“I thought when I retired I would get a lot of things done, but that hasn’t happened,” says Wynona Clayborne. Wynona and her husband, Eddy, are both retired from the Macon County School System. Wynona is only semi-retired. She had 32 years in education and had been asking for several years if there was a part time position in education so she could retire from being full time and one became available in 2010, which turned out to be quite a year for the Claybornes. Wynona’s dad, who was fire chief Loryn Atwell, fell and broke his back and the couple took care of him after his accident.
In the same year, Eddy was in his 38th year of teaching, but in March his strength began to diminish. Eddy said, “I quit teaching in March and went to Vanderbilt. I had Sclerosis of the liver caused by a fatty liver. They performed several tests and said I was a good candidate for a liver transplant. I began having spells where I would forget where I was at, I would be completely out of it. We would have a few rough days then some goods days. I was put on the liver transplant list and I had enough sick leave days to finish my 38th and 39th year in education so I was able to retire with 39 years in education. The transplant has been perfect, I’ve not had any problems.”
The next year the couple started doing some traveling. After Eddy’s transplant they decided they would like to travel, and since they like to travel cheap, they bought into vacation points. Wynona said, “I’m a big Grouponer so we are able to do a lot of things when we travel. We do activities and eat at places that we wouldn’t normally pick to eat. I know where we are going to be going and sign up for the Groupons. When we go on the road, we don’t eat out three times a day. I plan our meals and cook. Eddy says she cooks more on the road than she does at home.
“We take 3 to 4 trips a year,” Eddy said, “I keep my suitcase in the bedroom because I never know when she’s gonna say ‘I’ve bought a Groupon and we are going to so-and-so.”
They recall one trip to Arizona to watch the Giants play in their Spring Training. Eddy said, “When we went on that trip, it hadn’t snowed here in Tennessee, but when we got to Flagstaff there was a foot of snow.” Wynona said, “We went out there with our sandals and capris, it was in March but we were in the desert. I had to go to Walmart and buy ear muffs and a sweatshirt to wear to the game.”
The couple has a group of friends they also travel with. “When we were young, we all were friends and hung out together. Me and Eddy have been married for 41 years, so we have all run around together for almost 40 years. Then everyone got married and had kids, but now that all of our kids are grown, we started going to the Mountains again. That’s one of our yearly trips.
“If we go to a baseball game one night, then the next day we may go to botanicals garden. We are very different in what we like to do but we do what the other likes to do,” Wynona said.
The couple are planning their next trip to Atlanta, where they will be going to a Chihuly glass exhibit.
Other than traveling, they do have a his/hers garden. Though her part is nothing you can eat, it’s a decorative garden with flowers, pumpkins, gourdes, and sunflowers. Eddy grows the vegetables. He said, “We have everything from asparagus to zinnias, anything from A to Z. We eat very little out of the garden, I give most of it away.” Wynona commented, “He likes to garden and I like to take pictures. When we go on trips I like to take pictures of landscapes and architecture. We will go on a trip and when we get back I have like 2,000 pictures to go through.”
Eddy goes to tons of ball games. He said, “At the home football games, I spot. I tell the announcer that so-and-so made the tackle or ran the ball.”
The Clayborne’s have two sons. Wes is the oldest, and he teaches at Lafayette Elementary School. Orry is their youngest, and he lives in Memphis and works for Varsity Cheerleading as an event planner. “We try to watch the grandkids play their games. Our granddaughter plays softball and our grandson plays basketball, we try not to miss their games.”
Retirement doesn’t mean life slows down, it just gives one the opportunity to do what they enjoy.
Reach Kelly Rich at 615-666-2440.