Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"I'll Go To My Grave Loving You"...

The year was 1975.  My sweet, gentle Dad had heard this song on the radio and asked me if I could find the record for him.  He loved my Mama dearly and he loved this song.  At the time, I was not a fan of country music - and definitely not a fan of the Statler Brothers - but I bought a tape player and the song for him (and a few others).

I watched as he listened to the sweet harmony and the words of the song...and his eyes teared up.  The next thing I know there's a tear trailing down my cheek.

He did go to his grave loving Mama and his four daughters and all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren...four years before Mama.

I think about this song from time to time...and about Daddy's love for and commitment to his family.  I'm thankful for that legacy.
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The photo below was taken about 1952 at the Memorial Gardens Cemetery.  I wrote a post entitled "All Too Soon" and the years on Mamie Road about it here.

This was originally posted in my daily blog, Sweet Journey Home, on July 23, 2014.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The sixth day of August...

There are some days in life that are just bittersweet…today is one of those days.

On a sweet note, today is Cindy's birthday.  She is my sister Gerry’s firstborn.  Cindy is beautiful with a heart of gold…just like her late Mom. She has an ever ready smile and a wonderful sense of humor. We are always laughing when we’re all together. An amazing pianist and wonderful teacher, she must bless the hearts of the students at the college where she teaches. No doubt, she blesses the hearts of our entire family…just as she blesses mine. Happy Birthday, Cindy! I love you. Wish I could be there to celebrate with all of you!

Love this photo from about 1957. Cindy was almost 5 and I was 12. 
(just guessing at the year and ages) 
Apparently, I’d propped her up in the car window! 
I was a really good baby sitter!



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Sadly, today also marks the ninth anniversary of my beautiful sister Dot’s death. She fought a courageous battle against AML (Acute Myloid Leukemia) but Heaven needed her. She had such strength and optimism. She believed in FAMILY more than anyone I have ever known. Dot remembered special days with a card, a note or a call. She organized family reunions and made sure that we all got together. She had a gift for staying in touch. Dot had the burden/privilege of being the oldest…maybe that comes with the territory. As I shared in the previous post, searching for our family roots was Dot’s inspiration and I will honor her by finishing it. She would like that.

How I would love to answer the phone and hear her quip one more time, “Hello! What’s going on besides the rent?” with that smile in her voice. I miss her every single day…but I will see her in Heaven.

I love this picture of my sister when she was about 21 years old.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A mystery in Scotland...

As published in Sweet Journey Home...

I wonder if the same thing that makes me wish I’d been an FBI agent is the same deep thing that makes me love a mystery? Finding clues, sorting them out and solving a mystery is more than just a challenge – it’s actually intriguing. This time, I’m talking about searching out clues in my family history. Years ago, my late sister Dot had the dream of finding our ancestors. I joined her in the exciting search. It didn’t take a whole lot of imagination to know that with the last name of McGregor, our ancestors had come from Scotland.

We began the journey back through the years and enlisted the help of our other two sisters. The four of us traveled to the archives of Mississippi and various other libraries. We wrote many letters requesting information from archives in several states. Amidst the laughter on each trip we’d take, we discovered answers – in birth records, death records, marriage records, old newspaper clippings and family Bibles. You would have thought we’d won the lottery when we “proved” a date or name. There are three large rubbermaid containers stacked next to my chest in my bedroom…filled with several years worth of hard work. I purposely did not put them in the storeroom for a good reason: they’re there to remind me that I must finish this family history. When the snow starts to fall in a few months, I will rejoin Ancestry.com and begin the journey back through time once again.

Several years ago, my husband and I were traveling through North Carolina where my immigrant ancestor, Rev. William McGregor, had lived almost 300 years ago now. There at the foot of Fall Mountain, he built a homestead – complete with a sturdy log house and outbuildings. He established a large apple orchard. He “preached in the meeting houses of America”…which had been his reason for coming to America in the first place. He sold his home and land to Dr. Kron, the first physician of North Carolina. The house has been rebuilt as an exact replica and is in Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, North Carolina.

