Who’s in your family? I’m married to Herbert. We’ve been married 51 years. Our daughter is Melissa Fontaine. She’s married to Frank Briscoe. She’s a classical singer and he’s a jazz musician; and they make it work.
How’d you and Herb meet? At church. My parents were Primitive Baptist and so were Herb’s. He’d come to Columbus to teach. The minister was leaving and there was a reception. Herb came to the church and I was keeping the guestbook. He wrote his name and address and telephone number and he turned it around so I could see it. The second time he came to church, he asked me to go water ski. He taught me.
Where did he teach? At Faith Middle School at Fort Benning. He had been teaching before at a small college. We married on Nov. 27, 1958. It was Thanksgiving Day because he had time off.
When did you join Edgewood? In March 1968. There were no children at the Primitive Baptist church, so we started thinking about going to another church. One day I was up and watching a devotional on TV. I said, “That’s Ray Wright.” He was in my class at Columbus High. I knew he’d become a minister but didn’t know he was here. Around Christmas of 1967, we started going. He’s an excellent preacher and Bible teacher. He served our church for 10 years.
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Did you work outside the home? I did until Melissa was born. I had an administrative job at Southern Bell — now BellSouth. They were always good about hiring women for supervisory positions. My sister was an executive with them. I was a stay-at-home mom until Melissa went to college. At Edgewood, someone thought I needed to come there as the administrative assistant. I worked for Andy Buchanan. He was the pastor there for five years. I was there about four years. Then Doug Turley at the Pastoral Institute needed an administrative assistant so I went over there. I stayed 16 years, and I loved every minute of it.
What’s something you know now that you wish you’d known as a young adult? There was so much I didn’t know. I wish I had begun doing some things then that I do now. I’m very analytical and I wonder why I do things. I find myself wishing I’d used that in a different way. I’ve done some reading lately and I found this term: “seeking my naked self.” It’s based on comments in the book of Corinthians but also from a book called “The Cosmic Christ.” The idea is that we have a false identity and we have to let go of who we think we are, or need to be. God sees us for who we really are. I am an open person but sometimes get into what I call “compare and compete.” Paul the Apostle says you have to die to all that in order to be in the mind of Christ.