Hidden Gems – Loette Williams Alexander

Odette and Loette Williams

LOETTE WILLIAMS ALEXANDER 

POET LAUREATE – TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1961

Loette Williams Alexander is exceptional for many reasons.

She was born October 17, 1942 at John A. Andrew Hospital in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. She is a twin from a family of twins. Her brother Odette is her twin, who is a retired art teacher in the Atlanta school system and a renowned artist.

Both are gifted, though in different genres.

The two are members of a rare occurrence in families; they are the third set of three sets of twins. Loette’s father was a twin. Her mother, Mary Williams, had twin brothers and her sister has twin daughters. And, to carry on the family tradition, Loette’s son has a set of twins, a boy and girl. She delights in her twin grandchildren.

It was at St. Joseph Catholic School when her talent for writing was first recognized. She said the nuns had quiet time while soft music played in the background. It was during these moments of meditation that special words came and she was driven to write them down. Sister Eugenio encouraged her mother to put her in a special art school. However, that was not an affordable idea. She wrote her first poem while in the third grade.

From St. Joseph Catholic School, she transferred to Lewis Adams. Again, her talent for writing manifested. Yvette B. Pierce, her music teacher at the time, encouraged her to write and present the 8th grade class song. She went on to write plays that were produced at Greenwood Baptist Church and published articles, short stories and poems in the Columbus News World and The Tuskegee News. When her house burned down, she lost much of her work and she was only able to save a few pieces.

Loette raised a boy and two girls and retired from the VA Hospital after 25 years of service. In between, she attended Alexander City Jr. College and Auburn University in Montgomery. She believes, “With God and strong family support, anything is possible.”

 This poem expresses how she feels about the role of poetry in her life and it is simply entitled “Poetry”:

Poetry allows us to explore our inner being

The hurt, laughter and almost anything

It’s an expression of love, death, and trust

To aid in our ventilation of life and it’s disgust

It allows a vast space for expressions

Including life and it’s many expectations

Sometime forcing us to face life bright and bold

It’s an endless avenue of thoughts

Allowing us lessons learned and bought

Poetry can’t be bought by silver or gold

It’s a gift of life and a dream we dare to behold