Betty Olliff and Emily Capes

Recorded March 1, 2010 Archived March 1, 2010 36:26 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX006392


Emily Capes (33) interviews her good friend, Betty Olliff (82) about her life - her family, her husband, and her faith.

Subject Log / Time Code

Betty talks about her family - mother, father, brother, and sister.
Betty met her husband George in high school. She moved to Pensacola after college to marry him. They have 2 children.
Betty recalls family trips and the trip she took to Greece with George.
Betty talks about her faith. She has been a member of the United Methodist Church for 55 years.
George has had the greatest influence on Betty’s life. She recalls their first date and their relationship.
Betty recalls hat it was like to move to a new town and attend a new high school. She was insecure at the time due to her weight.
Better talks more about her family. Her father died when she was 13.
Betty is most proud of her children and grandchildren. She leaves with them words of wisdom.


  • Betty Olliff
  • Emily Capes

Recording Location

MobileBooth East

Partnership Type



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00:03 My name is Emily Kate's and I'm 33 years old and today's date is March 1st, 2010 and we are in Pensacola, Florida and my relationship to Betty is she is my friend.

00:16 My name is Betty Hollis. And I'm 82 years old today is March 1st night 2010 and we're in Pensacola, Florida and inmate is my good friend and has been a mentor to my grandchildren. Thank you, buddy. I have always said that when I grow up I want to be just like you so with you always deny, but I do want to know some more things about who you are. So I asked you inside with a note you had any siblings and you were starting to tell me about that. I had a brother who is now deceased and I have a sister who is 91 years old and she lives at st. Simons Island, Georgia, and she and I have always been very close. She's 8 years older than I am. And as I said Emily, I was a grown woman before I realized I didn't have to mind her do just what she said out of all three of you who was the troublemaker.

01:13 Oh, I think my brother probably was and he was probably also the favorite but I would say that he was a troublemaker. Did he ever get you in any trouble very little you know of the pesky little baby sister. So he was not interested in doing doing things with me after I met with me it would be closer to your older sister. Yes. He probably was I think you've always closer to her. Although all three of us a very wonderful relationship. There was no sibling rivalry that you mentioned your mom worked as well. What did she do when I was a child. My mother worked at a movie theater. She are sold the tickets there and that was unusual for a woman back in and that time which was the early thirties and though so that's why my sister had so much you'll charge of me she worked there and then she

02:13 Also works for a doctor later on she was the receptionist in a doctor's office manager of the movie theater. And then later on he found a hardware store and manage that but he died at a young age. She was only 43 when he died. I did I went to

02:40 Two elementary schools one in Louisville, Georgia and then one in Statesboro Georgia and then went to high school in Statesboro and then removed. Excuse me. I made a mistake there High School Douglasville, Georgia, and then we moved to Statesboro and that's where my mother and I live quite a few years ago. I went to State College the four years and then I worked at Valdosta State College for 3 years afterwards. And what did you do work in the registrar's office? And I did secretarial in a little bit of bookkeeping but most of Secretarial work then how did you meet George in Statesboro Georgia when I was in high school?

03:26 It was George was all already leaving there when we moved to Statesboro. And also he and I went to high school together and I had a crush on him from day one. He didn't know anything about that. He said he didn't start that you did and then I went off to college and he went to the Navy and then later on he and I move to Atlanta and he was working in Atlanta after his Navy years all we got back together. Did you correspond in the time between yes, we did we did and I still have some of those he was sit down here with his work with that done with working for a bakery. He later moved to a law firm where he was the business manager, but when he moved down here to your telephone bill for getting too expensive and I was just have to make her him and come back here with you.

04:26 And I've been here since then now you have two children. I do a daughter who is a teacher at elementary school teacher and a son who is a Financial Consultant and I've been so that has two children both Optima High School graduating this year. Did they get along pretty well? Yes, they did surprisingly think they had their moments for the three years that were either one of them a troublemaker at any point. Neither one has somebody today that he'll you got to do something one time in high school and his principal called me and he said if I have Bob in the office now, and I'm fixing to give him a few.

05:26 And I said, well, I'm sure if you are as and he deserves it and you tell him I'll talk to him as a family. We did we used to go to a state park in North Georgia for several years would go up and stay a week and rent a cabin and just had a really wonderful. But great memories and I think they were good memories for the children to have that's it. We went together as a family. Did you explore the area or did you just spend time together as a family we did all of that? We did all of that and then one year each of the children took a friend and all so that gave them, you know, someone with some buds to be with you and George travel anywhere besides go in there with the family after the children were grown and away from home. We went to all the New England states with his brother and sister-in-law we went

06:26 Set up national parks out west with that same brother and sister-in-law and his sister and we didn't have been to Greece and wonderful trip has been about August eleven years ago. Now, what's your it? Was that your favorite or what? I would think so. Yes. It was wonderful. It was also George and I had but the law firm gave him when he retired and we went on a trip through Europe which was wonderful but very tiring food that you liked better and either location. I believe I like the food in Greece never been there. It was so historic and we just enjoyed every minute of it and it was we were following all the travels of Saint Paul. So that was great. Did you meet a lot of the people?

07:26 But we had a really big group for my own church that went so, you know, we were amongst friends almost the entire time. Okay from let's go back to when you're younger again, you know, I like music. So do you have a favorite song from when you were younger?

07:51 All of our songs with bestow up birthday to you young folks, but I like them.

08:01 It's a boy.

08:04 Oh, my my mind is going completely blank.

08:08 A lot of songs based on some classical Tunes, but I thought we're especially nice and I don't like classical music. I would say I'm Bach maybe Beethoven.

08:27 We can't because your favorite song. No, I'm on keep thinking on that now come back to you. When I get back to me that you already talked about was your image of God when you were younger. Well as a child, I'm sure I thought of it as most children do and that is you know, what kind of a man with the long grey beard and I didn't think of him is Santa Claus. I never had that image, but I did think of it as a and I thought of them is a male with a long beard and very kindly and very accepting of all of my phone and did your family go to church when you were updated we did Methodist, but my father was back just that we went to my father's church and all but I always had some of the Methodist indoctrination for my mother, although she became a Baptist

09:27 So that we can all go together as a family. Did you have any activities that you did together as a family either during Advent or drinks at certain seasons in the house besides going to church? No. No, we did not feel of course. We did the usual decorating. We did not match as we did not do the job. So, you know observance and all I have is really meant a lot to me since I have started doing that right George Lucas who was George Methodist and his mother said when we got married she said, you know, I don't care which church you belong to as long as it's a mess now. How long have you been members here at First United Methodist 55 years.

10:27 And why is that I'm not sure accepted but the people were very welcoming and loving and we like to the minister at that time and he was very good about you came to see us and encouraged us to come but he said if you don't come to this church go to church. You said you two need to belong and a church family and that's always stuck with me. And I thought that that was very true. I feel like that's the way it is today for everybody. I need to belong to a church family. Is there somebody that you met back then that you're still friends with now?

11:06 Yes, Theory person would be one although I didn't meet her right away. I had her later and

11:13 Herb

11:15 Brother-in-law Horace King and his wife who is not a deceased and I'm afraid to say that a lot of people that I knew back early on orgone. We made a lot of good friends right now with your kids. I know you were involved in the youth Ministries here. Do you have any did you go on any trips with the student? Yes, I did. I went on a mission trip to

11:47 Alabama north Alabama Eutaw Alabama, and then I went on a couple of that quiet or did you do more of a day camp or did you do it was a day camp? Although we did have a couple of all they were having a Revival at the same time. And so we we participated in that and that was very ball opening for us, especially for the young people who have not it was a different culture. It was very interesting and then we did do a day camp and then we had our get together on the last night of the love. You might go to Bible school right by your image of God. Now that has that changed over the years. Yes, of course it has I don't have the physical feeling about him as I did. You know when your man that the greybeards but I think of him as a presence more than I did.

12:47 He is always with me and that's very comforting.

12:54 Encouraging to me to know that no matter what he's there right knee is one of the questions from the sheets who has been the biggest influence on your life.

13:08 My husband George

13:11 What's the weather bit more about him?

