Local woman forms lasting relationships

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
The world is filled with heroes. These heroes in question are the people that make life worth living; the people who go the extra mile to help someone else.
Avis Baker of Hodges is one of those heroes. She and her husband, Cecil, befriended two little girls during a grueling time in their lives.
"Our mother died when I was nine, and Mrs. Baker went out her way to help us," Louise Cochran Garrison said.
The Bakers were farmers like Garrison's father, Elmer Cochran. The Bakers came to Cochran's aid immediately, even before Garrison's mother passed away.
"They were a young couple with no children, and I remember them helping us girls and our father during that awful time," Garrison said.
While Garrison feels that the Baker's salvaged their lives, Avis still holds the girls close to her heart.
"Those girls meant so much to me during that time," Avis said. "I just wanted to take care of them."
The Bakers did not have children until they were married for eight years.
They had two boys, Wade and Brent, but the girls were still very special to them.
Garrison remembers Avis making the girls dresses out of feed sacks, and baking them brownies.
"I remember one time Avis made us brownies," Garrison said. "She thought she was putting in vanilla but found out she added something else."
In a time when nothing could be wasted, the whole batch of brownies had to be thrown out because they were not good, Garrison recalls.
"This lady did so much for me and my sister, and I feel that everyone should know how special she is to us," Garrison said.
In 1946, Garrison moved to Dayton, Ohio in order to find work, but she took with her the memory of a young woman who took the time to love two little girls during a devastating time in their lives.
"I still keep in contact with the girls and they are so special to me, too," Avis said.
Today, 91-year-old Avis still lives in the house she shared with her family.
The same house she opened up to two little girls.
Cecil passed away decades ago and her children are grown.
Avis is able to care for herself, with a little help.
She was confined to a wheelchair after having both her legs amputated because of arthritis.
Avis spends her days reading book and magazines and solving puzzles.
"I like the word search puzzles, not the crossword," Avis laughed. "I don't have to think as much on those."
Even though the farm has changed in the years past, the love for the girls she loved many years ago still grows in her heart.