Boy, do we have a story this week. It’s about Blanche Norris. Born in Stanley County, Mrs. Blanche states,“I’m one of those mountain goats; that’s why I’m so hard-headed!” She is always cutting-up with visitors at Mary Gran and making someone laugh. Mrs. Blanche really loves people.
She started working in the cotton mill in Albemarle at age 16 as a sweeper. While working there for over 18 years, she learned how to do numerous jobs. She remembers getting paid 40 cents an hour and that was big money back then. She is blessed with a good memory remembering as a child the rations that families had to endure. A family could only get one pound of lard, one pound of coffee, two pounds of sugar, one gallon of kerosene and, if you had a car, two gallons of gas a week and one pair of shoes a year. Blanche remembers Camel cigarettes were 15 cents a pack. She didn’t smoke but bought them for her dad. She likes to dip snuff and learned that habit from her Grandma Clark. The snuff cost her five cents.
Married for 38 years and having no children of her own, Mrs. Blanche states, “But I enjoyed spoiling my nieces and nephews.” She recalls, “Whatever my daddy was doing I was doing, too.” She had four brothers and one sister. Her sister was born when Mrs. Blanche was 14 years old. She remembers taking care of her sister like she was her own baby. She even took her sister on her first date, telling her date, “If I can’t bring her, I’m not going!”
Another fond memory from her childhood is singing and dancing. Mrs. Blanche and her sister would sing and dance uptown. She would sing “Brown Ferry Blues” and her sister would dance! Of course, she still knows the words to the song today.
After her husband died, she enjoyed volunteering at the Garland Senior Center for 17 years. She helped serve food, mop floors and even shot an occasional game of pool with Johnny McDaniels.
She likes to have fun and laugh. Three times a year, she throws a catered party for all the staff and residents and has been doing this for the past 14 years. This party includes music, singing and food. Staff members and the residents look forward to this party each year. She fondly remembers playing Minnie Pearl in a program at Mary Gran wearing the infamous trademark hat with its price tag still attached.
Mrs. Blanche has too many stories to include in this article. Come by our facility; she would love to share her stories with you. Her advice is “Everybody love one another and get along…no fussing and arguing. Always ask the blessing before each meal.”
Mary Gran is happy to have Mrs. Blanche in our assisted living facility. It is never a dull momen!.
Mary Gran Nursing and Rehab offers Short Term, Long Term and Assisted Living to residents of Sampson and surrounding areas. Please contact Lisa Honeycutt, RN t 910-214-9183 or Karen Carter, admissions director, at 910-592-7981.