Audrey Crosby Recalls Memphis Roots, Growing Up in WCG

Audrey Crosby

Ed. Note – After 58 years Memphis has complied an enviable record in the people who have passed through. Here is art instructor Audrey Crosby's story who visits us regularly from Atlanta.

1. GROWING UP: I have very pleasant memories of growing up in Memphis. I grew up in what is now known as the Glenview Historic District. As a child of the 70s and 80s, I attended Peabody Elementary, Hamilton Junior High, and Wooddale school respectively. I frequently walked to and from school during my elementary and middle school years, but was later bused to high school in East Memphis.

My most memorable neighborhood moments were of me playing with the other children who lived on our street (and there were many). We would often walk to the local Glenview park, ride our bikes, play in the sprinklers in summer, or just sit on the front porch and create our own games. I also enjoyed being creative whenever possible and that included drawing, making up plays, or doing arts and crafts. I was your typical child of that time period (most of us didn't have video games though the early Atari systems were available back then). I spent most of my free time outside.

I grew up as an only child. It was just my father John H. Young (he was a self-employed carpenter), my mother Mary G. Young (Government employee for Defense Depot) and myself. Being an only child was perfectly fine for me, because I had an extended family of cousins on both my paternal and maternal side. Often times I would visit my grandmothers, uncles, and cousins. My maternal grandmother lived in Arlington, TN. So I got the best of both worlds! Country life and city life! I know what it's like to use an outhouse, pull water from a well, drink from a dipper, feed chickens, hull peas, and so much more! Those experiences were invaluable and I will cherish them forever.

Some of my sweetest memories were of the times my mother and I (still a faithful Memphis attender) spent doing things together, which was a lot! We would sometimes take the bus to downtown Memphis to go shopping at Goldsmith's Department store, visit local art museums and exhibits, and play board games together. These were all expressions of love that remain with me to this day. I know that planted the seeds for my love of fashion and art. My dad was a handyman and often wanted to enthusiastically share information on fixing things, which me being the girly girl did not find interesting. However, my dad was also an ordained minister and he did impress upon me at an early age the importance of knowing Jesus Christ and for that I am truly grateful.

Audrey with friends the Clarks and Monica Scott.

2. CHURCH MEMORIES: I remember being around the age of five when my mother first began attending Worldwide Church of God (now GCI). I remember enjoying the fact that there were many youths my age attending and we later became good friends and are still friends to this day. Tracy Warr and her family were also members of our church. She and I became friends when she was ten and I was eight (coincidentally she lived up the street from me). Now forty years later we are still the best of friends and that is a blessing!

I also remember being in my first wedding at the age of six. It was the wedding of Charles and Dyann Clark. I remember the service taking place in a sanctuary that had large picturesque windows and high ceilings, which left me mesmerized to the point that I missed my cue to march out! The beauty was just too much for my child-mind to take in.

As a teenager in the church, I believe that pastor Mark Cardona made the biggest impact on me. He often facilitated our Youth Bible Studies and we were encouraged to take notes, which I kept in a spiral notebook and still have to this day. He would have us to consider and think about characteristics we wanted in a mate and relate it to scripture. I also remember him asking us to write an essay about, "Where Do You Think You Will Be In the Year 2000?" This he asked us in the year 1988. In my essay I wrote that I would be married with a family and working either in fashion, interior design, or marketing. Also that I would be traveling the world. Well, I guess you could say that I accomplished that. I am married to Stuart Crosby (24 years this November), I have one son Neil Crosby (age 22), I earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Adminstration; a Marketing concentration from Tennessee State University in 1993, and I have seen England, France, Italy and Bahamas. In case I failed to mention it, Mark Cardona officiated our wedding ceremony.

3. MAIN CHURCH TAKEAWAY: The thing I appreciated most about my church experience were the travels for the Church fall festivals (known as the Feast of Tabernacles). I have always found exploring new places fascinating and the Festivals afforded me the opportunity to see parts of our country that I might not have seen; places like Wisconsin Dells, Ozarks, Pasadena, CA, etc. I also, liked the diversity of cultures within our church.

4. CAREER HISTORY: I worked in banking four years and after I gave birth to Neil I was a stay-at-home mom five years. Once Neil began school I looked for opportunities to become more involved in our local community and it was through my love of art (I am a self-taught artist) that I began volunteering at a local museum (Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History). I would hang exhibitions and perform various other office duties. That volunteer work then led to a full-time paying job as a curator which lasted four years. It was during that time of researching artists, interviewing artists, and writing articles for the museum that I found I enjoyed sharing information about art with others.

During that fourth year I felt led to resign from my job though I loved it (call it an act of faith)! The only way I could explain my reason to my husband and my director and boss at the time, was that the Holy Spirit was leading me to do so. Little did I know God was setting me up for a life long career as an art educator. I got trained to sub and was mentored by a friend that I met at the museum who happened to be an art teacher. After only three weeks of observing her in the classroom, I received a call to accept a job as a permanent substitute teacher at a high school in 2005. I was interviewed on a Friday and started on Monday and the rest is history. I studied for the art educators test and then earned a teaching certificate. I later earned a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Augusta State University in 2009. I taught high school art for nine years and just completed my fifth year of being an elementary art instructor.

5. ADVICE TO YOUTH: My advice for any young person would be to develop a personal relationship with Our Great Creator and Father in Heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Talk to God daily through prayer, read His Word daily for it is Life, and listen and apply what the Holy Spirit teaches you through the Word. Also listen to and respect the wise counsel of true men and women of God. Lastly, remain humble and teachable at all times.

Ed. – Thank you Audrey. You've been a great credit to your family, church and city.