This page is in memory of my Aunt Ann, 2015.
Over time I plan to build up this page with images, videos, etc. But for the moment, please visit the memorial site provided by the funeral home.
These are my memories and stories of Ann Small Player Roberts.
A brief history of me before Aunt Ann became my second “mom”
My father died with I was about 10 1/2 years of age, only a few weeks or maybe a couple of months from my family splitting up. My mother needed special care due to health issues stemming from a brain tumor which left her partially paralyzed on her left size (arm and legs). I went to stay with my father’s brother Sam and his wife Elsie. My oldest sister was married, and my two other sisters were living with friends or relatives. I won’t go into the story as to why we were split up, saving that for another time and place. I was living with Uncle Sam & Aunt Elsie when my father died in our old house which had caught fire.
My New Family
It was not long after my father died that I was asked if I wanted to live with my mother’s sister Ann Player and her husband, Clarence Player. I don’t recall how much time I took but I did decide to move in with them and their daughter Jessica. Aunt Ann and Uncle Clarence opened their home and hearts to let me stay. Jessica became like a sister instead of just a cousin. My other sisters were still living with friends and or family elsewhere and my mother, Charlie Mae, was in a nursing home only a few miles away.
My first year of school after moving in with “The Players” was fifth grade. They took me over to Wilson Hall and enrolled me. I was in Middle School. Though I’ve never been a great student, my Aunt Ann ensured that I was going to get a good education. She hired a Tutor (Cami Hursey) to help me with my homework. She scolded and punished me when I failed to do well, but encouraged me when I had an idea for how to make flat maps of globes more accurate (faulty as that idea was).
Early on I remember going to places like Disney World in Florida and Hilton Head Island, SC for vacations. My aunt and uncle were treating me like their own. At the time I may not have really understood and appreciated what they were doing for me, but now thinking back, my eyes fill with tears in appreciation.
Of course my own mother was still living. Before I could drive on my own, Aunt Ann would take me at least two or three times a week to visit my mother. We would visit in the lounge or smoking room (at the time both Aunt Ann and mom smoked). My mother would always be happy to see her “baby boy” and Aunt Ann was there to make sure it happened.
She encouraged me to join the boy scouts, though it really wasn’t my thing. I enjoyed most of it, but may not have even lasted a year as a member. I recall going to camp a couple of times, but not long into my teen years did I do that. She encouraged me to join the foot ball team at school, but that I didn’t like at all. I’ve just never been into sports and though we were exploring and trying new things, I just couldn’t find my “niche” in hobbies and sports.
Later, I thought I wanted to be a chef. She encouraged me to apply for cooking school. I did and I think I was accepted into the CIA (Cooking school, not Federal Agency). I thought I wanted to be a photographer so we borrowed a camera and I took some lessons from school. I enjoyed both of these things, but I was not passionate about either of them.
I recall once she said she wanted a microwave. I told her I would buy her one. I’m not sure if I saved money or somehow got about $100.00 saved up and I gave it to her to go out and buy one. She went out and came back with a microwave oven and then gave me the $100.00 back as she got it from a friend for free. I promptly took that $100 and went to K-Mart where I got my first computer (Commodore VIC 20). This was the start of my high-tech career dealing with computers and it was Aunt Ann who allowed me to start my career. I was a Junior or Senior in high school by this time.
When I got my license to drive, Aunt Ann was doing a lot of wedding cakes and catering. She would often send me over to the stores to get more of this and that – whatever was needed at the time. Since I was new to driving, it was fun and never a chore. I would often be sent off to Kroger’s or the Piggy Wiggly when eggs, flour or sugar ran low.
For high school graduation, I got a car. It was a used one, but it meant so much to me. She scrapped up enough money to buy a 1976 Datsun with a manual transmission. I’d never driven one before and I learned quickly. That first night when she drove it to the house and I saw it, Jessica and I went for a ride around the block. I got a bit crazy and went a bit further. It was fun and exciting having my own vehicle. I’d been driving for a couple of years by then, but not in my own car. Aunt Ann got me a car! Jessica and I were taking a short cut back to the house – we used to call this dirt road “Jessica’s road” because that was the short cut when we’d visit Aunt Ann, Uncle Clarence and Jessica after they moved there. Anyway, I was on Jessica’s road and it was a bit muddy. The first time in my car driving around and I got stuck in the mud. All I could do is spin my wheels. Fortunately, someone in a truck came by and helped us get out of the mud.
