Did you know our Mother ?

Mary Bernice (Bunny) Porter Ard


Mother was born in Kelly, N.C. on September 5,1915 to Mary Ann Bush & Preston S. Porter. On the day she was born, “Papa went out and got a new 1915 Ford” because he was so happy to finally have a second daughter. There were nine children in the family; Ruby, Troy, Toot, Donal, Hugh, Runt, Mother, P.S., and Julia. Papa farmed, milled lumber, and provided well for his family. Papa died when Mother was 12, then the depression came and crops flooded for two years in a row. Cash was very scarce. Mother was educated at Kelly High School, but went to Clarkton for her senior year since Kelly was not accredited. After graduation, Mother went back home to Kelly. Mr. Stroud, the owner of a School of Cosmetology in Jacksonville FL, came to visit one afternoon – recruiting students. While he was there, the postman delivered a $400 check for not planting crops. Mr. Stroud did some calculations and decided that $400 would be just right for school, room and board. Mama signed the check over to him. Soon Mother was on the train to Jacksonville.

Ferrell Ard met her at the train, standing in for Mr. Stroud who was away at a funeral. Mother was wearing white gloves and a hat per Aunt Sis’ instructions – this really amused the casual Florida crowd. Soon they were going out on double dates – you see Ferrell had a CAR   AND it had a RADIO too! On one date, Ferrell slipped the ferris wheel operator a little extra to stop them on the top – and there, under a full moon, Ferrell stole his first kiss. Mama died three weeks after school started. P.S. sent the money for Mother to come home for the funeral. After the funeral, Mother returned to school – since it was already paid for. When she got back, Ferrell said that she was an orphan – Mother said, “no I’m not !!” Not many days later, Ferrell came over after getting off work at midnight and slipped a wedding ring on her finger. They were married on July 24, 1935 at Ferrell’s boarding house.

They lived for a while in Columbus, GA., then moved to Macon. Mother worked as a beautician/manicurist  in the Dempsey Hotel Beauty Shop. During World War II, Mother worked at the Fuse Plant weighing power and making detonators for the ten-inch shells that the battleships used. Ferrell would not let Mother spend her pay – it all went into “War Bonds.” After the war, Ferrell Jr was born Dec 21, 1946. On Nov 16, 1948 Sandra was born. Those were the only two times that Mother was ever in the hospital !! Daddy told her “I’ll work and make the money – you take care of the children.” Mother worked with the school PTA, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts. She was very active at Cross Keys Methodist Church, teaching a Sunday School class and helping out in many other ways. After Ferrell & Sandra finished college, Mother went to work in the boys department of Joseph N. Neal, Co. to “help out while one of the salesmen went to drill.” They kept her on full time for many years.

After Ferrell retired, they enjoyed taking camping trips in the trailer, but they never wandered far or took extended trips. After 66 ½ years of marriage, Daddy passed away Mar 14, 2002. Mother continued living at 812 Sunnydale Drive – the house they had built and lived in since 1941. In 2004, Mother “hung up her car keys” and moved to Clairemont Oaks Retirement Apartments in Decatur – one floor up from one of her favorite people, her sister-in-law Virginia Ard (Aunt Snooty). With her usual determination still intact at 88, she made a chart and learned name, spouse’s name, and hometown for everyone on her hall before the end of the first week at Clairemont Oaks. Mother died peacefully in her sleep with Sandra by her side on the evening of March 18, 2009.