Inez Simmons, Stephanie West, and Ashley West

Recorded February 23, 2014 Archived February 23, 2014 39:52 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby011815


Daughter, Stephanie West (53) and granddaughter, Ashley West (27) have a conversation with their grandmother/mother Inez Simmons (82) her family and life experiences in Virginia.

Subject Log / Time Code

I talks about her early and adolescent life in Virginia. I remembers her pony Nida who was given away by her father.
I remembers the first car her father bought her, "Little Lulu."
I describes her parents. Her father was a dentist and mother was a banker.
I remembers going to church as a child and later singing in the church choir.
I talks about the dance where she met her first husband Tony.
I remembers Tony, who was a pilot navigator. He passed away on a plan accident.
I talks about her decision to go back to school after Tony's passing. I talks about meeting her second husband who was a teacher and a farmer. They were married three months after they met.
I talks about the birth of her three children; Stephanie, James and Wayne.
I talks about her last husband, James who passed away in January 2013.
I talks about the trips her and James took once he was retired.
I talks about S and how she was the most behaved.
I talks about her grandmother, "Big I" and her uncle Bille; they were her favorite relatives.
I remembers going with her dad to the dentist office.
I remember her time as a teacher. She talks about one of her most misbehaved students, Eddie.
I talks about living in the "village" in Gainesville to be closer to A and S.


  • Inez Simmons
  • Stephanie West
  • Ashley West

Recording Location

Alachua County Library District Headquarters

Venue / Recording Kit



StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:02 Hi, I'm Stephanie West and I am 53 years old. Today's date is February 23rd 2014 when I'm aware in Gainesville, Florida, and we're here was my mother Ines Simmons and my daughter Ashley West.

00:23 My name is Ashley West. I am just 27 years old. Today's date is February 23rd, 2014 and I'm born Gainesville, Florida and I'm here to listen to my grandmother's are some interesting stories.

00:42 Oh, my name is Inez summons and I'm 82 years of age. And the today is February 23rd 2014 in Gainesville, Florida and

00:57 My husband is deceased.

01:04 So Mom tell us about when you were born in Culpeper, Virginia, but some of your your earliest memories I have a sister who's 6 years older than I so we were a little bit too far apart in age to play together too much. I had by friends and she had her friends and no.

01:31 I went to elementary school in Culpeper and graduated from high school. And then I went two years to Mary Washington College to the universe temperature in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and I graduated after two years of college and at George Peabody College Nashville, Tennessee, which is now called Vanderbilt University girl. I had a bicycle and roller skates and I had a pair of ice skates because because when it got cold, we would love to go ice skating over the Frozen ponds and roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate.

02:14 Oh. Also. I had a pony named Nita.

02:19 And it was a pony that my father barred from his friend and my sister and I would go to the pasture which was close to home to Rodney DE after school and one day we went down there and neither wasn't there and we came home and we were so upset and daddy said well you haven't written her for 2 weeks. So I just gave him back to the man who loaned him to us.

02:48 And though I had some play much and we played marbles. I have no 5 lb sugar bag that I kept my marbles live and that we would play in my neighbor's driveway. She had a nice gravel driveway.

03:09 And were you at a good marble player? Oh, yes. I want a lot of times when you want. Did you get to keep her marbles or how he is and then I had a old model a car that Daddy bought for $150 from in Remington, Virginia, which is close to Culpeper and I painted it black and white. Did you put on the door a picture of a Mickey Mouse? I believe it was skull and crossbones maybe so I saw pictures of this and what was that your car is named Little Lulu that was written on the back and it had four doors and two running boards. And sometimes I would have to crank it up.

04:09 In the front and that's how you started the car. You didn't have a key for it. You started it in the front and used it a couple of times to go quail hunting and then when I got in college, I didn't need it. So he sold it for $175 made a profit that was good. And then I heard stories how you used to go down to Uncle Bill's service station and you would tell him to fill up your car with gas and give the bill to Daddy and

04:51 So I had a lot of little Playmate and one time I was up to my girlfriend's home. And we call the funeral director MotoMart, Marshall and he had a nice Funeral Parlor down in colored town in Culpeper, Virginia, and we told him that someone had passed away and to please set an ambulance to pick to pick them up. And this daughter was the superintendent's daughter. Did you get in trouble and all we did let him know anyone know that we did it. So now what probably 78 years later the truth comes out. That was a finance and who was your girlfriend Nancy y'all were playing a prank and shields.

