By Ali Elizabeth Turner
Rebecca Bowman was born at home, and was the youngest of seven children. She could be described as a local version of a Tennessee Valley “looper.” By that I mean, she was born 81 years ago in the Shoals, moved to Tennessee where she met her hubby David and lived for several years, came back to the Shoals, and then moved to Athens, so her family could be closer to her and take care of her. The whole region has been a great place to live for the Bowmans.
She met her husband in Oakridge, Tennessee, at an old-fashioned Ice Cream Social. For awhile she worked for a newspaper, and David worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. Then he answered the call to preach, which he did for 44 years. David passed away two years ago, surrounded by his family, and it has been an adjustment for all of them. However, as people of faith, their son David could say with a full heart at his father’s funeral that “it was the best day of his life. He took his last breath here, and then his first breath in heaven.”
Miss Rebecca, son David, Kanesha Hamilton from Activities, and I chatted for a bit about wonderful things about the Shoals. David told me that you could just about see from his childhood home the Swampers’ studio on Jackson Highway where “Sweet Home Alabama” was recorded. We talked about the documentary Muscle Shoals and how such relatively few folks understand the impact the Shoals had on modern music. I told them stories about the Rosenbaum House and how famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright also designed the furniture, and expected it to be a permanent interior part of his creation. Mrs. Rosenbaum wasn’t having it, put the custom furniture in storage, and only trotted it out when they knew that Frank was coming to town.
We moved on to Rebecca’s favorites.
Favorite color? Blue. All kinds of blue. Kanesha and I winked at each other and explained our chuckle, because blue is EVERYONE’s favorite!
Favorite food to cook? Pecan pie, red velvet cake, and blueberry cream pie.
Favorite food to eat? Mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, and Miss Rebecca is big on congealed salads. She especially likes the lime Jello and cottage cheese version, as well as strawberry congealed salad. She also loves fresh turnip greens.
Favorite Scripture? John 15: 12 and 17, “Love one another.”
Favorite hymn? “When We All Get To Heaven.”
Favorite books? She loves all kinds of self-help books, and was working on reading Be Joyful, a study on the book of Philippians.
Favorite actress? Marilyn Monroe
Favorite singer? George Jones. She likes the fact that George used to live in Florence.
Favorite President? “That peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter.”
Biggest change in her lifetime? Microwave ovens.
And while Miss Rebecca was a devoted wife and mom, working tirelessly in the ministry, she also found a lot of satisfaction for several years singing alto with the Sweet Adelines.
Rebecca has been in rehab several times at Limestone Health, most recently for her hip. She said that Kanesha greeted her like a family member with a big hug and said, “Miss Becky, you’re here!” Rebecca loves the care she receives, and says the food is good. She has even gotten a chance to participate in cooking activities, and helped make chicken and dumplings, as well as Mexican cornbread. “They have been wonderful to me every time I have been here,” she said.
I asked her for some parting words of advice, especially for young people. “Keep yourself pure, and choose your company wisely. No matter what, do what’s right because the Lord is in control.” I say, Amen.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner