Viola is as pretty as her name. At eighty-two, her blue eyes still sparkle against her silver hair. She is quick to smile and even though she may not consider herself a “southern belle,” she has all the qualifications. She was born and raised in the same small town where she still resides – Old Fort, NC. She came from a family of eleven children. Her father was a soldier in the Navy and fought in World War I. Her family didn’t own a horse and buggy, so they would walk the two-and-a-half miles to town each day. During the summer, Viola and her brothers sold berries to the townspeople. This required picking the fruit and walking to town with gallons of berries. Each gallon sold for fifteen cents. All eleven children worked hard on the farm. They had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no radio or television. So what did eleven children do without all the modern conveniences that we take for granted today? They got creative! All eleven are self-taught musicians. Viola and her sister both play the guitar. Her brothers learned to play the fiddle, guitar, and piano, all by ear. Music was their entertainment. With eleven children, there was always plenty of fun to be had!
Viola married at eighteen and had three adored sons. After twenty-five years of marriage, her husband Duane divorced her. She was heartbroken, because he was the only man she ever loved. He remarried, but she did not, and she always held out hope that Duane would have a change of heart. Her faithfulness paid off. After seventeen years of separation, Viola and Duane remarried. Adding to the happy occasion, their oldest son performed the wedding ceremony. This was by far the happiest time of her life. Although in his sixties, Duane worked hard to build a beautiful mountain home for them to live in. They would have celebrated their twentieth (really their forty-fifth!) wedding anniversary this last spring, but unfortunately Duane died shortly before that day came. This has been Viola’s saddest time. Staying busy has helped with her loneliness.
So what Forgotten Wisdom did I learn from Viola? Most importantly, I learned that patience and forgiveness will always bring unexpected blessings. Viola regained the love of her life. During their second marriage, she never brought up the past. She forgave Duane completely, and even during their seventeen-year separation, she never spoke badly about him. That is grace in its truest form. Her patience was rewarded and her forgiving spirit allowed her to find peace and happiness. Her only regret was that Duane didn’t come back to her sooner.
It also made me realize that love should be cherished. If you have it, appreciate it! It’s not just about romance; it’s about forgiveness, loyalty, honor, and perseverance. It’s hoping for the best, and sticking through the worst. Viola is an amazing example of this, which is why she will always be as pretty as her name!
by Aubrey Avila
Viola has always and will always be one of the sweetest women you will ever meet. After we sat down and talked to her, I learned two things from her. First of all, I learned that people, and especially children, can live, survive, and function without television, electricity, the internet, cars, and video games. The second thing I learned from Viola was that patience pays off. She waited seventeen years for Duane to come back, and finally she got what she wanted! AI think Viola is someone that everyone should look up to.
by Ansleigh Avila