On October 19, 1934, a baby girl was born to Jesse and Ida Streetman. The youngest of a big family – Charlie, Henry, Carrie, Phoebe, Loraine, Lloyd and Floyd had come before her – she was named Willie Georgie. During her life, some would know her as Willie, and some would know her as Jennifer. My cousins and I knew her as Memo. And she was the best Memo there was.
Willie met and married Verlon Maguglin, and they began their life together in Live Oak County. They would be blessed with three children, Charlotte, Ricky and Marley. Willie raised her children out there on the farm, and these were good days. Before long, she had those kids raised; and they blessed her with some grandchildren. Memo was born! And here is where she shined. She loved those grandbabies and loved to show it. Christmas time was a favorite time for her, and it seemed like all of us grandkids had 10 presents each under that tree! When the great-grandchildren began to arrive, Memo said she didn’t mind as long as she could be called “Memo the Great!”
Later in her life, Willie relocated to Alice, Texas. Here she met Curtis Austin, and they soon married and began a life together. In Alice, she was quick to make friends, and they knew her as Jennifer. Jennifer was a people magnet. She loved nothing more than gathering people together for a social event. Just ask any one of the “red hatters” of which Jennifer was a part. She was always up for an adventure! It was during this time that our Memo fell in love with the state of New Mexico. She traveled for many years between her home in Alice and her home in Ruidoso. She had a million friends here and a million friends there. That’s just how it was.
In her later years, Memo lived in two different assisted living places, one in Corpus Christi and the last at Gramman House in Beeville. With all of the changes, one thing remained the same: Memo’s sense of style. I guess she figured if you have to get old, you might as well accessorize. Hats, jewelry, nails ALWAYS done, matching from head-to-toe…the woman stuck out at the dinner table at the assisted living. And it was right, because it was Memo.
Memo, your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren sure will miss you. We will miss those green eyes and seeing you all dressed up. We will miss you trying to dress us up too and fussing at us when our nails aren’t done. We will miss walking into your room and seeing all of your crafts and the treasures you won at bingo. We will miss your stuffed celery at Christmas and promise to still make it ourselves. But mostly, we will miss you. You made life more colorful. We know you wanted to go be with Jesus and now you are. One day, we will see you there. And we just know you will be wearing a hat…
The family of Willie Austin wishes to extend our deepest gratitude to the staff of Gramman House. You loved our Memo so well. A special thanks to Danielle Ortega, Melissa Sheen, Live Oak Nursing Home and Exclusive Hospice.
Services will be private.