1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Cleo Gay Woofter Butcher
John McCurdy Aug 09

Cleo Gay Woofter Butcher was a neighbor of my wife and me. She lived in a small home we built for her, very close to our house, for nearly twenty years, I had known her for more than forty and my wife had known her all her life. You likely know, or have guessed by now that she was the mother of my wife. She was, by any measure, also my mother.

She probably reached five feet at the tallest and she may have topped the scales at ninety pounds! There are other measures of size and she met all of them.

After she moved into our guesthouse she was too far away, from her church to walk, as a result Pearl or I would, each Sunday morning, around 9:30, drive her to Sunday School. We would, about an hour later, meet her and we would attend church services together.

One cool autumn morning about 9:30, wearing her usual Sunday clothing, which always included gloves, she got into the car. I thought she looked a little different and asked her if she was all right. With a chagrined expression, she pulled her gloves off and revealed that her fingers had several scratches on them. When I inquired as to the manner in which the scratches had occurred, she instead, said, “Look here”! She pulled her skirt very immodestly, for her, above her knees, and rolling down her stockings, pointed to scratches on the inside portion of her knees. My next question was of course, “how in the world did you do that?” She needed to tell someone. Her explanation has become family lore!

Her small cottage was built on a hill overlooking Muddy Creek; it had a covered front porch and also a rear deck over-looking the stream below. Seems the day prior she had been bringing her flowers in from the deck for the winter, when, by some cause, more than likely a gust of the cool fall air, the door behind her shut, locking her out of her home! She tried, without success, to open the window into the kitchen. That did not work. She said she called and called, hoping we would hear her, she beat on an old metal dishpan hard enough to dent it, No success. The windows and doors in our house were also closed against the cool air! When I interrupted to ask, “Why did you not just break the window in the door?” She was flabbergasted that I would ask her to destroy a perfectly good window. Her entire life would not allow her to do such a thing!

The deck, was of course, surrounded by a railing and included a bench for seating, or in Mother “B’s” case for holding potted plants! It was nearly 12 feet from the ground and that ground then sloped steeply down the hill to Muddy Creek.

Getting down on the deck and wiggling under the bench, she managed, somehow, almost certainly by the grace of God, to slowly shimmy down the post to the ground. A lost grip would have sent her rolling and tumbling down the side of the hill through the trees and bushes more than two hundred feet to the creek and surely would have severely injured or killed her. It is a good thing her front door was not locked. She was thus able, slip back into her house to doctor her scratches in secret and think of how she would ever explain her day’s adventure.

We celebrated her 90th birthday three months later!