Paula’s parents were World War II sweethearts. Her mother was from Sloatsburg, N Y., and her father was from Edwardsville in Cleburne County. He was stationed at Fort Dix, N, J.
Paula was born in Tuxedo, N. Y. After the war, her parents lived in New York until she was 12. Then, they moved to Edwardsville.
Paula had visited Edwardsville every summer while she lived in New York, so she was familiar with it and enjoyed her relatives there. Still, she wasn’t happy about leaving New York.
“At first it was difficult because there weren’t as many children in the area, but once I got used to it, it was fine and I loved it,” she said.
Paula married young, had three children and found herself a single mother. She worked two jobs to support her daughters. Once they reached adulthood, she began to make her dream come true. She enrolled at then Ayers State Technical College to study to become a licensed practical nurse.
“I was a late bloomer,” she said. “I didn’t start until my children were older. My girls were everything to me. Raising a family put it back for a little bit, but it was worth it.”
Paula has worked at Piedmont Healthcare Center for the past 15 years.
“I can’t think of anything I’d rather be than a nurse,” she said. “I’m really blessed. I love working with the elderly, and that makes it twice the blessing.”
Paul’s daughter April Brown and her husband Jimmy live in Cleburne County. They have six children. Pam Brown and her companion Derek Wilson also live in Cleburne County. They have five children. Sherry Turner and her husband Christopher live in Jacksonville. They have three children. Paula has 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Paula’s sister and best friend, Linda Owens, lives in the family homeplace in Edwardsville.
Paula and her companion John Cavender do woodwork. They make small jewelry boxes, porches, yard furniture, free standing swings, rockers and birdhouse.
“I did some woodwork before I met John, but not on as large a scale,” she said. “The first thing I made was a toy box for my girls a long time ago.”
She and John display their items in the yard to sell at their home, 5595 Highway N., between Piedmont and Jacksonville. Their home is on the right, coming out of Piedmont, just after the four-lane highway begins.
Living with them is their 2-year-old long-haired Chihuahua, Gigi. Paula is a Louis Lamour fan. She also likes historical romance and history books as well as trivia.
“I just like to read,” she said. “If it sounds interesting, I’ll read it.”
As a child, she watched and often helped her grandmother cook. That’s when she realized that she enjoyed it.
“John and I both cook,” she said. “He’s a good cook. We cook on a nightly basis. We usually do our big cooking on our days off.”
Paula enjoys preparing Gooey Butter Cake, Creamy Chicken and Nacho Bake.
Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gooey Butter Cake
1 yellow cake mix (18.25 oz.)
½ c. butter, melted
2 t. vanilla extract
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
4 c. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake. Mix with melted butter, 1 t. vanilla, 2 eggs (mix with spoon). Pat mixture into 9x13 inch baking pan. Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs and 1 t. vanilla with mixer. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and pour over cake layer.
Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool. May top with favorite pie filling.
1 lg. can cream of chicken soup
4-6 chicken breasts (Paula likes hers boneless)
2 c. instant rice (5 Minute type)
3 c. flour
Beat eggs in small bowl. Dip chicken breasts in eggs. Roll in flour until covered. Brown as if going to fry. Place in casserole dish. Cover with rice. Cover this with can of cream of chicken soup. (Add water, abut ½ can to soup prior to pouring over rice.) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. My add broccoli spears (8 oz. frozen) to top of chicken prior to covering with rice and soup.
8 oz. pkg. elbow pasta
8 oz pkg. Velveeta cheese
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
¾ c. water
¾ c. sour cream
¾ c. shredded cheddar cheese
¾ c. salsa
½ c coarsely crushed tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta and set aside. Brown ground beef, drain and add taco seasoning mix and 3/4 c water. Simmer 5 minutes. Melt Velveeta cheese. Add sour cream and melted cheese to pasta. Pour ½ of pasta mixture into 9x11 baking dish. Cover with ½ of ground beef mixture, then layer of cheese ending with beef mixture. Top with shredded cheddar and crushed tortilla chips. Bake 15 minutes. Top with salsa and serve.