13:16 George and I were in as I said in high school together and he was always so kind you know, when you move into a high school for just what I did it's very intimidating but he was always kind I felt like some of the other side, you know, who is she, you know coming into that our area but George was always kind and he had wonderful parents. I remember meeting them and thinking, you know, these are really nice folks and I'd like to get to know them better. George went into the Navy as I said it and then when he came out he work for Bakery for some years and was working at a bakery here when we got married and then he went to a law firm the game their business office manager and was there for 35 years retired from their special is going from here in Pensacola.

14:15 Yes, I do. We were in Atlanta. He found out I was working in Atlanta, and he was just about to be transferred from Atlanta, but he understand that you are here in Atlanta. And so am I and why don't we go to Chattanooga for the day? So we did we went to Chattanooga. I knew then that I was right about him when I had the crush on him what you guys do in Chattanooga Ruby Falls is and we did all the exploring things without stairs to think that day and had a wonderful dinner as I recall and then came back to Atlanta.

15:04 You think

15:09 The cat man. Do you have any regret that you can think of your life and regrets?

15:19 Yeah, so that I haven't been kinder to people along the way, you know, I'll get away from a situation and I'll say why didn't I say so-and-so or why didn't I give a little bit more approval information about that person was doing I do I do regret those like I still do cuz I still do it either certain people that you have a harder time with another webcast, but I will I won't name names. I know that your personality.

15:53 Feel that they know it all and that's just a little bit difficult for me.

16:00 To deal with right, but that's just the way they are, right.

16:06 Play I can't imagine you being frustrated at anyone though. Honestly, I am I mean, I understand in life. That's the way it is, but I always think of you with somebody so patient. See how about going back to the face aspect since I work with both of your grandchildren?

16:32 Is there any face memory that you have with them with when they're in the church with you or with their family?

16:41 What I cannot work out anything specific. I do know they have good parents. Of course, I would think my son was good. But he married a very fine person and I think they have been very strong in their guiding of the two grandchildren. I really do you have a memory of them when they were younger. Here at the church that you can share about the grandchildren.

17:06 Well, I remember the course. I want their performances and how delightful they work to me as a grandmother and

17:16 And one time and one of them made a face, but that's just you know, anybody thought it was funny.

17:36 What would you say to them about?

17:42 Falling in love since you had such a great experience with it. Would you have any advice to either one of them?

17:52 Red thinks he's in love now for a while. I wish I knew what to say to him. But he's going off the one in college and I think she's going over to another so that will probably put the proof to the wedding. There ain't about how strong it is and a Christian is just because I'm dating and I think she's a little bit but I haven't talked to her at all are as a method him talk to Brad about it, but I think I think you'll make the right choice and she will too.

18:25 Yeah, I could see them both, but I'm making the right choice going back to George. Was he the first person that you kissed? No, we're not going to let me think it just got recorded.

18:49 Were there many or are you willing to tell us about the first person? Well, he was a little while he was about football player and he was a couple years older than I and you know, all the girls just swooned over him and he was fine. He was a very fine man, and he was very much in love with somebody else so it can go back to work out fine. That's funny. You can make sure that George doesn't listen to how did he end up proposing to you?

19:38 You don't know that he ever proposed. I was still working in Atlanta and he was down here and he came up to Atlanta and spend the weekend with a friend of his who was still in college up there. And so he bought out the ring has been actually dating at that point.

20:06 About recording about a year-and-a-half two years, I guess each other for a long time. And what did you call it dating effect?

20:19 I think of other things about that. What do you love about George?

20:27 His

20:30 And this is his understanding and accepting of them.

20:35 It really isn't fair accepting person and that he's very fair at times when I might be fussing about something. He will stop me and say now let's let's think about this. Let's look at it from the other person's standpoint. He's very fair.

20:53 Do you have a favorite memory of him that stands out from your time together?

21:03 They're all favorite something. I can't remember. I can't think pinpoint any one thing.

21:09 I'm having thought of the song.

