I grew up in Shively, Ky. but I was born in Richmond, Ky. on July 21, 1939. We moved to Louisville when I was about two. Robert and Elizabeth (Jones) Moberly were my wonderful parents. Both of their families were from East Kentucky who moved to the Richmond area. My Moberly grandparents moved to Red House and my Jones grandparents moved to Skilletsville, which you won’t find on the map. My grandmother Moberly was a post mistress of the Red House area. The post office was on one side of a large open room. My grandfather Moberly had a grocery store on the other side of the room. There was always selling, bartering and trading going on in the middle of the large room where there was a large, pot belly coal burning stove. Everyday there were dozens of men, school workers, farmers and the like, storytelling around the stove.
Story after story, all based on truth but growing bigger every time they were told. Storytelling was a wonderful art and those men were good at it. In later years, my husband, Ronnie and I went to Renfro Valley to hear Carl Hurley, a well-known storyteller who began telling a story I had heard from my father. It turns out that Carl heard the story from his father-in-law, who lived across the road from the post office and grocery store at Red Horse!
I grew up during WWII. I was too young to remember much and kids were completely shielded from the war. But I remember my two uncles leaving for the war by train and everyone was there to tell them goodbye. Thankfully, both returned wounded but safe. I also remember helping Mom smashing tin cans we saved for the war effort, which were collected weekly.
In Shively, Dad worked for the government during the war and inspected air filtration systems for submarines. Mom stayed at home. I had a brother, John Robert, who is six years younger than me. I really haven’t been back to Shively since 1980, when Mom died and Dad moved in with us. In those days, Shively was more rural with large fields.
I went to McFerran and Mill Creek Elementary, and to Valley High School. On the block where we lived there must have been 20 kids. We rode our bikes, skated, jumped ropes, played hide and seek and made clover chains. I must have been stung by a dozen bees over the years making the clover chains. I also read a lot!
We also went to Richmond a lot, where all the relatives lived. We took the train, particularly during the war. We caught it at 7th Street, then went to Winchester and transferred to Richmond. Every time we went through a tunnel, we closed the windows so smoke would not get in the train. The train was full of soldiers and there were orange crates down the aisle to sit on. I remember sitting on a soldier’s lap because it was so full.
I would spend a lot of time on my grandparent Jones’s farm with my three cousins. Over the hill from the farmhouse there was a huge grapevine and we would sit on it and swing across the creek and back. And when we would swing over the creek, there was a fence and a large bull that would run up to the fence. We teased the bull which was probably frustrated that he couldn’t go through the fence but he stomped his feet and stared at us. We would also play in the old tobacco barn, climbing up the rafters. One time my cousin fell and landed in a big nest of eggs!
There was a big trip we took when I was young which was to Yellowstone National Park. I remember that a moose got after my brother and me. We stayed in cabins and the restrooms were in another building. Some men ran into a bear that was rummaging in a trashcan and they slapped the bear, which in turn ran after them!
When I was 16, Daddy got me a job working for Bacon’s in the credit department. I was trained in billing machines, bookkeeping and cashiering.
I always knew that I was expected to go to college and I wanted to. I was interested in music and a business career. I played the piano and still play today for La Grange Christian Church. It was in 1957 I went to Eastern Kentucky University. That is where I met my future husband, Ronnie Miller. Ronnie’s brother, Walt, was dating a friend of mine and they got us together on a blind date. We instantly recognized each other because we had a history class together from the past year. We played miniature golf on Bardstown Road. After that he asked me on another date. Ronnie grew up on a farm in Oldham County and went to Crestwood Elementary and Oldham County High School.
