Home page button
Newsletter button

Fond Recollections

Josephine Pile Broaddus

I want to share a few recollections of your two parents. While I have known them (Florence, at least) for half a century, my real knowledge stems from the two years I lived with all of you–1945 to 1947, as best I can count.

The household fluctuated somewhat, but the “head count” was seven Hearns and nine boarders. I really can’t imagine where everyone slept.

Each evening Aubrey (always called “Mr. Hearn” by the boarders) stood at the foot of the stairs in his pajamas and called out, “Is everybody in?” before he locked the door for the night.

Florence (always “Mrs. Hearn”) was fantastic in all she did. You mentioned her care for the boarders as well as the children. She brought food to my room once when I had a hard case of flu. When my father’s health broke very abruptly in Dallas, she was helpful in my getting home quickly. When a young man came from out of town to visit me, she had him as a dinner guest.

None of the recollections has mentioned the children as I saw them. You (five, then) were in three groups: Charles; Mary Alice and Nancy; and Mildred and Marcia (referred to as “the babies”). Marcia was still being carried around by Aubrey, and she sat in his lap for breakfast, never quite awake.

Charles was special to his mother–her firstborn and only son and suffering with mastoid problems. I can recall how she struggled with his ailment. He could cry with pain at night, and Florence would be up with him, trying to get relief. And she took him to Memphis by train for some special treatment, maybe surgery.

Florence (with Sadie’s help) managed the house; she cared for the children and cooked; she studied piano; she was faithful at church; and on and on. All the while she suffered with varicose veins.

Now, while the Hearns worked so hard, they were not drudges. They had a circle of delightful friends, then young couples, like the Washburns and Fallises. Probably you recall who the others were. This group made up a book club that they enjoyed thoroughly. Once the children were stashed at the Hearns’, with Ann Washburn sort of in charge. They had refreshments at the breakfast room table, and Ann made them pray sentence prayers around the table before they could eat!

Remember Florence’s grand recital at the Sunday School Board chapel? Each girl had a lovely party dress, and all of you handed out programs at the door. At the conclusion one or more little girls presented flowers to her.

And I can’t fail to mention the singing in the living room, Aubrey leading, one or more little girls on his lap! Most of the songs were Australian folk songs. I never did get the hang of them–you had to be a Hearn to really sing them well.

Those were, as you can see, days and experiences and people still vivid, though so far back in time. Two of my fellow boarders have been and are some of the closest friends I have in the world–Ann Huguley Burnette and Melba Marshall Matthews. Occasionally I run into Jane Batts, and we speak of the Hearns when we meet.

I am so glad you have the Hearn Herald to keep you in touch; and I am sure you will continue family reunions. Blessings on all of you.