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A tribute to a mom all knew

Her community honored Alma Hemmingway-Peoples on Saturday.

Published May 13, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - Her St. Petersburg Times press clippings go back to the 1960s.

One tells about Alma Hemmingway-Peoples putting on a Satin Dolls hair fashion review at 16th Street Junior High School.

Another mentions her visiting here on vacation from her job at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Another sheds light on her work at Razook's, a high-end boutique in New York City.

"A lot of people knew my mother, " said Carlton Peoples, a son.

Mrs. Hemmingway-Peoples died at age 82 a year ago this coming Tuesday. Her son planned a Mother's Day weekend memorial for her Saturday at New Jerusalem Missionary Church.

Peoples arranged music, poetry reading and the release of seven doves - one for each of his mother's children. A brief ceremony also was planned at Mrs. Hemmingway-Peoples' grave at Royal Palm South Cemetery.

"You only get one mother. This will be a nice tribute to her. This will be a closure and my spirit will rest, " said Peoples, who lives in St. Petersburg. He will read one of his own poems; others will read works from such poets as W.H. Auden, William Blake, Kahlil Gibran and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Born in St. Petersburg, Mrs. Hemmingway-Peoples' mother was Alma Blye, who lived at 2163 1/2 Sixth Ave. S. The neighborhood no longer exists, razed a few years ago to make room for an industrial park's pilot project.

While a young woman, Mrs. Hemmingway-Peoples learned hair styling from Ethel Bludson, who had a beauty salon just off storied 22nd Street S. Later she learned clothing design.

"I don't know where it came from, but she sewed. She did hair. She was a mother. She did all these things, and it inspired me to even be in her company, " said Joyce Scott, a Tampa resident who said she met Mrs. Hemmingway-Peoples in 1948.

"She was a model, a very pretty girl. All these little things about her, I like to remember that way, " Mrs. Scott said.

Peoples also has conducted memorial services for his grandmother and cousin and placed tombstones on their graves. He said his mother had always wanted to do it.

"I wanted to do a lot of things she didn't get around to, " Peoples said.

[Last modified May 12, 2007, 19:22:52]

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