Happy Birthday to Lana — my very first roomate!


The day is Christmas 1949. Lois Marion still’ wet behind the ears’, shy and demure, and Charles Henry, even though younger than his bride, considerably more mature as head of their young household were about to welcome their firstborn child. They had been together since the tender ages of fourteen and thirteen and married at nineteen and eighteen respectively.   The young couple was excited at the prospect of welcoming a new member into their household but both were extremely nervous at the prospect as well. After all, a child is a very big responsibility.

In the same little town, another young family, John and Lana Cole were also expecting and anxiously awaited the event as well.

Both women began their respective labors on Christmas Day while family and young husbands anxiously awaited the knowledge of the gender of their children.   Division Hospital, a small local hospital which also contained the requisite Emergency Room and hospital wards for the local community became the venue for the deliveries.

Lois Marion had attended her Grandmother Eva and Grandfather Sid’s yearly Christmas event with their exceptionally large extended family of twelve children. Lois Marion’s mother Lois Annie, eldest of the large brood, had borne a son by her second husband however had lost both husbands to tragedy, thus forcing her to raise her two children alone. Most of her younger siblings had married and were themselves parents of young children making most family gatherings lively, loud and active with many children.

This year during all the celebration, laughter and fun, Lois Marion began her labor but was not about to leave her beloved Grandmother’s home until the time was right. Eva, having fifteen children with twelve surviving to adulthood, knew the general routine of birth and was open to sharing her knowledge and experience with her eldest Granddaughter until time to travel to the hospital. She was exceptionally close with Lois Marion and prayed for the easiest of safe childbirth.

The family enjoyed the day even though the young wife was in labor but the time finally arrived when she would need to enter the hospital for the birth of their child.

The Cole couple, awaiting the arrival of their child and the Hines couple had known each other from the community and each anxiously awaited the births of their children.

Both women were admitted into the Labor and Delivery Rooms of the local hospital. The women were young and about to witness the most beautiful yet most frightening and certainly painful event a woman can experience. Through their acquaintance they would be bound in the birth experience for a lifetime. Their children, whatever gender they might be, would be tied as well.

Their labors were difficult at best, both women experiencing the most painful yet wondrous functions their bodies would ever endure yet the knowledge there would be a new individual produced with their spouses caused much wonder and joy as well.

The first lady to enter the Delivery Room was Lana who delivered daughter Lana, on Christmas Day and was lovingly welcomed into the new Cole family.

Lois Marion continued with her labor until her time to enter the hallowed halls of the Delivery Room.  Their family Doctor informed Charles Henry that his wife was not progressing quickly enough and was “holding back.” He informed the young father, “I need to give her a shot to stop the pain and allow her to finally deliver.” Lois Marion’s reply “BRING IT ON…” welcomed the cessation of the pain and allowed the birth to progress.  At 5:01 AM on December 26, their daughter, Dell Anne was welcomed into the Hines family.

Two little girls, Lana and Dell Anne began their lives in the same birth nursery, cared for by the same nurses and thus became each other’s very first “roommates” so many years ago!

As the children and mothers prepared to begin their respective lives anew, they separated one from the other and each began making their own histories as time passed.

In 1955, both little girls were eligible to attend the first grade and both were promptly enrolled into the local Elementary Schools. Their future paths would cross over the years many times over.

During high school the girls became friends and graduated together in 1967 along with many friends and acquaintances in their small town.

Lana moved to Gainesville after high school when she landed a job with the Telephone Company. Dell Anne likewise moved to the larger City to the South from their hometown and went to work for the University of Florida. During one fortunate day, the girls ran into each other and Dell Anne visited with Lana and her roommate in their new apartment.  The day was exciting and pleasant and life continued on for both.

From there, each girl lost track with the other and before they knew it, forty six…yes, I said FORTY SIX years passed before either girl saw the other.

