Lala Metcalf (Harper, Shepherd)
1899 - 1988
Lala Metcalf (Harper) married my mother's Uncle Zeb Shepherd (a second marriage for them both).
I have distinct memories of her from one occasion. In the early 1950's, a year or two after my family
had moved from Swannanoa to the Otis Taylor Bell farm (now Arrowhead Fields Road, north of
Weaverville), my mother, Inez Shepherd Childers, had to be hospitalized for a few days for minor
surgery. She had arranged for Aunt Lala to come and take care of us three small boys while she
was away. (My father, Roy Childers, worked nights at Beacon blanket factory in Swannanoa.)
Aunt Lala was a sturdy, vigorous and cheerful woman in her mid-fifties, with dark hair neatly braided
and arranged to circle the top of her head. She took charge of the household with confidence,
dressed in a white uniform, like the crisp white dresses nurses wore at the time. Even without the
uniform, there would have been no question about either her competence or her authority.
At bedtime, when she came to tuck us in, she brought the big water bucket and metal dipper to give
each of us a cool drink before we slept. Probably she was doing for us what she had done at home
all of her adult years, but to me it was a delightful surprise. The memory has remained with me all
these decades as a fond impression of her.
- Dwight Childers
12 January 2008