Aunt Dot Stories - Waller Family Reunion - Denmark South Carolina

Dorothy Whiting, my great aunt Dot, was born August 30th, 1921 in Illinois to George and Bessie Waller. She was the second of two children; her older brother was named George. We met with her when she was 89; her son Vince was there as well.

Vince spent a lot of time with Aunt Dot's mother, Bessie, because she came to live with them when she was older. He remembers lots of time playing canasta with her and enjoying it. She loved to cook too.

Vince remembers Bessie singing "Barnacle Bill the Sailor" but as a love song, not as a drinking song. Is it maybe this one? Barnacle Bill by Betty Boop

Aunt Dot remembers George as being a normal brother, that they got along fairly well with normal sibling spats. She remembers her parents were adamantly against her wearing pants. Her grandmothers both agreed too - especially Grandma Brown who thought it was ridiculous for a girl to be in pants. Finally Dot's brother had to speak up for her and convince her parents to let her wear skorts at least.

He did play baseball with Dot when they were young - they lived right across from the school which was great for playing on the swings and stuff. But when she got older they went separate ways. She did try tennis with a friend but they found it involved chasing too many balls.

Aunt Dot said her family was very musical. Any time they went driving they would all sing songs together, her and her brother George and both parents. They enjoyed that a lot. They didn't sing in church choirs or other public places, but they sang together. Whatever the popular songs were.

She doesn't remember any rivers around when she was growing up that they played in.

In middle school she did a school what-will-your-job-be test and she decided to be an airline attendant. She definitely wanted to live in one place but then she could fly around. To be an attendant you had to take some nurse training. She thought being a nurse would be really awful (lots of bedpans) but it was worth it to take the training to be the airline person. Then in late high school she took another one and a friend of hers got the literature for U-Michigan about being a nurse. She read it and realized it was fascinating and decided to enroll.

I showed her the photo of the wooden bowl that George made when he was 17 in school and she didn't remember him being into woodworking or other crafts.


When Dot went off to college, it was a 3 year straight through program - summers too. She remmebers going home for short breaks in christmas and summer but not otherwise, and she didn't miss home. She doesn't think her parents visited her. Her dorm had separate rooms for each person but were all girls. They went straight through every day 8am to 5pm then 7-9 they had to be in their rooms studying. She kept her door open because the girl across the hall wanted to pactice her golf putting across into her room. They had hall monitors to watch them.

There were a few common rooms in the main floor that could have boys but they were watched. One time she was caught in that room kissing her to-be-husband and was scolded. But the main doors had nooks by them that weren't checked and these were used by the girls for their necking.

She was set up with her husband on a blind date. Her girlfriend said her boyfriend had a friend who wanted a date and she agreed. She thought he was a student at the time but it turns out he was living on campus but was with the army doing electrical work. They hit it off.

Another guy had asked her for a date but she was legitimately busy at the time so she just said "no". It was only years later that she realized she should have said "I'm busy that night but how about another night?" She was naive about that sort of thing. She realized later that he probably thought given her absolute response that she just wasn't interested.

She said the classes were super busy. They did have dances and social events but she did a ton of schoolwork. Then she got engaged and was so busy with exams and finals and the board tests that she let her fiance and mother plan all the wedding stuff. So she took her exams, her boards, went home and got married that same week. Everything had been set up for her.

They kept thinking they would settle down somewhere. So they'd rent an apartment short term so they could look for a house to settle down in. Then they'd get the house and be ordered to move again. So they kept trying to put down roots and getting yanked around.

She remembers one time her husband had gone ahead to Florida and left her behind to manage the now three kids, the non-potty-trained dog and the parakeet. She had a station wagon and at the time they didn't have seat belts. So she put all the kids in the back with games with the dog and she had the parakeet on the seat next to her. They'd drive a few hundred miles to a hotel with a pool. The kids would all swim and play and they'd go to sleep. In the morning she'd tuck them all into the car asleep and get a hundred miles driving with it nice and quiet, and then they'd wake up again and start all over. The dog being untrained, any time he got up from laying down they'd stop the car to let him out.

Vince was telling aunt Dot about how he had been "asked to leave" from the Lutheran University he attended because he was too much of a partier and he was leading his fellow students astray from their studies. She was really suprirsed and didn't remember that at all.

When I said it seemed her half of the family was the happy singing half and Jane's (my other grandparent) half was the more strict quiet half, she said that they were happy when they were younger; she said it as if things changed later on.

While she was talking about her years in college, she said she didn't agree with current policies that allowed boys and girls to share dorm buildings.

Year 2010 Travelogues Main Page