Remembering Marion and Hoot

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Marion Underwood has died, leaving his sister Frances as the only surviving sibling. They lost four older brothers some years back. Marion was tall and slim, unlike many of us. Frances Underwood Waldrop was my neighbor in The Woods when we lived there.

Marion was a friendly but quiet man of few words, in my experience. I learned from his obituary that he was a fellow woodworker and had served in the Army. More similarities with me!

We traveled to Hendersonville for Mother’s Day breakfast at Eggs Up with our son Thomas and Judy Stroud. They gave Fran a blooming orchid plant which is beautiful. We also saw some friends there, making for a good occasion.

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White Oak plans many fine trips and dining experiences for us. We men are taken to Nana’s in Tryon for breakfast every month, but they also take a busload to restaurants in Hendersonville, Forest City and Greenville, South Carolina, for instance. The bus also goes to stores like Hamrick’s as well as to several grocery stores in turn. 

Fran and I used to eat regularly at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, often taking visiting friends with us. We went there recently with a group from White Oak. The staff plans great outings for us every month. Many residents have given up their cars, so the little bus is a welcome substitute. Christy Rowe is a very capable driver; no nail biting as we roll along comfortably. There is pleasant banter that goes on as we ride around our beautiful countryside.

The Fall 2022 issue of the Polk County Historical Association Newsletter has a photo of the flags of our Allied Nations displayed across Trade Street during WWII. The 2.5 x 4-foot flags were made by (Mrs.) Eleanor Trowbridge and were donated to the town. I remember them very well; I have mentioned them before, I think. 

The cartoon of the Curb Reporter was drawn for Mr. Vining Sr. by Cliff Berryman, famed political cartoonist for the Washington Post. His brother had a nursery in Newport News, Virginia; I bought most of the plants, including dogwoods, for my landscaping from him. I told him about the Curb Reporter drawing, of course! 

We lost one of our more colorful characters this month: Otis “Hoot” Livingston. We became acquainted in planning for the Columbus Lions participation in the annual Veterans Day parade in Columbus. I led singing of the first verse of “America” as we rode along the parade route.

I have always maintained a subscription to the Tryon Daily Bulletin. When they did an article about my High School friend Billy Hoots, I called him with a query, “Your place or mine?” We went to his place first; when he came to ours, he brought a little hybrid rhododendron plant which he had created as he continued his late father’s business.

Billy had earned a Doctorate and was a Professor at East Carolina. He assisted our daughter Sharon in getting a house and a washer and dryer for same when she was a student there. We met several times a year after that, enjoying Dr. Hoots’s vacation home which he built at Nags Head.

You can see that my long life has resulted in many long-lasting relationships. Interesting that friendships formed early in life seem to continue, even being enriched as the years pile up. I was a shy youngster, but people who have known me later find that hard to believe, as I became a people person, a party animal even!                 

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