FOLKS: My First Friend in Alabama

I found an old journal the other day. In it I wrote about my first trip through Alabama. I was too scared to drive through on my own so I took the Amtrak from New Orleans to Atlanta. I passed thru this sketchy looking town called Bessemer and as soon as I got home I searched the AOL directory for people who lived there so I could IM and email them to inquire about the town. Luckily your Louise answered. She was so endearing. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t a man because she was married and it would have been inappropriate for her to speak with a strange men, even if it was just online. Because of our initial conversation, I went on to buy her husband Nat’s book about growing up in Dora AL during the depression. I subsequently visited Dora, became friends with Nat’s cousin Bobbye and eventually met the whole family. Louise was such a sweet lady. She reminded me a lot of my own mother, who died when I was 21. Louise was my first friend in Alabama and knowing her really changed my life by opening a whole new world to me. I am grateful for her.

EVELYN “LOUISE” SELF, age 77, of Bessemer, went to be with her Lord on Friday, March 28, 2008 while at home. She was born August 4, 1930 in Walker County, AL. She was preceded in death by her 9 brothers and sisters; and her parents, William E. and Martha James. She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Nat L. Self; son, Matthew, daughter-in-law, Donna and granddaughter, Amanda of Houston, TX; and daughter Cindy Martin and son-in-law, Cliff of Birmingham. Mrs. Self was employed by the University of Alabama from 1980 until 1996. Previously, she was a homemaker and devoted mother. She served as President of the Women’s Auxiliary at Carraway Hospital where she was instrumental in establishing the gift shop, Pink Ladies and Candy Striper programs. In addition, she served as President of the West Hills PTA and was a substitute teacher. She was very active in the First United Methodist Church of Bessemer where she served as Board Secretary for many years. While growing up in Walker County, Mrs. Self was the pianist of the First United Methodist Church and sang in a quartet with her sisters. She had a great outlook on life and always managed to find the bright side of every situation. Louise had a quick wit that would always put a smile on your face. She struggled with illness for the past three years, yet managed to cheer up the people that came to cheer her up. She loved everyone and everyone who knew her loved her. Visitation will be Sunday, March 30th from 6-8 pm at Brown’s Funeral Home, Bessemer. Services will be held at 2:00 pm, Monday, March 31st at the First United Methodist Church, Bessemer with Gordon McKinney officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Bessemer or Hospice Services of Alabama. Bessemer Brown Service is honored to served the Self family.

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