05:50 Oh my goodness, talk talk a little bit about your your mother Rose by and dock your dad. Will my father was a dentist and he was so Dennis there in Culpeper for 45 years and

06:09 Oh, my mother worked in the bank at the Second National Bank when he came in to borrow some money to buy his dental equipment and that's her daddy and they dated I guess probably two or three years before they were married and they lived with big Ines and her home up on the hill and it wasn't far from where daddy built his own Park Avenue and my sister was born up there and I was born in the new home on Park Avenue that you were born at the house out of four women we go to the hospitals and be more. Do you remember the doctor's name Who deliver one who delivered me was, dr. Stringfellow and his niece was Betty hurt and we were good friends since you left in the country and we would take the bus home and we love

07:09 To ride the school bus going to her home and coming back to school the next morning.

07:17 So tell us where doc was born and a little bit about his family while Daddy was born in Middlesex County in Saluda, Virginia, and he lived in a big white frame house that had a porch that went all the way around the front and the sides and a circular driveway and his father worked for Swift and company and they had believed in children. And anyway, his father would come home on the weekend. So when they have been bad during the week, they would straighten up and they were real good towards the weekend because they knew that Papa Palmer with spikes.

08:09 Our kids and then tell us about Rose Will Rose. So she was Rose lyrics C Palmer her maiden name was Fitzhugh Trixie and hurt daddy worked in a bike and his father on a couple of bikes. But when the recession hit he lost his bike. So my mother's father. I had to find jobs whenever he could and he was walking at the prisons are in Culpeper and he had had a lot of jobs and big Inez work down at the drugstore for a while.

08:59 And she had mother was the oldest job a little Celeste was the middle one and Uncle Bill who had to service station was the youngest.

09:10 And then it was kind of uncommon that Rose's parents got divorced. Yes. Hope Mills are in the depression and he lost his job because he he had a bank write all his his father had two bags and I think the reason they got the divorce was that they didn't have much money and so he had to find a job ride. It was very hard and stressful. So then when the Depression was over, he found a good job working for the railroad in Washington DC and he would come up on the weekends to visit Mother and Daddy I guess with the train and they would go to church together and he would sing and then he would come up and eat dinner with us.

10:04 So tell us about your earliest memories in the church and the church that you grew out and well I went to Sunday school there. And what was the name of the church? So it was called Saint Stephen's Episcopal church, and it's the oldest church. I believe in Culpeper County. And anyway, I sang in the choir when I was older.

10:32 And daddy was a best ramen.

10:35 And

10:38 It was right across the street from the home that Rose was born in what she was born in this so big yellow home across from the church from site Stevens, and then it was a girl's Institute for young women and she was born in the same home because that was because of the mother and he was in the Baseball Hall of Fame and

11:14 Oh mother enjoyed living down there and then later they moved up on the hill and this nice big yellow home and she left the player and big Ines chicken Uncle. Alfie has three boys and then she had Uncle Bill and they all stayed on the sleeping porch and

11:39 Elf is her brother gave her a car green Dirac at she would take mother now downtown with it. And I would stand up there on the floorboard in the front and she would go bump bump bump and stop and I would both my head against the mirror at against the windshield and you remember that and she was learning how to drive and and she took alpheus has children and because his wife passed away yesterday and said there were the three boys, right and that was Carlos and Danny yungoos.

12:28 And the middle one I can't recall her net gone is gone. And so your grandmother she was divorced in to help make ends meet her she took in her brother's three kids because he was in the service and stationed where in Japan know Uncle alpheus was in lived in the Philippines in the Philippines. And also he had another Uncle Uncle Willie Williams who lived in the Philippines and they didn't have any children and his wife was a nurse and went the Japanese invaded the Philippines. She was enlisted in the service has a nurse and she was rolling bandages. We have a picture of a rolling bandages and

13:21 Anyway else is new that war was coming and he and his wife his second wife came to Culpeper and they got out of the wall and just in time but Willie and his wife didn't and they stayed and Uncle Willie was in the death. March of The Thao and he marched all the way to 4:10 and they put him on a Red Cross ship and they accidentally bombed at the Americans by mistake and he was killed and then she was a nurse and she wrote a book called to the Angel Lee Angel so sad.

