Thursday, July 31, 2008


Today is Thursday, July 31.
My last post had quite a few diary entries,
which began my writing about the Camp experience.

Tomorrow Charlie and I travel to Auburn, borrowing a friend's truck, to move both Sarah and Kate into their apartments. They won't be living together. We are giving them some of our furniture from our house - plus odds and ends that they have accumulated in their dorm - those pieces are in storage at Auburn. When Charlie and I do these "moves" for our girls, and it can be so exhausting, I am reminded of the many many times Mom and Dad had to move me, as a single female, and then helped Charlie and me when we moved to S'boro. Parenting, it's a lifetime experience - one never retires - and now Ann and Laura Beth, along with their husbands, have begun that "career" - When I'm in the midst of these parenting experiences my mind goes to Mother and Daddy, and to my grandparents. All the things they did - as grandparents - It feels like I'm running with a baton, and also passing another to Ann and Laura Beth - eventually - Sarah and Kate will probably join the married, parenting marathon - I think of Joel and Ursulla Murphree, of John and Nettie Wilkerson, of Ada Chapman Henderson(widowed, with many children), of Ella and Elbert Northcutt, of Edith and Frank Wilkerson, even my aunts and uncles - the legacy they passed on to me; parenting and grandparenting - investing time and love into their children - it would appear that they lived selfless lives when it came to their offspring - yet always carrying around the same "flesh and selfishness" that we still are encumbered with. But what prevailed was their investment in our lives - The most important thing, and this is God's grace, providing a climate and soil, which enabled my heart to be receptive to the gospel when I heard it - All of it is due to a sovereign God, who ordained that I live in this place, in this world, at this time - with this family legacy - and since this was His plan, I want to be as Christ in the world - right where I am -

Anyway - all of that serious stuff - written because Charlie and I are moving Kate and Sarah this weekend, in Auburn. Tomorrow and Saturday when we are so hot and sweaty - well, I'm guessing I won't be thinking such heavenly and spiritual thoughts - I hope Charlie and I can do it all without a fight - or without me saying any bad words - (I have a few that slip out all along)

What I really wanted to write about -

I want to post the next few diary entries - since I'll be gone a few days - until Monday - and see what I was doing in 1962, the week following my return from Camp Grandview.

