Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP - MONDAY, APRIL 10TH, 2017 - PART 2

I didn't have time to finish our day on April 10th, so here is another part.  We did so much on the 10th that there will be a Part 3 also.  Once again thank you for all the comments you have left.  When we get to a hotel at night it is fun to settle in and start reading them, and try to answer as many as I can if I don't fall asleep. I also like to look through the photos and download them to my laptop.   



April 10th, 2017

9.20 a.m. It hasn't been too long since we left Mabry Mill and we have just seen our first deer.  There were at least half a dozen of them crossing the road ahead of us.  I managed to gather my wits long enough, thanks to Gregg's encouragement to get the camera and was in time to take at least one photo of a deer, who stood at the side studying us as much as we were studying it.  Then it decided to join the family and disappeared into the woods. We are on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south.



9.39 a.m. we stopped to look at a lovely old cabin, and the historical sign told an amazing story.  



"Born in 1837 "Aunt" Orelena Hawks Puckett lived here during the latter of her 102 years.  She was often heard to say, "The forest was green when I was a-born and I'm green yet."  A bride at 16, Mrs. Puckett and her husband first farmed below nearby Groundhog Mountain.




Mrs. Puckett was past age 50 when she began a long career of midwifery.  She assisted at the births of more than 1000 babies, delivering the last in 1939, the year she died.  It has been said she never lost a child or mother through her own fault. Ironically none of Mrs. Puckett's own 24 children lived beyond infancy.

Regardless of weather, "Aunt" Orelena went wherever and whenever called.  Sometimes on horesback, often walking, the midwife brought assurance and kindness to all she visited.  When she began her practice around 1890 her fee was one dollar, and "when times was good" six dollars.  Often receiving food and other goods in lieu of money, she generously shared all she had with her neighbors or those in need.  Today, Orelena Puckett is remembered in this area for her witty, cheerful personality, as well as for her unselfish and skillful practice as a midwife."



That night when we got to the hotel I set out to find more about this lady, and learned that these very sad losses of her own babies were possibly as a result of Rh hemolytic disease.

When Orelena was in her 50s a neighbor went into labor and no doctor could be found.  This began her career as a midwife, and for the next nearly fifty years, she traveled the Virginia countryside and became known for her compassion and skill.  She delivered her last baby at the age of 94, and passed away in 1939.  That last baby's name was Maxwell Hawks on August 30th, 1938.

The Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute in Asheville, North Carolina continues her legacy to care for mother and child.  They promote and try to strengthen the development of child, parents and family.

Her story has been dramatized in Phyllis Smith's play, "They Call Me Aunt Orlean", which is performed at the cabin several times a year, and in Karen Cecil Smith's book, "Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife."  You can see that her name is spelled differently.  Not really sure why.  I would like to find a copy of this lady's book.

When we left we were very glad to have come across this place and learn about this amazing lady.  Bittersweet to have lost so many of her own babies, and yet to have delivered over a 1000 others.  I can't imagine anyone having 24 babies and losing them all.  Why so many after so many heartbreaks?  Different times for sure.  I'd be interested in what you think out there.



At 10.34 a.m. we entered North Carolina.  We have been following a motorcycle for miles and we were able to pass him at 12.47 p.m.  Safe travels whoever you are.



That same afternoon we had a marvelous time at Biltmore Estate but I am going to have to put that in another post as it's time to get ready and get on the road.



56 comments:

  1. Hello, sounds like you are having a great trip and seeing a lot. The deer is pretty and I loved the story on the cabin and Mrs Puckett. Wishing you safe travels. Happy Friday! Enjoy your day! Happy Easter to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Eileen, we are having a wonderful time. Happy Easter to you and your family also.

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  2. what a sad story, 24 babies lost and her delivering 1000... she sure led a hard life and lived that long in spite of it.

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    1. She certainly did and to come through it all and be a positive person helping all those people, such an amazing lady.

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  3. Wow, 102 years old and living in the cabin. What a story.

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  4. Sounds like a very interesting road trip and seeing the deer was a great highlight I can well imagine. Have fun on the rest of your journey.

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  5. Beautiful photos, Denise, and fascinating story about Orelana. Thank you so much for sharing your trip and details.

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    1. Thank you Linda, you are so very welcome :)

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  6. Amazing woman. I can't imagine anyone having that many babies. Poor woman must have been heartbroken to keep trying and failing.

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  7. What an amazing woman...as to why 24 babies? Your guess is as good as mine. I cannot imagine the heartbreak. She sounds like an amazing, kind woman.

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  8. Yes, it is sad that she lost all of her babies at infancy. How tragic! But, if you are going to live past 100 years of age, wow, what a wonderful life being a midwife and delivering other people's babies.

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    1. Indeed Gigi, she left an incredible legacy.

