Friday, July 21, 2017

Ollie Von Brooks

Ollie Von Brooks, son of William Henry Brooks and Florence Lee Lankford, was born on February 19, 1896 in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. He was the oldest child of 13—Ollie Von Brooks, Leila M. Brooks, Waver Brooks, Benjamin Franklin Brooks, Weldon J. Brooks, Calvin Brooks, Jessie James Brooks, Baby Boy Brooks, Nancy Annie Elizabeth Brooks, Evie M. Brooks, Ruby F. Brooks, Alvin Thomas Brooks, and Nettie Lou Brooks. He would be my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Our nearest common relatives are Charles L. Lankford and Miss Moore.

On June 4, 1900, Ollie, his parents, and two-year-old sister Leila lived in a rental home in the 232nd District of Oglethorpe County, Georgia. The census enumerator recorded his name as Olivon. His parents had been married for five years. His father was a farm laborer and neither of his parents could read or write.

On April 22, 1910, Ollie’s growing family lived in a rented farm on Lexington Road in Woodstock, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Five more children had joined the family for a total of seven children. Ollie’s 78-year-old widowed grandmother Nancy Lankford was living in the home. With this many people in the home now, his mother, sister Leila, brother Waver, and Ollie himself were all having to work on the home farm so were enumerated with the occupation of laborer on a home farm. Although Ollie, Leila, Waver, and Frank were attending school, none of them could read or write. His grandmother was the only person in the home able to read.

About April 1911, Ollie’s mother gave birth to a baby boy. According to Ollie’s sister Nettie, the baby never cried so their parents did not name the baby, probably expecting it to die. He lived three months and four days. On July 14, 1911, the Oglethorpe Echo ran the following news item:
The grim reaper visited the Salem neighborhood twice toward the close of last week and left sorrowing friends and grief-stricken relatives. Taken were infants, one a child of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Adkins and the other of Mr. and Mrs. William Brooks.
World War I broke out when Ollie was 17 years old (July 28, 1914). For the first two years, the United States stayed out of the war. On January 5, 1917, Ollie registered for the World War I draft in Oglethorpe County. At the time, he lived in Rayle, Wilkes County, Georgia, was single, and a self-employed farmer on land owned by Frate Sim in Stephens, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Ollie was of medium height and build, had blue eyes, and brown hair.

Ollie on the "Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for
Military Duty, 1917–1918" from Ancestry.com


RMS Olympic during her sea trial, Wikimedia Commons;
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOlympic_sea_trials.jpg,
public domain, 1911.
Despite the efforts of President Woodrow Wilson to stay out of the war, America declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. On July 23, 1918, Ollie was inducted into the U.S. Army as a private at Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia and sent to Camp Gordon located near Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia. According to GEORGIAINFO, Camp Gordon was “one of 16 temporary training camps, the largest in the southern states and the focus of Atlanta’s wartime patriotic spirit.” He served with the 24th Company, 6th Battalion, 157 Depot Brigade, the 3rd Infantry Regiment, and with Company M, 9th Infantry, Replacement and Training Battalion (I hope I got those right!) before being sent overseas to France, travelling aboard the RMS Olympic from Hoboken, New Jersey on September 9, 1918. I was surprised to discover that Ollie was joined on the trip by my great-uncle Luther T. Burnett. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing if they were aware of the family connection. Ollie and Luther were connected by marriage—they had no common relative.

Passenger list for the RMS Olympic showing Ollie Brooks and Luther Burnett, Sept. 9, 1918
(portions deleted)

Relationship calculator showing the connection between Ollie and Luther

Many soldiers became sick with influenza and pneumonia during World War I, with Ollie being one of them. He contracted pneumonia while on the RMS Olympic and was taken to the military hospital upon arrival in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England where he died on September 30, 1918. The U.S. Army notified his father William H. Brooks, who also lived in Rayle. Ollie was buried in grave YIII at Magdalen Hill Cemetery in Hampshire on October 2 with a burial service performed by B. G. McGuigan. The war ended just over a month later, on November 11, 1918.

