Wednesday, May 16, 2012

From Cullowhee to Columbia

Although I'm a proud South Carolinian and I'm proud to say I've lived in the great state of Alabama for 6 years, I'm actually a Tarheel by birth...not meaning I cheer for UNC, but I was born in the mountains of North Carolina. Both my parents grew up in Western North Carolina and we lived there until I was around 2 1/2 years old and then we moved to South Carolina where we've stayed. I married a local boy who comes from a very large family so I often have patients ask me if I'm related to "So & So McCarty"...I never know because unless they're my in-laws I can't remember all their names. But when I meet someone who tells me they're from Western North Carolina I always tell them a little bit about where I'm from. Today I had the one of these encounters and I wanted to share...

Along with testing hearing I also sell hearing aids. Since I work in an ENT setting most of the time patients we see are usually scheduled to see a doctor following their hearing test. So when we identify hearing loss in a patients and recommend hearing aids we have time set aside for patients to come back to meet with just an audiologist to discuss & hopefully order hearing aids. Today I sat down with a sweet lady and as we talked about her lifestyle we first discovered she had taught school with some friends of mine. Her daughter loves sewing and her daughter-in-law loves Matilda Jane clothing.  Just when I thought we could not have any more in common she mentioned having had lived in Virginia and then Asheville, NC. I told her I was born not far from Asheville in Sylva, NC to which she responded by saying she had attended Western Carolina...which is where both my parents went to college and Cullowhee, NC is where my mom grew up and just outside of the town where I was born. The town of Cullowhee has changed a lot since my mom grew up there, but when she was growing up the name of the town was larger than the town was beyond tiny. My grandparents relocated their family to Cullowhee when my mom was in elementary school and they have a very unique last name...I'm not going to share for privacy reasons, but it starts with a U and has 11's unique, believe me. When I told this patient my mom's maiden name she said "Oh yeah, there were lots of U**********'s in Cullowhee.", no there wasn't. There were exactly 5 in Cullowhee, my Grandpa & Grandma, my mom, my aunt and my uncle...that was it. My grandpa was a carpenter and could make or repair anything. He built affordable student housing for students at Western Carolina that my grandparents owned until I was in college. It turns out this patient lived in his first apartment building and she remembered him from the years she and her husband lived there.

These are my grandparents...


This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents because it's how I remember them best from my childhood...from the orange tint of the picture it had have to have been taken in the early to mid 80's.

I love chatting with patients and getting to know their's one of my favorite parts of my job...but today I was thankful to have a patient remind me of my family too. My grandpa passed away almost 10 years ago and my grandma passed away almost 5 years ago...on almost a daily basis I find myself wishing they were still alive and could have known my children...but it made me feel good today to have someone remind me of what a neat man my grandpa was.

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The 1st of May said...

What a wonderful patient encounter that God sent to you! I'm sure your grandparents are looking in on you and your babies often!

Brantley said...

This is such a sweet story!