A mutual friend and classmate friend, Paula Jean, invited a small gathering of ladies to her home for a lovely luncheon in December of 2014. Lana and her husband who had left the area years before were in town leaving Lana available for a meet and greet, as well as Peggy, Margie, Jeanette, Melanie and Dell Anne.

The day was lovely, lively and full of laughter with many stories from old times in class, bringing one another up to speed on their respective lives and families and wallowing in the joy of new-found old acquaintances and relationships, this time as ‘somewhat advanced in age.’

Lana is the mother of two daughters and has become a talented artist; her creativity and talent with the paint brush were clear in pictures shared with the group.

Dell Anne, mother to a son and a daughter, in her elder years has taken up the pen and begun writing to share past life, events and history, evident in the stories contained within this website.

In past years, Paula Jean has become somewhat of a class spokeswoman for the class of 1967 and as such has shared news of events, classmates passing and illnesses and in 2013 at Christmas time Lana sweetly sent a birthday message to Dell Anne via email. (Unfortunately, the years had dulled the memory somewhat and Dell Anne sent a return birthday to Lana for December 31. WRONG date, Dell…)

During the luncheon date the little group of classmates learned lots of life stories from each other and Lana reminded Dell of the circumstances of their respective births. Dell Anne unfortunately (and she hates to admit it) had totally forgotten the instances of their respective entrances into the world!

In reality, Lana was actually Dell Anne’s very first roommate!

It is within this story she would like to set the record straight and send THE CORRECT DATE FOR BIRTHDAY WISHES to her roomie, Lana!

To Lana, our entrances into this world and into the small community of Lake City, I offer my humble apologies at my forgetting such a wondrous experience and hope you will accept my sincere birthday congratulations on 65 years of wonder. I’m praying for your continued success, happiness and health and I hope your life has been as good as mine has been girlfriend!

 I’ll follow in your footsteps tomorrow! Medicare…Here We Come!!!


Comments (6)

  1. Gail Edwards Buchanan

    Hi Dell Anne, Loved reading your stories here and the lovely pictures of your family. I remember many things about 5th street and our childhood friends. The births of your sisters, that huge orange and white Ford station wagon, playing in the back yard on the swing and riding bikes without fear in the 50’s! I look forward to reading both of your books. If they are anything like the “taste” of your writing here, I’m sure they are very good.


    • Thanks so much Gail and yes, that old station wagon was quite a beast, wasn’t it? We rode many a mile in that thing and Hillsboro Street in front of your house was a marvel for skates and bicycles. I was always so pleased to play with you and that great set of model cars you had…I wanted my own set so bad and LOVED Tippy the black collie! Thanks for the kind words and I hope you enjoy my musings friend! Wishing for you many happy memories!

  2. Cecelia (Cece) Thomas Grillo

    Dell Anne, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your writings! They are so eloquently southern and truly heart warming! I loved the book that you signed for me at the last class reunion of your grandmother’s story’Treasure’s from the Attic’. ….and all of the writing on your website are a joy to read. Especially because I feel that I have an ever so slight connection to a few. Tell Lana Happy Birthday’ for me,not sure she will remember me but I certainly remember her. Sorry my comment was so long. LOVELY WRITINGS!

    • Thank you so much Cece, it was lovely hearing from you. I am so pleased and blessed that you feel my musings are pleasant. My parent’s story, ‘Treasures Found, Devotion’ continues our story. I don’t know if you remember my Dad very well but he had a great sense of humor to which I hope I have been able to to do justice in my relating them. I never had an inkling in our younger years that I may one day be able to place pen to paper and relate my life stories. As for the Southern part, yes, I can’t help it! After all we are a part of ole Deep South, aren’t we? I keep dredging up these stories and my family learns more and more of their ole gal; it’s a blessing for me! As for the long comment, I love it! I love to hear from my readers! Thanks and have a lovely holiday season!

  3. I love this! It is so great to hear all of these new stories that I didn’t hear as a child!!! Keep them coming!

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