Remembrances of Alice Davey Calhoun Lamb

Read by Collier D. Patton at the Funeral Services for Alice D. Lamb held on June 3, 2000 at 10:00 am
Beck Funeral Home Chapel, Austin, Texas

Written by Jennie L. Lamb, Collier D. Patton, J. Scott Henry, and Kitt L. Langehennig, June 1-2, 2000.

Thank you all for coming this morning… My name is Collier Patton and I have known Alice Davey Calhoun Lamb for the last 12 years. Alice’s granddaughter, Jennie, and I have been friends since high school, and she has asked me to speak on behalf of Alice’s friends and family here today.

You have all heard and you can read in her obituary that Alice was born on May 26, 1925, in Dothan, Alabama, and that she went all the way through school with perfect attendance and graduated salutatorian of her class. You can read about her career of civil service in the federal government. What you won’t find in her obituary, however, are the funny, happy memories for which her family and friends will remember Alice. It is these treasures that will enable us to go on loving her even though she is no longer with us physically. So, if you will indulge me for a few moments, I would like to share with you some of our favorite remembrances of Alice. As her son, Charles, is fond of saying, "Funerals are for the living after all."

First of all, by being here today we are all living out one of Alice’s most famous sayings, "Life is too short not to pass and repass with each other." As part of a group of extended family, which includes in-laws, stepfamily members, and ex-husbands, and wives who are now truly the best of friends, Alice knew how important it was to always try to get along with one another.

Secondly, Alice always wanted Charles to put his best foot forward, and in fact today he often begins his public speeches with the story of his mother telling him to always wear a jacket and tie (just before he takes off the jacket and loosens the tie, of course).

Not only did Alice have an impact on her son, though. As one of Jennie’s closest friends, I can tell you that our little group has adopted quite a number of Alice’s sayings over the years. Whenever we take one of our impromptu road trips together, we always begin by figuring out the communal expenses and putting our individual portions of the money into an envelope we call "the kitty", a concept borrowed from Alice. Every time Alice would visit Dothan to see her family, she would return with the same story of how she and her brother would use "the kitty" (a little change purse that she carried around) to pay their shared expenses. And for those of you who knew Alice well, you surely know that she could tell you to the penny how much money was spent on every transaction. It comes as no surprise that Charles inherited her facility for mathematics and has spent his life teaching it to others.

I won’t say that Alice never used a curse word, but more often than not, she’d say "Oh foot" or something along those lines. And if you told her something that didn’t make much sense or that she found hard to believe, she’d say "Well two and two just don’t make four." Just another example of her way with numbers…

She also had the habit of getting the names of streets wrong. For example, she used to live on Oltorf Street in south Austin, but she insisted on calling it Oglethorpe Street instead. (She had lived near an Oglethorpe Street in Georgia.) She would go to visit a friend off of Stannessy Lane, rather than Stassney Lane. And she went to the doctor’s office off of West Far Blvd, not Far West Blvd.

There are many memories of Alice that Jennie has shared with my friends and me. Most of these come from her childhood, and I’d like to share just a few of those with you. Falling asleep in bed with her grandmother when she was baby-sitting Jennie, tempting her with chocolate-covered cherries to get her into Alice’s room and out of the living room as her parents and grandfather attempted to assemble her Christmas presents on Christmas eve, watching Gunsmoke (Alice and Jennie’s favorite TV show at the time), and how only she could sing "The Old Grey Mare" to Jennie. These memories are some of Jennie’s favorites.

I’ve also been told about a few of Chanel’s favorite Alice sayings. Chanel was always amused when Alice would admonish the girls to "be particular" or to "be sweet". Whenever Alice had to use a public rest room, she would call it the "little girl’s room", and as Alice would say goodbye at the end of a visit, Chanel would say to her "See you in the funny papers, Alice," and Alice would reply, "Look on the other side and you’ll see yourself."

In later years, she met a great bunch of women that dubbed themselves the "Lady’s Aide Society". They would go to happy hour and have margaritas and her favorite seven-layer dip. She would laugh so hard and have so much fun at these gatherings, and it is that way that we should remember Alice. When I think back and remember Alice in years to come, I will remember a witty, sharp, intelligent woman who could only be described as a unique character.

Jennie wrote a poem in 1994 for her boyfriend Scott which is especially poignant today. You’ll find the poem in your program. I would like to read it for you now.

Life is Like a Seven-Layer Dip?
by Jennie Lynne Lamb
(Poem Text)

When Jennie, our friend Kitt, and Scott and I sat down to write this remembrance, we intended to capture the essence of Alice and give you a perfect portrait of her life. But, it’s a hard thing to do. To tell 75 years worth of joy and pain, laughter and tears in just a few minutes is practically impossible. What is ultimately important, is how those that are left behind when a loved one "goes on ahead" deal with their memories of the person, and I hope that today, by focusing on the pleasant memories of Alice Lamb, that the journey we are all about to begin without her will be easier to navigate.

In closing, Alice often said that she "had never been what you’d call a happy person." It becomes obvious, though, when we each think about those things Alice said and did that brightened our own lives, that she brought joy to others. Although her last days were difficult, Alice is finally at peace. We have faith that Alice is now truly what she would call a "happy person".

In Memoriam (Main Page)
Remembrances (Eulogy)
Life is Like a Seven-Layer Dip? (Poem)
Seven-Layer Dip Recipe
A Pictorial Timeline of Alice's Life