Built on the Support of a Family
In mid 1980, Mack Willis, Sr. was promoted to his IBM division HQ in Princeton, NJ. This meant moving from his home state of Georgia to unfamiliar territory. The move, from Atlanta, happened when Mack and Gwen were expecting their second child, James. Mack, Jr. was three.
Shortly after arriving in Princeton, following weeks of house hunting (up and down the stairs, in and out of the car) James was born one month ahead of plan. 90% of household goods were still in moving boxes when Gwen was rushed to the hospital. Luckily, they had contacted their aunt, Lois Wright, who lived in White Plains, NY upon their arrival to New Jersey. White Plains was less than two hours away. Aunt Lois who is a retired nurse and hospital administrator was perfectly suited to jump in and help with this “surprise” situation. A desperate call to Lois from Mack got very quick results.
Aunt Lois and Uncle James, her husband, came to the rescue: “Mack, you go to IBM and take care of your new job,” she said. “James and I will look after Gwen, Little Mack and the new Baby.” This was a life saver for the Willises. Gwen and the new baby went home from the hospital to White Plains, NY with Uncle James and Aunt Lois.
What was supposed to be a two-year assignment turned out to be a ten-year assignment: three years in Princeton and seven years in Chappaqua, NY. Since Chappaqua is 15 minutes from White Plains, the Willises joined Aunt Lois’ and Uncle James’ church in White Plains. The families grew very close during this ten year period in the northeast.