Sunday July 29, 1962: Dear Diary, we ate a snack over at the Gunters tonight.
Monday July 30, 1962: Dear Diary, I went swimming with Rachel today.
Tuesday July 31, 1962: Dear Diary, Same old hot day.
Wednesday August 1, 1962: Dear Diary, played with Jeannie Knox.
Thursday August 2, 1962: Dear Diary, I went to band today.
Friday August 3, 1962: Dear Diary, Today is Mother's and Daddy's anniversary.
Saturday August 4, 1962: Dear Diary, Mary Ann is spending the night with Susan Price tonight.
Sunday August 5, 1962: Dear Diary, after Sunday School and Church I went to the show. "Jack the Giant Killer"
Obviously, my life was very ordinary - very ordinary - but the thing is - I liked it - I like that still. I'm not wired for the BIG STUFF. Perhaps all along - something large and out of the ordinary - but I enjoy "Daily" - "Nesting" -
So, that first Sunday night, back from Camp Grandview, we shared a snack with the Gunters. They were our next door neighbors to our left. They were the fourth family to live in that house - Mrs. Gunter still lives there on this day in 2008. I know the first 3 families which could spawn "stories", but let's begin with the Gunters. They were Harmon and Evelyn Gunter and their daughter Connie Sue. They belonged to the First Baptist Church. I know for a fact that they NEVER missed Sunday night church - and I do think that by that year we were regulars for Sunday Night church at The First Methodist Church - If you read my last post with stories about Camp - it was Connie Sue's boots which I borrowed for my horseback riding experience. Anyway, we must have gotten together after church because we would have been at church on Sunday night. Connie Sue was 3 grades ahead of me, and 1 grade ahead of Mary Ann. She was a beautiful girl, talented in art and music. Mrs. Gunter was originally from Ohio and Mr. Gunter had grown up in our own Conecuh County - out from Evergreen - I'm guessing they met when he was in the service - seems like I heard that. She always longed for her world in Ohio, much the same as I still miss South Alabama. In those days we did a lot of grilling out - hamburgers - The Gunters joined us a lot - as well as Beth, Becky and Buddy Monroe from across the street. Mrs. Gunter was a great story teller with a great sense of humor - rather dry - and told us many of her Ohio stories - We always sat outside, in our backyard, in chairs, around the picnic table - listening to the adults talk - playing some - asking questions - until it got late and everyone went home . Connie Sue played the piano. She took lessons from Mrs. Bewley(learned that recently). She played the flute in the band(Daddy being the band director). And she was a self taught artist(we had no art lessons available to us in Evergreen). She was good at "doing hair" and I could get her to "do mine up". I loved that. She was also a majorette and was patient to work with me - teaching me, teaching me. Mrs. Gunter did not work outside the home. In those days I can't remember any moms who did. Beth Monroe, whom I mentioned above, did. She was a widow and was a secretary at The Evergreen City School. But until her husband died, I don't think she worked. I also remember a mom who was a nurse - a really good nurse - but these "careers" that they had were suited to fit around their childrens' schedules. That mom who was a nurse? She, too, was a widow - but remarried. Beth, too, remarried. Anyway - The Gunters - Evelyn was a great seamstress, as was mom - so they compared notes quite a bit - offering advice to one another if either of them hit a snag - There were so many other things besides what I mentioned - it was all life on Williams Avenue, and our culture hadn't yet cocooned itself - We didn't disappear into our homes to live hermit lives - I knew the inside of those homes on Williams Avenue, the way I knew my own. At Mother's Funeral, at visitation, in 