When Bertha Moore’s husband, Harold, passed away at the young age of 32, she was left to raise their four children on her home. Not only did she provide a loving, Christian home for her children, but she also became a mother figure to all the kids in their Valley, Alabama, neighborhood.
Bertha is now 86 years old and has embraced generations of children in the neighborhood, welcoming them into the home where she has lived for the past 61 years. Soon, she will be welcoming everyone to a new Fuller Center home volunteers will help her family build during the Millard Fuller Legacy Build in September.
“Everybody calls her ‘Granny’,” said daughter Ethel Woody, 64, who now shares the home and cares for her mother, as well as her 14-year-old grandson Emmetrious. “Everybody in the neighborhood who grew up with me calls her Granny. Everybody who grew up with my children calls her Granny. Everybody who grew up with my children’s children calls her Granny. Basically, everybody around here calls her Granny. There are very few around her who call her Ms. Bertha Lee.”
It’s still common for neighborhood children to drop by the home to visit Granny. But the home is literally falling apart. The floors are sinking. The roof leaks. Major electrical problems have rendered the home unsafe, as well. Shysters have taken Granny’s money only to perform shoddy work or to abscond without providing any services at all.
“Everybody around here calls her Granny. There are very few around her who call her Ms. Bertha Lee.” — Ethel Woody, daughter of 86-year-old Bertha Moore
“It’s basically a disaster,” Moore said. “The work we’ve paid to have done was supposed to be sufficient, but it wasn’t. It already was an old house. It’s just gotten older and older and needs tearing down.”
Even so, Granny had to be talked into becoming a Fuller Center homeowner partner.
“She wasn’t fond of it at first, but now she’s OK with it and realizes it’s a blessing,” Moore said. “And it really is a blessing, but she’s more than deserving. She’s a great mother.”
Granny’s new home will be among three new homes constructed by dozens of Fuller Center volunteers during the September 18-23 Millard Fuller Legacy Build, which also will include one major rehab project. The build is an annual event in memory of Fuller Center for Housing founder Millard Fuller — the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient who was raised in Lanett, Alabama, a community adjacent to Valley.