That blue, 1976 Datsun lasted a couple of years for me. When it broke down and died as I was driving from the beach to Sumter (to visit my mother), my Aunt Ann helped me get a replacement vehicle. We had already moved out of Sumter to Myrtle Beach and I was attempting to go to Coastal Carolina. We found an older Ford Escort (I can’t remember the year of it, maybe a 1980 or 81, but this was in about 1985 or early 1986).
Of course during the last few years of high school Aunt Ann was catering and doing everything she needed to in order to keep us fed and clothed. She was able to keep the house and she took care of her dying husband. When Clarence died in 1984, she did what it took to make ends meet. We ended up moving to the beach where she could find a steady income.
It was through Aunt Ann and her friends, Pete and Mary Manos, that I got a job at the beach. I worked at the front desk of the motel they own and Aunt Ann was working in the restaurant (as a hostess mostly I think). Even after I was 18 she took care of me! I worked there until they tore the motel down and built a new Hampton Inn (#43 in the chain). While the hotel was being built, I worked in Mary Juel’s House of Seafood as a bus boy and then later in the kitchen, washing dishes and/or “plating” up. I remember battering up and frying cheese and everyone loved it.
(work in progress, please check back for more…)
From the Sun News
Ann S. Roberts
May 20, 1939 – August 3, 2015 (corrected from actual published)
Funeral Service for Ann Small Player Roberts, 76, will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 8, 2015, at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. The family will receive friends Thursday, August 6, 2015, from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Lee Funeral Home, Little River, and one hour prior to the service on Saturday at Dunbar Funeral Home.
Ann passed away Monday, August 3, 2015. Born in Horry County, she was a daughter of the late William Quincy and Gladys Ford Small. She was a 1957 graduate of Mullins High School.
Ann, affectionately known by friends as “Annie Bird”, was the wife of the late Clarence L. Player and Russell M. Roberts. She was a talented artist who shared her passion and artwork with her family and friends. Annie Bird was a caregiver who easily adopted anyone who needed love and took them in her heart and under her wing. Following the death of her husband, Clarence, she moved to Myrtle Beach where she worked at Mary Juel’s until she married Russell Roberts in 1987 moving to Arlington, VA, where her family grew. Following Russell’s retirement, they moved home to Myrtle Beach. In 1996, her new title and most favorite blessing occurred with the birth of her grandson, Christian. She became the Grammy that everyone has come to know and love. In 2012, her “sunshine”, Elliott, was born, and she blossomed with love for her grandchildren, and most recently, the birth of her great-grandson, Levi.
She is survived by her brothers, A.B. Small (Bonnie), Jim Small; children, Jessica Kline (Larry), Chuck Floyd, Wendy Hidalgo (Mike), Billy Roberts (Sandy), Kevin Roberts (Linda); grandchildren, Christian Player (Grayson), Elliott Kline, Laura Bartek, Luke Bartek, Carrie Bartek, Amy Roberts, Justin Roberts, Andrei Linder, Zachary Player, Rachel Player, Kathryn P. Graham (Ashley); great-grandchildren, Levi, Porter, Abby and Hailey. She is also survived by special nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by two sisters, Mary Ellen Hooks and Charlie Mae Floyd; brother, Lester C. Small; and son, C. Lester Player III.
Memorials may be made to St. Judes Children Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38101-9908.
A guestbook is available at www.leefhandcrematory.com.
Lee Funeral Home & Crematory of Little River/North Myrtle Beach is serving the family. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/myrtlebeachonline/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=175433759#sthash.xKWANLR7.dpuf
The State Newspaper (SC)
Copyright 2015, Jessica Player Kline
Good afternoon and thank you for coming today to share with me this part of my journey in life and my mother’s final journey….
As you can imagine, I have had so many calls this week with beautiful words of encouragement. When I spoke with my Rabbi about my mother, he suggested that I write a eulogy. He said that even if I can’t read it, I need to write one… I already knew this was something I wanted to do, so when he suggested it, I was re-assured that I had made the right decision…. plus, my mom would expect no less…. so I will share with you for the next few minutes, the woman we all knew and love… some called her Ann, Annie Bird, Aunt Ann, Bird, and Grammy…. but I call her, my MOM.
On Monday, I received the call that as a teenager my mother used to say worried her so much… she’d say, every time I hear a siren and you are not at home, I fear the phone will ring saying something has happened… I remember thinking, she must be crazy feeling like that, yet as I have become a mother, I understand, and I’ve always worried that I would get this call, only, not just about my children, but about my mother… because she lived three hours away, I knew that if I ever got this call, I wasn’t right around the corner and I always wondered how I would ever make it from Columbia to the beach…..well, This dreaded call came on Monday afternoon and how I made it to beach was truly by the grace of God… I vaguely remember the drive and I am so thankful that she held on until I arrived……there is nothing more honorable than being the last person to hold the hand of the first person who loved and held you in their arms….. However, I don’t want to dwell on the events of Monday, or this past week, or how we’ve been on autopilot. What I want to share with you is my mom, I’ll call it, lessons from my mom…. you can call it lessons from Ann, Annie Bird, Aunt Ann, Grammy but I’m just going to say, my mom…..