2006, I was talking to Susan Price Garth(mentioned above in the diary post - who also was the girl who spent 2 weeks at Camp Grandview and LIKED it) and Susan's parents, Jean and Sonny Price, reminiscing, and saying that I pass their home on Main Street and know every inch of their house - Susan came back with, "and I know every inch of yours on Williams Avenue". Harmon Gunter came to Mom's visitation also - Mrs. Gunter was unable to "get out". Connie was living in Auburn at the time and was unable to attend. I can still see Mr. Gunter's smiling face, holding mine and Mary Ann's hand. So many years gone by. So many memories.
What I want to say is that a couple of years ago, Connie purchased a tiny house on Williams Ave. She was spending so much time in Evergreen, caring for her ailing parents - so she bought The Livings' old house. It's across the street and about 3 houses down. It was available and she bought it. Jeannie Knox Livings(mentioned in the above post) was my playmate. Jean and Shay Livings and Jeannie Knox and Jeffrey. Jeffrey was a toddler in those days. Connie's 3 sons are adult men, Connie's marriage was dissolving, so she purchased that house - and now lives in it permanently. When Mom died the nurse who had cared for Mom began caring for Mr. and Mrs. Gunter, and Mr. and Mrs. Bell - who lived at the end of the street - whose youngest daughter is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Alabama - weird. Eventually Jane, the nurse, became fulltime for Mr. and Mrs. Gunter - Jane is so good at what she does - that on the evening mom was dying, and Jane was sitting with Mom and Mary Ann,(it was sudden and I couldn't get there) crying even more tears than Mary Ann - Jane told us that people were already calling Jane and saying, "I don't mean any disrespect for Mrs. Wilkerson, but will you be available now?" (You gotta love a small town - that wasn't even offensive to me - I find it practical and endearing)
Back to the Gunters. This winter - Charlie and I planned a trip to B'ham - D.A. meetings - and as fate would have it - Mr. Gunters health became so bad - that he was hospitalized and died right before Charlie and I would be in B'ham. I communicated with my Birmingham friend, Val, another close friend to the Gunters and to Connie - and caught a ride with her to Evergreen to the funeral. Val is Val Carrier. The Carriers were always in the Baptist church and closer to the Gunters than we were. They lived across town from Williams Avenue. The Carriers and Gunters are like family, actually. Val and I were high school buddies - didn't really know each other in Elementary School. The Funeral - I had not seen Mrs. Gunter in so many years, nor Connie. So, standing in line at visitation - right before the service - I stepped out of line - because Mrs. Gunter was having to sit in a pew - while Connie and her 3 handsome sons received visitors. I knelt down to make eye contact with Mrs. Gunter and my emotions overcame me. Mrs. Gunter, in her failing health, has a dazed look to her eyes - but she knew me - and that twinkle came into her eyes - I said, through slight tears - "Well, here we are". and she came back with a slight smile and a twinkle and finished my sentence - "After all these years". Connie invited Mary Ann and me to her house following the service. That house - all those memories - and before I left I said to Connie, "I want to see Jeannie Knox's house". (remember, Connie lives in it now) So, Mary Ann, Val and I drove down there and walked through that house, and again, memories all in my brain - scene upon scene upon scene upon scene - of childhood scenarios - crazy . Mr. Gunter's funeral was incredible - huge blessing when a passionate believer leaves this world and enters that eternal home - which we are all, in reality, longing for. Val and I drove back to B'ham - had dinner with Charlie - and told our stories -

