Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Meeting her future husband; their wartime romance

Sigmon met her future husband during World War II, and they exchanged letters throughout his time abroad. She did not marry him, however, until all her brothers had returned safely. Following her mother's death, she took responsibility for much of what happened in the family's life.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

During the Wartime, I met this boy—that's his picture over there. He come home because one of his little sisters had died, and while he was on leave I met him. Our Sunday school class was sending Christmas cards, and so his name was in the paper and I sent him one, and that's what got our friendship started. That was before his little sister died. And when he come home for this funeral, he was in Oregon getting ready to ship out for Rome, Italy, and the European countries. Well, I met him some way. I don't know where it was now. I think it was at the fair, him and this other soldier. And I don't know, I just started writing to him. He had got my Christmas card, and I had just started writing to him, and that's the way [laughter] that ended up. These boys said, "I bet you'll marry that girl when you get home." That picture over there of me went to Rome, Italy, and back, Sicily. [laughter] But he hung onto that picture. And when he got back, we did get married. But all my brothers had just gotten home before he did. Well, I had to go through with all that writing those letters, just how everything was, and then I had to face every one of them and talk it over with them after they got home. But I had told them I wasn't going to get married, I was going to stay where I was, till they all got home.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you had to write to all your brothers and tell them that your mother had died.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I cried and wrote. I wrote one letter, and I copied five.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You wrote one letter and then copied it over and sent it to each one of them.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. That's the only way I could do. I was a nervous wreck when I got through writing that one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How come your daddy didn't write the letters?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He didn't feel up to it. After I sort of got calmed down, he went back to the shipyard, because he only got a leave. You was assigned a leave. But then after all the boys got back in, they began to go into school and everything. I had one brother that went back out to California, the one that was in the Marines, and he was a pharmacist. And he married a girl, and he has two daughters. And one of his daughters is a doctor, and I'm really proud of her.