Remember? Couple in memoirs class write about courting, coffee

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 14, 2021

For the past five years, I’ve facilitated a monthly memoir class at Trinity Oaks. I’ve met some lovely people who are fine writers. Two of those people are Dr. Trevor Williams, a retired psychiatrist, and his wife, Gail Hounshell, a retired psychologist.

The two met at church in 2001. Gail knew both Trevor and his late wife, Jean. Jean died in 2008, and Trevor asked Gail to dinner a year later. They dated for two years before marrying in 2011. They had nine adventure-packed years together before his death last January.

For our February class, Gail wrote a beautiful piece about their courtship. In turn, it reminded me of a poem Trevor wrote for class in November 2018. I’d asked the class to try their hand at poem writing — if they’d never done it — and Trevor took me up on it.

Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect day to put these two pieces together, and remember what a fantastic couple Trevor and Gail were.

Trevor and Gail were a part of memoir class since the beginning, and I’m so glad she’s returned to class on her own.

“He was a natural storyteller,” Gail says, “while I struggled more. But we got to share our stories with each other, and we shared with the class. We really enjoyed hearing their stories.”

Of the poem, Gail says, “Trevor was full of surprises. This was another one of his talents, and I loved it. Mornings were very special to us. He made our coffee, and we would drink our coffee and talk and snooze, and then get up and get ready for the day.”

She adds, “And I loved that he mentioned me in the poem.”

Gail is fortunate to have a lot of good memories of her time with Trevor — and more adventures to write about. And we’re looking forward to hearing them.

Susan Shinn Turner

An ode to coffee

How sweet the morning thoughts float by

As morning coffee opes my eye.

It settles down so deep within

To drive away the dark and din.

How sweet the morn that comes my way

To bring sweet offering of new day.

Where love lays dormant through the night

Now springs it forth in day’s new light.

And close beside me lays my wife

Sweet blossom and pleasure of this life.

Now dims the evils of dark night,

Pushed aside by morn’s new light.

With morning comes new pleasure

That only heart can see and treasure.

Come love and with me stay

Keep strong throughout the livelong day.

Yet day will come with work and strife

That threats to veil the joy of life.

How sweet to lift the morning cup

That brings to life the side that’s up.

Oh, all sweet thoughts of opening day

Please stay with me throughout the day.

Sin’s dark shadow gone to flight

Replaced with joy and strength of light.

— Trevor George Williams

Nov. 5, 2018

Remember when we courted?

By Gail Wiley Hounshell

Remember that time I was greeting at church and we smiled at each other? Remember how you called me up and asked me to dinner and we went to Pinocchio’s and sat at the table for two under the window? Remember how we drank Nero D’Avola wine for the first time and talked for hours? Remember how we ate dinner at different restaurants every night during the week after I got off work? Remember how you would leave a message for me to call you because you had an idea for the weekend? Remember how you picked me up on Saturday mornings and we would stop at IHOP or Biscuitville for breakfast, then go walking at Dan Nicholas Park or in the Catawba Preserve or on the Greenway with the covered bridge; or drive to Charlotte and walk around South Park Mall or visit the Mint Museums? Remember that time when we drove to Floyd, Virginia, in time for Sunday brunch at Chateau Morrissette and you loved the ham and I loved the collards, and we both loved Our Dog Blue wine and the beautiful view?

Remember how we would meet in the parking lot of the Wrenn House on Sunday mornings and sit together in church and walk to Sweet Meadow Café for lunch and sit in your car in the parking lot afterwards and talk for hours? Remember when you took me on a tour of your woodcarvings hanging in the Fellowship Hall? Remember how you called me every day at work to wish me a good day? Remember when you sent me oriental lilies after I had been away for the weekend? Remember that time you called and played the piano for me over the phone?

Remember when you told me you loved me and I said I loved you back and you said you wanted to shout it from the rooftops? Remember when we found the ring you gave me to wear on my right hand? Remember when we went to my hometown for the first time and watched the 4th of July parade and ate hot dogs at the VFW and walked in the park on the lake? Remember that Saturday night we stayed home and you read love poems and said I was your still waters?

Remember when we went to Asheville and found that wonderful painting at Haen’s Gallery that we forever after half-regretted not buying, even though it was huge and expensive and we had no place to put it? Remember when we drove to Pennsylvania in the fall and tootled along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park on the way home?

Remember our first Christmas when we took the train to New York, and it snowed and we had to keep stopping so the rails could be repaired, and we didn’t care because we were together, and we had books and snacks and a thermos of coffee? Remember how we were hours late arriving in New York, and the sidewalks had been cleared already, and we got to see the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall? Remember how we missed our train home because we thought we could travel from the East River to Penn Station in 30 minutes and we could not, so we had to take a train to Richmond, then a taxi to the airport where the Hertz agent was waiting for us in the darkened, deserted airport? Remember how we drove through the night and finally arrived home in the wee hours of Christmas morning?


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