Monday, July 28, 2008


Guess what I've been forgetting to do!!?? Posting my diary entries from 1962!

The last one I posted was July 8, 1962. If you recall it read like this:

Dear Diary, we ate dinner with Elbert and Ella today.
Well, here it is in 2008, and it's July 28. So, I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Here goes.
Monday July 9, 1962: Dear Diary, I went to band today. Mother and Daddy went to Opp. Me and Mary Ann stayed with Ella.
Tuesday July 10, 1962: Dear Diary, I'm spending the night with Elaine Mason tonight.
Wednesday July 11, 1962: Dear Diary, Mary Ann and I stayed with Ella today while Mother and Daddy went to Troy.
Thursday July 12, 1962: Dear Diary, I went to town today.
Friday July 13, 1962: Dear Diary, I played with Rachel today.
Saturday July 14, 1962: Dear Diary, today is my birthday. I got $7.50, sunglasses, slippers, play phone, duster.
Sunday July 15, 1962: Dear Diary, I went to the show today. State Fair was on.
Monday July 16, 1962: Dear Diary, I went to band today.
Tuesday July 17, 1962: Dear Diary, Daddy made us a tent today.
Wednesday July 18, 1962: Dear Diary, I went with Daddy to mow the football field. Was it ever hot!
Thursday July 19, 1962: Dear Diary, I didn't have band today because of the younger group.
Friday July 20, 1962: Dear Diary, Today are majorette tryouts. Sally Oswald and Ann Campbell got majorette.
Saturday July 21, 1962: Dear Diary, I'm getting ready for Camp Grandview today.
Sunday July 22, 1962: Dear Diary, Today I arrived at camp. I'm really excited.
Monday July 23, 1962: Dear Diary, I took tennis today. It was burning up!
Tuesday July 24, 1962: Dear Diary, Tonight is Christmas Eve. We're having Christmas in July.
Wednesday July 25, 1962: Dear Diary, I rode a horse today. He trotted.
Thursday July 26, 1962: Dear Diary, I'm crying because I miss my family.
Friday July 27, 1962: Dear Diary, Tonight we sung by a campfire.
Saturday July 28, 1962: Dear Diary, Mother, Daddy and Mary Ann came for me today. I got a Camp Grandview shirt.
That catches me up. Camp Grandview. I was NOT happy there. My closest friend at the time, Marilyn Mason, and I planned that camp experience the entire previous school year. It all started the summer before, when my sister went to Blue Lake Camp in Andalusia, AL. That was a very popular Methodist Camp. I just had to go to camp. And then "THE PARENT TRAP" with Haley Mills came out. Marilyn and I saw that movie together (only if you'll notice in my diary, I referred to a movie as "the show" - we actually called it "the picture show") Another friend, Susan Price, had gone to Camp Grandview in Montgomery. She went for 2 weeks straight! It was considered a little more "upper crust" than just a "church camp". So - Marilyn and I presented our case to our parents. We wanted to go to Camp Grandview sooooooo badly. It was $35.00 per week. That means Susan's parents had spent $70.00 for her to go! Beyond my imagination. Marilyn and I begged and figured and talked camp all year. I even had the comic book, a thick one, based on the movie, "The Parent Trap". I read it till it was beyond dogeared. Mom and Dad did say yes. Marilyn's parents said yes. We went. I hated it! I don't know that Marilyn disliked it as much as I did. She said she did, but I don't think so. I was miserable. It doesn't read like that in my diary. I only alluded to it once. Worst case of homesickness in the history of little girls going to camp. I was rather private about it. I cried in my bunk and counted the days (5) until I saw my family again. I can still see that green and white ford rounding that curved road to my cabin. Best day of my life. Well, one of the best days. I remember all those days, vividly, which I wrote about in my diary. The horseback riding. Didn't like that. I was scared of the horses. I had daydreamed about those moments. Did not live up to my dreams! I even had real cowgirl boots, borrowed from a neighbor. I looked ridiculous. The instructor called me boots. The tennis? I was not good at it. Could not get the hang of it, and it was so hot. I liked swimming, except that we had to have alcohol drops in our ears. Left a weird taste in my throat. The event I looked forward to the most and enjoyed was "arts and crafts". Naturally. Oh - and the Christmas in July? That was the worst. Made me even more homesick. The idea of being at Camp Grandview during Christmas was a nightmare. We had all the decorations and music. It felt like Christmas!! Only so hot. One counselor was very kind to me. I still remember that she was from Jackson, AL. She was so kind and gracious and merciful. The other? It's not a Christlike word that I would use to describe her. But then the word is in my heart. Oops! I didn't even know about that word at age 11. She must not have liked being a counselor. I guess it was just a summer job. NOT NICE! But I survived. I returned home to my paradise on Williams Ave. in Evergreen, AL - to the safety of my parents - ahhhhhh. Home. To my little room, shared with my sister, in our twin beds with no headboards. Just twin beds. A chest of drawers. A chair, I think. Curtains that blew, when we usually had the windows up. Barbie Dolls to play with. Only one, actually. Not the thousands that my girls ended up owning. Friends on the street. Cousins in town. Friends across town. Happy Life.
I did go to camp again. It was the summer after the eighth grade. Marilyn Mason, Ruth Gowder and I went to Blue Lake in Andalusia - the Methodist Church Camp. We loved it. I was older. It was delightful. Best memories.
Oh, and Stephanie C., if you're reading this post, thank you for your sweet comment regarding my last post. Thank you for your prayers. I did survive yesterday's dose of antibiotic. Plan to do that whole routine again this afternoon - and will see Dr. Bradford tomorrow. My kidney - it's like my new pet.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God Thought of the Kidney and He Made It.