14:13 So tell us about you know, when when you went away to Mary Washington you went to a dance and you met Tony your first husband. Well my first husband I met through a not a roommate but a girl that lived down the hall from me and she was engaged to Tony's roommate and they were having a dance at Annapolis in Maryland, and she wanted me to go and and date Tony and we went together. I think we went down on the bus came back on the bus and I'm at Tony that weekend in Annapolis and then

14:56 Oh, I went on to George Peabody College.

15:01 4 year and Tony came down to Nashville to Peabody College to see me and we decided to get married and what did your parents say where they upset because you hadn't finished college and no all after Tony passed away in a plane accident went back to George Peabody and finish my last year and then I finished my education and I had a job teaching second grade in Arlington, Virginia where Tony was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery and he was from Greenwich, Connecticut and his mother and daddy lives there in an apartment. I never owned a home and

15:54 His daddy was a banker and he didn't have any brothers or sisters. And so you were only married to Tony nine know about 10 months and months when he was killed in an in anyway, when you first went to Texas to Pasadena, Texas where he started to be a pilot and then he was transferred to Sacramento, California.

16:23 And though

16:26 Anyway, we live there and where did a nice place from these moments and she was so nice to us. So you didn't stay on base you left off base and then he was transferred to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, and he went up with a pilot to get his time of blind kid and he has his phone with this pilot before but he was a pilot and and Tony was a navigator triple rated Navigator and no

17:04 The plane just they think a bunch of birds got into the engine and the plane just went down and it went down near this church. I forget the denomination, but the minister wrote me the nicest flutter that was

17:24 So so after that Tony passed away you went to back to George Peabody and finish college and then you got that teaching job in Arlington. And then what happened you you and your friend y'all went down to Daytona Beach on vacation. So I had a teacher friend who talked at all eaten and she was engaged to this man in the Naval Air Force and he was a pilot and she asked me to go to Daytona Beach with her so she could see her boyfriend from Pensacola and he came down and one night. We were going to eat dinner and this man on the elevator was so very nice and he spoke to us and he wanted to know about us and where we were going and I

18:24 Told him and he said they were having a fish fry on the beach that night and he wanted me to go with him and beat this nice agricultural teacher from Fort Meade. He was teaching in Fort Meade for two years and I met him and we had a good time together there at at Daytona Beach and then he brought me to his home in Plant City and I met his family and then we went over to the beach.

18:56 Redington Beach and then he came up to visit with me and my family and so how long until you and Daddy got married. Well, it wasn't too long. We met after school in June and we were married August 7th. That was a whirlwind romance. Wow, he he should have taught his skills to all the young man. Now that was he handsome mama what his body was very handsome. And I thought the wedding we were married at hold and out of Smith's my maid of honor.

19:40 She was married, but she dated.

19:43 All Dave black black that's right, and he was

19:50 I bet best man put gym and they dated one another while he was up his bell pepper. And so then we came back to Fort Meade and we run it this device apart, but across from the high school in near the elementary school. And from there. We came to Platte City and bought 36. I can supply you haven't started building at home and we move the old home when she was real big back in the back. They had to divide it up into three parts.

20:27 And so Palmer was born in September 29th, and that home wasn't quite completed. So we stayed with Grandma and Grandpa so much for a couple of weeks until we could move into our home that must have been a tight fit in that little house.

20:53 So-so Palmer was born in 1955 and then tell us about

21:01 Your next child that was born Wayne Herndon Simmons born 2 and 1/2 years later and then Stephanie and someone to spoil in two and a half years later than that and she lives in Gainesville Florida where the village is located and after my husband passed away. She wanted me to come to Gainesville and living that senior retirement center, which I did and that's where I'm living now and Ashley lives here and has a home and he lives here deal lives with Ashley burnout.

21:42 And

21:44 So

21:46 That's the way it is. Where did you come up with the names for your I know where Uncle Palmer's name came from but then Uncle Wayne and what made you think of those name? I saw a movie Once I can't remember the name of it and the girl in the movie was named Stephanie and I thought it was such a beautiful night and you can spell it different ways. But I spell it the old-fashioned way. Yes, Stephanie and then what Palmer was named?

