by Patrice Johnson
When asked to describe the highlights of her life, 92-year-old Audrey Price chuckles. “All of it,” she says. “It’s all been great.” Price’s response reflects her upbeat personality, and this characteristic joie de vivre of hers probably accounts for why to know Audrey is to love her.
In 1948, World War II was ended, and 20-year-old Leslie resident Audrey Burgess was working in Saginaw. She came to Stockbridge for the weekend to visit her cousin, Ann Stowe, and they decided to go dancing at Bartlett’s in Pleasant Lake.
“I dearly loved to dance,” Price recalled.
Stockbridge High School graduate Robert Price, newly returned from military service in Italy, was there too.
“He was tall and lean and a good dancer,” Audrey explained, her brown eyes dreamy. “We hit it off and dated a few times before I set my sights on him.” She added in her deadpan drawl, “He didn’t resist much.”
The couple married in 1949. One year and four months later, she became a first-time mother. Son number two followed in 1953.
“I was so delighted to have had two sons,” she said. Then, bingo, when Bobby and Ben were 16 and 13, another pregnancy came along. Price took the surprise in stride, telling family doctor Ed Weddon, M.D., who had long ago given up delivering babies, “If I’m going to go through nine months of this, you’re going to suffer through delivery with me.”
Doc acquiesced and helped bring baby-girl Edie into the world, his last and final delivery.
“And mine too,” Price noted.
Edith Helen, named for both grandmothers, “has always been known as Edie,” Price said, and tears welled in her eyes. “I am so grateful to have her in my life.”
After Edie entered elementary school, Price decided she could use some activities “in addition to mothering.” She mentioned this to then-superintendent Richard Howlett. “I’d like some part-time work, not regular or steady,” she said. In keeping with her signature humor, she added, “and it would have to be tailored to my specific needs.”
“The best kind of work if you can find it,” Howlett replied.
Not long after, Madge Woll, head of the lunch programs, called in need of a cashier for the high school lunch hour.
“Would that be every day?” Price inquired.
“Oh, yes, they eat every day,” Woll responded.
Price took the job.
One day, Don Porter, assistant high school principal, needed a secretary, so Audrey applied.
According to Porter, “When Audrey came in and visited with me about the job, I was pretty young, still in my 20s, I think. Audrey asked if I could get along with an old lady. I knew that I had a winner.”
Price’s competent and caring disposition paired well with administrative assistants Grace Collins and Joyce Dickinson, and she grew to become a beloved, indispensable fixture in the offices.
Porter said, “She and I were a great team and her humor got us through some difficult situations. She had a great rapport with the kids, but they knew who was boss.”
“We had fun.” Price smiled as she recalled, “I just loved working with the kids.”
Since retiring in 1988, Price can be found participating in Stockbridge Area Garden Club meetings and activities involving a variety of card games with friends. She enjoys visiting son Bobby and family in California and Edie and husband in Colorado. Son Ben lives in the area. Price beams at the mention of her five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
“That’s the way my life has been.” Price reached out and rested her warm palm on this writer’s arm. “It’s all been great.”