Friends and Important Relationships

Dr. Palmer has had a number of friends over the years.  A humble and quiet man, he prefers taking walks with people to making appearances at big social events.

“I don’t have a large circle, I guess you would say.”

 

Dealing with Difficult Times:

The phrase, “find out who your true friends are” rings true for Dr. Palmer.  In difficult times, especially divorce, he has found a number of friends to lean upon, whom he holds very dear to his heart.   When he had returned to Hagerstown alone and gone to Pottstown for his radio job, he found a support group called the Single Parents Society, and the people there brought him a lot of comfort.

“It was community that I did find support in.”

One woman in particular supported him by taking an interest in his sermons.

“She was interested in the sermons I had written… She put them together in a booklet.”

In divorce especially though, he found it very difficult and needed to reach out.

“It was pretty tough.  It was tough for me to leave actually.  The day I was knowing I’d have to leave, I called one of my friends, a woman who was in the community service part of the college, and I said, ‘I don’t think I can do this.’”

“It just feels like you are going through a vortex, or you’re gonna drown, and there’ll be nobody with a rope to pull you in.  It’s that kind of thing.  But it does make you stronger, and it does give you some confidence.”

 

John Young:

At the same time, he got in contact with a friend of his who had begun teaching at Davidson at the same time, but had since moved away.

“Later on, I called a friend of mine in Greenesboro who had been a next door neighbor, and I told him I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it.  He came down.  He was the logical one.  I mean, I was basket case by then… he would say, ‘What are you gonna wear?  What are you gonna eat? Where are you gonna sleep’… the basics.”

“He got me set up that night.  He’s a very dear friend.  And I had worries at the time that when something like this happens, nobody will be out there.”

Dr. Palmer’s relationship with John began long before the divorce, and it has continued long after.

“We’ve had this friendship for a long, long time. We were part of the group that came in to Davidson together.  And the group that comes in the same year, it’s sorta like your class, I guess, because those professors and those families develop a relationship among themselves that is pretty special.”

John Young with Wife Wynn at Jennifer Palmer's Wedding; courtesy of Ed Palmer

Here is Dr. Palmer on what they do together now:

“We meet there, we have a meal, we sit, we talk, and we catch up.”

 

Pat Edmondson:

A wife of a member of that same “class” at Davidson, Pat has become a dear friend to Dr. Palmer, especially after they both wound up divorced.

“She’s pulled me through some pretty tough spots medically when I had some hospitalization.”

“We kind of made a pact, since we were both living alone… that we would be there for each other.  We are pretty close.”

 

Grace Mitchell:

“I call her my big sister.”

“She was the chair of the education department here for several years.”

“She’s a combination of being sharp as a whip and clever.  I would never want to get in a debate with her.  Never.  She could put me to shreds.”

Here is Dr. Palmer sharing a story of a time he and Grace spent together:

 

Forever Friends:

At Davidson, a small group of men and women decided to get together and start spending regular time together.  They called themselves the “Forever Friends.”

“Bob and Pam Stephenson are part of that group.  And Dick and Anna Marie Burts are part of it.  And Pete Barnes, who is now deceased, was the other one who was in the group.”

“When it started, we would have dinners in one another’s houses.  We would circulate it.”

“One afternoon I had a knock on my back door, and it was Anna Marie, and she had a dessert she wanted to give me.  And she said, ‘we want you to come up to the mountains sometime.  But we don’t want you to come alone; we want you to come with us.’”

The Forever Friends in 1995; courtesy of Ed Palmer

“We were the Forever Friends.  We do keep in touch and keep that friendship.”

 

Pete Barnes:

As the other single member of Forever Friends, Pete Barnes and Dr. Palmer were very close.  She passed away however, and Dr. Palmer dedicating some landscaping at the library to her.

“When we came to Davidson, there was a family that lived up here… and they kinda took us under their wing.  It was a couple named Dilly and Pete Barnes.  Dilly was the husband; Pete was the wife.”

“It was real special.”

Pete was also a Sunday school teacher, and one who loved Eddie well.  Here is Dr. Palmer talking about the relationship those two had:

“She was a wonderful lady, and a very special person in our family.  Dilly was too, and he had a way-too-early kind of death.  He developed cancer shortly after he stopped work.”

Plaque dedicating the Landscaping to Pete from Ed; courtesy of Ed Palmer


Fern Duncan:

Fern Duncan was hired as the administrative assistant of the Psychology department at Davidson.  She became a close friend of Dr. Palmer’s over the years, and they often take walks together. 

“I’ve always enjoyed the people I work with.  Fern Duncan has become… definitely a friend.”

She also created the small quilt which can be seen in the music video, found here.

“I tell her whenever I hear that she’s quilting, I know she’s okay.  Because that’s what she enjoys.  That, and tennis.”

Ed with Fern Duncan; courtesy of Ed Palmer

 

“Dr. Palmer’s Girls”

Throughout his time at Davidson, Dr. Palmer became close with three custodians at Davidson, Nikki Steele, Shirl Sloan, and Martha Howard.

Dr. Palmer's Girls; courtesy of Ed Palmer

 

Peggy Levergood:

Dr. Palmer never remarried after he and Ruth Ann divorced.  However, he came very close to marrying Peggy.

“I developed a relationship with somebody after I separated.”

“She lived in Charlotte.  We went to a single parents society meeting.”

“I was in the high 40s getting into the 50s.”

“We had a pretty long relationship.  We did a lot of things together.”

“She and I would know how to play.  We could be driving and spontaneously decide we’re gonna spread a blanket in the cemetery lot and just look up at the clouds.  Just lie there and look up at the clouds… that sort of spontaneity.  That was pretty special.”

Ed and Peggy at John Young's Wedding, July 21, 1991; courtesy of Ed Palmer

 

Here is Dr. Palmer on what made Peggy so special:

“She gave me that plaque, and it’s always been very special to me.”

The Plaque Given by Peggy to Ed; courtesy of Ed Palmer

Here is Dr. Palmer reciting from memory two stanzas of the poem:

The two came very close to getting married, but Dr. Palmer decided he could not go through with it.

“But I felt I couldn’t get married because I had too much to lose, basically.  My kids weren’t in favor of it… I realized if that was gonna be the case, it was gonna be uphill, the whole way.”

“About a week before the wedding I knew I couldn’t do it.”

“She’s moved now; she lives in Colorado.”

 

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