By Tia Lynn Ivey
The year was 1929. President Herbert Hoover was inaugurated as the United States 31st president and “Black Tuesday” sent the Wall Street Stock Market crashing, triggering the Great Depression of the 1930s. Sport fans cheered baseball player Lou Gehrig hitting three consecutive home runs out the park and radio listeners sang along to popular tunes like Singin’ in the Rain, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, and Happy Days are Here Again. This was the year Christine Davis Lambert came into the world—a time many of us only catch a glimpse of in history books. But for Christine Lambert, this was the beginning of her story in the world. Now, just before her 90th birthday, she reflects on her life, spent mostly in Madison, Georgia.
But Lambert isn’t pining for past eras or checking goals off of a bucket list. When asked what she wants most for her future, she replied with a hardy smile, “Just more of the same.”
Lambert considers herself “fortunate” to lead the life she’s lived thus far. “As old as I am, that’s saying something.”
Christine was born to William and Wilma Davis, the youngest of two daughters. Her older sister was Anne Davis. Chris remembers her childhood as “normal, safe and happy,” growing up near a large extended family.
When Christine was just 10-years-old when World War II began in 1939.
“I was young enough that none of my close friends went off to war, but I did have a few uncles and other extended family that went,” remembers Lambert.
Near the end of the war, when Lambert was 15, she remembers taking a bus with other teenage girls to dance with Airforce soldiers on leave at a nearby base.
“We would all pile onto the school bus and go dance the night away with these young soldiers,” Lambert recalled.
William Davis, who worked for the United State Department of Interior, in the fishing and wildlife sector, was transferred to the new regional headquarters in Atlanta when Christine was a teenager. She attended the rest of high school and college in Atlanta. She studied marketing at the University of Georgia Atlanta Division. After graduating college, Christine became and airline stewardess with Delta Airline, traveling all over North America.
“I saw all over the place, flew all over this country for a few years,” said Lambert. “It was a lot of fun.”
While Lambert enjoyed her time soaring the skies and exploring the cities beneath, her heart ultimately longed for home. Little did she know then, she’d make that home in Madison.
Enter Ezekiel Roy Lambert, who went by Zeke for short back then. Christine never expected a blind date would eventually lead to marriage and three children, but it did.
Christine remembers her friends fixing her up for a triple date and telling her at the last minute that he was deaf.
“We practiced and practiced how loudly I should talk to him and it was quite loud,” she remembers. “When he came to pick me up I was shouting at him and he was shouting at me. We hollared at each other all night long. Finally, we realized my friends had told him I was the one who was deaf,” she laughed. “He had never been deaf at all.”
As Zeke entered the political world shortly after their meeting, he went by his middle name Roy, which is how most people knew him.
It took a few years for Christine and Roy to go steady, as they used to call it, but they tied the knot and married in 1954. The couple had three children together, Leigh Goff, Anne Trulock and Zeke Lambert. Roy died back in 2009.
“They were all raised right here in Morgan County,” said Lambert. “I have spent more than half of my life in Madison. This year will be 65 years.”
When Christine married Roy, he was in the middle of a State Senate campaign, which he won.
“We spent the whole summer after we married politicking,” said Lambert. “I met a lot people and learned a lot about how this state works.”
After Roy won, Christine accepted a position as a fifth grade teacher at Morgan County Elementary School, which then was housed in the current Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
“I had barely landed in Madison, but they needed a teacher, so I jumped in,” said Lambert.
This is where Christine’s love of public education bloomed.
“I’d say that was the most important issue to me. I was a big supporter of public education and still am to this day,” said Christine. All three of her children went through Morgan County public schools. “I think our school system is wonderful.”
After Roy served a couple of terms in the State Senate, he decided to run for the Georgia House of Representatives. He won the house seat and served until retiring in 1985.
“Those were good years,” said Christine.
Christine began to find her nitch in the community by becoming a strong advocate for historic preservation, Greenspace preservation, and public education.
Throughout her life, she as been involved as a board member and chairman of several organizations including the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The Georgia Historical Society, The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan County Historical Society, Magnolia Garden Club, and the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Georgia. Christine currently serves of the Georgia Zoological Society, a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the Georgia Safari Conservation Park.
Christine Lambert travelled here and there, taking a few trips to Europe, even visiting Russia when it was the USSR, and some other places, but Roy always wanted to stay close to Madison.
“It’s funny. He had the attitude that there were parts of Morgan County he hadn’t even seen, so why would he go anywhere else? He didn’t care for travel, and now I’ve turned into him. I just love this place. All of it. I think it’s beautiful and interesting with a lot going on. It’s just a great community.”
Because of her love for Madison and Morgan County, Christine has dedicated much of free to ensuring Madison’s historical legacy lives on into the future. She played a pivotal role in the formation of Madison’s Historic Preservation Commission and Greenspace Commission.
“I was part of a group that did a survey with students from the University of Georgia. That was sort of the beginning of it all,” said Christine. “That survey didn’t
Have any teeth to it though, so the outgrowth of that, back in the 1960s, was the establishment of what is now the Greenspace commission. In the 1970s, Lambert served as chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission.
“I think these commissions have helped save some structures and also helped people to stabilize and keep some structures that they would not otherwise known how to do,” said Christine. “It’s definitely kept from some unattractive infill from happening over the years. I
She also helped raised funds to establish the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
“I give all the credit to Adeliede Ponder, former owner of the Madisonian. She had the vision. I just drove the car,” laughed Christine.
The community Christine has loved and cherished and worked on behalf of is rallying around her for her fast approaching 90th birthday. A “Roast, Toast and Tribute to Christine Lambert on her 90th Birthday” will be held Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Hall.
“I am really looking forward to it,” said Christine. “Although I did request a whacking stick to strike anybody who makes bad jokes,” she laughed.
Christine plans to spend the rest of her life in Madison, enjoy the place she made her home more than 60 years ago.
“I have had good fortunate in living here. I feel well and I am well. I have a lot of friends and family and get to do interesting things,” said Christine. “I am living a good life and I hope to do more of it.”