In October of 1901, the only child of carpenter, Carl Lee Smith and school teacher, Nancy Smith was born. There in Paris, Kentucky, the couple named their lovely bundle of joy, Birdie.
Birdie was raised in Paris, KY and attended school there. Later the family moved to Baltimore where she graduated high school. After her mother’s death, she attended college there in Baltimore. She attended a women’s college, Goucher College, and majored in General Studies. Men in the area attended Polytechnic College. After college she also attended night school to become a stenographer along with learning shorthand and typing.
Birdie’s life changed in 1923. She met a young man named Frank FauntLeroy. She lovingly recalls the time they first met. They met at a friends home in Illinois. She states that she always joked with friends that she met her husband “under the bed, not in bed.” Birdie said that the evening they met, she was playing with a little boy at her friend’s home and chased him under the bed. While she reached for him under the bed, she caught a button from her shirt on the underside of the bed and could not move. That’s when Frank, wearing a white sailor hat, saw her predicament and said “What have we here?” Birdie responded “Get me out of here!” and he did. As the courtship progressed, Birdie and Frank found that they had much in common. Frank was also born in Kentucky, in the small town of Ringo.
The courtship turned to marriage on July 25, 1923. The nuptials took place in a Methodist parsonage in Joliet, IL. The young couple started their new life together in a small apartment in Chicago, just 2 blocks from the University of Chicago. There was no need for a car since the street car ran right in front of their apartment. Frank joined the Army and rose to the rank of lieutenant. Birdie did her part for the war effort by volunteering for the Red Cross. Birdie spoke of a stressful incident when she had to call for help teaching a class on artificial respiration due to the large size of the class. Birdie also stayed active in the Methodist church and in many other organizations. When Frank returned from the Army, he pursued a career as a newspaper man for one of the Randolph Hurst companies. Birdie started a career as a stenographer and worked many years for a judge in Chicago.
The couple soon became a family with the addition of their only child, Nancy. Life for the FauntLeroys was lovely. Birdie recalled that some of her happiest memories were about vacations the family took to a lake property they bought in Northern Wisconsin; Presque Isle. Many friends visited them in the cabin they built there.
Later in life, Birdie decided to move to Texas to be closer to her family and spoil her 2 grandchildren. Currently, she has a very active life in the nursing home; participating in activities, and visiting with friends and family. Birdie is hard to keep up with but you can most likely find her near the aviary enjoying the birds and always wearing one of her many fashionable hats.