22:23 After your maiden name maiden name and Wayne and James came from his daddy James Laurie Simmons and Wayne Herndon was named for. Dr. Herndon who was a horse and buggy doctor and he would have ran doctoring people who are sick and dr. Herndon was a relative, right? Yes. He was

22:49 A relative on my mother's side.

22:55 So you didn't tell us about daddy. I know Daddy passed away last January and I was hoping to get opportunity to bring Daddy and record history with him, but tell us about got sick and he was in and out of the hospital for about two years and he had everything about you about you and I both know he had an ulcer of the stomach and he had a pair of side and

23:28 He just was falling all the time and I couldn't pick him up because he was so heavy and I would have to call 911 and they would come and infect my granddaughter Ashley stayed with me a couple of weeks and he had fallen the night before than that night and Ashley was there and I called 911 and the man told me he says mrs. Simmons, you might consider putting him elsewhere. And that was when we looked around it down a real nice assisted living home and he loved it there and got him a hospital bed and a nice little chest by his bed and a recliner doll for the living room.

24:14 And he liked all the people that worked there and he was real real happy.

24:19 Send Mama those were kind of the last days with Daddy tell us about when you first met him daddy was a teacher and then he had some cows there in Plant City. No Daddy wouldn't at each he wasn't my daddy your husband. My husband. He didn't teach in Culpeper. He taught me dry. And then at Plant City. Yeah, he taught at Plant City at for 12 years, and he was at Turkey Creek middle school for 17 years.

25:00 And though

25:02 Then he was in the service for two years and then he retired after 33 years of teaching and worked in his Orange Grove down a picnic and then we had a little girl that home be worked in and so he had a big Garden every year and he would borrow Master lights his tractor and bed up the lion and his God was tremendous and we would invite the people to come and pick beans and all but we wound up picking them for them and taking them to the

25:43 And I remember that story that mister Lassiter may be told at the funeral and he said that Papa would always get mad when people would would call, you know, the soil dirt dirt. That's the oil and and he had a few cows rhyme you didn't have too many you like to be outside and I don't remember daddy being inside or doing anything inside. I got left growing up. But Mom is even Daddy. I went on many trips after daddy retires. Yeah, we let's say we took several Caribbean cruises then we went to St. Maarten in the Virgin Islands for one week.

26:42 And then we went to Hawaii.

26:46 And then we went to Alaska.

26:49 And though we took a trip up the New England course coast and and travel back on the boat, and we went to Nova Scotia and a lot of places in Canada Montreal and Quebec and came back on the boat. And then that last trip that we took was a steamboat up the Mississippi River and we flew to st. Louis and got on the ship and it came down and biscuit the different home. So people and we wound up in New Orleans and New Orleans and then we flew back to Tampa to Tampa from New Orleans.

27:50 The mom was how was I Stephanie as a little girl was I a bad thing? But tell the truth cuz I want to know especially with the best one of the my three children and she was real good and the boys for kind of bad at times and when they were over at grandma said she would pull off a twig off her peach tree live and chipper switch their leg when they were too bad and I imagined Stephanie about might have gotten a switching to I did Grandma was a retired schoolteacher and see she was in very old school air switches up on the refrigerator and her little paddle a home that used to be, you know, I have a little ball to it and you paddle

28:50 I remember one time we were at my house, or maybe when I was living at home and you guys were upstairs in my room and you were getting on me cuz of my clothes were all over the bed and you know, you're up for real. I kind you need to put your clothes up and Mimi said well, I remember when you were growing up Stephanie. I just have to go in your room every damn morning and put the clothes in the closet because you were just trying to decide what you were. So I guess it happens to everybody. Yes.

29:34 The mama who was your favorite relative growing up in for her Inez Williams Palmer. She was Inez Williams rixey and she was mighty good to me and her sister Liz fix less she lived with her for what's the last she was married to this Dennis and he was in a car accident and was killed and

30:11 Didn't mother Palmer was mighty good what what I could see of her. We went down to visit with them and she would come up and every year and they mother and she would make chow chow pickle.

30:24 And it was real good and

30:29 Let's see my other relatives.

30:34 I'm just speaking of the ones who live close by that was big. I your favorite relative I guess so and then there was Uncle Bill your uncle here and he would come down to visit with us.

30:50 Sometimes I have to work.