When we were dating and after we both graduated from EKU, Ronnie was getting ready to be drafted when he was able to join the Air National Guard. We were both thinking about getting married and we wanted to live around the Louisville area. I went to Oldham County Schools to see if they had an opening for a business teacher. Mr. Ross, the superintendent, said there were no openings but would I consider getting a teaching certificate for elementary school. I did and I got a job teaching sixth grade at Crestwood Elementary. On the first day of work, I went to a teacher’s meeting and there sat my roommate of three years from college, Gayle Greenwood! She was teaching second grade. And we both ended up marrying Oldham County boys. I started teaching in 1961. It was a great experience and in Oldham County there were four elementary schools. I taught nine years of sixth grade then switched to fifth grade and stayed there for 18 years until I retired, so I taught there for 27 years. The principal was Walter Cundiff. My favorite thing about teaching was the teachers themselves. They were giving and wanted the kids to learn. I retired in 1989, when the state announced KERA (Kentucky Education Reform Act), which meant to me Kentucky Early Retirement Act! I have been retired 34 years this May and I miss the wonderful people with whom I worked and “most” of the kids! For some reason, I earned the nickname as Miller the Killer, I think because I was tough on my students at times, then it became Killer Miller. It gets embarrassing at times!
Ronnie and I got married Dec. 22, 1962 and just celebrated our 60th anniversary. Our son, Scott, was born in 1966. Of course, there was no daycare. Ronnie would drive all the way to Shively to take our son to my mother for daycare.
Ron worked in downtown Louisville so he would make a big circle taking him to Shively and work. When Scott was old enough, he came to school with me.
We have been going to La Grange Christian Church since the mid-70s when Betty Covington invited us to come. Betty worked in the library across from my room at Crestwood Elementary. We met some of our best friends there. I was a part of the choir and since 1980 have played the piano for the church service. In 1995 they bought an electric piano and it has many buttons. I can push and play any instrument I want, organ, horns, banjos, what fun!
I have been a longtime member of the Christian Women’s Fellowship. We are there to preserve the church and building itself and we have bible study. We take care of everything needed for different events. We used to make apple pies to sale, but the pandemic took care of that. We had a regular assembly line of people rolling dough, cutting apples, putting it together.
We made 1,000 pies one year and that money went to support the church. I have been a deacon since 1982 and served wherever they need me, and now I am a deacon emeritus. My husband is an elder and our son Scott is a deacon.
Ruth Heiser was a member of the church and she and I got together and decided to form the Crossroads Homemaker’s Club. We had all kinds of crafts and lessons. When I was President of the Oldham County Homemakers Club we had 22 clubs but now we are down to nine! Homemakers was a great opportunity to learn leadership and activities that improve home life.
We used to make a lot of crafts but they don’t that as much today.
When I retired, Shirley Hemple recruited me to volunteer for the Oldham County Red Cross so I drove people to medical appointments, like dialysis treatments for several years. I also worked on their computer system for their client base.
I got involved in Project Guild in 1989, again the year I retired! We do projects and donate to various people and causes. We are well known for supporting Oldham County Day each year, which as you know, is a major undertaking! I was chair of Oldham County Day two times, and one of the grand marshals was Don Ensor, who was an artist. One time he offered to paint a special painting as a fundraiser for our school and we raised $10,000.
Since we retired, Ronnie and I have visited all the states except for those along the West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota. I don’t like to fly! And right now it seems worse! We like Orange Beach, Alabama and visit there often and we liked Maine too. Lately we have been taking day trips, like Cincinnati. We have several really good friends and celebrate birthdays. We have a big black candle and each time someone has a birthday, we take that black candle!
Our son lives in Pewee Valley and works at the Reformatory. When he married, he got three stepsons, and we got three grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren. They are scattered all over!
My Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Hall, greatly influenced me and taught me to enjoy life and God. Betty Covington was my mentor and we would often get on the phone and talk all night! My mother and I were very close. She died when I was 39 and she was 64. We would shop a lot and our favorite place was Bacon’s in Shively.
If I needed a new dress for a special occasion I would go to Bacon’s and get a Jonathon Logan dress for $14.99! Mother was diabetic and had five bypass surgeries.
Dr. Lansing was her surgeon and I remember meeting him in the hall after her surgery and he said, “I couldn’t save my mother and I couldn’t save yours.” My Mom taught me to smile a lot because she said, “When you smile, you give other people hope.” She also said, “Betty, you never know when you are someone’s bible.”