All of this, in this image, has been occupying my mind for one week now.
I've been in the hospital this week! I'm never sick! I've been hospitalized four times, for four babies. Well, in the second grade I had an impacted tooth extraction and was in the hospital for that. That was in 1958. Today that would be done in a dental chair.
So, last Sunday at 1:00 a.m. I woke with incredible chills, uncontrollable shaking! It's what woke me. Fever. Body Aches, all day and night, Sunday. To the doctor on Monday. Kidney Infection. Antibiotics. Not much better on Tuesday. He hospitalized me. I was in the hospital 2 nights. Came home, but the antibiotics were causing migraine level headaches. Along with that comes nausea. All of that had been happening in the hospital and gradually getting worse. So, on Friday, Dr. Bradford needed to see me again. We both agreed the antibiotics were causing the headaches and the headaches were causing the nausea. He said try one more dose, if that didn't work, get off the meds and I would see him on Tuesday of next week.
Today is Sunday. I am one day free of Antibiotics, but my lower back is hurting again. Yesterday, the only thing that totally stopped the headache was Excedrin Migrain. That knocked it out. Yay. But today, the lower back ache. I'm considering this afternoon at 3:00 (when I can take the Excedrin Migrain again) to also take the antibiotic again. It's Levoquin. Anybody reading this have any suggestions? I don't do "sick" very well. I have been so blessed with good health. I don't enjoy taking any pills of any sort - this is all new territory for me.
I did have a good night's sleep last night, finally - except for getting up to go to the bathroom. I am drinking tons of water - I'm scared not to.
So, in this blog of my favorite things, and things I like to remember - well - this doesn't fit. This is definitely not something I'll enjoy remembering - and certainly not one of my favorite things.
What a depressing post!!!!
On a more positve note - it's incredible how nice doctors and nurses can be. They have been to me - and people are so kind - my sweet neighbor brought me homemade ice cream - my friends, Mary, Sue and Donna visited me, at separate times, in the hospital - A kind male teenager in our church visited me twice in one day in the hospital - because he works down in X-rays. That was especially kind - what teenage young man does that? He's planning to be a radiologist. He'll be a good one!! My family has definitely stepped up to the plate. Even Ellie and Luke - such precious hearts - Luke really doesn't get it that I've been sick. He would just get so excited when he would get to see me - even though I looked the worst ever. But Ellie had a much concerned look on her face and wanted to hand me crackers when that was all I could eat. Little Ada is over in McDonough still working on her baby steps and showing off her new teeth.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Random Post

My birthday was Monday. I posted that info already.
On Wednesday Mary, my closest friend in Scottsboro, took me to eat in Huntsville. We've been doing that longer than I can remember. Actually that's not true. I can remember when I didn't know Mary - but we've been taking each other to lunch, celebrating one another's birthday, for such a long time that I don't even remember how it got started. Today we took pictures. We should have been doing it all these years. The one other time I suggested we take pictures, was the day I found out Ann was expecting Ellie. That was over 3 years ago. Almost 4 years. I can't post those right now. Wish I could. I need a scanner. So, here are today's pictures. Also, pictures from Monday when Ellie and Ann came over with a gift and candles for my already cut cake.
Elizabeth and Mary at the restaurant in Huntsville
We both look sleepy. What's that about?

Ellie is actually singing, along with Ann and Kate, Happy Birthday to Near.

Ellie is looking at Kate while she sings.

Ann, Kate, and I all had the "just got out of bed" look, so we avoided the camera.

Here is Ellie blowing out the candles on Near's Cake

Lemon Cheese Cake

Recipe belonging to Edith Wilkerson

found in the Sparta Cookbook or Favorite Recipes of Conecuh County

Cream 1 cup shortening and 2 cups sugar. Add 6 egg whites, one at a time and beat for one full minute after each. Add alternately, 1 cup milk, 3 1/2 cups flour which has been sifted with 2 tsp. baking powder.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Makes 2 layers.

Lemon filling:

8 slightly beaten egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 4 Tblsp. butter,

1 tsp. grated lemon peel, 1/3 cup lemon juice

Blend egg yolks with the sugar, lemon peel, juice and butter. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until very thick. Cool thoroughly. When cake has cooled, spread filling between layers.

Fluffy Frosting:

2 egg whites, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 tsp. light corn syrup, 1/3 cup water

In top of double boiler, combine the egg whites with sugar, corn syrup; beat well with rotary or electric beater. Place over, but not touching boiling water. Cook about 7 minutes beating constantly until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat; add vanilla and beat 2 minutes more. Frost cake.

