He was gone like a Breeze
About the Filmmakers
Each of the three filmmakers wrote a scene drawing from Mrs. Hughes' memories. What follows is series of three cascading memory-scenes that link and overlap.
Gone Like a Breeze
When asked what her happiest moment was, Anne Hughes sits back in her wheelchair and ponders her life over the last 84 years. She smiles, remembering her two husbands.
“I married a nice boy who lived down the street from me my whole life and we had three children.That was a happy time.” But her tone of voice, her attitude, changed when she adds that their marriage ender due to his drinking. Mrs. Hughes and her husband were about to lose their home, yet her husband kept drinking. Never drink heavily, she says. It can get to you. “People will always give you a drink when they won’t even give you anything to eat or glass a water.”
She struggles to piece together details. She will stammer with words and her thoughts while trying to formulate sentences. What wer her brightest moments? She's not sure. She couldn’t remember exact dates or places of the marriage, for one thing, but kept insisting how beautiful her home was then and that she lived there for 14 years alone.
Mrs. Hughes's mood lightens up as she talks about her second husband. The couple dated two years before marrying. Yet again, she brings up alcohol and how this husband stayed away from it. He wanted to take care of himself, but in a tragic irony, he died from tumor in his neck that he waited to have removed.
Mrs. Hughes misses her husband, but she is happy to be talking about him. Since not many visit her, she doesn’t get many opportunities to go down memory lane.
“I really miss him. I would go anywhere and do anything to get him back.”—Cole Underwood
Mrs. Hughes will never forget how alcohol snatched her first husband out of her own arms. Her husband’s alcoholism happened over forty years ago, but she still remembers it as if it were yesterday. Mrs. Hughes has become friends with loneliness ever since she married her first husband. Whenever her first husband would go on an alcohol run, loneliness was there to comfort her.
One day Mrs. Hughes’s first husband ventured off to the liquor store, and did not return for a week. When he came back he cried, apologized, and said that he would never do it again. Their house was incomplete without her husband. The air in the house was filled with the despair of waiting up for him, only to figure out that he was not coming home. Her husband would come and go just like the breeze that would flow by their house.
After this became a reoccurring pattern, Mrs. Hughes could no longer believe his stories. He lost his job, and came back crying again. He died early shortly after they separated. Before his death, Mrs. Hughes’s husband went to the hospital. He didn’t give any information about his ex-wife or his children. Later, Mrs. Hughes received a phone call that her ex-husband was in the hospital and wasn’t going to make it. She couldn’t go see him that day because she knew that she would have cried. Whether it was in a frigid hospital room, an empty house, or her room in the retirement home, Mrs. Hughes must make herself comfortable. She is used to feeling lonely.—Todd Smith
He stumbled home late that night with the smell of whiskey on his breath. He told her they would soon lose their home because they couldn’t afford it any longer. She cried, devastated at who the man she loved had become. How could he let their family reach poverty for his selfish, alcoholic body?
Ann Hughes loved her first husband from the day she met him. They grew up on the same street, and got married when they reached an appropriate age.
After three children, he turned to alcohol. The day he announced the loss of their home, Mrs. Hughes knew what they had to do: divorce. With a broken heart and tears in her eyes, she handed him the papers with an empty line for his signature.
Over a year later, Mrs. Hughes received a call from a hospital in Florida.
“Do you know this man?” they asked.
She verified that she knew him. The nurse on the other end of the line said, “He won’t give us any other names or any relatives. He has only told us that you have children together, and that you’re a good mother.”
Hughes burst into tears. She knew his time had come. Though she can’t remember what, the doctors told her he died of something related to alcohol.
“I loved him, but he just couldn’t leave the alcohol alone...I would go anywhere to get him back.”—Summer Strickland ◊
SUMMER STRICKLAND, a second year student, enjoyed learning how to go about filming a subject and had little trouble adapting to documentary work from her previous experience in narrative and photography. “I like building a relationship with people, getting to know them in their environment, and then writing about their unique lifestyles or personalities,” says Summer. “I honestly do feel like I have built a relationship with my subject, and I can’t wait to talk to her more.” After college, Summer knows that she’d like to work and live on her own for a while before settling down and living the family life. She has hopes to “travel around a bit with family and friends, but nothing to spectacular,” she says.—Brelyn Powell
TODD SMITH is a junior currently majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He has been passionate about English since grade school, and hopes to go into Public Relations after he graduates. Smith is also an accomplished musician, with two albums released. He blends elements of hip-hop and R&B in his music while rapping, singing and making the beats for his songs. He participates in the CNU Marching Band is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity.
Bright-eyed COLE UNDERWOOD, a junior, likes to establish a relationship with her documentary subjects. She wants to show people’s personalities in a new light and reveal something about their character that most people don’t know or tend to look over. “I think I am good at observing and listening to my subjects,” she says. As a Communications Studies major, Underwood values her ability to notice the little details.
Underwood is a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha, she loves spending time planning and attending activities at the university. She hopes to begin a career in the media and broadcasting field.—Summer Strickland
Mrs. Ann Hughes, a family oriented woman, explained that she thought about the three visiting filmmakers often. “I thought about y’all every day...and don’t forget to call your mother.”
When the visiting filmmakers first met Mrs. Hughes, she said to Cole, “that’s a strange name, but I like
it... .I’ve never met anyone named that.”
Whether it was in a frigid hospital room, an empty house, or her room in the retirement home Mrs. Hughes must make herself comfortable. She is used to feeling lonely.
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"Come Stay A While" (5:49)
a film by Todd Smith, Summer Strickland & Cole Underwood
“I really miss him. I would go anywhere and do anything to get him back.”