John D. Bridgers M.D.
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Chapter 10 - "Crick" gets married and starts a family

The marriage of "Crick" and Ruth is a well-remembered event -- I was in the wedding.

I was five years old and was the "ring-bearer."

Preliminaries are vaguely recalled and must have been profuse, for I was decked out like Little Lord Fauntleroy, and surely cutting, fitting and sewing went on.

Ernest Hobgood, erstwhile alter-grandchild to my grand-mother and her "Aunt Hennie," was the "flower girl."

Ernest and I were playmates from the beginning and class-mates all the way though school.

The ceremony took place in the old St. Mary's Episcopal Church beside the Cherry Hill Cemetery, dilapidated then and long since replaced elsewhere.

So suddenly there was in our midst a new, piquant and cheerful personality, Ruth Andrews Whichard, who in the fullness of her years, like my father would become a Whichard in spirit as well as name.

The Andrews family was also early in Pitt County.

I never knew too much about Ruth's family and know little more now.

They took up a royal land grant in colonial days along upper Grindle Creek, above where the Whichards settled.

In time part of this land was incorporated in the town of Bethel, about 10 miles north of Greenville.

Ruth was the daughter of Henry and Henrietta Sheppard Andrews, who must have been dead before my time, because I have no memory of them.

Her uncle, singularly enough was "Brother Henry" Sheppard, another convoluted connection.

Mr. Andrews had been a well-to-do merchant and had acquired a considerable amount of real-estate, mostly hometown property.

Her grandmother still lived, had been widowed as a Sheppard and remarried a Mr. Greene.


"Miss Ella" Greene lived further up Ninth Street from our family compound, and in my childhood she was often in and out of our various dwellings.

She had one son in her second marriage, Bob, who was step-uncle to Ruth and her siblings, not far removed from their age and close companions.

Ruth's family was also well-connected, her aunt having married Samuel T. While, a very successful merchant.

Charlie and Bill White were cousins and close-kinsman to Ruth.

Charlie and Nancy White lived across Ninth Street from us later.

Mrs. White was a lovely and gracious lady -- to me always the epitome of a southern belle -- and who at one time or another gave piano lessons to several of the Whichard grandchildren.

The Whichards were civically prominent, well enough off though not particularly wealthy, and not noticeably socially active as pertained to soirees, parties and the like.

In comparison the Andrews were considered wealthy for their time and were apparently quite socially active.

Ruth and her siblings --Mary, Elizabeth, and Sheppard -- were felt to be very well provided for by their inheritance, and all this fitted nicely with Crick's preferred life style.

In the words of my father they "lived high," but then my father was bounded almost entirely by office and home.

However, Ruth and "Crick" started housekeeping in the little bungalow Daddy and Mother had built behind Grandmother's house.

They were living there when Hennie Ruth was born in 1926, and, I believe, when Mary Andrews was born the following year.

Hennie Ruth was always a pretty youngster, dark like her father and with an out-going personality she seemed to get from both parents.


Mary Andrews came along as a sort of a pocket infant, looking like a pixie and bubbly in behavior, perhaps with size genes from her grandfather and like her uncle and with the countenance of her mother.

"Crick," looking at her as a baby remarked:

"She's no bigger than a mosquito.'

He called her "Skeet" and so she has been called by most of the family since.

Soon Ruth and "Crick" built a modest sized but very fine home far out Fifth Street across from "The Training School" on the far end of the college campus.

It was a fashionable place of Spanish type stucco construction then popular in California, particularly in Hollywood, then starting its halcyon days.

They seemed to make an annual pilgrimage to New York City.

I presume they took in shows, but I remember their mostly taking about nightclubs, then the bustling bistros of "The Roaring Twenties."

They were, indeed, a lively couple and brought spice to all our lives.

They had a large circle of friends of which I remember but a few: Mack and Midge Henderson, Dick Stokes and his wife, Ruth's cousins, Bill and Charlie White, and her bachelor half-uncle and guardian, Bob Green.

"Crick" and Ruth remained solicitous of and interested in the Whichards and Bridgers, but circulated in different eddies.

This fitted well with the responsibilities "Crick" had at "The Daily Reflector ," but  to understand this is to know something of the milieu in which he worked.

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