Register of Burials, Magdalen Hill Cemetery,
Winchester, Hampshire, England
(portions deleted)

The following year, Ollie was remembered during Arbor Day ceremonies in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. The Oglethorpe Echo ran a news article on November 28, 1919:
Memorials read at Arbor Day ceremonies at Meson Academy last Friday morning at 11 o’clock: Read by Lona McRee—OLLIE VAN BROOKS. Aged 22: born Feb 19th, 1896 son of Florence Langford and Mr. William H Brooks. Died of pneumonia in Winchester, England September 30, 1918.
USS Princess Matoika (ID-2290) under way  in 1919,
U.S. Navy - U.S. Naval Historical
Center Photo #: NH 43123, public domain.
On April 16, 1920, Ollie’s body was exhumed by H.O. order. His body was later placed on board the ship U.S.A.T. Princess Matoika which departed from Southampton, England on May 11, 1920. According to Wikipedia the Matoika also carried “the bodies of 10 female nurses and over 400 soldiers who died while on duty in France during the war.” The ship arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey on May 23, 1920. I haven’t found a record that shows how Ollie’s body was transported back to Georgia but I assume it was by train.



Passenger list for the U.S.A.T. Princess Matoika carrying Ollie's body home to America

Ollie’s body was reinterred at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in Lexington on June 27, 1920. The Oglethorpe Echo ran a news article on July 2:
The remains of Ollie Brooks arrived home from across the sea and was buried at Salem Church last Sunday. Funeral services were conducted by Rev Coile.



Ollie never married.

Regarding Ollie’s birthdate, when filling out his World War I draft registration card, Ollie listed his date of birth as January 19th, 1895. However, both his tombstone and the November 28, 1919 Oglethorpe Echo news article record the date as February 19, 1896. I have not yet found a birth record.


Additional references:

  • Ollie Von Brooks photo from Find A Grave Memorial# 31365786, added by Lynn Ballard Cunningham, March 28, 2015.
  • Carol R. Byerly, PhD, “The U.S. Military and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919,” Public Health Rep. 2010; 125(Suppl 3): 82–91.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Baby Girl Lankford

Baby Girl Lankford, daughter of Cornelius Lankford and Betty Cross Reid, was “born dead” in Tempe Hospital in Tempe, Maricopa County, Arizona on November 26, 1949. Baby Girl Lankford was a victim of RH disease. Her death certificate listed the disease or condition directly leading to death as monstrosity, caused by her mother being Rh negative and her father Rh positive. Wait, what? I had never seen monstrosity listed as a cause of death and it shook me. I can’t imagine how it made her parents feel when they were handed a copy of the death certificate. A time in their life that should have been filled with great joy was instead labeled a monstrosity! Baby Girl Lankford, part of the Curtis Caldwell Lankford/Nancy A. E. McCarthy line, was buried at Tempe Cemetery on November 28. Curtis Lankford was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, James Meriweather Lankford, so she would have been my 4th cousin, 1x removed.

Partial death certificate for Baby Girl Lankford (ca. 1949)

This was the first time I had seen a Lankford in my family tree living in Arizona so of course I had to find out what took them there. Cornelius, originally born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina at some point in the 1940s where he must have met Betty, born in Charlotte. Betty’s mother was Bessie Mae Cross Reid, also born in North Carolina. Bessie divorced Betty’s father Fred Olin Reid and married Daniel Thomas Selvage on May 1, 1948 in Mecklenburg County. Bessie and Daniel apparently moved to Arizona after they married. If you dig deep enough, you find that Daniel previously had ties in Arizona. Bessie was living in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona on February 12, 1949 when Cornelius and Betty were married so that tells me that Cornelius and Betty were either visiting her mother in Arizona or had moved there. Betty died in Charlotte on January 27, 1999 so apparently didn’t stay in Arizona.

