Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lucy Adams: They're Singing Our Song! Part 2

When I Was Just a Kid Part 2 Lucy Adams  (View part 1 here)

Lucy had an older sister who was quite talented and inspired Lucy.

Lucy says: "This evening dress I was wearing for the Junaluska queen contest, was my sister's "hand-me-down" wedding dress. They dyed it soft blue for me to have this picture taken in. The flowers are red, so it was lovely."

Lucy tells us, "My sister was into dance and singing and dramatics. She became Miss South Carolina and went to the Miss America Contest in Atlantic City in 1945. I was in the 5th grade.She won the first Talent Award ever given.Dramatics and singing won her that, and she traveled with the Miss America Troupe."


But it wasn't necessarily only her sister's influence whose acting/speaking/singing bug bit Lucy,too. Lucy's dad was in show business first.

Lucy says,"I heard his stories all the time and was fascinated. William Morris Booking Agency was his manager in Atlanta, Ga. for a short career with a trained horse. Prince Maxwell was his horse, and he had him do tricks on the stage.The night his preacher dad sneaked in and saw the show (his son was supposed to be playing little school programs in towns etc. NOT big shows on stage) was the end of his career.The first act that he had Prince perform, was to pretend that he was going to church.

Dad said to Prince,'What is the first thing you would do if you were in church, Prince?'

Then Prince knelt down and put his head to the floor. 'Well you would pray, that's great Prince!'"

In part 1 of Lucy Adams we learned how Lucy got her name, how she developed into the beautiful and precocious young woman who later went on to speak and write about hymns and God's love in her life. At nineteen she met the love of her life--Woody Adams--and her life became a life-long duet of praises.

I love a great love story, don't you?

Lucy tells her love story on her web site. This is excerpted from there:

"In June 1953, I joyfully entered the chapel at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, where the youth group was having the first Sunday afternoon meeting of the summer. I stopped abruptly. Turning to my friend Betty Anne, I mumbled angrily, 'Oh, no, not Woody Adams again!' There he was, sitting down in front. She knew exactly what I meant. Last summer, I had dated a boy named Bill, until his friend Woody Adams showed up. Woody had been the perfect excuse for Bill to forget me and 'join the boys.' I had continued to pursue Bill: I baked homemade cookies and took them to the place he worked. When he was 'too busy' to see me, I left the cookies at the desk.

I walked in all of our old familiar places, hoping to see him.

One quiet afternoon as I walked by the lake I saw a boy sitting on top of the double-decker sightseeing boat. Thrilled to find Bill alone, I hurried toward him. But when I reached the boat, I saw that it wasn't Bill at all, but his friend, Woody Adams. His broad smile startled me. 'Do you know where Bill is?' I asked. I walked away at his negative reply.For the remaining weeks of that summer, I never changed my mind about Woody Adams - he was a pest. Now here he was again. I sat at the back of the chapel with Betty Anne, determined to avoid him.

A week later there was a talent show with youth from different work areas around the lake. After some crazy skits, dances and music, everyone was better acquainted. There was only one person who was getting my attention, however -Woody Adams, master of ceremonies. As I watched him M.C. the program, my feelings about him changed. The 'pest' began to look very interesting.

The final song did it: Cupid's arrow found me with a thunk! As Woody sang the closing song, Too Young his rich baritone found a home in my heart. When it was over and everyone was leaving, my one objective was to say something to Woody. Something nice. I spent the entire program planning my exit sentence, 'Woody, I sure am glad I like you this summer,' I called out. Then I left.

The very next morning while I was working, Woody joined me. 'Lucy,' he said, 'you mean you didn't like me last summer?'

We began to talk. Hours moved into days and we were still talking. I liked his honesty, kindness, understanding, and lots of other qualities. His hair, bleached by the sun, was very light against his dark tan. I liked that, too. Suddenly all the other boys seemed uninteresting. Bill was but a memory.