It was somehow humbling, yet awe-inspiring, to stand on the land of my ancestor, a Baptist preacher from Scotland (there weren’t a lot of Baptists in Scotland at that time). I stood on the porch of his home and wondered where the answers lie. So many of the actual records burned in fires over the years according to the archives there in Stanly County. There are hundreds of his descendants who are searching – as I am. Supposedly, Rev. William McGregor was born in Ossian’s Glen, Scotland. Other records indicate he came from the Isle of Skye.

The mystery lies in Scotland but there is much to prove here first. This is just part of the mystery that I will be working on this Winter, when the snow begins to fall…


Below:  Rev. William McGregor’s house in Morrow Mountain State Park.…



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Below: The back of Rev. William McGregor’s log house
 
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Below: The back door of Rev. William McGregor’s house…
 
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

My memories of the Fourth of July...

When my three sisters and I began our family history search ( inspired and instigated by my oldest sister Dot), we made several family history journeys...with so much laughter and fun as the four of us traveled together. Sometimes, my niece Sharon accompanied us and there was even more laughter. One of those trips was to Jackson, Mississippi, where we spent the day in the Mississippi archives. Another search took us to Pontotoc County, Mississippi, where Mama and Daddy were both born. There, we visited both the library and the dusty archives of the small town newspaper. Most of the articles were not on microfiche or anything more updated, so we searched through dozens of large leather-bound journals containing newspapers from many decades ago.

We would get so excited whenever we found an article about our family. One such article was written about Mama's Fourth of July birthday party held at their home. From the date, they would not have been married very long. It described the menu (including homemade ice cream - or "cream" as Daddy called it. Year after year, there was a twofold celebration...Mama's birthday and our nation's independence.

As the years rolled by and we daughters were born, the celebration continued. As we grew up, got married and had families, the celebration continued. Every year, the family gathered for a picnic and cookout with all the trimmings in her honor. In later years, it was held at my oldest sister Dot’s house because she had a swimming pool. Memphis is hot in the summertime and the kids loved the pool. Dot would bake a large chocolate sheet cake with a hint of cinnamon and a delicious chocolate icing. Sometimes, she’d decorate the top. It was so very good. My mouth waters just remembering. With the cake, there would be homemade vanilla ice cream, usually my sister Gerry’s specialty. Before dessert, of course, there would be delicious grilled hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad and other wonderful dishes. In later years, we’d sometimes order Memphis barbeque at its best – from Corky’s.

These will always be my memories of the Fourth of July...my dear parents, my sisters, my precious family. I have no doubt they are celebrating in Heaven today. Happy Birthday, Mama...



Below: the McGregor girls at one of Mama's Fourth of July birthday parties...
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Below: Dianne and Gerry at Mama’s 4th of July birthday party at Dot’s house. About 1990.


Below are just a few of the members of my large family. I need to dig through all my photos and scan the rest! I faithfully took my Pentax K1000 to every single function we had. Everybody teasingly complained then. Now, they are glad for a bit of history captured on film.

Below: My sister Gerry and my niece Sharon about 1982. Mama's Fourth of July birthday party at Sharon's house.

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Below: my oldest, my great-niece Dawn and my niece Gina


Below: my sister Dot and her husband Tom...late 80's.scan0028


Below: my sister Eunice and her husband Eddie.


Bill and me at a Fourth of July birthday party for Mama...late early 90's.billanddiannesummer


Below: my sister Gerry at another Fourth of July at Dot's house... gerryatdotshouse


Below: three of my nieces at Dot's house...late 80's.scan0111


Below: Mama's Fourth of July birthday party at my niece Sharon's house - about 1982.

My youngest is in the "firetruck" and my great-nephew is on his bike. scan0089


Below: my oldest two with their "Mamaw"...about 1990...at Dot's house.scan0126


Below: my sister Gerry and her husband, my niece and her son (who is now in his third year of medical school!)scan0118

My niece...Gerry's older daughter. I wish you could hear her play the piano...
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As published in Sweet Journey Home today...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fifty years ago and a convertible...


