Though it is a little late for Mother's Day, this,is a lovely tribute to a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is Mrs. Velma Woods, lovingly called "Ma." She was born January 3, 1916 in Wildersville, the last of three children in her family. Her two brothers, Clyde Webb and Willie Webb, are both deceased. She recalls very little of her childhood since her mother died when Velma was only 5. Her father took Velma and her brothers to live with her Q grandmother. Velma attended a one-room school - Birch School House -at Wildersville for 8 years, walking 3 miles to and from school every day.

In 1934, she met her soon-to-be husband, Ben Woods. They were married at the courthouse when she was 18. After 35 years of happiness, Ben was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1969 at the age of 56. Velma is the mother of 15 children. Ten were born at home, the others in a doctor's office. Her children are: Clois Woods; William Woods [Jam-up]; Bonnie Sue Jowers, Rayburn Woods [deceased]; James Arthur Woods [Aut]; Betty Alexander; Linda Williams; Lillie Williams; William Terry Woods; Judy Woods; Benny Lee Woods; Lora Threadgill; Donna Pulley, and twins who died at birth. There are 22 grandchildren [1 more due in May] and 14 great-grandchildren.

Everyone in the family calls her "Ma." She has always been a housewife. Her children were raised on food grown in the big garden; they grew corn which they carried to the grist mill to be made into meal; hogs were raised for meat which were hung and smoked in the "smokehouse"; they kept cows for milk and butter. Ma and the older children picked cotton and would drag the younger children around on their pick sacks for fun. Share cropping was the main source of income.

Velma's husband, Ben, started logging in 1956. In 1967, he changed jobs and went to work at Salant and Salant as a night watchman until his death. In 1989, Ma broke her hip and after coming home from the hospital, she had a stroke, but her family says she has come a long way and has recovered from her illness -all her children and grandchildren "pushed" for her recovery. The Woods are a close family - one granddaughter says, "We would not trade Ma for anything in the world." She loves to cook for her family and every Sunday she cooks for 40 or more and she cooks Christmas dinner for 53 or more. She enjoys camping out and just a few years ago, she went on a family floating trip on the Buffalo River. She loves to have her family visit which they all enjoy. All her children live in Lexington

"An interesting Person" The Lexington Progress May 11, 1994

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