September 24, 2001
Carolyn Carnes Brewer
Class of '51
From all of your comments on last month's Member Profile I see our new feature is a big success. This month’s Member Profile is someone who is very special to us. Carolyn Carnes Brewer ’51. Carolyn is not only a very talented writer (see Main Menu for a sampling of her work), but also loves to paint. She has shared her paintings with several of us. Now she is going to share some of her paintings and her life since her days at RGNS for all of us to enjoy.
I am very pleased to present “Carolyn’s Profile”
First, I should mention that I was born on the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School Farm. My parents lived there for as many years as they were allowed housing. My father was a tenant farmer, a Godly man who had a special love for each of his twelve children. He and my mother raised us children in the admonition of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for my earthly parents and for the Christian heritage that they left me. It is my belief that where I am in my relationship with Jesus Christ today first began with teachings from my mother and father. It is really wonderful to live here in beautiful Rabun County; I never tire of looking at these majestic mountains.
When I graduated from RGNS in 1951, I wanted so much to further my education. My dream was to be a good music teacher like Marion Van Gorder. Being the youngest of twelve children, that dream soon fizzled when money became a consideration.
My first job opportunity was cashiering at Belk-Gallant in downtown Clayton. It didn't take me long to realize that my great pay of sixteen dollars each week was not sufficient to purchase all of the beautiful $2.98 dresses that I thought I had to have from the ladies' department.
In September 1952, I left beautiful Rabun County for the far away city of Tampa, Florida. I really thought I was sitting on top of the world when I found a job at the First National Bank and was making three times the salary I had made in Clayton. I was a secretary for many years for different companies.
In 1985, '86 and '87 I enrolled in school at North GA Technical College. After being a self - taught secretary for many previous years, I decided to update my resume for the computer world. The first four quarters were in Business Administration - learning to study again was very challenging. I did make the honor roll each quarter in BA. The computer education was helpful in securing later employment.
When I retired in 1995, I was Office Manager for Hospice of Northeast Georgia, which I considered my most rewarding position. I had the opportunity to be a part of ministering to those who were in life's greatest transitional period.
I had hoped after retiring that I could continue to be a friend to "the elderly" and in preparation for this role, I learned to play the game of bridge. I had thought I would be ready to play bridge with a friend should she become unable to leave her home. When I started taking bridge lessons I had no idea that it took four people to play the game nor did I know that it is very addictive!
My mother had always told me to go to church to meet nice friends. It was there that I met the now deceased, biological father of my son, Al, and daughter, Teresa. We lived in several states before I made my way back to Clayton in 1960.
In 1965, God in His tender mercy found me a faithful husband and a father for my children. Although Richard Brewer was an archrival from Rabun County High School in Clayton, he and I have had a good life together in our home on Brewer Hill where Al and Teresa grew up.
Richard served in the 565th Anti-Aircraft Battalion in W.W.II. His duties carried him to England, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and Holland.
Since his discharge in 1946, he has not cared to leave Rabun County except for an occasional day trip. Richard retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 1978 with 31 years of service. He stays real busy around our home mowing grass and cutting wood for our winter heat. And he always has a wonderful vegetable garden in the summer. He is also an avid wild turkey hunter and makes his own turkey callers.
I have an art class once each week which I enjoy the most of all my hobbies. I have been painting since I was fifty years young. I keep hoping by the time I reach 72, the age Grandma Moses was when she started painting, that I will excel in art as she did. I have been painting with oils for the past fifteen years, having tried several other mediums, but I always come back to oils. Recently I switched to watercolors just to see if I might adapt to a less messy paint. I think this will be a refreshing course. At least I will be able to wash it out of my clothes. This summer I splotched my new expensive Tevas sandals with red oil paint, and, after scrubbing for endless hours trying to remove the paint, I finally came up with the idea to just paint each sandal strap with the same design and color to match. (Where there's a will, there's a way.)
I practically drool while painting landscapes (which I love doing):
And then really dislike painting harder subjects such as gorgeous flowers:
I forgot to add to my hobby list: I like to write short stories when time permits. I have these in a heritage memory book for my grandchildren.
These hobbies, of course, are undertaken when I am not being a domestic engineer in my home or expecting some of my alumni friends for a meal. I might add here that my love for cooking began when I used to watch my mother cook for the large crowd of relatives who would gather around her table every Sunday. My mother took great pride in her cooking and this is a tradition I followed and of which I am most proud. I love to make candy - fudge, pralines, and divinity are among my favorites – and cookies.
I also try to have something on hand should I need to take a covered dish to a bereaved family. I try to visit some of the elderly who live alone on a regular basis, and bring some "Sonshine" into their lives. (Yes, this sunshine of which I am speaking has an 'O' in it.)
My husband and I have been members of the Baptist faith for all of our married life. We still attend Sunday School at Clayton Baptist. I most recently have been attending St. Helena's Catholic Church several times each week and as with the Baptist faith, Jesus is truly the joy of my life! With Him, in Him and through Him, we can have ALL that is best in our lives. We are ever grateful to our heavenly Father for being the Third Person in our marriage and keeping us faithful to each other and to Him.
My son, Al Francis, lives with his two dogs in Wolffork Valley and is a salesman/supervisor for a heating and air conditioning company. It is good to have him living near us. Al attended Mars Hill College for two years and the University of Georgia for two years. My daughter, Teresa Robinson, lives in Austin, Texas. (I tell the story that she went away to Berry College and never came home.) She is married to Alex Robinson and they have three children - Beverly who is 20, Natalie who is 13, and Anthony who is 10. Teresa does CADD for a company there in Austin, and Alex is self-employed as a Programmer and as an Instructor in CADD and Programming.
We pay close attention to our three loyal animals - two cats and one dog, each animal coming to our house without an invitation. Little Dickens, who is half Border collie and half friendly-neighbor-dog, lives outside where he stays on guard duty. During the summer months he gets a bath and a hair cut. Presently, his hair is beginning to grow back, beautiful wavy black and white fur. He will need his heavy coat soon as the temperatures are already dropping here in the mountains. Often in extremely cold weather, Richard will cover Dickens with a blanket at night. We believe him to be the smartest canine we can remember having. His cries follow me when I leave the hill, and when I come home he is so overjoyed that "mama" is back. I thought the other day "if I could only be half as nice as my dog thinks I am." Here is a photo of Dick and Little Dickens:
I will be sixty-nine years old in October, but I hope I have many more years to claim the title: "The Recycled Teenager - Carolyn Carnes Brewer".
Thank you, Carolyn, for all you contribute not only to the RGNS site but also for your friendship and hospitality. Through your words and actions we are always reminded to put our faith in the Lord and to love one another. Once again we have entered the “Circle of Love”. May our circle be unbroken.
To the hills I lift mine eyes.