Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 25 July 2012

69 Years Ago – The Sequel: The Flower Girl’s Story


This is a quick follow-up to the “69 Years Ago” story I posted earlier this month. (You might find it helpful to first read the original, which is posted here.)

The young Grover Proctor -- "wild" ?

The young Grover Proctor — “wild” ?

Those of you lucky enough to have known my father will be amused (and perhaps as surprised as I was!) by what follows. Let’s call it, “Flower Girl: The Sequel.”

After Adrianne and I had visited with Janie Proctor (my parents’ long-lost, recently found Flower Girl) in her home for an hour or so, we took her out to one of her favorite neighborhood restaurants and continued to get to know her and share family history. By this time, the three of us had become great friends.

As we were waiting for our food to arrive, Janie looked at me with only the slightest hint of apprehension and pre-apology for what she was about to tell me. Though I didn’t include it in the story I told to Mother, here’s another part of the Flower Girl’s Story.

She said, “I didn’t mention this earlier, because I didn’t know you well enough to be sure how you’d react. But I remember that, on the day your mother and father asked Uncle Gold to marry them, after the two of them had left the house, he said, ‘Well, I believe he’s going to be all right now. I think she’ll straighten him out and get him to finally settle down!’”

After I registered wide-eyed, slack-jaw surprise, she went on: “Your daddy was ‘wild’ back then, and he was a drinker.”

Wider eyes, and jaw dropped farther.

If you knew Daddy, you undoubtedly knew the gentle, quiet, sweet, kind, iced-tea-and-Coca-Cola-only man I knew, and try daily (with varying success) to emulate. I think everyone in our family will agree that the previous sentence aptly describes the man we knew as “Daddy” or “Uncle Proctor.”

Wild? Frankly, inexplicably, I found myself actually a little happy to hear that there had been a “cut-loose” side to Daddy. Does that make sense? If he was “wild,” I can’t help but believe that both Mother’s influence and his near death experience in WWII (machine gun wound just inches from his heart) had strong effects on him.

After I had time to consider the “drinking” attribution from dear Uncle Gold (a 68-year-old Elder Statesman and Minister of the Primitive Baptist), I thought, “Well, he could have meant anything from a fall-down, binging drunk to the occasional “social drinker.” But I was put straight by Janie — he was known to drink to excess. Talk about cognitive dissonance! Consider my experience with the man: I quite vividly remember one time when someone gave my parents a jar (yes, a mason jar) of homemade NC scuppernong wine. Daddy drank maybe a couple of tablespoons of it — after which both of them pronounced it undrinkable. Before or after that, I never saw him take even a sip of alcohol in my entire life, including Communion (which he took because, at our church then, it was Welch’s grape juice).

People have asked me why I devote time to researching genealogy. It’s uncovering stories like this one, which pulls me closer to my family, that makes it all worthwhile! Love you and miss you with all my heart, Daddy!!

And Janie Proctor, you do good story!


  1. […] (Read the follow-up to this story here: 69 Years Ago – The Sequel: The Flower Girl’s Story.) […]

  2. […] Until just recently, the reunion was held in Temperance Hall, Edgecombe County, North Carolina, and then it moved to the lovely Pinetops Baptist Church. (My parents were married in Pinetops by my great-granduncle George Gold Trevathan. Perhaps you have read the story of their engagement and wedding in my articles Flower Girl and Flower Girl—the Sequel.) […]

  3. […] By 1943, the 25-year-old Grover was working as a clerk in the Railroad Depot in Apex, North Carolina. Sometime in late May of that year, a mutual friend introduced him to Edna Ruth Hooks, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Apex High School. It must have been something akin to love at first sight, as six weeks later, on July 11, they were married. One of his distant cousins, the soon-to-be-7-year-old Janie Proctor (see photo) was their Flower Girl. (I’ve written elsewhere brief re-tellings of their engagement and wedding ceremony and about Daddy’s life at and before the time of his wedding.) […]

  4. […] If you haven’t already read them, let me invite you to read the story of their meeting, brief courtship, and wedding day in two articles I wrote in 2012. I learned much more than I had known about that time after having searched and found the lady who was their Flower Girl (and Ring Bearer) in their ceremony. Her name, Janie Proctor, was written in Mother’s handwriting on the back of the copy of the above photo that was in our house all the time I was growing up. I incorporated Janie’s wonderfully memorable stories in these articles: 69 Years Ago and 69 Years Ago — The Sequel: The Flower Girl’s Story. […]

  5. […] 69 Years Ago: The Sequel, written in 2012, with a perspective from their Flower Girl […]

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