This blog is about things I like to remember and my favorite things.

Mother was always a very good cook. She was also a very good seamstress. She took home economics from Mrs. McInnis of Evergreen High School. I guess she graduated from High School in 1937. I did the math. If anyone read my earlier posts, one can remember that I said Mom was a stickler for neatness, order, disciplined care of the homes. Making a bed the right way is something she taught me and I've written about it in that earlier post. I love the fine art of a well made bed. Call me crazy, but I'm glad to admit it. Mother really really enjoyed Mrs. McInnis. When I graduated from high school in 1969, I had the same Mrs. McInnis for Home and Family. Home Economics was still offered, but our culture was already beginning to change. I didn't think I "needed" Home Economics. Big Mistake! In Home and Family we just "talked" about how we would raise a family and live on a budget. It was a fun class and quite the opportunity for "visiting with friends". During my college years, between semesters, I took some sewing lessons, but I've never been able to sew like my Mom. Shopping for clothes, for Mary Ann and me, meant going to a fabric store. It took me a long time, as a single adult female, to learn how to shop for ready made clothes. I still am not very good at it. And Mom's not here to sew for me. My grandmother could sew and my great grandmother, Ada, could sew. I guess every female learned that. Well, my grandmother in Troy wasn't a seamstress or a cook. Probably someone made her clothes for her or she bought them at Rosenberg's in Troy, Alabama - and I remember her cook and maid, Willie. I loved Willie. More about that later.

Back to Mom and Mrs. McInnis. One of her school assignments was to prepare a meal at home, with a properly set table. The student had her night to do that in her home, and Mrs. McInnis would come in and grade her. She came into the female student's home and "checked it all out". I don't know if everyone did that, or if it was for extra credit. Mom did it. I do remember her telling me about it. She loved it. I would have been so nervous.

A properly set table. It's like a well made bed. Not that I do either of those all of the time. But I really, really like both of those disciplines. They each are a pleasure mark in our crazy world.

So, the above recipe:

Mom did some cooking for people, for pay. One of her specialties was the Lemon Cheese Cake. There is absolutely no cheese in it. I have never known why it was called that.

Mother made this particular cake for so many people. It has her signature on it, but I am sure she must have gotten it out of a recipe book or a magazine.

So, there we are. End of Post. I've run out of things to talk about.

I like to remember all my birthday meals with Mary, I like to remember Mom and her cooking, I like to remember Mom's stories about her life, and I like to remember my high school days as well......well, most of them.

Thank you, Kate, for making that cake for me.

Thank you, Mary, for the birthday meal.

and Thank you, God, for all the dear people You've blessed me with.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scottsboro>Gulf Shores>Pensacola>Gulf Shores>Evergreen>Maranook>Scottsboro

It was better than a cruise.

Mine and Charlie's trip had a rocky start. It's just hard for me to leave everything behind. Especially since I have a cell phone attached to the palm of my hand at all times, when travelling. With four daughters and 3 grandchildren, well, it's hard to let go.

We travelled to Gulf Shores on Monday July 7th,
stopping at Peach Park in Clanton for fresh peaches, blueberries, one watermelon, and homegrown tomatoes. Summertime in Alabama. You can't beat it. Passing through Montgomery we were officially in South Alabama. Soon the memories flooded back. I'm home. Next, Ft. Deposit, then Greenville, then Georgiana, Owassa and Evergreen. But on to Gulf Shores and the Phoenix Condominiums. There had been some "stuff", "girl stuff", which involved lots of phone calls - mostly me calling home - but hard to leave it alone - throughout the trip. So my emotions were rather unstable by the time we got out at the Phoenix. Charlie and I got unpacked and did a bit of unwinding on the deck, watching the Gulf and Sand, and smelling burgers which folks were grilling around the pool. We then went to "Zeke's Downunder" and ate outside with a view of many, many boats, owned by folks wealthier than we are.