21:12 Early on

21:15 No, I keep thinking. I asked you if who was the The Sibling of yours that got in more trouble and ask you about your own kids, but you have a time that you never got in trouble when you were younger. Oh, yes. Yes, I did and dumb and my mother was a switcher and the bad part about it was you had to go out and get us fridge relay and if it didn't suit her, you know what you hit your legs, but she was a very reasonable and fair and I deserved whatever it was I got can you tell me what I went out? I can remember one time. I had got love to get me dressed for church and Sunday School.

22:09 And I wouldn't decide I want to make some Blood Ties and I was wearing the dress coveted and cheap to let me have a nice little switching but we still had to go to Sunday school and church and how old were you then? I would probably about 5.

22:31 Now when you move to the new when you went to high school and you renew, did you have a hard time meeting people? I did hours.

22:41 I had lost most of my weight by that time. I was very fat as a child. And so when I move to the Statesboro I had lost most of the way but I was still chubby and I felt myself but you know, very unattractive and I just don't think anybody would want to spend any time with me. So it's probably a lot of it was self-inflicted that I felt uncomfortable Anna and I'm kind of a hard time making friends but there was one girl who lived a couple of doors down from me and her mother probably made her do it, but she would come over and we would walk to school together and she and I became very good friends very close friends, even though I'm sure it was horrible and then we still are we still write each other. That's really fascinating to me that you said that you were trouble year or fat when you're younger it. Was that a big deal at that time.

23:41 Did you feel like like that was something that people said about you or was that something you feel if I got ghosted to my teenage years? Yes. It was and David had to make my clothes or take me to Holly Ridge close to Augusta Georgia, and we would have to go to a couple times a year and address for the Fallen just for the spring cuz we can't afford any clothes ready. We were very poor but we'd have to go over there and get her or my mother would make the clothes for me.

24:18 And they were all the same.

24:21 Ugly pattern, you know, right right and there's no style children with somebody I felt so growing up that I was ever weights. And so I feel like today for our students for this this culture so much as a culture is going on how they look and you know, it's interesting to think that that would have been an issue no matter what the day is. I don't think it was this much actually back then as it is now there's so much in the media about the kids here so much about it and didn't they must feel uncomfortable and I know how I felt but I think it's much much more. So now it's more magnified now than it was then the other kids say stuff to you.

25:20 New fetty

25:22 But you know, I just kind of had to accept it cuz I knew that's what I was now you said you'd kind of moved on or when you're in high school and he still felt pretty badly about how you who you were. How do you think you got past that? Well, I don't know. You're probably my mother probably did it. Do you know she would tell me, you know, you can you're you're just as pretty as soon as Laura who is my friend but a couple doors down who was beautiful and pretty as long as you don't try to make me feel good about myself and then you got to catch that. You're right I did something for you.

26:19 Considering that that's who I needed to do dinner work within the things they struggle with it. That's fascinating really it is to me. That was one of your struggles. I would have never did end. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't have that now but I have a picture of myself when I was just a baby and I weigh 12 pounds when I was born and it's a picture of me and somebody a friend I ever saw it the other day for the first time and he said boy that is obesity in the making but it turned out that was able to lose. It was not although my mother and father were not small that they were not overweight by any means my brother tended to be overweight when he got older. Yes. He did.

27:08 Play. They said your dad passed away young at heart trouble. And how old were you I was 13. So where you move to stay when we lived in Lewisville and did your mom talked about that a whole lot or was that something that you guys didn't talk about very much. No, we didn't talk about it though a lot. It was hard for her. But she was strong. My mother was a very strong woman and I just had to work because I say we were poor when I was growing up and and she had to work and I really never go back to have pool. We were because they didn't make a big deal of it. And I thought what we had to eat before everybody else had to eat right? You know, I don't know.

27:56 And at that point we're both of your siblings already out of the house or with my sister was yes or no.

