Mary Ann Taylor (originally Mary Ann Hawkins) was born on July 17, 1934, as the fourth and youngest daughter of Lucy and Thomas Hawkins. Mary Ann’s father once told her that when she was born, the doctor yelled “Number 4!” out the door, in reference to the fact that yet another daughter had just been added to the family. When she was born, her eldest sister Kathryn (nicknamed Kaky) was 13, her sister Margaret (nicknamed Gargie) was 11, and her sister Charlotte (nicknamed Cholli) was 7 years old. Mary Ann was born in Columba, SC, but moved to Charlotte, NC, with her family when she was 4 years old.
Kathryn was the oldest of the sisters and therefore, the bossiest toward Mary Ann. She was in college by the time Mary Ann reached elementary school, so they were not extremely close growing up, but developed a closer relationship when they were older. Kathryn moved back home right after she had her first child, a son, when Mary Ann was only 10 years old, and this began the trend of babies being around the house, which Mary Ann greatly enjoyed. She says she absolutely loved being an aunt while she was still a young girl, and would play with her nephew non-stop. She fondly recalls strapping on her roller skates and taking him for rides in his stroller in the afternoons. Mary Ann had much more experience with babies than the typical young girl would have, and she says this was very useful when it came time for her to have her own children.
Margaret had an extremely sweet and caring disposition, and always had a positive attitude about everything. Mary Ann always used to wish that Margaret was her mother, since she was so nice to her and never had to discipline her.
Charlotte is the sister that Mary Ann has always been closest with, most likely because they were closest in age and always shared a room while growing up.
Mary Ann always had a good relationship with her parents. She loved and respected them, and remembers how hard they worked to ensure that she and her sisters had a good childhood, including how her mother hand-made all of their clothes until they were grown. She was scared of her father as a young child since he was very strict and acted as king of the house. They had family dinners every night, where everyone was required to be at the table by 6:30 PM.
Click below to hear an audio clip of Mary Ann telling a memorable story about a Hawkins family dinner.
Mary Ann learned many valuable lessons and characteristics from her parents. These include a strong work ethic, self-reliance, honesty, responsibility, and respect for other people.
Click below to hear an audio clip of a story representing how seriously Mary Ann and her sisters took the value of honesty.
Her parents and sisters did not discuss world events or community happenings at the dinner table, so Mary Ann knew nothing about racial divides, distinctions between rich and poor, or war until she got older.
Click below to hear an audio clip of Mary Ann’s recollection of hearing about war for the first time.
Mary Ann attended Myers Park Elementary School, Alexander Graham Junior High, and Central High School, all of which were located in Charlotte. She always greatly enjoyed going to school and learning. Her first grade teacher had a major impact on her in terms of how much she grew to love learning, and this experience also served as a catalyst for her interest in teaching as a career.
Family traditions included her parents hosting all family members (all four daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren) for holidays, which were centered around food and gift exchanges at Christmas. Mary Ann also remembers Valentine’s Day as a prominent tradition in their neighborhood. She says that children would make valentines for every kid in the neighborhood, and to deliver them they would drop off the valentine on the front porch of the child’s house, then ring the doorbell and run away. The parents of the children in the neighborhood would always play along with the tradition by acting surprised when they found valentines on their porch.
Mary Ann spent time with both sets of grandparents in Lenoir, NC, for Christmas vacation and the summertime. These visits were always an adventure since her father’s parents did not have running water or electricity. To view more pictures and hear about the history behind Mary Ann’s paternal grandparents’ house, please see the “Family House” page.