Mother’s Day magic

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

Just over four decades ago, Suffolk News-Herald writer Mary Stott decided to do a special Mother’s Day feature. Every Day, her paper would showcase a local family, preferably a large one.

Looking for a subject for her second annual presentation, Stott noticed the Miles family, fellow churchgoers of Oxford Methodist, and asked if they’d be her guests of honor.

Georgia Miles and her four daughters and one son said yes, and Stott asked the now-deceased legendary News-Herald photographer Spike Moore to head to their Constance Road home to snap a shot. That Sunday in 1962, all of Suffolk found out about the Miles family.

Email newsletter signup

The photo still hangs in the home of Georgia Miles and is a source of pride for the entire family.

Last Saturday morning, the family decided to re-create the magic.

It all started at their monthly meeting the night before; every month, Dixie, Jenny, Donna, Judy and Jud visit their mother Georgia at home. On Friday, they planned to take her to the Constance Wharf restaurant at the new Hilton Hotel for a special early Mother’s Day celebration.

&uot;We won’t all be here for Mother’s Day, so we decided to have our special day early,&uot; said Donna. &uot;We wanted to be together with our mother.&uot;

Georgia, the salutatorian of Holland High’s class of 1936, spent decades working in the deputy clerk’s office-which stood in what is now the Hilton parking lot-as well as the Nansemond County Courthouse, then for the commissioner of the revenue and in the district’s clerk’s office before retiring in 1983. But it was in another building that she truly felt complete.

&uot;I took (my children) to church faithfully,&uot; she said. &uot;I asked God if He’d stop my husband’s drinking (her husband Ashby died in 1985 after 44 years of marriage), and He immediately did. I asked him what He wanted, and He told me to get them to know Him, and I did.&uot;

All of her daughters sang in the church choir, and the music followed them home.

&uot;We had these old 45- and 78-records,&uot; Dixie said, &uot;and we had them on 24 hours a day, playing all kinds of music. Music brought so much joy into out lives. It took away all our troubles.&uot;

All the children graduated from Suffolk High.

&uot;To tell the truth, miraculously,&uot; Georgia said of how she’d raised five kids (she’s one of 13). &uot;We had a good time, me and my children. I never had time to analyze anything I was doing. We were always busy, busy, busy.&uot;

For years, the Miles kids, who have given their grandmother seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild (&uot;That was awesome,&uot; Georgia said), have gathered at their mom’s house to catch up on recent times.

&uot;We play games,&uot; said Jenny, who now works in Franklin’s social services department. &uot;We talk, we cook, we pray about our problems. We share our lives together.&uot;

Since the hotel started construction in early 2003, Georgia’s been there to watch.

&uot;I was looking at it all the time,&uot; she said. &uot;I took all sorts of pictures. I think it represents something that Suffolk’s never had before. It’s a vision. I think it’s beautiful.&uot;

On Saturday morning, she found out that she’d finally get to step inside.

&uot;I’m still in shock,&uot; she said. &uot;I thought I was in a coma.&uot;

As the afternoon hours rolled in, she picked up her first meal in the restaurant – a large cheeseburger. For her 86th birthday in September, her kids plan to get her a room for a few nights.

After eating, the six Miles went into the other room and re-created the photo that Moore had snapped of them. Just as she had for the first picture, Donna gave her mom a pink carnation corsage for Mother’s Day.

&uot;I’m proud of them all,&uot; Georgia said. &uot;They’re the fruit of the seeds I’ve sown in my life. My life is church, my destiny is heaven, and one day, I’ll be there.&uot;