Meet Geraldine Williams, Gray (Old Clinton)
Age: “They don’t have to know my age”
Occupation: Retired nurse
What is your connection to Central Georgia?
Well, my mother and father was born in Jones County. We settled here, and I had good parents. They had seven girls and one boy. My mother had five girls and they were grown and married, and then she waited 11 years and had my brother. Then, had my sister and had me. I had two nieces that was born before I was. My father was a smart man. They were good Christian people. He was a good farmer. Then, he was a good merchant, and he was an honest man and he treated everybody equally. I was taught that. He was taught that. I remember one time there was this little old black man, and one of the children threw a stone at him. I thought it was my son, and I spanked him. He kept saying, “Mama, it wasn’t me.” I taught them to respect everybody, and my mother and father taught us that. I’ve always enjoyed going to church. My church is a very important part of my life. We have a luncheon at the Gray Methodist Church once a month. I’m in the Red Hat Society. I’m in the Woman in Mission and I’m in a little birthday club out there that we meet once a month. One of the ladies, they were an owner of the nursing facility where I was employed for 43 and a half years, and that was a big influence in my life is my job. I always wanted to be a nurse.
Would you say that was the biggest influence in your life?
I would because I married young, and I wanted to be a nurse and that interfered with it. But, I didn’t give up on it, and I waited until my son was in his first year of college and I went to school to be a nurse. Like I said, I nursed 43 and a half years, and I love my patients and when I got ready to retire, even the administrator cried. They gave me a bonus and told me to take a cruise, but I never did. I used to go on a lot of long trips, but I never did take a cruise, but I enjoyed going places when I could. I had a sister that lived in Bethesda. Maryland. She was a retired nurse. My husband and I, we used to go up there every fall and stay a week. We just had a good time back in those days, but they’re all gone now. I’m the last one. Every one of my siblings that died, they were in their 90’s. My oldest sister was 99, and she was one of my patients at the nursing facility where I worked. I had two sisters that were there. I would go in the room and feed one. Then, I would go in the next room, and feed the other in the afternoon, but I looked after all of them. I didn’t show partiality because I loved them all. I really did, but that was one of the biggest influences in my life.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned (or advice) that you’d like to share with others?
First, be honest. Just be honest. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the way I feel about it. I don’t care who you are. If a person’s down, don’t keep kicking them down. Help them get up. I believe in helping people that needed to be helped. I remember when my daddy run a grocery store. I’ve seen my mama stand up and fix boxes of food to take to people that didn’t have anything to eat. That’s the truth. I see a lot of sadness in the world, and I hate to see these young people. Some of them, the way they’re into this drug situation, It’s so bad. I pray for them every night. I do.
Life-changing/significant moment in your life, or something that you’ll always remember?
Well, I’ll always remember growing up in a good family. My mother was a Roberts, and I’ve got a lot of friends. I feel like I do. I had a good, honest mother and father, and we were always treated right. I was not raised up in an alcoholic family. My father didn’t even smoke, and I never did as a teenager. When I would go out to a ball games or on a date or whatever, I never did take a drink of alcohol or smoke a cigarette. I smoked one cigarette. I’ve got a friend down the street. When my father was running the grocery store, she said “Geraldine, go down there and by us a pack of cigarettes. Tell Mr. Morgan that I want it for my daddy.” So, we went upstairs and locked the door and we smoked one cigarette, and I was scared to go back home. My mama always said “I don’t care where you go and what you do. Always keep your dress down and be a lady because if you don’t, somebody’s going to find out if you are not.” I never did want to do wrong things. I never did in my life. That’s the truth. God in heaven knows that. I always put God first. Every morning when I get out of the bed, I say, “I thank you God for last night, for this morning and I do.” When my husband dies, I had never spent a night alone because when I was married I told him: My mother was 43 when I was born, and all the others was grown and married and away, and I told him I said, “Well, if you marry me you’re going to marry my family because I’m not going to leave my mama and daddy.” And, I didn’t. I stayed here with them until they died. My daddy had cancer, and my mother had a stroke. I’ve had a good life. I don’t regret any of it. I just wish I was younger.
What are your hobbies/what do you do in your free time?
Oh, I like to go. I like to go places. I like to be with people. Every Sunday, after church I’m with this little group. My friends, usually between 12 and 14 of us, we go over to the Dairy Queen after church and eat breakfast and we had the best time yesterday. We really did. We joke and laugh. Nobody gets ma with each other. Then, the second Saturday in every month, we go out together and we fish and shrimp and each one of us take turns being the hostess of the dessert, and we have a good time. I don’t get to travel anymore since I got my little dog. He’s a rescue dog, and I can’t leave him. I get lonesome sometimes, but it’s quite natural when you live by yourself. I have had a couple of male friends that I went off and ate with, and enjoyed that company. But, sometimes you don’t see eye to eye with people and you let that go on down the line.