Partial marriage certificate for Cornelius Lankford and Betty Cross Reid

Anyone who does genealogy knows how easy it is to get sidetracked when doing research. This is what happened to me when I sat down to do some research for another blog entry. I originally planned to research Joseph Jackson Lankford, grandfather of Cornelius Lankford. Instead, during one of my searches on ancestry.com, I found the death certificate for Baby Girl Lankford and the next thing you know, three hours had passed.

Although this happened years ago, after I finished writing this blog entry, I said a prayer for Baby Girl and her parents Cornelius and Betty.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My AncestryDNA test didn’t disappoint

I’ve already posted my weekly blog entry but here I am posting another one. This one couldn’t wait until next week—I had exciting news to share! We’ve all seen the commercial about Kyle, the man who traded his lederhosen in for a kilt, right? Well, here’s my testimonial after taking my AncestryDNA test.

Earlier this year, my cousin took an AncestryDNA test. After her results came in, she shared her ethnicity on Facebook. Two months ago, her brother and sister-in-law visited and she and her sister-in-law spent time looking at the DNA matches she shared with other people. That was when they discovered a proof positive DNA match to the line that has been my family mystery and cause of a brick wall—Janes. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve read the story Daddy has told me many times over the years about the birth of my grandpa, Carroll Harvey Lankford Sr. Just in case, I’ll tell it again.

Daddy was probably in the 7th grade when two teachers named Annie Mae Durham and Leana Mae Moody of Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, pulled him and his sister aside at school. The teachers told Daddy and my aunt the story that their grandmother, Alice Beman Lankford, had allegedly been raped by Thomas P. Janes Jr., the son of Thomas P. Janes Sr., a wealthy plantation owner in Greene County and Georgia’s first Commissioner of Agriculture. A pregnancy resulted and my grandpa was born in 1887. After the alleged rape, Thomas Jr.’s family allegedly disowned him and he was run out of town. They were told that Thomas Jr. was not charged with anything due to the wealth and prominence of his family. None of this could be proven though … until now.

I’ve been interested in having my DNA tested for a while but hadn’t. I felt it was another place for people to get your personal information so held back. But the match found from my cousin’s AncestryDNA test peaked my curiosity. I had to see for myself so I submitted my test in June. The results came in yesterday and didn’t disappoint. I got a “Shared Ancestor Hint” for a match to a couple in the Janes family who we share as common ancestors—my 4th great-grandfather William Janes and his wife Selah Gresham, my 4th great-grandmother. William and Selah Janes had a son named Absalom Madison Janes and a daughter named Mary Ann Frances Janes. My line travels through Absalom’s branch of the tree while the match connects through Mary Ann’s branch. Absalom had a son named Thomas P. Janes (Georgia’s first Commissioner of Agriculture), who had a son named Thomas P. Janes Jr., and the rest is history.

Shared Ancestor Hint from DNA connection

Absalom Janes moved his family to Penfield, Greene County, Georgia in 1839 where they settled in and became prominent members of the community. Thomas eventually sought higher education and once that was completed, made his home in Penfield as well which is where my 2nd great-grandfather James C. Lankford lived in 1872 when his daughter Alice Beman Lankford was born. I confirmed Thomas Janes Sr. knew James C. Lankford when I found an article in the Atlanta Constitution via the Oglethorpe Echo dated May 12, 1883 that stated “A few weeks ago while Mr. J. C. Lankford was plowing along down on Dr. Janes’s home place he plowed up the frame of some person who had been buried there in the past. It was lying due east and west and was in its natural form. The contents were gathered up and carried to Dr. Janes for examination and he pronounced it to be an Indian child between 8 and 12 years old.” That was significant to me because it meant they were in close enough proximity for Thomas Jr. and Alice to know each other.

