Family, personal

The Story of Aunt Gladys: Or A Small Part of the Story, anyway!

Another in the series of stories about my relatives. My Aunt Gladys Watts Waddell, whose husband was Edward Waddell (also great and frequently mentioned as the man with the camera!) was awesome. She never had children, but she treated us like grandchildren. She and Uncle Edward were the best. At left, my aunt and uncle stand in front of their house in Linden, Alabama (sometime, I suspect in the early 1970’s) after moving from Huntsville, Alabama, (correction, my sister Suzanne explained that the house shown in the picture is actually their house in Huntsville–and I was just thinking that they had aged amazingly well) where they lived from the late 1950’s after moving from Alaska. One of the many, many things my Aunt Gladys did was make the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. So wonderful they were that I managed to get a story about them in one of the Southern Living Christmas cookbooks.  I only wish that the original story that went with it was still there. The basic story was that I’d hide my box of wonderful cookies and dole out one or, if they were very, very lucky, two cookies to my sisters. Then, the box would disappear in my room, hidden carefully to avoid detection.

Later, this little story of her life will certainly have to be updated, but for now, here it is:

Gladys Antoinette Watts: Received a diploma from State Normal School at Livingston, Alabama which was at that time, a two year college. She received a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama. In 1935 she went to Alaska and taught at Kodiak, a territorial school; Akiachak, an Indian Service School on the Kuskokwun River; Eklutera, a boarding school for Eskimos and Indian children; and Tanana on the Yukon River. Later she taught in the Anchorage City Schools. While in Alaska she married Edward Waddell, nephew of the Superintendent of Education in Alaska. They left Alaska in 1956 and lived in Huntsville, Alabama, where Edward worked for NASA and Gladys taught school. Upon retirement, they moved to Linden, Alabama. She lived in Linden until her death in 2003. As she aged, she broke a hip and had several other ailments, finally moving into the Linden nursing home. Several years before the move to the nursing home, she was asked if this was really hard. Her answer: “I made it through many winters in Alaska, eating frozen fish and dog sledding to my teaching job. This is nothing compared to an Alaskan winter.”

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