The Story of Our Life

This house, now christened Rockwood, was built in 1939 by Richard Banks Willis and Rebecca Clore Willis and they lived here until the 1980s.  The following was written by Rebecca Willis in her later years:

"The Story of Our Life"

I feel we are fortunate to have lived in this century—Richard Banks Willis from December 1, 1908 to February 10, 1989, I from May 24, 1912 to November 6, 2002.  We have seen depression and plenty—from horse and buggy days to landing on the moon—from one room schools to computers.

We lived through the great depression of the 1930s and 1940s, when banks were closed and people could not get their money.  People with stocks and bonds lost what they had.  Banks were paying 1% interest when we got married in 1939.  Richard taught school three months for nothing.  The first year he taught there was not enough money to pay the teachers.  He was paid $60.00 a month.  Jobs were rationed.  Only one family member could teach.

We were better off than most young people.  We had both worked and saved enough to build our house and furnish it.  Anxious to start housekeeping, we had a small wedding and moved in the next day.  We had put everything in place before we were married.

I enjoyed the one and a half years we had at home.  Then came the "second World War".  We knew Richard would be in line for that.  Richard had pneumonia three times and there was no penicillin at that time so we were concerned for his health.  We went to Richmond, Va. to see which branch of service was most suitable for him.  While there we went to Randolph Macon College to see a chemistry professor that he (Richard) liked and had worked as an assistant for in the lab.  They talked and he told Richard about a class they were starting at Ohio State University in three days on the "Chemistry of Modern Warfare".  We came home, he got someone to stay with me for three months and straightened his affairs and he was gone.

When he completed the course, he came home for a week.  We sold the livestock, gave away our winter supply of apples, potatoes, etc., drained water pipes and cut off the water, closed our house and started for Marion, Ohio.  We took what we could in our Model T with no heater.  It took us most of two days.  We found an apartment upstairs in a private home and he went to work the next day.  When the atomic bomb was complete, the plant was closed in Marion, Ohio.  Richard went to work in a plant in North Carolina which made shells.  I worked with the "Government Workers Retirement Records" office.  Records had been transferred to Charlotte so that if Washington was bombed, the records would not be destroyed.  About 500 employees worked there.  I soon was promoted to assistant to the supervisor of files in our unit.

After the war, Richard taught school in Madison and later in Orange and sold insurance.  As for me, my sister and I opened a small dress shop which we ran for seven years.

After Richard's death, I rented an apartment from my sister and her husband until the three of us became older.  We then moved to Culpeper Baptist Retirement home.  At the home we are with a lot of our relatives and old school mates.  My sister and I are thankful that we have someone to take care of us when we need it.