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Monologue by Sally Lowrance

Lowrance, Sally
Lowrance, Jessica
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now; Stories and Storytellers; Childhood Adventures
Sally Lowrance talks about her grandparents' lives and how she met her husband while playing tennis.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jessica Lowrance interviews her step mother to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
SL (Sally Lowrance): Hey Jessica, this is Sally. I thought I'd talk to you for a few minutes or eight, maybe starting about my grandparents. You never got to meet my grandparents, neither did your dad, actually. But I had four of the most awesome grandparents in the world. I called my mother's parents Nana and Didad. Didad never took a music lesson in his whole life, but he played in a band. That's where Tommy got his musical talent. Nana was one of the sweetest, most incredibly sweet and giving people in the whole world. Little, tiny lady, she wasn't even five feet tall. She was one of 19 children, which is just amazing in today's world to think of a house that full of children. My dad's parents were Memaw and Pop-Pop. Right now I want to talk to you about Memaw that's m-e-m-a-w cap the first m and it's all one word. Pop-Pop, by the way, was incredibly awesome too. He took us out to Holiday Inn breakfast for pancakes every single Sunday that we were ever around him. He didn't take up golf until after he retired. He was such a fun person. But Memaw is the one that used to tell stories. Memaw was one of 17 children. Her dad lived on, well, I'm sorry, the whole family lived on a farm, her dad worked on a farm. He didn't own it, he just was one of the workers. So you can imagine that they didn't have a lot of money. Memaw said she was only spanked one time in her whole life and that's when her pet pig died. Well her pet pig died because she snuck it in the house, took it upstairs, and gave it a bath and it died of pneumonia. The only other time that Memaw said that she got into trouble was when it was her job to bring the cows in at night. And this one particular night she just wasn't into it. You know, she just didn't feel like going up on that hill to bring those cows down. But she had to, so, the obedient little person that she was, she did it anyway. Well the cows wouldn't cooperate they just would not hurry down that hill back into the barn. She got mad at them so she tied their tails together so they would stay together and come down the hill. Well with their tails tied together coming down the hill along came a tree and they straddled the tree, one went to the right one went to the left. Course the tails were tied together, they got hung up, the knot wouldn't come undone but one of the tails did. I don't know if it's true or not but that was one of the stories she told us. The other story that she told us one time, when we asked her about her upbringing, brought us all to tears because, like I told you, her father worked on a farm, they didn't have a lot of money and yet they had 17 children. That's a lot of children to feed when you don't have a lot of money. So, her father had to walk her down the street, she can remember holding his hand and walking down this dirt road with a little suitcase, and in it was everything that she owned. And he took her to a neighbor's and she became their foster child. I think that they actually had to do this with some of the other children also. So from then on in, Memaw was being raised by this couple and was happy and had a good time there and a good life, but about a year later, this couple was killed in a car wreck. Memaw was born in 1898, so I guess this foster family was tooling around in a Model T or something, but they were killed in a car wreck. So then they had to find another place for Memaw to live. Now this farm was in West Virginia and I don't know how they found this next family, but there was a family in Baltimore, Maryland that wanted to adopt her. So off she went to Baltimore, Maryland. And it was a wonderful, wonderful man who met her at the train station, took her to his home. She said she had never seen anything this big in her house, I'm sorry, in her life as his house. She walked in the front door and there was this great big tile floor, the foyer had a huge ceiling and a spiral stairsc, staircase. So she climbed the spiral staircase with him to her bedroom and just couldn't believe it. They had dolls all over the room for her and a great big bed that was all hers and she really did have a wonderful life. This gentleman put her through nursing school, Memaw became a nurse, was working in the hospital, and was taking care of this one patient in particular, a woman who had just given birth to twins and had complications. So in the weeks and months that she was ministering to this lady, a young girl actually, she was also getting to meet the family and it was, and was, becoming involved with them. The lady died. The lady's brother was my grandfather, who she later married, and they raised these two children like their own in addition to the other five children that they had. Memaw had to quit driving once she had children of her own because they cried every time she took, drove, drove the car. So she never drove again. She died when she was 96, as did Nana, and both of my grandfathers died of heart problems when they were each 72, that's kind of amazing. So that's one little story for you. Now I can tell you about the story, I can tell you the story about how I met your dad. I was playing tennis at Charlotte Indoor Tennis Club with my girlfriend Sandra Nyy, that's n-y-y. Sandra now lives in Singapore. Well Sandra and I were getting ready for a tournament and we were practicing with Glenn Pennington, a lady, and Julie Calman, I think. And there was other people out there, I didn't know anybody except for Sandra and Glenn. Well there was this one guy out there, who was really cute, that had twinkly blue eyes