Happy Birthday, Miss Geneva!
"On Wednesday, April 18th, Geneva will be 80 years young! To the Best Mom, we thank God for giving you to us! You have always been there for us! Thanks for all you do. May God keep you with us a long time! Love, Buddy, Mary, Darryl, Jana, grandkids, and great-grandkids. We love you very much! XXXX OOOO"
The internet is an amazing thing. I googled Geneva's name, hoping I might find a few interesting facts to add to this page, and I found a profile of her on the Hyde County page of the North Carolina Genealogy website. This article was written in 1993, but the newspaper it appeared in is unknown. (I'm betting some of our readers will know, and they'll know who wrote it, too!)
Geneva's added a lot more great-grandchildren to her list since 1993!
PROFILE: GENEVA ODOM
Geneva ODOM was born to John Nuby MIDGETTE and Mattie Williams MIDGETTE on April 19, 1932. She was born on Ocracoke in the house she grew up in. She has five brothers and they are: Ellis Thomas MIDGETTE, 67,. Jesse James MIDGETTE, 65, John N. MIDGETTE 59, Elmer Gray MIDGETTE, 55, Carnel F. MIDGETTE, 55. She also has two sisters: Mattie Joyce SPENCER, 57, and Janet F. MIDGETTE who died of diphtheria when she was seven and a half. Her dad fished and took out fishing parties. Her mother stayed at home, cooked and cleaned and watched the children, which was a full time job.
Geneva's mother's parents were Neva Mae O'Neal WILLIAMS, who Geneva was named after, and Ellis William WILLIAMS. Her father's parents, Mary and Thomas MIDGETTE, lived next door to where she grew up.
The house that she grew up in was a simple house with three bedrooms. The back room was the boys', the girls' room was the middle room, and her parent's room was the front room. They had no inside plumbing and they had to go outside to an outhouse. She remembers her first day at school, she was scared to death. She went to school from first to eighth grade. She had two teachers and a couple of high school students teach her for eight years at school. She says, "I tried to be a good student and I liked school but I wish I had finished high school."
Her memories of her childhood were very happy and since her family did not have a lot of money to buy toys, they played with broken dishes and empty cans. "We played with what we had," she, said. "One time we would take chairs and pretend that we were a train going to Philadelphia. The boys would be the conductors and the girls would be the passengers. She and her friends played many things together. They would play house; the girls were the mothers and the boys were fishermen. They would also play baseball, volleyball, hide-and-go-seek and tag. When the weather was right they would go clamming, fishing, and swimming.
"I was always scared to go on the dock when I was little because I thought that I was going to fall through the cracks in the dock. I would always hold on to my dad's leg-and yell 'don't let me fall in' till my dad took my hand."
Holidays were the best time. Christmas was exciting and scary. When Santa came to the house we would run away from him and pile up on Dad or hide behind the couch. I would get a coloring book or a doll for Christmas." Fourth of July was when everyone came back for vacation. It was the most special holiday because it was a family get-together. They would have parades, horse-penning, and everyone would cook and sell their delicious food. The only time she would go and meet her friends was when she went to school, choir, church or to Jake ALLIGOOD's dance hall, where they danced, ate popcorn and peanuts and listened to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
When she was about ten or eleven she would deliver mail to the older people on the island for twenty-five cents. The money she got for delivering mail was spent on paper, pencils, cookies or divided up with her brothers and sister. She did other jobs growing up like maid work, waiting on customers, waitressing, cleaning rooms, and working in the kitchen of the Coffee Shop, which is the Island Inn now.
In 1948, at age sixteen she got married to Edward C. O'NEAL in a South Carolina courthouse. They had two children together, Edward C. O'NEAL, JR. and Mary Anna PAUL. Edward C. O'NEAL, JR. is married to Joyce Salem O'NEAL and they have one daughter, Carmen O'NEAL. Mary Anna PAUL is married to James C. PAUL and they have three children: James C. PAUL, John David PAUL, and Tina Lee VANDERMYDE. Geneva now has a great-granddaughter, Samantha Mary Jean VANDERMYDE.
Her second marriage was to Red Cohen ODOM when she was twenty-nine. They had two children. She had Jana Mae McLEOD who is married to Tim McLEOD and they have two boys, Chalmus and Adam James McLEOD. She also had Darryl Cohen ODOM who is married to Michelle ODOM and they have one son, Nicolas Cohen ODOM. Today she lives in the house that her father's parents lived in with her daughter Jana McLEOD and her family. She has been working at the Variety Store for fifteen years doing stock and helping with the customers. "Kids in school are better advanced than in my day," says Geneva. " A lot of kids need someone to love them. Most of all, people in general need God in their lives more than what they have and show love toward others." (February 1, 1993 in an unknown newspaper)