I’m going to start by saying, there are not enough minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month nor months in a year to adequately describe my mother…. but, I am going to take a few minutes to tell you who she was…. and who she was to me…
My mom was a daughter of Gladys and Quincy Small…. she was given the name Ann….well, kind of…. We are all given a name when we are born, some of us have three names, our first middle and last…. some of us love the first names we are given, some of us don’t and are thankful for the middle name! My mother was one who was thankful for her middle name, and I won’t talk about the “first” name she had… those of you who know it, understand….. However, my mom didn’t always go by any name she was originally given, she went by so many names…..so, some of you may have called her Ann, as this was her childhood name….and some of you called her Aunt Ann…. When she became the wife of my dad…it was then she gained the title of Annie Bird, and I had to ask how that name came to be, I learned that when my father and mother married, he commented that Lyndon Johnson’s Lady Bird, had nothing on his Annie Bird, and it stuck, so many of you know her as Annie Bird, or even Bird for short… but, we all know that her happiest and greatest name came 19 years ago, when she became known as Grammy…. EVERYONE who loved her, called her Grammy… However, I need to back track a little before she became Grammy, to 1972, to her name that means the most to me, when she gained the name MOM… and she was, my mom… the mom who drank Tab, smoked Virginia Slims, and loved the guiding light… she was the mom that everyone loved, and she was the mom that eventually would become my mentor and my best friend. (And, by the way, she stopped smoking long before they cancelled The Guiding Light, but boy could I get away with anything between the hours of 3 and 4 Monday through Friday!)
My mom taught me a lot; she taught me that it didn’t matter if I ran when I was destined for a spanking, I was still going to get one when she finally caught me… she taught me that if I didn’t “eat the food that I showed out about having, I would wear the food….” and she taught me how to be like her…. she didn’t even realize she was doing this….but, boy am I thankful!
In the late 70’s, she lovingly opened her home to her nieces and nephew after the loss of their father and the illness of their mother, her sister… she was a teacher of love as it was then she taught me that just because you may be an only child, it doesn’t mean you won’t have siblings… I had more siblings than ever! I had a half-brother, a “cousin-brother” and two “cousin-sisters” – in the early 80’s my father grew very ill and until his death, she taught me true love, by taking care of my daddy as, she took care of him…and to make ends meet, she catered and made the most beautiful wedding cakes. It was recently, looking back that I realized she was showing me that love can keep your eyes open when you are so tired and that you do what you have to do to take care of those you love…. Her cakes were not only beautiful, but were wonderful too… maybe because they were made with love knowing she was doing this for her family.
In 1987, My mom taught me that just because you lose someone you love, your heart can love and be loved again and she taught me that you can love so many as your own… she remarried when I was a teenager and at that time, our family grew even larger… she added a new name as “Grandma Ann” and she gladly took that role! She loved having the family over for dinner and enjoyed cooking everyone’s favorites… her famous roasts and fried okra. And again, she taught me again how to graciously care for those we love as we lost her mother, her step-daughter and her mother-in-law.
In 1996, she became Grammy…. the Grammy that we all know and love… it was when Christian was born her world as she knew it, was changed forever. He was the light of her life. I saw something in my mother that I had never seen before. Maybe it was the unconditional love she taught me as I was growing up, and I could understand what she meant by it and it made her happy to know that I could finally get it, … maybe it was the love he showed her, loving her unconditionally as well, but whatever it was, it made her complete. He was her reason… her reason for everything. When I decided to go to mortuary school in Atlanta, she said to me that I could come home on the weekends and see him because she couldn’t be that far away from him… and because her feelings were so strong about us being so far away, she and Russell packed up and moved with me to Atlanta to take care of him while I was in school…. Talk about true love… she truly loved him and truly loved me too. Once I finished school, she helped me take care of Christian and when Russell became ill, she showed love to her husband by caring for him until his death in 2000.