28:10 Just quit college, my brother was through but she had to quit college and go to work what she did and then she went back later and got her to agree to share to quit college to help. How long how long did she stay helping your mom will we move to Statesboro then after my father died, and I know and that's where my sister had been in college. And so she had made a lot of friends there in Statesboro, and then she was able to get a job and then they had took her on as a teacher at the college to be a helper at the college and

28:50 So later on he was able to go back and finish your degree. You guys moved to where your sister was, right and also say this to my mother had a sister who live in Statesboro to so they'll give us some family there and that that was a draw for my mother and it was important to talk about your dad's death with either one of your siblings that all yes, we have, you know, his later years are health and my sister and I still do every now and then talk about how we wish you hadn't been allowed to see his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He was wonderful. He was such a sweet man and my brother looked a lot like him and

29:43 Can you read it while he was not a businessman but he was a sweet and good man and people like him. He was very had a lot of charisma.

29:56 But my father did have for a man and I have a lot of appeal and he got along well with the business people there in Lewisville. Do you know how your parents met?

30:11 Oh, you know I'm not real sure but my mother was born in a very small town call McDonalds meal. No mother's name is McDonald's and everybody who lives there was just about it and it's going McDonald's Mill and my father's mother had a brother who lives not far from there. And that's pretty I'm pretty sure that they got them together and when it was that both is that in Georgia if it is, Georgia. Yes. It's new, Waycross, Georgia.

30:46 There a memory about your mom that you would want to share.

30:50 Everyone was very cute. She was all had a good sense of humor and George Will quote her frequently because he thought she was such a sport and she was not a pretty woman, but she was a handsome juice out of a hat. So I guess you might say a Romanesque face and high cheekbones. She was a very attractive woman and it's us a funny and she was smart. I was sorry that mother never got to go to college because she was very smart and I think it would have meant a lot to her.

31:32 Do you have a memory when she made you laugh for 10 Libras last together?

31:39 I can't power anything to mine right now. How long has it been since she passed away about?

31:50 20 years

31:53 And my brother dad about

31:55 7 years ago, my father died. I told you right away. Was it something specific heat also had heart trouble and you also had cancer.

32:12 Was he in this area or was he lived in Valdosta Georgia with the time of his death? My brother was a Baptist Minister associate minister of Baptist Church in Savannah a good a large Baptist Church, but he didn't like large towns and he so he he would always move to a small town if you could and I think a good relationship with people in those times since you're not far from Georgia, I'm has there ever been a time before he passed away when everyone got back together you and his family and your sister's family. Yes. There were a couple times when we got together and they came here one time but that was before my brother-in-law died to my sister's husband and my brother's wife is still living and so we have got together a couple of times since then we've gotten together with Georgia standing.

33:12 Kind of repeat when you're together.

33:16 In my family likes to eat. So I will do it. Yes, and and my sister is there anything else that you can think of that you haven't shared that either you'd want better Kristen to know or even or anything even for me. How do I become like Miss Betty when I grow up am I I'm just grateful for what you have done for our grandchildren and I really am cuz they they both love you and my son works now so he doesn't get to come that often on Sundays as I wish you could but

34:10 That the church has met a lot to them and I would want them to stay close to the church. It's like if I say the first Minister here told us you need to have a church family and I would want them always to see that they have a church family because it's very important to have that supported fellowship at a time when you need it cuz they will be times when they've experienced that as well when they're looking if if Brett moves away from here, is there anything in particular that he should look for when he's looking for a church or Kristen when she's the one where he is I think so for that comfortable and where they can get involved and

34:51 I would like very much to see that they do that. It's easy when they go off to college not to do that. And I know that but I would hope that they will help that they will find a place where they can be comfortable and where they can serve. Thank you Emily so much. I am honored to have this conversation with you and I appreciate that. I have learned anything about you yet. So we're going to have to do something not today.

35:22 30 what would you say? You're most proud of in your life?

35:27 Are children I'm a proud of you with him.

35:33 Do you remember how you felt when you first found out you were going to be a mom delighted because I have been told I couldn't have children. So I was just delighted that all.

35:44 And I was able to to have to a boy and a girl that was wonderful or a girl and a boy that turned up to it, but they can't LOL. I think that would be it would be most of the children and then of our grandchildren.

36:01 What lessons have you learned in life that you'd like to leave for your children and your grandchildren and and their children real?

36:13 Keep the faith.

36:16 And be strong.

36:19 It's not always easy to do it, but I hope it can.