I had made a prior date with a boy named Ray, however, and I felt I needed to keep it. We went to the local hangout and danced to the jukebox. Woody was there, too. He came over and asked to dance with me. The song that was playing was 'Too Young.' We were in our own world. We whispered about dancing right out the screen door into the dark of the night. But at the end of the dance, Woody returned me to Ray.

When Ray walked me back to my hotel, I told him I'd not see him anymore.

"I've met the boy I'm going to marry,' I said. 'His name is Woody.'


Through the years, we have shared our love story in word and song. Woody opens it by singing 'Too Young.' On the last line I join him in harmony as we sing, 'We were not too young at all.'"
Lucy says the story has been in newspapers for Valentine's Day, as well as the numerous times they've told the story in song and words. Lucy plays the autoharp.

Her recent book 52 HYMN STORY DEVOTIONS was published by Abingdon Press. Her husband, Woody, is a retired pastor(still fills in!) in the United Methodist Church. They moved to Lake Junaluska,North Carolina,after his retirement, where they now live.Not only was Lucy's grandfather a pastor, but so was her father-in-law and her husband. Ministry was Lucy's life and continues to be,even in "retirement" (she's as busy now as ever!)

But in the last post I said I'd tell you how Lucy and I are connected. Lucy and Woody were asked to pastor the Waynesboro Methodist Church, Waynesboro, Tennessee in 1959.They had two sons at the time,aged 3 and 1, and a beautiful boxer dog named Rusty. Lucy was only 25 years old and Woody was 26. Lucy taught high school Sunday school. And she remembered some Warrens--my Uncle Pat. Uncle Pat(his nickname) was my grandfather's brother. I lived in Waynesboro around the same time as Lucy.

I've told the story before about my mother being in a TB hospital in Indiana, and how I came to live with my grandparents in Waynesboro, Tennessee for several years while my mother battled for her life, and my dad worked in Indiana. Several years later I went back to live with my parents in Indiana--but we returned a lot to visit Waynesboro.

I love Waynesboro. Generations of my people have lived there, are buried there, and still do live there. I was there at the same time as Lucy, and her boys are about my age. But we have never met in person. We met online in a Christian writers group called Christian Writers Fellowship International. I feel as if I've known her my whole life.She's around the same age my parents would've been had they lived.

Lucy has many stories to tell and she's telling them, as well as her hymn stories around the country.You can catch her at and all of these stories are listed on Lucy's homepage.

May the Lord bless us with Lucy's songs and stories for many,many,many more years.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lucy Adams: When I Was Just a Kid

Shirley Temple? No. (Do you remember Shirley Temple?)

This darling girl is Lucy and Lucy had so many stories that this is only part one. Meet Lucy Adams, "the hymn lady." More on her hymn stories later. This is about a girl who had music in her soul since childhood. When Lucy was about six-years-old, her sister entered her in a Shirley Temple contest. She won! Can you tell why? She still owns that little blue pitcher with Shirley's name on it and her signature.

(So, which is Shirley and which is Lucy??)

Lucy wasn't born with the name Lucy. Much in Southern tradition, she received a nickname. But Lucy herself chose her nickname.

Because Lucy had a stuttering problem as a child, and she couldn't say her name Annie very well,she decided on the name of Lucy. Her mother, Louise,(which is Lucy's middle name) had been called Lucy in college, so this little fireball girl decided that would be her name, and she wouldn't answer her parents until they called her Lucy. She was all of eight-years-old at that time.

In her over 70 years, Lucy has a lot of stories to tell, but the main story she has to tell is a great one--the story of Jesus Christ, and what He means to her--and what He could mean to you, too.Lucy no longer stutters, and she now tells stories on the radio, and wherever she is speaking to groups, about hymns and Jesus.

Let's see what Lucy was like as a child that shaped her into the fun and lovely lady, wife, mother, grandmother and "hymn" lady she is today:

Childhood ambition:
I wanted to be a movie star and wear all those gorgeous dresses that swirled as I danced and sang.