Rape is horrible and I obviously have no way of knowing if that part of the story is true but I definitely feel that something happened and now I have DNA evidence that links my Lankford line to the Janes line. So, we’ll leave it at that.

My grandpa never thought he was as good as other people and never got over the fact that he was illegitimate. He lived with that shame his entire life. His own family didn’t help. The paper trail of information that would have been provided by family members proves that. Each piece of information (see table below) tells a different story, and for the most part, were not true or were incomplete.



I feel sad that grandpa had to live his life under these circumstances. I also have mixed feelings about what might have happened to my great-grandmother Alice. On one hand, she had to live with whatever it was that happened and my grandpa was forced to live a lie. On the other hand, my Lankford family wouldn’t exist if some part of this story weren’t true because my grandpa would never have been born which means none of us would have either!

So, it appears that Daddy was right. I can’t because he’s over 600 miles away from me, but I want to give my Daddy a hug right now and tell him about the DNA evidence face-to-face. There might just be some truth to the story his teachers told him all those years ago.

P.S., for several years, I’ve been gathering information on Thomas P. Janes Sr. on the chance that I was ever able to prove the connection. He left his mark in Georgia history and it’s been interesting to study him. I’ll share his story in a blog post soon.

_________________

DNA image photo credit: By brian0918™ (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Margaret Shaw

Margaret Shaw Athya (ca. 1917-18)
Margaret Shaw, daughter of Ewen Shaw and Catherine McGillivray, was born between 1884 and 1889 (see table below) in Dores, a village located in the Shire of Inverness, Scotland. According to Wikipedia, Inverness-shire is the largest county in Scotland. Margaret came from a large family of at least nine children—Anne Shaw, John Shaw, David J. Shaw, Catherine S. Shaw, Marjory F. (or Mary or May) Shaw, Bella F. Shaw, Margaret Shaw, Davidina Shaw, and Ewen James Shaw. Margaret was the wife of my husband’s grand uncle Robert Durie Athya. She and my husband have no common relative.

In 1891, Margaret and her family lived at Mackay’s House on Stephens Brae in Inverness. She was enumerated as a five-year-old scholar. They were still living at Mackay’s House four years later when Margaret’s father Ewen, a blacksmith, died there on January 11, 1895.

In 1901, Margaret, her mother, and seven of her siblings, ranging in age from 31 to 7, lived in Inverness at 9 Abbotsford Terrace on Greig Street. At 17 years of age, Margaret earned a living as a domestic servant. She was enumerated as Maggie vs. Margaret. The year 1901 would have been a sad but exciting time for Margaret. Queen Victoria died on January 22 and her son Edward became the King of the United Kingdom. Victoria, who had reigned since 1837, had been the Queen during Margaret’s entire lifetime so this would have been a huge historical event for a teenage subject of the United Kingdom. King Edward VII's coronation took place in 1902.

Back of Margaret Shaw Athya photo
Sometime between 1901 and 1917, Margaret’s mother passed away. I can’t find a death record for Catherine but when Margaret married Robert Durie Athya, son of James Athya and Jemima Durie, on November 23, 1917 in Rosskeen, Scotland, Catherine was recorded as “deceased.” The registry noted that Margaret was a domestic servant and spinster. At the time, World War I was raging and her groom was serving with Scotland’s Black Watch—a Sergeant with the Cameron Highlanders. The photo of Margaret above was taken ca. 1917–1918. She wrote the following on the back of the photo: “To my Darling Hubby with fondest love. How Do you like your little boy. Yours Loving. Maggie Athya.” In the bottom right corner, she wrote “Don’t smile.” It’s believed she was working in a factory at the time and was showing Robert her sense of humor.

Margaret and Robert had three children together. Their first child, a boy they named James Athya, was born about 1920. They welcomed daughter Margaret Shaw Athya on August 21, 1921. A third child, Robert Durie Athya Jr. joined the family on June 18, 1924. James, Margaret, and Robert were all born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. They were all given family names—son James was given his paternal grandfather’s name; daughter Margaret was given her mother’s first and maiden names; and son Robert given his father’s full name.