30:53 And how were you kind of like a tomboy? I'm well, I was dead as little long shatter every time daddy got a call to go to the office. I wanted to go with him. So he let me come with him and one night. We were at the office and this man came up with an awful toothache and I felt so sorry for any had a pint of whiskey in his back pocket that I guess he was drinking to numb the pain in his tooth and daddy says what tooth is it. He says, I don't know doc. Just take your choice and didn't I remember you telling me a story that you used to want to be a nurse, but then something happened one time when you were at your dad's office, and you decided to be a nurse, but then after school

31:53 Was there in his office one day and he gave me a nickel and I went to the five and ten cent store with you was close to his office and I bought me a nickel worth of candy and I came back to his office and I put my head down on just pretty desk and he says what's wrong with you. I said he'll I guess seeing that surgery this morning. No. No I said, oh I got some candy and I ate too much candy and it made me sick and that morning. I had seen they had brought this konvict in and he had broken his fingers and they did surgery on his fingers and they had to cut a couple off and they told me I could come over there and watch the game and I said, oh how I don't think I'll ever want to be a nurse today.

33:00 So did you enjoy being a teacher? Yes, I did. I had somebody good little students and then I had some money bad little students you probably remember more of the bad ones in the good ones. I had a little boy in the first grade at Pinecrest named Eddie and Eddie would interrupt I would be teaching I couldn't control a d I had to move them to a desk in the very back and had a table. He walked all over the table with pencils grounds. It was a Blackboard up above He Walked on that and I don't know what was wrong with Eddie, but then the school nurse told me that he was a product of incest so that told me the story.

33:51 So I worked with Ed in real hard that first year.

33:56 And then I taught for the second year down there and the principal put it back in my room. And I said well, why did you do this? I said I had any one year and that was enough. He says what you did such a good job with Eddie that we decided. He should go back to your room again what you saw when he was an adult or something at the grocery store, right? Yeah. I was in the I think five and ten Cent Store someone put that bomb around me will have no misses so much. I looked around and there was Eddie he was very affectionate and I don't know what has become of you've made the change you've moved up to Gainesville from Plant City.

34:56 I'm here in the last year after daddy's side. Do you like living in Gainesville close to Ashley? And yes, I'd like it very much and they have such nice people at the village and when anything happens or goes wrong with you come old or something. They have maintenance people to come up and to change the light bulbs and thanks hang your pictures up and the food is very good. We have a free breakfast in the lake house where I live and then I go over to the Tower Club, which is down the street a little ways in the afternoons to exercise at the gym and I use a treadmill and the bicycle and though

35:46 Then when I get through there I go to supper at the Tower Club and I eat with several other people. There are women.

35:55 Haha, we're kind of winding up on our time. So is there anything that you'd like to tell Ashley and I are you no advice to give us as we hopefully one day live to a gracious age 82. Well I eat breakfast with some ladies that are 92 and 96 and this lady who's having a birthday Monday. She will be 97 and she's real active and no and Connie is a little little lady and she told me when I met her the second day I was at the village that she was from Platte City and she says really I'm from Dover, but I tell people I'm from Plant City because I don't know where Doper is and she's real petite and she's been at the village.

36:55 12 years and she can tell you so much about the history of the village and

37:04 Anyway, she went to the gym with me one day and she got on that treadmill and staple 30 minutes and she says when I first started this I didn't go this long, you know and I'll but now I can go longer when I guess if 7 year old and she regulates hate.

37:29 On the treadmill. So do you have any advice to Ashley and I are well. The only thing I can tell her is that I ate so well, the first two months I was up here. I gained 8 pounds because I didn't cook the food. It was so good. But I've lost 8 pounds and I'm trying to lose more and I just want to tell Ashley and Stephanie that they need to do is way too and I also need to lose more.

38:08 Well and Brandi Stephanie's husband, he goes and works out and in the morning said he's lost weight in a few likes to tell people all about the wave official.

38:37 How do you want to be remembered? My daughter was like in the other day. I should be writing my obituary what to write my obituary at but how would you like to be remembered as well? Just like a good wife and a good mother and a great grandma and a good grandparents and

39:09 And definitely I definitely think of my grandmother is very sweet and respectful and kind is very classy. You know, you don't always get a classy lady. I mean, he's very classy. That's a good way to remember her.

39:30 And I'm very happy that that bombs 2 miles from me and Ashley Swan 1 mile from me. So it's good to have three generations. Very close by.