It was a beautiful day in Memphis…May 1963. We had just graduated from high school, and from the smiles on our faces, we were happy about that. We all piled into this Morris Minor convertible and someone snapped the photo...magically capturing a moment in time.

There were applications for college or other plans for futures already set in place. There were over 200 of us in that graduating class. I made it to the 10th and 20th KHS reunions, but most of my classmates I would never see again. I wasn’t aware of that sad fact on this happy day above.

Fifty years ago there were no computers as we know today, no internet, no email and most of us didn’t have automobiles. We used the telephone to call one another as soon as we walked home from school to talk about our day. Nevermind, we had just seen one another an hour or so before. We were all great students with good grades. We were in the Honor Society, Student Council, Talon yearbook staff and different other extracurricular activities. We did a lot of things as groups – like roller skating on Friday nights. We all loved roller skating! I can still remember the thrill of skating fast in the roller rink to the sounds of the 50′s and 60′s rock and roll! I loved skating backwards. I would love to try roller skating again with my grandchildren…but somehow, fifty years later, I’m afraid I’d break a hip!

Most of our mothers sewed our clothes and we all had great wardrobes. To school we wore saddle oxfords and penny loafers (usually with white socks) or flats. On Sundays, we wore “high heels” with hosiery. By the time we were in college, the heels were really high and were called “spikes”! Not as high as the platform “stilletos” today but definitely high heels. Oh funny things, memories…

I saw this photo for the first time yesterday on Facebook (shared by a friend in my KHS class and used with her permission). The memories came flooding in. You may think you have forgotten something but you haven’t. Those memories are still there…just layered over with years and years of other memories in time.

In case you can’t tell which one I am in the photo above – I’m the one standing up.  In the photo below I am second from right. ;-)



Originally published in my other blog, Sweet Journey Home.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Remembering Daddy...


Today is Daddy's birthday.  I am wondering if birthdays are celebrated in Heaven. If so - and I'm inclined to think they are - then Mama, Daddy, my sisters Dot and Gerry, Bill - my husband of 39 years and his parents Frank and Bobbie, my maternal and paternal grandparents and all the host of family and friends who've gone before are celebrating this sweet and gentle man's life.

Time has eased the deep pain of losing each of my parents, but I miss them still.   I miss my sisters.  I miss hearing their voices and their sweet counsel whenever I shared a problem or decision I was facing.  I especially miss the times we four sisters had together and all the laughter.  I'm thankful that my sister Eunice remains on this earth with me and I've told her that I have to go first!  Funny, I know, but I was serious!

Christmas of 2011, I had (most of) this blog professionally published as a gift for my children, grandchildren, my sister Eunice and all my nieces and nephews.  Needless to say, it was an expensive Christmas but well worth it.  I'm better at expressing myself on paper than in person and I wanted my children to know as many of the stories that I could remember.

I'm thankful for a legacy that may not have included an abundance of possessions...but a great deal of love.




Photo above:  My youngest with my Dad - his "Papaw" - when he was about three years old.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mama...

 

Mama was born on the 4th of July. Every year, the family gathered for a picnic and cookout with all the trimmings in her honor. In later years, it was held at my oldest sister Dot's house because she had a swimming pool. Memphis is hot in the summertime and the kids loved the pool. Dot would bake a large chocolate sheet cake with a hint of cinnamon and a delicious chocolate icing. Sometimes, she'd decorate the top. It was so very good. My mouth waters just remembering. With the cake, there would be homemade vanilla ice cream, usually my sister Gerry's specialty. Before dessert, of course, there would be delicious grilled hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad and other wonderful dishes. In later years, we'd sometimes order Memphis barbeque at its best - from Corky's.

Yes, I know that July 4th represents Independence Day...but not to me. To me, it is Mama's birthday. The day is filled with memories that make me wish I could turn the clock back and we'd all be together celebrating. Little did I know then, how quickly time would pass...


Dianne and Gerry at Mama's 4th of July birthday party at Dot's house. About 1990.