MEET LILLIAN! – Revised!

MEET LILLIAN. Who?  Why?

Lillian is on my mind this week.   She was my aunt.  My mother’s sister.  I wrote about her over last weekend, but that post was too long, and Lillian “got lost in the shuffle.”  So, now, Lillian has a post of her own!  She matters because she mattered.  A woman before her time.  She never talked about it.  She just DID it.  I learned early in life to “stop talking about it. DO it.”  So, I did.  I have. And, I am.  But I digress……

LILLIAN DOROUGH MORGAN.  (1904 – 1990)

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Lillian was born in 1904.  During those days, girls were raised to get married.  And, if they could not find a man to take care of them, or be a teacher, or be a dutiful secretary, something that was “acceptable for a woman to do, it was difficult.  No woman dared to try to compete in a man’s world.  Lillian did.  She went against the grain and and got work in a man’s world.  I am not sure how she made her choices.  She just did it – in a quiet, unobtrusive way.

I never realized all that she accomplished before. Let’s take a moment to go back in time to the early 1900’s.  Think of what was going in the world and in society in the USA during those years.  As I said before, in so many words, women were “chattel.” (a personal possession). Men ruled the Universe. And, during her lifetime, there were pandemics, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and more.  NOTE:  If you don’t value history and don’t care about what happened before your time, now is your time to stop reading this post.

Lillian was my mother’s younger sister and her best friend. My mother’s name was Anna Louise (called “Anna Lou”) (1902-2001). They were two of the five children of LILLIE WESTMORELAND (1880-1992) and TRAVIS GLENN DOROUGH (1875-1940).   (The other three girls were Ruth, Edna (died from peritonitis in 1929), and Rose). (I have a picture of Mother somewhere like this one. This is Lillian.)

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When Lillian and Anna Lou were very young, 1918 (ages 14 and 16), there was a bad pandemic. People were getting sick and dying.  (Like today.)  The world was frantically trying to find a vaccine.  (Like today.) The 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin (similar to today’s “bat”). Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated (unlike today), it spread worldwide during 1918-1919 and lasted for approximately two years.

In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 ( In the current pandemic, the U.S. is currently registering 76,000 deaths, as of May 7, 2020, and approximately 50 million worldwide). Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old (unlike today), 20-40 years old (unlike today), and 65 years and older (like today – ME and most of my friends!!).

The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of the 1918 pandemic with no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections.  Control efforts worldwide were limited to isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.  (Sound familiar????) So, Lillie, Glenn, and the girls stayed home and tried not to get sick!! (Sound familiar?)  And, to you healthy young people who want to go to the beaches and get a tattoo, “buyer beware”!  Germ warfare is on your home turf, turning neighbor against neighbor.  (Sound familiar?)  Read about World War II in Germany and France and Italy!!

So, all of Lillie’s girls were teenagers in 1918, except for Rose.  Susceptible.  And, Lillie and Glenn were 38 and 43.  Susceptible.  It lasted for TWO YEARS.  (Today, we are at 3-5 months, sorta, with a long time to go).  Can you imagine how scared they must have been?  Without radio, television, or social media to give them information. Newspapers, word of mouth.  Amidst that pandemic, Mother and Lillian grew up, went to college, and taught school.  I doubt they wanted to go to the beach or get a tattoo, or bowl or go to a music concert.  I DOUBT THEY WERE TOLD TO DRINK BLEACH!!!!

By 1920, the family had moved to Athens, GA.  And, Anna Lou and Lillian were at Maryville College.  I don’t know about the other girls.  In Athens, the girls all attended a private high school – the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens, but they did not graduate from there because of financial considerations and moved back to their hometown of Royston, Georgia, eventually moving to Toccoa, GA.

Anna Lou-classmates-lillian 1920

(In this photo above, Lillian is #1 and Mother is #3).  As I said, Anna Lou and Lillian both attended and graduated from Maryville College (co-ed) in Maryville, TN, and Lillian graduated in 1927 with a B.A. degree.  She was a member and officer of Theta Epsilon, a literary society for female students.  She played on the “Girls Basketball Squad” and lettered during her senior year in college.  (She was a good athlete.) After college, Lillian moved to La Follette, TN where she taught high school.

Before Lillian got married, she participated with Mother and my aunt on my father’s side of the family and another woman I don’t know in a Terripin Derby staged in the Gainesville City Park, as part of the WWI centennial and the American Legion, part of “Georgia Images.”