Newlyweds Margaret and Robert Athya
(ca. 1917-18)
When Margaret’s youngest child was just two years old, she was stricken with encephalitis lethargica (also known as “sleeping sickness”) and died on August 9, 1926 at Connolly Hospital in Motherwell, a town in Lanarkshire, Scotland. According to Wikipedia, “Between 1915 and 1926, an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica spread around the world. Nearly five million people were affected, a third of whom died in the acute stages. Many of those who survived never returned to their pre-existing ‘aliveness.’” Margaret and Robert lived in Bellshill at the time of her death. Her burial location is unknown to me, but I would assume she was buried somewhere in Bellshill or perhaps taken to Inverness-shire where she was born. The Dalziel Parish, County of Lanark death registry recorded Margaret’s age as 37 years.

Four years after Margaret’s death, Robert and their three children emigrated to America where they settled in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. They joined Robert’s sister Margaret Athya Close and his brother George Durie Athya who had been living in America since 1920.

I noted earlier that Margaret was born between 1884 and 1889. Unfortunately, I can’t pinpoint her birthdate. The four records I find equate to different birth years. Each record provides Margaret’s age as well as a record date. When you do the math, things don’t add up. Here’s what I’ve found:


Hopefully a birth or burial record will eventually be found for Margaret that will help solve the mystery.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Ruby Red Flash Souvenir Glass

Helen and Bertha Smith's Ruby Red Flash souvenir glass
A short time after my mother-in-law, Mary Athya Murphy, passed away in 2006, my father-in-law gave these two pieces of Ruby Red Flash souvenir glass to me. He told me that Mary wanted me to have them, I assume because of the work I had done on the Smith family tree, which she had helped me with.

The large cup belonged to Mary’s maternal aunt Helen Margaret Smith. Helen died in 1913 so Mary never knew her. Helen’s cup is 3 ¼ inches tall and 2 ¾ inches wide. As you can see, the top part is smooth red glass while the bottom and handle are clear glass with a decorative heart band. The bottom of the cup has a star pattern. The name “Helen” and the year “1904” are etched on the front side of the cup. Helen would have been 9 years old in 1904.

Bottom view of Bertha's
toothpick holder
The small piece, probably a toothpick holder, belonged to Mary’s mother Bertha Edna Smith Athya. It’s much smaller than Helen’s cup at 2 ¼ inches tall and 2 inches wide. The colors are the same as the cup. The top has a scalloped edge and the bottom has a diamond pattern with a raised dot in the center. The pattern on the bottom of the toothpick holder reminds me of a geometric design I used to make with a Spirograph. The name “Bertha” and the year “1910” are etched on the side. Bertha would have been 12 years old in 1910.

Both the cup and toothpick holder have a few small spots on the red part of the glass but are otherwise in good condition.

My sister once told me these were popular souvenir items sold at traveling fairs during the early 20th century.

Side view of Helen's cup

Bottom view of Helen's cup

Helen Margaret Smith

Bertha Edna Smith


Friday, June 23, 2017

Eulilla May Callaway

Greensboro City Cemetery
Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia
Eulilla May Callaway, daughter of Lemuel Lawrence Callaway Jr. and Julia C. Askew, was born on May 11, 1891, most likely in Greene County, Georgia. Eulilla came from a large family, 14 children in all. Her parents had eight children—Sidney Johnson Callaway, Arthur Howell Callaway, Olivia Callaway, Annie Callaway, Eulilla May Callaway, Ida Ruth Callaway, Samuel Ezequiel Callaway, and Claude Parkis Callaway. Eulilla’s father was a widow when he married her mother and already had six children from his first wife Anna Josephine Mullins—Talula Callaway, Jack Mullins Callaway, Carrie Callaway, Robert Dawson Callaway, Lemuel Kelser Callaway, and Earnest Callaway. Eulilla was the 1st cousin of my step grandmother Eva Askew, my grandpa Carroll H. Lankford’s first wife. We have no common relative.