and he was playing on the court next to us. And I was in one of my little phases where I really didn't want to have anything to do with men because I'd just had a really horrible experience and it just, I didn't have room for it in my life right then, but I did think he was cute and I asked her who he was. And she told me. Well, we played tennis the next week. The first time we played was Thursday, then we played again the next Monday, and low and behold there he was again, although he wasn't on the court right next to me, but I noticed him, and I noticed he kept looking over at our court, but I wasn't going to make eye contact because that was flirtatious and I was way too shy to be flirtatious. So we finished playing and I watched him walk behind our court and onto the common area and speak to someone. And I still wouldn't make eye contact with him. But I still asked her who he was. Well about a week later I get a phone call at work from Glenn Pennington who asked me if I would like to play tennis that Friday night, mixed doubles with she and her husband against me and this guy named Hugh Lowrance, and I said, "Who is Hugh Lowrance?" She said, "Don't you remember? That's the guy at the tennis club that you asked me about." I said, "Well have you called him?" And she said, "No, I haven't called him yet." But I think she told him that she hadn't called me yet either, so I don't really know who she called first. Anyway, I said, "Sure, I would love to," and he said, "Yep, that'd be great." So I show up at the tennis court Friday night before six o'clock so that I won't be late. Didn't want to be too fashionable, you know. Well Friday was casual day at the law firm where I worked, so I had on my nice little linen shorts and my nice little shoes and a cute little top. Well the parking lot where I worked was two and a half blocks away, so we would oftentimes wear our tennis shoes in because that's a long hike in heels or whatever, and I had walked in, in tennis shoes, my tennis shoes that I was going to play in that night and promptly left them under my desk downtown. So here I stand at the tennis court with this man, looking oh-so-cute dressed all in white with a little white vest, who I've never met, and we're talking like two little magpies, and I said, "We have a problem." He said, "Yeah, I see the door to the club is locked." I said, "Well we have a bigger problem than that." He said, "What's that?" I said, "I don't have any shoes." He said, "What do you mean you don't have any shoes?" I said, "Well I left them under my desk at work." He said, "That's no problem. We'll go get it. Where do you work?" I said, "Downtown." He said, "We have a problem." See he hates to go downtown. So he put me in his car and we went to the nearest Omega Sports and bought me some shoes. And the girl that waited on me, I was able to tell her, "This is a blind date. I've made a hell of an impression already I know," as I said tongue in cheek. And she said, "Oh, my gosh. Well he's cute so," she made sure I had hangers in the dressing room and I tried on a pair of shoes and they fit, put on my tennis clothes and we were back at the court in 15 minutes. That was impressive. But we had a neat opportunity to talk in the car and we talked and laughed 'cause we were both kind a nervous and kind of silly, and we go out to play tennis and we're still being silly and talking and laughing and playing against our good friends Glenn and Fred, who we never should've lost a game to as we proceeded to lose the first set because your dad couldn't keep the ball on the court, basically. Ha, ha, but I know he'll say the same thing. Anyway we decided we weren't going to lose the match, so we settled down and we played and won and had a good time, and I thought, "Well cool. I bet we go out to eat now. It is Friday night, it's about eight thirty or nine." But nope, your dad goes, beelines it right for his car gets in the car and leaves and doesn't even ask for my number. Well it wasn't that unusual that a guy didn't ask for my number, but I knew we'd had a really good time. So I was kind of, um, surprised. But my little antennas perked up and I said, "Girlfriend, girlfriend," you can put that in quotes because that's what I was thinking. So I decided to make him tell me that he had a girlfriend. Actually, I was just looking for another excuse to call him. So I picked up the phone about two weeks later and called him and told him that Jazz Charlotte was going on, nope it was called Jazz Fest, and that the company I worked for had a shuttle bus, which it did, and people signed up for it and you got to go to Jazz Fest, and it was a lot a fun and, and I said, "I don't know your status. I don't know if you're dating anybody at the time, but if you're not and you'd like to go, I would love for you to be my guest." And he said, "Well you know, I would really love to go, I really mean that, but I am dating somebody right now and I can't." I said, "Well that's all right, but I had a great time playing tennis and maybe I'll see you over at the club sometime." And he said, "Cool." And I hung up the phone thinking, "Darn I wish could meet somebody just like him that didn't have a girlfriend." But about six weeks later I get this phone call from someone asking for Chrissy Everett identifying himself as Jimmy Connors and it was, guess who? And he said there was a party, an anniversary party for some people that he worked with and did I want to go, and he was sorry that he didn't get to go to Jazz Fest with me, but he had been dating somebody and it was somebody that he used to be engaged to and then wasn't engaged to and they had reconciled, but he knew it wasn't going work out, but yet they were still dating when I played tennis with him but, they're not dating anymore. And I said, "Well cool." So we went to the party and we had a great time and we've pretty much been together ever since. And I bet I've talked for eight minutes, but I hope you enjoyed my stories. Talk to you soon. Bye.