Lillian and others - turtle race

At some point, she met and married a salesman – Ralph Morgan.  (Remind you of Linda in “Death of a Salesman”, written in 1948). She worked while she was married – worked as a “project” supervisor in government work in the Atlanta area.  The family gossip was that Ralph Morgan was a “compulsive liar.”

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At a time when women did NOT divorce, no matter what, and stayed home, no matter what, Lillian was working for the government, and, by 1944, Lillian and Ralph were divorced.  WOW. I don’t know the details.  In those days, people did not talk about “family matters).

On Nov. 9, 1944 she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps for the duration of the war, plus 6 months. I was informed by my cousin Edna that her brother Preston (my first cousins, children of Ruth) was in the War as a pilot. And, Lillian wanted to show her support for her nephew Preston by joining up.

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 The war was over September 2, 1945.  (On the enlistment document her marital status is “divorced,” and it says she has dependents.  Since she never had any children, the dependents probably are her mother Lillie and possibly her youngest sister, Rose, and Rose’s young daughter Joan.  (In 1944, Rose was a widow with a teenage daughter.)

(What I know about Women and World War II:  The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Desperate for personnel, the Army created the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACS) in 1942, but the idea of women in the army was too new for many Americans to stomach. People turned against the women who were taking desk jobs and thus seemed to be freeing up people’s sons and husbands to be killed on the battlefields.   Rumors spread that WAACs were simply man-crazy; they were “khaki-wacky” and prone to getting pregnant. Recruiting fell off, but with a European invasion on the horizon, the country needed women in uniform more than ever. Army leaders recognized that they needed more WAACs than they could get, and also that the army could not use women in dangerous locations unless they received regular army benefits and protection in case they were captured.  So, in 1943, Congress created the Women’s Army Corps, and Lillian joined upon November 9, 1944. She was 40.)  Lillian’s decision of November 9, 1944, along with a similar decision by sixteen million other anonymous Americans– including the 350,000 other American women who also joined one of the other service branches—helped to defeat fascism. That decision that Lillian made to help America defend American democracy, still echoes amidst all of the existing chaos.

In 1949, Lillian’s name appears on a departing passenger list on the ship Queen of Bermuda, leaving from New York and going to Bermuda.  I don’t know anything or remember anything about any of this.  In 1949, I was 12.

 

My niece Debby remembers that Lillian obtained a master’s degree (in psychiatry, I think) at some point, and she worked for many years as a psychiatric social worker for the Veterans Administration. I remember that she also worked at the Federal Penitentiary – as a psychiatric social worker) for years.

She took care of Lillie for many, many years and was active in the Altrusa Club in Atlanta.  She loved genealogy and gardening.  I have her trowel.

In later life, Lillian and Lillie were quite entrepreneurial.  They had to support each other, and they also help out other members of the family who needed help (when they could).  And, I know that Mother helped them (when she could).  They lived in a large house on Peachtree Circle in Atlanta, GA and rented out an apartment in the basement and all rooms upstairs.  And, they also rented out a two-story concrete block building at the back of the property in which there were at least two apartments.

Lillian was frugal.  She saved her money.  And she was very “business-like”.  She really helped me and my sister Patricia (with private loans) when we needed help. She charged us interest, but it was low and fair.  We always paid her back.  She died of cancer before Lillie.  So Lillie had to be moved to a rest home where she died two years later.  Two amazing women.

She and Mother remained good friends throughout. All of the family were full of love and made all of us grandkids and great grandkids feel loved.  That was because they really loved all of us.  No “just being nice”.  How fortunate we all were.

unnamed-1Mama Dorough & LillianAS A WRAP, I am sorry that I did not value Lillian during her lifetime.   I didn’t.  I thought she was “bossy”.  I did not like her influence on Mother.  I thought Mother was “weak”, and I did not like her.  I was into myself, what I though, what I wanted, my ambitions, my dreams.  I liked Daddy.  It was ALL about him.  I wanted to be like him.  How little about our parents that we really know.  How little about Lillian and Lillie and Anna Lou and Jesse that I really knew or know.  And, I KNOW that my children do not know much about Janet and less about Darrell (their father).  C’est la vie.  “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for ‘anybody to realize you!”

“Cat’s In The Cradle”
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.

–   Songwriters – Sandy and Harry Chapin

Best, Jay

Please help.  Thanks in advance.

 

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Published by jjaywmac

Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.

One thought on “MEET LILLIAN! – Revised!

  1. Reblogged this on JAYSPEAK and commented:

    I have fleshed out this post and want to reblog it for those who are interested. Thanks. Jay

    Like

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