Wednesday, February 6, 2013


      Somewhere between being really sick and being on the way to recovery, I received a spirit-lifting package in the mail. My cousin Robert had been clearing out his late mother’s accumulation of memorabilia and he generously shared photos and newspaper clippings with his cousins.
            As I sat with the pictures and clippings spread out around me, I was transported back through the years, to a time before my birth. One clipping in particular was extra special. The article, from the Atlanta Journal on March 25, 1944, was all about my paternal grandmother, Mary Dorothy Shattles. The headline read: “Atlanta Service Mother Woman-of-All Work”.
            The article began: “Superwoman, War Mother of the Year or Woman Who Lived in the Shoe – pick your title and Mrs. James Thomas Shattles of 393 Park Avenue will fit it. Mrs. Shattles has five sons in the service, each in a different branch of the armed forces, and she has two sons-in-law who are servicemen. With five of her boys gone, Mrs. Shattles still runs a busy household of 12, for in addition to herself and her husband, there are three single daughters and a son,  two children and two of her sons’ wives, one of whom has a year-and-a half-old son, who make their home with her.
            It continues: “Mrs. Shattles is a war worker who puts in a full week at the Atlanta Paper Company, making eyeshields that protect our soldiers from cutting sandstorms or burning gas. And she’s the cheering section for Mr. Shattles, a Civilian Defense block warden when he is trying to put over a current drive.”
            The article goes on to mention each of her sons and their branch of the service, including my dad, Sergeant David Shattles, “a turret gunner and flight engineer on a bomber, who has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf clusters.”
            The article ended with: “It keeps a woman busy, keeping up with a family like that. But Mrs. Shattles has some leisure on Sunday, so she teaches a Sunday school class and catches up with her duties a president of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service.”
            My sister, my cousins and I have been blessed with a family legacy of Christian values and of service to country. What a cherished memento to have a sample of this legacy preserved in a newspaper article from the past.