Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: P is for Pauline

“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Pauline Wysong. She attended the funeral of my maternal grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis in November 1990.

She probably attended everyone’s funeral. In August 2014, she died at the age of 105 outliving three children, a husband, and everyone she walked in with at my grandmother’s funeral. Myrtle (Breeden) Hatfield and Pauline were in college together and both taught school. Myrtle was Maxie/Maxine Van Hyning’s step-mother. Maxine and Lettie were good friends; Maxine’s husband Jack was a pallbearer at the funeral for Lettie’s husband. And they all attended Fields United Methodist Church.

Pauline was born Olive Pauline Miller in 1909 in Page County. Her father was a car repairer for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. Next door was my great-grandmother’s brother Ulysses Jollett and his family, so no doubt Pauline became a longtime friend of the family.

Pauline attended Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Dayton and then Harrisonburg Teachers College where she graduated likely in 1928.  She married Frank Louis Wysong in 1929. They raised six children. Her home on North Fourth Street in Shenandoah sold just this year.
108 N. 4th Street, Shenandoah, Virginia
snipped from Google Maps

Pauline Miller Wysong
(photo from Kyger website)
The people who signed Pauline’s online Guest Book shared sweet and funny memories:
  • Former students praised her talent and skill at teaching.
  • A former substitute teacher appreciated Pauline’s encouragement.
  • A family friend loved Pauline’s caring personality and zest for life.
  • One person was grateful she got to see Pauline play the piano in the last few years of her life.
  • Great-grandchildren called her “Granny” and will always remember the warmth of her kitchen, her cooking, her books, and the polished wood of her house.
  • They also will remember how “famous” their great-grandmother was because she was always recognized on the street by students she taught 20 or more years before.
  • And here’s the funny one: the family still laughs about the time Pauline got pulled over by the police for driving 60 mph down the big hill in the center of town.

Knowing all that makes me wish I had known Pauline too.

For more Pontificating and other Pieces in Print, Pop over to the A to Z April Challenge.

© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Wow, to live to 105! She seemed like a character.I would have liked to know her too!


    1. I know - just making it to 100 is something but 5 more years? Wow.

  2. Sounds like the kind of person everyone loves to love...not a bad quality for a cherished teacher. No wonder she was "famous."

  3. get it Pauline going 60 down hill!!

  4. I wish I'd known Pauline, too. She sounds like a hoot!

  5. But did Pauline get a ticket? And, was the cop a former student?
    My first students were in 7th and 8th grade when I began teaching in 1986...they are around 42 years old now...I wouldn't recognize many of them.

  6. Such an interesting theme!
    I scrolled through a few of your posts...
    Pauline sounds like she was very upbeat... one of those "larger than life" characters.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
    Happy A to Z'ing!
    Writer In Transit