Fondest Memory (then)
Going to the baseball games with my dad. Spending weekends with my grandparents in Holly Hill, S.C., a tiny town in lovely home.

Proudest Moment (then):
I began to keep a diary in the 4th grade, through high school. Most of it is reporting about my boyfriends. I had one each week or month, it seems. But at nineteen, I met my dream boy. I never dated anyone else for the two years we went together, and we married 53 years ago June 10, 1955 , in the Chapel across the street from where we live right now, at Lake Junaluska.(More on this in the next post about Lucy.)

Biggest Challenge as a child or teen:
Wanting to be able to stop stuttering. I did when I changed high schools. Something about my home environment was an emotional struggle. That story is written in the book, WHEN GOD STEPS IN : A collection of stories by Bonnie Bruno. (Released Sept. 07)

My First Job:
I was a waitress in a coffee shop in high school.

Favorite Outfit as a Child:

I took ballroom dancing. I usually had to wear my sister's hand-me-down evening dresses.But for one special dance, I got to choose my own with my mom's assistance.

Lucy says: "This evening dress I was wearing for the Junaluska queen contest, was my sister's "hand-me-down" wedding dress. They dyed it soft blue for me to have this picture taken in. The flowers are red, so it was lovely."

Favorite Childhood Movie:
"Springtime In The Rockies" starring Betty Grable and John Payne .I went to see it nine times! The dancer Carmen Miranda was Spanish and twirled her dress as she danced. ( A few years ago one of my sons found the movie on TV's golden oldies. He videotaped it for me to keep forever!)

Favorite Childhood Book:
Since I stuttered I did not like to read.
(Editor Crystal's note: In Lucy's day, children were often made to read aloud.For a child who stuttered, this would've been grueling. No wonder she didn't like to read!)

But I do have one special book with my 3rd grade handwriting. "Annie Louise Neeley" written in the front with my address (Lucy is my nickname.)The title is HYMN STORIES AND PICTURES. About 40 years later, when I began telling on the radio "The Story Behind The Song," I was amazed that I had saved that book from childhood.I believe God was directing my steps toward this wonderful music ministry.

Favorite Childhood Song:
I loved to hear my parents sing from the front seat when we took trips. "My Wild Irish Rose" was one they harmonized on. Since I stuttered, it was a joy to sing. One of my most joyful times was to go into my living room by myself, put on the record of "Summertime," and sing with that beautiful music. (From the movie, "Porgy and Bess").

Childhood Heroes:
Movie Stars (My Christmas gift of a subscription for Photoplay magazine was a thrill).Also I loved our Columbia Red baseball team. Another childhood hero was the African American lady who lived in our home as a housekeeper.She was close to my heart. She was wonderful security for me and the love was put in my heart to accept an African American son in-law many years later.We have three handsome grandsons from this marriage. This is a blessing to our whole family. (Lucy grew up in the South during a time before the 1960s and Dr. Martin Luther King.God orchestrated her life to be one of great changes in love and acceptance in a world of fear and prejudice.)

If you would like to know more about Lucy go to her web site.

She lives in a beautiful area,Lake Junaluska,North Carolina.

And do go get her book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions. It is ideal for anyone who enjoys hymns and leads devotions at church meetings, choir rehearsals, and Sunday school. The volume can also be used by individuals for personal devotions.


If you go to Crosswalk you can find stories Lucy has written there by typing in her name on the home page and doing a site search.

And be on the look out for Bonnie Bruno's book,WHEN GOD STEPS IN, which was released in September 2007 with stories from many people, including Lucy.

Lucy also wrote a story, "My Adventure in Prayer"(Spring Edition '07) in Breakthrough Intercessors magazine.

You can see other stories here.

More on Lucy Adams in Part 2 and tomorrow's blog--be sure to watch for it! I will also reveal a special connection that I have with Lucy--we were so close, but yet so far.

View Part 2 here