Saturday, October 3, 2009

67 Year Old Memory Comes Alive for Babysitter

Sisters Linda Sue and Llewellyn Hollingsworth Hear from Thirteen-Year Old Babysitter 67 Years Later

I received a phone call today that I thought was from a stranger, but as it turns out, was someone who knew me when I, Linda Sue Hollingsworth, and my sister, Llewellyn Hollingsworth, were born in Linden, Cass County, Texas in 1942 and 1943. It was our then 13-year old babysitter, Martha Ann Whittenberg, whose parents were David and Jane Whittenberg. They also lived in Linden at the same time until 1957. Today Martha Ann Whittenberg Wynn, 80 years old, lives in Tyler, Texas. It was such a surprise and blessing to hear from her.

Martha knew Dr. O. R. Taylor who delivered my sister and me. His name is recorded on both my sister’s and my birth certificates. Dr. Taylor asked someone to go with him to assist in home births. He often asked Martha’s mother, Jane Whittenberg, to go with him. Martha believes that her mother helped Dr. Taylor deliver my sister in 1943 and me in 1942.

Martha was a member of the Linden United Methodist Church where my father, Kermit King Hollingsworth, was assigned as minister in June, 1941. Martha’s father was a Methodist minister also, and served outlying circuit churches in the Linden area including Godner’s Chapel Methodist Church (no longer exists) and Lodi Methodist Church. During the week he was employed at the Linden Post Office.

My dad, Kermit King Hollingsworth, was 30 years old at the time. Linden was his second station church. He had been the minister of the Tomball, Texas Methodist Church north of Houston, Texas in 1939-1940 and previously was minister at a five-point circuit in east Texas that included the Lovelady, Texas Methodist Church. My mom, Opal Murriel Hollingsworth, age 25 and a beautician as Martha recalled, and my dad were married in 1941 at the Methodist Church at Cleveland, Texas, the home of my mom’s parents, Richard Lusky and Alice Lucinda Willis.

The 1942 Methodist Church building is still located in Linden although the parsonage was sold and moved to another location in town. Martha recalled that my dad, Rev. Hollingsworth, was an evangelistic singer and would sing, on occasion, at the Sunday morning service. She also recalled that my dad began youth meetings after school during the week and would award the young people with points for correct answers to Bible questions. She said that my mom, Murriel Hollingsworth, would always be ready to serve refreshments after the youth meetings.

This is the present sign for First United Methodist Church in Linden, Texas where I contacted the present minister Rev. Mark McClanahan that led Martha Ann Whittenberg Wynn to call me.

Martha Whittenberg Wynn remembered that there was a very generous retailer in Linden, Texas. Monroe Allen, a Methodist, whose name I recall hearing about from my mom and dad. He owned Allen Brothers, a local clothing store, and would give each Methodist minister a complete suit of clothes, including shoes, each year.

There is a family story that my sister and I heard from our mom about sharing a cow between the Methodist minister and the Baptist minister whose homes backed up to each other on opposite blocks. Martha Ann confirmed the fact that the Methodist and Baptist parsonages were located behind each other, and my sister recalls that my mom said that milking the cow might have been a quite a challenge. Finally, the cow was butchered, and canned—something I do not think we would not see happen today.