Momma Doc

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Marietta Conner, known as Momma Doc, is a generous soul and well known fixture at an Augusta area public housing development. For 30 years, she has helped anyone who knocks on her door and regularly feeds neighborhood children, the sick and the elderly. Mamma Doc, 62, is a loving caretaker, a demanding drill seargant, a neighborhood watch dog and a welcoming friend to all. Her kitchen, and heart, is always open. "It’s about other people,” she says. “That’s why I do this. It’s not about me, it’s taking care of Jesus’ people." Her friend and neighbor across the alley, Ricky Newsome, has known Momma Doc more than 20 years. “Momma Doc she helps everybody," Newsome says. "The old people, the young people, black, white, purple, pink or yellow it don’t matter. If you need something and she’s got it – you got it. And she’ll cook for anybody no matter who.” In this photo, Momma Doc quizes a boy on his table manners after she marched a group of children from Olmstead Homes to the nearby Hot Foods of CSRA restaurant on Broad Street Friday afternoon. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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Momma Doc hands out after school snacks to neighborhood children from the backdoor of her small apartment at the Olmstead Homes Public Housing development . MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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On Friday afternoons, after the school bus drops them off, children race to see Marrietta Conner, or Momma Doc as they call her, because they know she will have a snack waiting for them. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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Momma Doc was at one time in the military and it shows as she can often tough and demandiing while insisting that children be polite and disciplined. She says she does it because she loves the children and wants to help them. Here she gives a hug and a smooch to a pair of boys who stopped by her Olmstead Homes apartment to get a snack. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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As the children break ranks and begin to help themselves to snacks, Momma Doc barks instructions to restore order at the backdoor of her small apartment at the Olmstead Homes Public Housing development in Augusta. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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Momma Doc left the military decades ago but it still influences her to this day. She keeps a tight rein on the children and infractions result in swift but merciful punishment. For boys its push-ups and for girls its jumping jacks. Transgressions can include anything from forgetting to say "please" to showing up with an untied shoe lace. After transgressors complete their jumping-jack or push-up punishment, they must remain in place until told by Momma Doc to "recover". “Drop and give me three push-ups, and you know why!” Momma Doc yells, as some boys get off a school bus. “Look at your shoes untied!" Her tone softens as she notices one of the boys is not wearing socks. "I’ve got some socks at home with your name on it,” she says. “Come see me later.” After doing their 5 push-ups the boys, seen here, look to Momma Doc to tell them to "recover". MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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If she can, Momma Doc will help anyone who comes to her door. On the day before Thanksgiving, unemployed electrician Sam Raybould showed up and said he didn't have anything to feed his three children for the holiday. On the spot Momma Doc, who had been making meals for neighbors earlier, whipped up a Thanksgiving dinner-to-go with the left overs. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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Momma Doc exchanges kisses with Ricky Newsome who recently had open heart surgery. Newsome lives across the alley from her and she has helped him during his recovery. The two have known each other for more than 20 years. “She’s come over here and brought me food when I needed it and checked on me," Newsome says. "She's called me all the time, come over here and done the cleaning. She’s been a blessing, a very good blessing.” MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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In mock amazement, Momma Doc yells "Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus, they remember my name!" as she quizzes a group of children at the Olmstead Homes housing development Friday afternoon December 16, 2011. She is forever challenging the kids to be on their best behavior, polite and conscious of their appearance. She often quizzes them about history or math and makes them say the Pledge of Allegiance before handing out snacks. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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As a special treat, Momma Doc wanted to take a group of children to a local restaurant and talk to them about table manners and other fine points of etiquette Some of the children said they had never been to a restaurant. Here, Momma Doc marches 11 children, two by two, in military style formation, from Olmstead Homes while leading them in song as they make their way to the nearby Hot Foods of CSRA restaurant on Broad Street in Augusta. “I’m teaching you how to be young men and treat the young ladies, OK?” she later said to the children. Once there, Momma Doc gave them a lesson on dinner table etiquette before treating them to a meal of hotdogs, french fries and fruit punch. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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After returning the children safely home from their outing to the restaurant, Momma Doc pauses for a momment of prayer with her helper, Melvin Holmes, followed by a few tears. "I know I'm hard on the children," she says. "But its so important for them to learn manners and discipline." MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff
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As darkness falls on a long day, Momma Doc encounters one more hungry mouth to feed as she is greeted by a young boy while making her way home at the Olmstead Homes housing development. MICHAEL HOLAHAN / Staff

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