On June 6, 1900, Eulilla and her family lived in the Hutchinson District of Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. Her father was a farmer. Eulilla was enumerated as Lillia. At the age of 9, she was attending school along with her siblings Sidney, Arthur, Olivia, and Annie. She could read and write.

On April 28, 1910, Eulilla and her family lived at Greensboro and Cary Station Roads in Greensboro. She was enumerated as Lilla May. At age 18, she wasn’t working or attending school. Her father was a farmer on a general farm. Just under a month before her 19th birthday, Eulilla died of unknown causes on April 13, 1911, most likely in Greene County, Georgia. She was buried at Greensboro City Cemetery in Greensboro.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wedding memories

Mr. and Mrs. Murphy
My husband and I celebrated our 37th anniversary this week so I have weddings on my mind. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d share memories of my wedding as well as the traditional items my son and daughter-in-law thoughtfully included in their 2013 wedding that honored our family.

When my husband Charlie proposed to me, I didn’t say yes immediately. Instead, I told him that this was a big decision and I needed to think about it. I couldn’t remember how long I made him wait so asked him as I wrote this. He said it was a week. I hope the wait was worth it to him.

Our wedding was for Charlie, not me. I never wanted one. I always felt weddings were a waste of money that would be better spent on setting up a house to live in at the beginning of a new marriage. A wedding also meant I had to be the center of attention and that’s just not me. But he said he was only doing this once and he wanted to do it right. So, the planning began. This was long before the Internet and Pinterest were around so thankfully my roommate Helene was there to guide me. I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without her. We funded the wedding ourselves. I want to say we only spent $1000. My wedding dress was my something borrowed so that saved a lot of money. No fancy wedding photo album—all I have are snapshots and they’re not that clear. We had a live band that played for free—it was my brother-in-law’s band. Most of the money was spent on food that we prepared ourselves … and booze.

Me and Helene
We randomly selected the date, which turned out to be Charlie’s maternal grandparents wedding date as well. It was also Flag Day. This was appropriate considering Charlie wore his patriotic socks to the wedding (more about that later). The city I live in hangs flags on the telephone poles on our street every Flag Day so over the years I’ve had fun telling our boys they put them up to celebrate our anniversary. In fact, I still say that!

Three days before our wedding, I had to have an emergency root canal. The years of neglecting my teeth caught up with me at the wrong time. That was a lesson learned and I have taken very good care of them since then!

We had a simple ceremony in the neighborhood church my husband attended while growing up. The reception was held at the local fire department hall. Helene, my family, and I had spent Thursday and Friday that week preparing a wedding buffet for the approximately 150 people attending. Friends set the food up during the ceremony.

I had only lived in Virginia for a year so my part of the guest list was small—about 25—my family, my roommate, a friend and her family who I grew up with in Atlanta and who had convinced me to move to Virginia in the first place, and a handful of co-workers. The rest were Charlie’s family and friends.

Me and my Mama

Our niece Michelle was the flower girl. She gave me a “lucky” dime to carry as I walked down the aisle. As time drew near for the wedding to begin, Michelle started getting nervous. I believe we had to bribe her to walk down the aisle herself. She was still the best flower girl ever! Our neighbor’s son Brian was the ring bearer. I remember him telling me that he and I were the two most important people in the wedding. My brother Michael walked me down the aisle.

Left: Me and the best flower girl ever.
Right: Michelle and Brian

My brother Michael and me

Once everyone was seated inside the church, my soon to be brother-in-law Mike sang “Evergreen” and then later in the ceremony he sang the beautiful “Wedding Song” by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame. I heard the song playing on the radio one day while we were planning the wedding and knew I wanted that song. After we said our vows, everyone bowed their heads for a prayer. I remember having my eyes closed, hearing soft music, and thinking “who is playing music during my wedding!” Stupid me didn’t realize that Mike had started quietly playing the guitar as the minister finished the prayer. Once the prayer ended, Mike started singing the song. I still smile when I think about it today. Mike’s performance was beautiful and is a fond memory of my wedding. I just listened to the song and still think it was a good choice.

