Mary Minion and Allene Haugebook both grew up in Plains, Georgia. Both know President Jimmy Carter — they call him by his first name, Jimmy.  

And both remember attending his inauguration. “It was very exciting. I had never been to Washington D.C. at that time,” said Minion. A sentiment shared by Haugebook, “It was a wonderful experience.” 

While Minion traveled to the Capital by airplane, Haugebook took a special chartered train from Plains. The Peanut Special was organized to carry Carter’s supporters and friends to his January 1977 inauguration. Haugebook says she was joined on the train by nearly everyone else from Carter’s hometown. “We rode the Peanut Special. That was the train that took us all the way to Washington,” said Haugebook. 

Carter was the first president to walk the entire inauguration parade route and Minion remembers watching the parade. “It was cold that day,” said Minion 

Washington D.C. was crawling with security guards for the former president’s inauguration, according to Minion. “I saw security everywhere… On the building… On the ground… In the ball… Everywhere,” said Minion. 

Both of the women also went to an inauguration ball for Carter. “I think one ball was for the Georgia people, but Jimmy went from ball to ball to see everybody,” said Haugebook. 

The cold day in 1977 left the women with hope for a brighter future. “I just knew things were going to get better,” said Minion. As far as race relations, Minion believes things have improved.

While Minion and Haugebook both knew Carter growing up, they did not know each other. Because one was white and one was black, and their worlds were separated to some extent. But, both say their friend’s swearing in was momentous. “The whole event of the inauguration was just unreal,” said Minion. 

The two women feel his inauguration didn’t just put a hometown boy they call Jimmy into office — it also changed their lives, because they can now sit together, today.