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  9. What a lovely story of "Aunt" Orelena Hawks Puckett!!! And wonderful that her home, is preserved.

    Go to Amazon... Type in "Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife." ... Amazon (dot) com has copies. Some, "used" for less money. I myself, always look for "used" books, if I really want something.

    Gentle hugs,
    Luna Crone

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    1. Thank you for the tip LC. I will do that. Gentle hugs back to you also :) Denise

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  10. The story of this lady is amazing!! This must be very close to me, yet I have never heard the story. I can't wait to read and show it to Phil when he gets home. Your story will stay with me for a very long time. I love seeing her cabin, and the very old and rare picture of her. What a tragedy her life was, yet she so beautifully used the gift that God had given her. Her bravery and spunk is astounding. Where many would just mourn their lives away, she got out and helped so many others. I cannot imagine how she must have felt bringing these babies into the word while never being able to raise any of her own. Whatever they died of must have been something hereditary. Also, so interesting that she herself lived so long while her babies dd not. To me, this must mean that she was born to do all her work of helping others. Thanks for such a wonderful and poignant Easter story, told so well!!!!

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    1. I agree with everything you say Ginny. It is a very inspirational story.

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    1. Thank you Francisco. The same to you :)

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  12. Hi Denise and what a wonderful trip and stunning countryside, loved the story about Orelena the Midwife, my eldest Grandaughter is in her last months of training to become a midwife, mind she started a bit youngfer than your lady. Great that you saw and managed some images of the deer. All the best, John

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    1. Thank you John, so happy you enjoyed Orelena's story. My congratulations to your Grandaughter. It is a noble calling. All the best to you, Denise

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  13. interesting store she was an amazing woman

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  14. 24 children? None surviving? That poor woman. I suspect she didn't have a lot of say in how many children she had. Limited contraception and the power of her husband.
    I wonder whether her own losses contributed to her skill as a midwife. I suspect they did. All power to her.

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  15. WOW....that is a lot of babes to have and lose. But yes, different times and not as easy of ways to prevent getting pregnant as todays times. But to think, and no drugs to help in delivering babies either....wow. Thanks for sharing. I love history and love learning things like this. Cont. on your trip and let us know what else you find!

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    1. Thank you Pam, These are always the kind of stories that interest me. I will try to find more but it will be hard to find anyone like this lady.

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  16. Thank you so much for the introduction and photos!

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  17. Orelena's story was so fascinating! I have such sadness for the people displaced to make the Smoky Mtn National Park. I'm so interested in their lives. This was a fascinating post!

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    1. I echo everything you say Marie. And thank you, I am happy you found my post interesting.

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  18. I'm enjoying following your adventures, with the tidbits of history and nature thrown in. And I love the deer.
    Amalia
    xo

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  19. oreena's story Is a wonderful example of courage ... rising above personal tragedy and sorrow. Back then, most women had very little control over pregnancy. . No easy contraception and acceptance of the 'role of a wife.. so sad to have lost her babies for that reason as obviously her inborn physical health must have been so good... those were certainly not the good old days.

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    1. Thank you Sallie, such an amazing lady.

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  20. delivering babies at 94 yrs old?! what an amazing woman! what would those people have done without her??
    love love the deer...God's creatures are beautiful..so sweet that she was watching you too. :)
    Happy Easter to you & yours,
    Marie

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    1. Hi Marie, she certainly was one of a kind. I always find the deer a joy to see. I am so late answering and I do apologize. I am going through my posts just to see if I have answered everyone. There were several blogging friends I have missed :(

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  21. Mrs. Puckett's story is quite poignant.

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  22. Loving this journey with you. The deer was good to have posed for you before joing the remainder if the family. Wow, Orelena Puckett reaching 102 in those days is quite a record I would think. Sad though that she 'lost' all her own children. Keep well Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane, it makes me happy that you are enjoying our journey. Orelena, I think they broke the mold with this lady.

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  23. Very good to read the fascinating story about Orelana.
    Great post Denise, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan, all the best to you too :)

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  24. Interesting story about the midwife! Looking forward to your pictures from aviltome; love that place!

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  25. We have a visit to the Biltmore Estate on our "to see" places to visit, Denise. So, I will be looking forward to your post about your visit. Wishing you and Gregg happy travels and a very Happy Easter on the road.

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    1. Hope you get to it sooner than later :)

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  26. What a wonderful story but a very hard life, HAppy Easter adn this is certainly a wonderful trip you are making

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    1. I agree Margaret and a Happy Easter to you also.

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  27. What a hard life people back then had to deal with. It's a very sad story but heartwarming at the same time. Thanks Denise. Have fun.

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    1. They certainly did have a hard life didn't they Christa? Thank you :)

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  28. what an amazing lady. so sad she lost all her own children, and 24 of them, WOW!!

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    1. Hi Felicia, exactly what I said. "Wow!"

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