When I met Larry, in 1998, not only was I, but my mother was smitten… she was still smitten when she took her last breath. …. he couldn’t do much wrong in her eyes and she loved him so very much. When he finally asked me to marry him, she was as giddy as I was and she was so proud of me because I was marrying such a wonderful man. She helped me plan the perfect wedding and not only did she make the cake, she and her best friends catered the entire wedding making it the happiest day of my life. and I believe it was one of the happiest days of her life too. I guess you could say that by watching her love both my dads, she taught me how to love a husband.
In January 2011, I had a miscarriage and my mom was right with me allowing me the shoulder to cry on teaching me that with love, comes loss…. and in May of 2011 when I found out I was pregnant again, she was my biggest cheerleader for a healthy pregnancy. When we were finding out whether we would be having a boy or a girl, I wanted to be fair and tell My mom, Rose and Harold at the same time, but when we got to the doctor, Larry said that she should be with us to find out and looking back, I am so thankful for that memory. She immediately started collecting madam alexander dolls for Elliott and taught me that you can never have too many pretty girly outfits! January 2012 brought Elliott in this world and Grammy was with me for the first several months helping me and again she taught me by showing me that love grows with each child….. I’m so thankful for the memories of those few months as I would watch as she would sing to Elliott “You are my sunshine,” and she’d tell her not to cry because she might “wake the baby” – Elliott grew Grammy’s heart even bigger and although I thought she was complete when Christian arrived, I truly believe Elliott completed her even more.
this past year, her great-grandson, Levi was born. Grammy and I worked so hard for his baby shower… she helped me make the foods and taught me how to make her delicious cheese straws. we laughed as we shared in the memories of Christian when he was just a tiny sweet baby. Grammy would say that she can’t believe her little boy is having a little boy! But, she was so proud of him and she loved Grayson and she was so happy that she was able to enjoy Levi. I am so thankful to have had her with me at the hospital as he was born because that day meant so much to all of us. I couldn’t imagine not having had her with me. I think she knew she was teaching me all about loving a grandchild and the love that would blossom as Levi took his first breath!
Over time, I’ve realized that I’ve become my mother…. I have opened my home as my mother did hers… she taught me well….. and most recently over the past few months, I have been trying to move my mom and uncle Jim to Columbia… I wanted them closer, I wanted to take care of them… she taught me to take care of those I love….. But, it just hadn’t happened yet…. Uncle Jim, words cannot thank you for taking such good care of her and loving her so much… I know you’ll say that she was your sister and of course you would take care of her, but you were her best friend too…and I am so thankful that you had each other!
Just last week, Kevin, Linda, Justin, Larry, Christian, Grayson, Elliott, Levi and I were at the beach. Grammy was supposed to be with us at the beach house, but instead, she was in the hospital. Everyday, I saw her. Everyday, she seemed to be improving… One evening, I went to see her, and as I was leaving, she smiled at me…the most beautiful smile. I walked a few steps from the room and turned back around… I wanted to tell her thank you, thank her for loving me so much and most importantly for always being proud of me… she just smiled at me and said she was proud and she loved me so much too…. I think she knew she had taught me so much and really was so proud….I’m so thankful I had that moment with her. She made it home from the hospital and I was able to spend two more days with her…..
This upcoming week, I was supposed to be going down on Monday evening to see her for us to visit Wendy, Michael, Laura,, Luke, and porter and one of the last things I said to her was, I’ll see you next week… she just smiled and said she was looking forward to it.
There are two things I want to ask of each you…. first, my mom was something special to every one of us… I know who she was to me, but I would love to know who she was to you. I beg of you to tell me your story… please go to the Dunbar website and share her story… it will be published for me and it will keep her alive through all of us by each of us…. and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren need the stories….. and so do i. Secondly, as we all know, my mother was an artist and she would have loved to have painted a picture for everyone here… and, as I was going through some of her things, I found a box of sand dollars…. I decided to share several of her paintings by painting them on sand dollars and I have brought these here today. Please take a sand dollar as you leave and know that now, you, too, have something very special of my moms….
In closing, I will say that, Ann, Aunt Ann, Annie Bird, Grandma Ann, Grammy, and most importantly, my mom… was one of a kind, she was a teacher of love…. and as I said, there aren’t enough minutes in the hour, hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the months, months in the years nor years in a lifetime to tell you who she really was… but I can promise you that I will live each second of every minute of every hour of every day of every month of every year for the rest of my life, knowing that I was blessed to have had such a wonderful teacher and most importantly this wonderful woman, I will forever call my mother…. and for those of you who really knew her, I am sure you will agree.
These are only a few of her paintings. She’s painted quite a bit more than what is shown here. Click on the image to view the larger one – note these are unedited photos of her paintings, taken with my phone. Quality of photo, angles, etc. may vary.