Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: T is for Thelma

My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Thelma.  Thelma Clare Hockman.

Okay, it’s time for me to come clean.  

THIS is Thelma Clare Hockman.  
Thelma Clare Hockman about 1925
Thelma Clare Hockman Sarver

It is NOT Bill Porter as I reported HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

See -- it says "Bill"

When my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring labeled the picture “Bill,” I believed her.  There really was a girl at Harrisonburg Teachers College in 1925 known as “Bill Porter.”  But the name was never aligned with a photo to compare.  I trusted my aunt not to deceive.

But she did.  When I ran across the “Lovingly, Thelma” portrait, I went searching for the truth which had been in front of me every time I looked at a census.  There she was:  Thelma Hockman, next door neighbor. 

Thelma was the third of four children born to Jacob and Attie Hockman.   Velma and Thelma grew up side by side in Shenandoah, Virginia.  They even went to college together.  However, Thelma attended for just one year.  Yet, there are probably more photos of Thelma in Velma’s scrapbook than of any other friends.

Thelma Hockman 1924
Thelma Hockman at Massanutten Peak
a college hiking trip Oct. 1924

Unknown and Thelma Hockman 1924
Thelma Hockman on the right
waiting for the train on the campus of
Harrisonburg Teachers College

Thelma Hockman, Leta LeVow, Velma Davis 1924-25
Velma captioned this "Us and No More"
Thelma, Leta LeVow, and Velma
Leta and Velma were roommates;
maybe Thelma was the third roommate.
Unknown, Thelma Hockman, Velma Davis 1924
Unknown, Thelma, Velma
in the new outdoor pool at
Harrisonburg Teachers College 1924

June 1925 Velma Davis, Thelma Hockman, Leta LeVow
June 9, 1925 - last day
of their freshman year at HTC
Velma, Thelma, Leta LeVow, and

Thelma Hockman and Virginia Cole 1924
Thelma is sitting on the beam
Virginia Cole is standing.

Thelma married Lacy Wilson Sarver March 7, 1927.  An amusing tidbit in the social column of the Richmond Times Dispatch on March 6 noted that Lacy was spending the weekend in Shenandoah.  

Cambria, Virginia social column sent to Richmond Times Dispatch March 6, 1927

Well, I guess so!  It was the wedding.  Then at Christmas, the newspaper reported that Thelma was spending several weeks with her parents. 

Cambria, Virginia social column sent to Richmond Times Dispatch Dec. 1927

Thelma and Attie Hockman, Velma and Mary Frances Davis 1925
Velma captioned this "Us and Our Mothers"
Standing: Thelma and Velma
Sitting:  Attie Hockman and Mary Frances Davis

Thelma and Lacy lived in Christiansburg, Virginia, and had four children, 3 girls and a boy.  Lacy worked as a postal clerk for the railroad.  At least during the time when the 1930 and 1940 censuses were conducted, Thelma did not work.  Apparently they never left Christiansburg.

Thelma died in 1992.  She and Lacy are buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Christiansburg, Virginia.

photo courtesy Jan Robinson

I am no toady who would try to thwart the throngs in their tenacious trek through the terrain called the A to Z April Challenge.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Maybe her nickname was Bill? Or...? Yeah, I got nothing.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

  2. Not sure y it was bill. Those B and W pics literally took be back to those days. Good u brought life to their days by writing about them :)
    dropping by from A to Z

    1. The photos are great, aren't they? Thanks for visiting!

  3. The clothes they wore then are so different from the ones we wear now. I love seeing the pictures you share, Wendy. It transports me to that place and time.

    1. Do you ever write stories set in a different time and place?

  4. "Bill", meant something to them. An inside joke maybe. I wish they had let you in on it.

    1. Maybe you're right -- that would make sense.

  5. WELL, this post is a shocker- NOT Bill Porter! WOW. Glad you found out that it is Thelma. I remember Violetta talking about the Hockmans.

    1. In my mind's ear, I can "hear" them saying "the Hockmans," but I don't recall anything in particular that they said about the Hockmans.

  6. They are amazing photos and Thelma looks quite the statuesque model type. "Bill" must have been a nickname I'd say.

    1. I agree that Thelma seems much taller than other girls in most of the photos. Her portrait is much prettier than she appears in candid photos which make her seem like a really outgoing, fun-loving, "crazy gal" kind of friend.

  7. Great photos! Cracks me up what they wrote about in the paper - XYZ is planning to go to San Francisco, XYZ is in San Francisco, XYZ has returned from San Francisco. Must have been slow news days :-)

    1. You know it! When my husband and I were in college, his parents' neighbor wrote a little social column for the newspaper. She reported every time he came home for the weekend. It was a 20-minute drive from our college to his parents' house. Talk about slow news day!