Humble’s first lady welcomes 2009
Monday, December 29, 2008
Mary Kelly Bumbaugh
New possibilities ahead every day!
The new year is a beginning, another chance to do better than the year before. I’m always excited about this time of year because it’s kind of like a present. I’m thankful for it…open it up and see what it is,” said Georgia McMannes, Humble’s first lady and wife of Mayor Donnie McMannes. “I’ve always loved Humble and am thankful for living here.”
A friendly, effervescent spirit, she is the original “hometown girl,” who enjoys the quality of life in this small town, is passionate about collecting antique furniture and china, and is dedicated to her Texas family’s roots. Since her Southern hospitality has won her many friends, and being an explorer of all things she can make or fix by hand, her life is often “lights, camera, action.” With her many interests and enduring sense of humor, there’s no shortage of activity in her life.
“If I had longer to live, I would do this or that, but at 72 I don’t branch out quite as much. Except I want to tear down our old garage and replace and decorate it. I drew the house plans when we built our present house in 1999 and now all I want to do is change it!” she said. “I basically want to remain healthy, so I bicycle every day and make sure Donnie feeds us well, since he loves to cook and does all the cooking. I can’t cook.”
The couple met at Humble High School, married in the ‘50s, and moved to Humble in the ‘60s, where they have built and lived in several homes, owing their longevity to working side-by-side on many projects. They turned a weeded lot into a home, doing all the tile work, kitchen cupboards, trim and painting in the house themselves.
As antique dealers, they had many years of fun together going to garage sales, weekly auctions and monthly trade shows to collect and sell furniture treasures. They prospected in Western states and on Texas byways in search of pieces that had withstood the test of time, then Donnie stripped and refinished them into compelling pieces for sale, and use in their homes.
With an eye for detail and beauty, she acquired a taste for Hull pottery, collected 340 pieces, then sold them within 10 months. She collects and uses Port Meirion, gets “carried away” with Moss Rose china and has a very large collection of head vases in a living room showcase; but currently is not as interested in collecting as she is in giving what she already has to their adult child Michael. The McMannes’ have another child who is deceased.
“My eyes light up about my genealogy search and the detailed documentation it requires. I’m continuing to gather it and have tentatively gone back 16 generations on my mother’s side; and nine on Donnie’s mother’s side. I’ll keep looking back farther. It never stops. We have DNA records to use for future discoveries,” she said.
“Since I was born in Houston and am inspired that I’ve found several generations were also native Texan, including several who served in the Texas 13th Calvary, I’ve started taking notes on my own life when something jogs my memory. Like, my mother was born in a log cabin. Growing up we had a pet raccoon, wild as a billy goat, found in a deserted nest, gorgeous. Mother fed him scrambled eggs and potatoes which was more than I was getting when Donnie and I were stationed in Germany in the U. S. Army during the Korean conflict,” McMannes explained.
Along with her travels, collections and writing, McMannes keeps up on her sewing and calligraphy, always finds time to spend with her brother, George, who is housebound, serves on the Thanksgiving feast committee and in her church, and graduated from the Humble Citizen’s Police Academy. An accomplished oil painter, two classic paintings grace her living room. She regrets she sold two of her best pictures.
“My friends of 50 years and I get together monthly to talk all day or take trips. We’re the lady bugs, a ‘sister group,’ of 10 women who went to HHS together. This means a lot to me since I was the only female in my family. We have airtight relationships that I’ve thought may not be as frequent in large communities. I also get together with the council members’ wives, but we stay completely separate from city politics and our husbands’ work,” said McMannes.
“Overall, my life has taught me that you don’t have to have a lot of stuff as long as you’re happy, and I’ve had a sweet family and a wonderful life with memorable years while Donnie has been mayor,” she said. “I get up every day to see what the future may bring, to ‘keep going,’ and find life is always open for new discoveries.”
Photo by Mary Kelly Bumbaugh
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