surrounding homes had been sold and turned into bars and party places for the young, hip Cocoa Beach crowd.  Condo's and hotels blocked her view of the beach, gas stations, dog groomers, night clubs and restaurants now surrounded her little house.  She installed hurricane shutters and kept them closed.  She installed a camera to monitor her front door from the inside.  She had street lamps installed on all 4 sides of her house, timed to turn on at sundown and stay on all night.  She had heavier locks installed on her doors.  For a woman in her 90's, independence can easily turn to lonliness and fear.

She still had friends, but they were aging too.  Who could she turn to for help?  Even the man who had done her lawn for 30 years was in his 70's.  She began to need help from a caretaker to cook, clean, run errands, etc...

Several months ago she drove herself to a Dr. appointment because she wasn't feeling right.  She ended up in the hospital for a few days and then was sent to rehab to "get stronger".  There she stayed because though she could go home, she couldn't be alone.  She went from independent to completely dependant in just a matter of days.  Two months later my husband met her.

Though we have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations about the past with Mary, the most important thing to us is her salvation.  We have no way of knowing if she has lived her life for Christ, we have asked her about her relationship with Him, and she says yes, when asked if He is her Savior.  She enjoyes watching Charles Stanley and is very excited about the prospect of going to church with us.  She likes hyms and "religious songs" as she puts it.  I would love to know beyond a shadow that Mary will be with Jesus when she dies, and I am going to pray that God will give us that knowledge and that peace. 

As you read in yesterday's post, we have decided to "adopt" Mary.  This decision does not come without it's concerns, worries, fears, and anxieties...I admit them freely, but that'll be another day. 

Come back tomorrow for...."Trying to bring her home"...

"For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him."
1 Thessalonians 5:9,10


  1. I just loved that story and thankyou so much for sharing - I love hearing about other peoples lives and find out how they coped through so many changing times. And how precious of you to adopt her - so many elderly people have no one in their lives to care and love them - it makes me feel very sad to think of them alone and lonely. You are a very good person indeed. Can't wait to hear more about Mary.

  2. As you walk out your obedience unto the Lord, I can't wait to see the final blessing this is such a beautiful testimony of walking out one's faith!

    Love to you and the Capt!!

  3. Independence can certainly alienate you from friends, family and life for sure! I saw this very much with my daddy. What an amazing story...I can't wait to hear more!

    Love you!

  4. Wow, you guys are amazing and what a difference you are making in her life! Independence can definitely turn to loneliness, fear, and alienation!!

    I am praying for you guys and your wisdom and peace about her salvation!! Truth is, if she has never seen Jesus in her life, she is now!!

    Looking forward to the next tidbit you give.

    Love and Blessings

  5. Oh how interesting! I love hearing people's stories. It sounds like Mary really needs someone to look out and care for her. May God bless your efforts to do to that. I can't wait to hear the story of bringing her home. Take care my friend!

  6. So very interesting and so wonderful that you came into her life when you did! Will be praying for you during this time my friend!