By Gerry Roe
“What is seen is not always a reality to others.” Author Unknown
Evelyn Emily Combs October 30, 1906 – October 7, 1933
This story was told to me by my mother Ruby Isaacs Roe many years ago.
Evelyn, mama’s oldest sister was due to deliver her fifth child.
Mama walked to her home; she was living at Germania, Mississippi. Mama said as was close to house; she could see sheets flapping in the wind on the clothes line. When she arrived; she asked Evelyn if she had brought the sheets. Evelyn responded she didn’t have anything on the line. Mama said that was puzzling as she clearly saw the sheets.
Shortly after mama’s visit Evelyn gave birth and the doctor said both she and the baby girl died. Mama knew her sister was really gone, but she always hoped that the baby had lived. She hoped the doctor had found a home for the baby to help Evelyn’s husband who had just suffered the loss of his wife He already had three young children to care for. It would be very difficult for a man in his circumstances to properly care for a new born baby.
At that time it wasn’t unusual for a doctor to find a home for a motherless child.
Off course, I don’t know that is what happened. But I do know that mama clung to that hope for the rest of her life. This was just what mama hoped.
Mama was known to have premonitions, and she always said that looking back on the day she went to visit Evelyn that the sheets she saw flapping in the air were a premonition of her sister’s death.
Another time I clearly remember mama’s premonition of death was June 8, 1964, my high school graduation night. Me, mama, Daddy, my youngest brother Alan and my nephew Robert were all sleeping. When the phone rang. It was almost midnight. It was unusual for the telephone to ring in the middle of the night and we all ran to living room to find out who was calling .
I will never forget what mama said just before she answered the phone. She said “death bells are tolling for someone tonight”. She said this before answering the phone, when she picked up the phone we learned that my cousin Herbert Kelly (H.K.) Lisenby had just died in a terrible car accident.
H.K. was home on leave from the Navy. He was the son of mama’s youngest sister Bea.
I don’t remember who called to tell us of H.K.’s death. Others died at the crash scene also.
Mama always said her she had premonitions as far back as she could remember. She also told me that they did not always deal with death.
Children of Jesse Lee and Evelyn Marie Combs:
Jesse Lee Combs, JR 1924-1997
Lurlene Ruby Combs Bradshaw 1928-2008
William Gordon Combs 1929-1930 (14 months old on 1930 census,
Lucille Imogene Combs Graziano 1931-2015
Baby Girl October 7, 1933 – October 7, 1933
Questions I wish I would ask mama;
Why were you not there when Evelyn delivered?
Who took care of Jesse, Lurlene and Imogene during and after her death?
When did you get to see Evelyn after her delivery and death?
Did you talk to the doctor after both died?
What caused William’s death?
Germania is not listed as a town on the current map of Mississippi but there is a Germania Road
After writing this story, I received a copy of a letter dated thirteen days before Evelyn died. Her grand-daughter, Debbie Russell Warner found it among her mother Imogene Combs belongings. It is possible that she wrote the letter before my mother came to visit and that the letter was never mailed. It is also possible the letter was sent and that my mother kept it all those years and gave it to Imogene when she came to visit my mother in Oregon many years later.
Another question that goes unanswered.
The letter is attached, very newsy about everyday life. My sister, Nannie and I marvel at how long it has been kept and under these circumstances.
This letter confirms something I have always known and loved about my mother and her sisters; they loved each other deeply. They kept in touch even under the difficulties of life they faced. This legacy of love for each other is passed on to my sister Nannie and me.