My brother-in-law Mike

We lit unity candles and I remember Charlie’s hands shaking so much I think the candle almost went out. I can still see us waving our fingers trying to will the flame to keep burning.

After the ceremony, we were driven to the reception by Charlie’s friend Eddie in his classic car.


Mike’s band played during the reception and was a great hit. They were a local favorite so many people already knew and loved them. I distinctly remember the fiddle player standing on top of a table playing the heck out of his fiddle when the band played “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” He brought the house down with his performance.

Mike and part of the band

My co-worker and friend Jan was our bartender. Charlie and his Dad had made a run to Washington, DC to stock the bar. They probably would have been arrested for transporting too much liquor across state lines if they’d been stopped! Charlie told me he was going to ask Mama to dance with him during the reception. Having never seen her dance, I told him that wouldn’t happen. We had a bottle of Cold Duck at the bar and told Jan that was just for Mama to give her a little encouragement. Charlie got his dance.

My friend Jan. We're still friends today.

When it was time to cut the cake, I was so gentle when I fed Charlie his bite. He on the other hand, was not so gentle and shoved the cake into my mouth. I had never heard of such a thing and couldn’t believe he had done that. Of course, now I know it’s just something people do. I don’t like that tradition.
See how gentle I was!

My sister Vanessa caught the bouquet and Charlie’s brother Pat caught the garter. As tradition has it, Pat then had to put the garter on Vanessa. When he took the garter a little higher than Michael felt he should, Michael jumped in and told him that’s high enough! He was smiling when he said it. We all got a kick out of it.
Vanessa caught the bouquet

Pat puts the garter on Vanessa

Charlie and I left the reception in his faded 1965 Mustang trashed by unknown individuals.



All in all, the day was a blur but I have many fond memories. At 37 years, I figured I’d better write them down before I forget some of them!

The wedding party

Us with my family from Georgia


While our families were involved in our wedding, thinking back, I don’t recall putting any thought into including them in ways that my son Chris and his wife Ashley included ours in their 2013 wedding. She and Chris honored our families in three ways which I thought were very touching.

The first thing was my son wearing his Dad’s wedding socks. I blogged about that last year. Click here if you’d like to read that story. Who knows if we’ll have a grandson who would one day buy into this tradition or if the socks will even survive that long. Only time will tell.

The second thing was the clay bowl they made for the ring bearer to carry in the wedding. Ashley found the idea on Pinterest and thought one of Mama’s doilies imprinted in the bowl would be cute. I think she was right. I was happy Mama came to Virginia for the wedding and could see it for herself. Here’s a few pictures of Chris and Ashley making the bowl, one with the ring bearer holding the bowl during the ceremony, and a picture of it on display at the reception.





Ring bearer bowl

The third thing was Ashley’s “something borrowed.” She asked me if I had something she might use for this traditional wedding piece so I pulled several items out of my jewelry box to see it something fit the bill. She picked my mother-in-law Mary’s 1929 mercury dime to pin on her garter. The dime had been wrapped in silver and had a loop at the top so it could be worn as a necklace, something Mary often did when she dressed up. The dime was special to Mary as she was born in 1929. I’m sure she would have loved the young woman her grandson picked for his bride and would have been honored to have loaned the dime to Ashley to use as her something borrowed as she walked down the aisle. But now looking back, if I’d remembered the dime my flower girl gave me to carry in my wedding, I would have asked Ashley if she too wanted to carry it in her wedding. Interesting that she picked my mother-in-law’s dime. That should have been a hint to me. I consider that a missed opportunity!