The Dart: Elliot had to get used to Southern customs

Published 2:17 pm Monday, February 26, 2007

For English-born Marion Elliot, life in the United States — and the South in particular — took some getting used to.

But this woman from across the pond enjoys her home and her life across the Mississippi River.

“I love this area,” Marion said. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I’m really tied down.”

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Marion, 69, moved from a suburb of London to the Miss-Lou with her husband Eddie in 1955.

Eddie was stationed there while in the Air Force, Marion said.

“My mother told me, ‘don’t go where the Yanks (a British term for Americans) are’ and wouldn’t you believe I met and fell in love with him in one night,” she said. “He was so good looking.”

Leaving her home and family in England was one of the first difficulties for Marion.

“I was sad when I left home,” she said.

“I had no idea where I was going because I never studied (American) geography.”

Marion said Eddie even had a hard time with her leaving her home.

“He didn’t want to take me from my family,” she said.

When the couple first arrived in the Miss-Lou, they lived on Cherry Street in Natchez with Eddie’s sister, the late Gladys Whitney.

Life in Natchez was tough on Marion, she said.

“I didn’t know anybody,” Marion said. “It was just me and Eddie and Beverly (their first child), and it was lonely.”

Eddie and Marion moved to Vidalia in 1960.

Marion also had to get used to social changes within the South.

“This was a new world,” she said. “I wasn’t used to all the things that were going on like segregation. We didn’t have that in England.”

Even Southern food took some getting used to when she moved to the Miss-Lou.

“Oh I couldn’t stand your food,” Marion said. “That horrible fried okra and the bread was sweet.”

Eddie said Marion eventually adjusted to life in the South, but has kept some English habits.

“She still drinks hot tea and doesn’t like iced tea,” he said.

Friends coming to visit Marion and Eddie have to make adjustments to her lifestyle sometimes.

“I have a friend who comes over and brings her own iced tea because she knows I won’t make it,” Marion said laughing.

To help her with missing home, Marion relies on the telephone.

“What keeps me going now is that I got close to some cousins, which is great,” she said.

“Bellsouth has made some money off of me.”