Lora Allen was born at home in Limestone County on January 11, 1943. Her auntie, who was a midwife, delivered her, and she was the 2nd child of 9. She had 4 brothers, 4 sisters, and the family worked hard as sharecroppers. “Most of the time I was at home taking care of my brothers and sisters,” she told me, but she picked her share of cotton, too. She went to Trinity School, and we talked about the renovation and dedication of the facility.
Lora married at the age of 15, and had 4 children. Her children were small during the Civil Rights Movement and, at great personal risk, Lora marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma. I exclaimed, “You were at Selma on Bloody Sunday?” She nodded. I continued with, “What did you do when the shooting started?” “We hit the ground,” she said, “and then I left out runnin’.” Her husband was not at all happy with her being in harm’s way, but it was something that she just felt she should do.
She gave birth to 3 girls and a baby boy, (her second child), who died of “crib death” (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I don’t think any mother ever gets over losing a baby, and Lora told me, “Knowing that I will see him again in heaven keeps me going every day.” Lora’s husband, Paul, worked as a window washer on the Arsenal for over 40 years, and they were married 51 years. She worked at ConAgra and Steelcase.
She said that she is very happy at Athens Rehab, and one of her favorite staff members is Michelle Malone, who was with us in the interview. Michelle works in activities, and Lora “loves ALL the activities, especially Bingo.” Laura has an affectionate nickname for Michelle, and it is “Trouble Trouble.” Miss Lora also mentioned that she appreciates Linda Sams, the new administrator, “who always comes and checks on us.” It took Lora awhile to accept the fact that she would be staying long term in the facility, but said, “They treats me good.” She was also thrilled with the Christmas gifts of clothing that she received as part of the Angel Tree program. She said with delight, “They fit me!!”
We moved on to the topic of favorites, and, as we always do, started with her favorite color.
“Blue.” We laughed over the fact that it seems like that is everyone’s fave.
Food: “Turnip greens.”
Food that she likes to cook: It is still what her kids liked the most—rice. “Rice?” I responded with surprise. “What was it your kids liked so much about your rice?” She smiled and said, “I put real butter in it, and a little bit of sugar. They all loved it.”
She got saved as a teenager at the Saint Luke Missionary Baptist Church, and fellowshipped most of her adult life at Saint Mark’s Primitive Baptist Church.
Her favorite song? “Precious Lord.” We then “commenced to have church,” and spent some time singing.
Her favorite musician? Blues legend John Lee Hooker.
Her favorite book? A children’s book she read to her kids called, “Jack and Jill.”
Her favorite movie? “Stir Crazy.” She said she liked it because it was funny and had whites and blacks together.
Her favorite scripture? “Psalm 23.”
Her favorite President? “Barack Obama.”
The biggest change in her lifetime? “White folks accept us as people, just as good as anybody.”
Advice to young people? “Go to church, love God, and treat your mother and father right.”
Good advice from a woman who has lived some life, for sure.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner