Georgia Carole Douglas is the daughter of the late Harold and Violet Speight. She attended University School (also known as College High), and walked to and from school from her home on 16th Street.
“There was a boarding house behind the Presbyterian Church on 16th Street,” said Georgia. “One day in February, my friend and I were walking home from school and I saw these boys outside playing basketball at the boarding house. The new semester at Murray State started in February and I had never seen these boys before. I noticed this guy with jet black hair and it was like I had been hit in the head. My friend told me I was staring and I told her I knew I was. I also told her that the boy with the black hair was the man I was going to marry. She told me I was crazy, yanked my arm and made me walk on, but I decided I was going to find out more about him.”
Georgia said that little did she know, but that boy had also noticed her, but he had told the other boys not to tell her anything about him. He knew he was six years older and also, her father had a reputation and he did not want to become involved with someone so much younger and with a father like hers.
“Some people thought my father was part of the ‘mob,’” laughed Georgia. He just let them believe that because he would loan money to people who could not get a loan from the bank. He figured as long as they thought he was part of the mob, they would be more inclined to pay him back.”
Georgia graduated from the University School and enrolled at Murray State, majoring in elementary education.
One day after freshman orientation, she was walking home in her suit, heels and freshman beanie and the ‘boy’ came out of the house and introduced himself – Raphael Delano Douglas, “Del” for short.
“He told me he would like to take me to a banquet at Kenlake Hotel that was being held in two weeks. I agreed to go and immediately went home and told my mother that I needed a new dress,” Georgia said.
The date night finally arrived and it was raining.
“He came to the door with an umbrella and escorted me to the car,” said Georgia. “We got to Kenlake and he told me to stay in the car. He came around, opened my door and scooped me up in his arms with the umbrella over my head and carried me into the hotel. I knew right then I was in love.”
Several months went by and Georgia did not hear from Del. He finally did call and they went on a double date to the drive-in.
The next semester, Del rented one of her father’s apartments next door to her house.
“We were able to spend hours talking,” she said.
Georgia and Del spent a lot of time talking and dating occasionally. When he graduated, he took a job in Michigan and they corresponded by writing letters to each other quite often. When Georgia graduated from Murray State, she made a decision about her future.
“I had a professor in my English 102 class who would flirt with me and called me ‘Miss Spite,’” said Georgia. “I was constantly correcting him, but he continued to call me ‘Miss Spite.’ He assigned term papers and he told the class he was giving me his favorite subject, American folk songs and balladry. I was sweating bullets because I knew nothing about that subject, but I wanted a good grade in the class. My mother asked Mary Jane Littleton to read my paper and she made some edits. I received a B+ on the paper and I was happy.
“One day this professor asked me if I could come to his office after class. I was a bit hesitant, but I went anyway and he told me he was concerned about me. He heard I was planning to be a missionary after I graduated and I corrected him, telling him I was going to be a foreign missionary. He said he did not think that was something I should do, gave me several reasons why and asked me to think about it seriously. Several other things happened after that, which made me decide I did not want to be a missionary, not even a foreign one.”
Georgia said everything in her family was discussed around the dining room table.
“I announced I had signed a teaching contract and my father began to ask me if the job was in Paducah or Nashville. When I told him I had taken a job in Los Angeles, California, I thought he was going to have a stroke. But when the time came, he drove me to Los Angeles.”
Before Christmas of that year, Del called her, which was quite a big deal during those times because making long distance phone calls was fairly expensive.
“He asked me if I was coming home for Christmas,” said Georgia. “I told him I had not planned to, that I was having too much fun where I was. He told me I ‘had’ to come home and would I please consider coming for him. I told him I would let him know.”
Georgia’s roommate was flying home for the holidays so Georgia used the same travel agent and booked a flight home. The only problem was that the closest airport to Murray was in Memphis, Tennessee.
“My wonderful father drove to Memphis to pick me up,” said Georgia. “The things a parent will do for their children!”
When Georgia got off of the plane, she was wearing a raw silk pantsuit with heels, her hair was dyed strawberry blonde and she was wearing big, dangling earrings. Her parents walked past her a few times and finally she said, “Do you not recognize your own daughter?”
“My mother asked me if that was how they dressed in California,” laughs Georgia. “And she also told me during the ride to Murray that I was not expected to attend church.”
On Christmas night, Del came from his hometown in Illinois. Plans to go for coffee did not happen, as nothing was open in Murray on Christmas Day. Georgia said they ended up parking on Doran Road.
“Del asked me if I was serious about anyone in California,” said Georgia. “I told him I was dating a couple of guys and then he said, ‘I guess I had better take you home.’ I was confused and when we parked in my driveway, he told me that he had always loved me and I told him that was my line. He then asked me to marry him. He said he had thought about this for some time, but he knew he had to let me go and grow up. I told him I would have to think about it. I had chased this man for six years and he could wait!”
He then asked Georgia two questions. One - could he call her Carole instead of Georgia? And two - would she wear his grandmother’s wedding ring?
“I wanted to say yes, yes, yes, but I told him he would have to give me a week.”
A week later, Georgia called him in the middle of the night at his boarding house in Michigan, woke him up and said, “Yes, yes, yes.”
“He mailed my ring to me in California,” said Georgia. “He had moved to Milwaukee, and I flew there during my spring break.”
Georgia asked Mrs. Ross (Popeye Ross’ mother) to make her wedding dress for her wedding in August.
“I had found a picture of the dress I wanted and I asked my mother if she thought Mrs. Ross would design my dress,” she said. “Mrs. Ross made my dress and it was perfect. I still have the dress and it looks as good as it did the day I wore it.”
Del worked as a real estate appraiser and tax evaluator, and they moved around quite a bit, starting out in Milwaukee, moving to Summerville, Georgia, and back to Wisconsin where she gave birth to their first son, Rodney, in 1963. They then went to St. Louis, Missouri, and on to Iowa.
“We lived in Iowa for 14 years and our second son, Allen, was born there,” said Georgia. “The winters were harsh and long, and it was not easy living there. We left Iowa when I threatened to leave Del. I had been teaching at the junior high school and there were a lot of drug problems in the schools. Coupled with the weather, I didn’t want to raise my sons there any longer.”
Their sons would spend the summers with their grandparents in Murray, and while they were in Murray visiting, her father said he wanted to drive her out to the area near Kentucky Lake where he used to raise cattle.
“He told me I wasn’t going to believe how it had changed,” said Georgia. “This area had become Panorama Shores, and as we were driving around, we passed this house that was overgrown with shrubs and I asked my father to stop the car. I got out and peered through the windows of the house and saw a fireplace in the kitchen. I just fell in love with this house that needed a lot of work, but I had a vision.”
Georgia took Del to see the house and he found everything wrong with it and she thought there was no way she was going to convince him this was the house of her dreams.
“Two days later, he came home, told me he wanted me to go with him to the courthouse and my parents were going to watch the boys,” said Georgia. “When we got to the courthouse, we sat down in an office and a person came in and pushed the deed to the house across the table. He said he wanted this to be the place for me if anything ever happened to him.”
They moved into the house in 1978 and Georgia lost Del in 1997 to bladder cancer. She stayed in her dream house for 20 years after his death and just recently moved into town.
“People have asked me how did I give up the house?” said Georgia. “I didn’t realize all the emotions I experienced when I was there by myself. The neighbors were leaving one by one and it was becoming depressing to be there alone. I decided, at the suggestion of my son, that I needed to move to town and I am so glad I did. I have been able to become involved in more activities since moving and not make that drive.”
Even though Georgia is now living in town, she will forever have wonderful memories of her “Prince Charming” and her dream home on the lake.
“Del was a wonderful husband,” said Georgia.
From “Emotions of a Woman - Reflection” by Georgia Carole Douglas
First Soul Song
I was walking home on a February day,
when my curious brown eyes happened
to look his way.
My young heart pounded as i took him in -
What a heavenly man, my thoughts
flirt with sin!
Long perfect fingers on perfectly formed hands,
ears drawn as if to an artist’s plans.
Long strong legs, a huge powerful chest. His shoulders
are proud and broad, within those muscled arms
I want to nest!
“I’m in love,” my soul is singing, but his eyes won’t look
my way. “He’s ideal,” my ears are ringing, “must keep
myself at bay!”
My fingers itch to touch that glossy crow’s wing hair,
but he doesn’t even show that he sees me
“Shame on you,” that thought echoes through, “he’s a man
of the world and you’re only sixteen girl!” “But I’m a woman
and I feel it, my being aches to reveal it - My soul is singing!”
“Control those crazy feelings - you’re too young for what
you’re revealing,” my bothersome conscience cries!”
“I promise for now I’ll wait, but someday soon I know it’s
fate, he’ll look into my eyes.”
My Soul is Singing!