Clara was the last of the eleven children born to Charlie and
Lula. She was born in late October 1926, close to midnight, and that
has apparently generated some confusion as to the date she was
born. She says that she has always celebrated for the whole week,
just to make sure that she didn't miss her birthday.
When she was born, her older brothers had already left home. By the
she was 12 years old, only Clara, Jewell and Robert were living at
All other siblings were either married, raising families, or pursuing
careers away from home. It was such a close, loving family, that all
brothers and sisters returned home often and a close bond continued
throughout their lives. Clara's childhood was relatively tranquil,
typical of a small town during those times, the only major tragedy
the untimely death of her brother Grady when she was twelve.
She left Ethel when she was just over sixteen, to attend college with
her sister, Jewell. After two years at Blue Mountain College, she
accepted a job with Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga, TN,
later, at First Baptist Church there. Clara credits these
as having the greatest influence on the young woman she would become.
In the fall of 1947, at twenty-one years old, she took a job with
Vehicle Comptroller of Jackson, Ms. It was there that she met Edward
Bradley Childress, the man she was to marry in July, 1949.
Edward B. Childress
known simply as 'B' to family, friends and
acquaintences, was a graduate of the University of Mississippi and
just returned from the war. Having been drafted into the Army a few
months before Pearl Harbor was attacked, he had served as a Warrant
Officer in the Pacific Theater until the war ended. In 1947, at the
of 31, with a good job working for Motor Vehicle Comptroller, and a
promising future, he was ready to settle down and start a family.
was his first and last choice. Edward Bradley Childress, Jr. was born
late 1951, and by early 1956, with the birth of Rebecca Claire
their family was complete and they were living the American Dream.
Clara tells the story of a young girl growing up during the thirties
in Ethel, Mississippi. Vivid, delightful reading, with
anecdotes and funny asides, rich in texture and detail. Well written.
Click here for a list of the basic
items needed to complete Clara's page.
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