LONG TIME FRIENDS & CHICKAMAUGA
62 years ago – in 1956, Marj Noble and Pat Peacock were student nurses at St. Joseph's nursing school in Atlanta, Georgia. Marj grew up on a farm in Cullman, Alabama and Pat grew up in Atlanta. They were roommates at nursing school and became life-long friends.
Marj introduced Pat and me on November fifth in 1956 in Richmond Virginia where they were affiliating with the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). Shortly after meeting, Marj and I drove together with another friend from Richmond to Brunswick, Maine for a Bowdoin football weekend. She met my parents and my Grandfather at his house in Brunswick where Grandpa practiced dentistry. It was on the long drives up to and back from Maine when I urged Marj to set up another date with her friend, Pat, and she arranged to do so. I celebrated Thanksgiving together that year with Pat and Marj in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Marj and Pat became Registered Nurses in 1957. I was in the U.S. Army in France and Bill Craig (from Knoxville, Tennessee) was stationed in Korea. Marj and Bill married in 1957 and Pat and I married in Atlanta on November 30, 1957. The Craigs and Haskells celebrated sixty years of marriage in 2017.
The four of us have remained friends all this time. Bill was (is) a par-golfer who had a career in healthcare and other businesses. At one point, Bill was a top executive with one of the largest home-health-care companies in the United States and has served on hospital boards and briefly in politics in LaFayette.
Marj has practiced nursing for most of her career, heading up a health-care facility in Georgia and travelling around the state of Georgia evaluating patients. She has volunteered for many causes—including restoring a pre-Civil War house in LaFayette which Pat and I have donated furniture to.
Marj, Bill, Pat, and I spent the weekend of April 13-15, 2018 together in their lovely home in LaFayette . Marj and Bill have visited us often in South Carolina and Maine and we have visited them in LaFayette. Pat also visited Marj in Cullman Alabama when they were student nurses.
Lafayette, Georgia is located in northwest Georgia and close to Chattanooga Tennessee. We started visiting Marj and Bill on a regular basis when Pat participated in a doll show in the nearby town of Ringgold, GA. She decided not to exhibit dolls this year and visit with Marj and Bill. Marj cooked a delicious meal on Friday evening and invited two of her friends over to show their dolls to Pat.
Early Sat. morning, Bill invited me to ‘show you something you’ve never seen before.’ I had no idea what it would be? Just outside LaFayette, we came across a huge area full of what looked like new automobiles. Bill told me there were 10,000 Volkswagen cars that had emission problems stored in these fields and another 17,000 stored a few miles away. Volkswagen has a large factory in Chattanooga and are storing these cars until they decide what to do with them. Amazing!
Later that same day, the Craig's took us to the site of the Battle of Chickamaugain the Civil War. We had not been to the site ever before and became fascinated with how the United States Park services has preserved this historic area. Although we didn't walk around the more than 141 acres, we did learn much about this famous battle – the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Georgia.
The battle of Chickamauga took its name from West Chickamauga Creek, reputed to be a Cherokee word meaning "River of death". Chickamauga was located at the foot of Lookout Mountain and close to the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia state lines.
A further study indicated how important Lafayette, Georgia was in the Chickamauga campaign which took place 10 – 12 September 1863. The Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg was encamped at Lafayette—some 20 miles south of Chattanooga—before the battle began.
Much has been written about this famous battle which was damaging to both sides. Human Union losses were 16,170 with 1,657 killed, 9,756 wounded, and 4,757 captured or missing. Confederate losses were 18,454 with 2,312 killed, 14,674 wounded, and 1,468 captured or missing. After Gettysburg, Chickamauga had the second-highest losses of any Civil War battle.
The Chickamauga campaign was followed by the battles for Chattanooga, the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Relief forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S Grant broke Gen. Bragg’s grip on the city of Chattanooga and sent the Army of Tennessee into retreat. This opened the gateway to the Deep South for Maj. Gen. William T Sherman's 1864 Atlanta campaign and march to the sea to Savannah.
As the photo above shows, we ate dinner Saturday evening in an excellent LaFayette restaurant that served Thai food.
Bill headed off Sunday morning on another golf tour and we returned to Hilton Head through a major rainstorm. Their daughter, Laura, joined Marj for the week.
Marj and Bill are both students of history and taught us much about the battle that took place so many years ago in their backyard. We were delighted to spend another weekend with them. Although Marj has some health issues, they continue to be great friends and fun to be with. We’re hoping they can visit us again in Maine this summer.