On Tuesday, after a day in the sun, under an umbrella, reading, relaxing, listening to the gulf waves crashing, crashing, over and over, and dozing, waking with a start, surprised to find myself in a chair on the beach, Charlie and I drove over to Pensacola to take Lib(Charlie's mom) out to eat at a very local spot. Fried Shrimp, Raw Oysters, Salad - it was good.

Let me just say that there is a crossroads between Gulf Shores and Pensacola. It's called Innerarity Point. As a child I was blessed to have parents who had friends who owned homes there. It's on the Bay. It's wonderful. Because of those folks' hospitality and generosity, we were able to vacation in 3 different homes during my childhood, at Innerarity Point. That's another blog post. Moving on.

By Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I had left Scottsboro behind. The dust had settled with any issues that had "cropped up", and all was well with the Rhodes Girls - so I was able to relax. Charlie and I spent Friday on the beach and travelled to Evergreen Friday afternoon. We got there at 6:00 pm, with fresh boiled shrimp and the makings for salad, to share with Mary Ann, my SIS. It was good. Love to be in Mary Ann's house, surrounded by Evergreen stuff, Mom's fingerprints on everything, with Mary Ann's maintenance and upgrade. M.A. suggested we go for a drive after dinner to see two houses, in Evergreen, which are being rennovated. The 3 of us did - Charles, M.A. and myself - I was driving. The second house we saw is directly across the street from Williams Ave - the sacred street - where I lived from age 3 - 20. I drove down Williams Ave, just because. I know every house on that street. I could count them and name them now, but don't want to take the time. Our house was the eighth house on the left. The eighth out of 12 houses facing the street. Our house was the 9th lot, and the 13th lot was at the end of the street. The house on the 13th lot faced back down the street. In that house lived the Bells. Sue Bell Cobb, the youngest of 3 children, is now our Chief Justice in Alabama - Who knew? Well, I guess I just did take the time to count them. Anyway, as fate would have it, my oldest cousin, Bert, and his wife, Susan, live in the house which I grew up in. Yay! It's still in the family. Bert, Bert, Bert. He is the dearest person - well, it's hard to leave out all the other 9 cousins - But there's only one Bert and I love him so. Also his wife Susan. Bert is 11 years older than I. Susan, was a teenager when I was a little girl. She was my hero - one of my heroes. She was beautiful - and I still see her that way - as a young blonde teenager. I guess she is 10 years older than I, so that would make her 67.

So, back to our "drive". We passed 305 Williams Avenue. Mary Ann saw Susan and Bert at the door, I yelled out "HELLOOOOOO". We pulled in the driveway. NO INTENTIONS of getting out. They came to the car, wanted us to see their flowers, reluctantly got out, looked outside, ended up inside and staying until 10:00 or 10:30. It will go down as one of the best times I've ever had in my life. It wasn't planned, but spontaneous. We couldn't have planned it. We talked about everything in the world, our past, our present, what we think - it was the best. Funny aside, when we were leaving, again, I was driving - Bert and Susan were trying to figure out the best way for me to "back out" - you'd have to know the driveway - I had to remind them - this was the driveway I practiced on when I was 15. I know every inch of it - every way to maneuver. The entire year I was 15, waiting to be 16, I drove and backed out on that driveway, without my parents in the car. But never beyond that point.

Charlie and I drove to Maranook on Saturday to pick up our "baby girl" who is on Support Staff at Camp Maranook in Lafayette, AL. Charles and Barbara Kendrick-Holmes are the Mama and Daddy of that camp. They are Kate's "other parents". This next statement is a tribute to them and what they have meant to Kate. They undergird what Charlie and I have invested in Kate - they also fill in the blank spaces which we have left undone. They are Godly People. I love them for what they have meant to Kate.

We got Kate and came home on Saturday. LOVE TO BE HOME. LOVE IT. My acre. I wallow in it. The grass needs cutting. LB had left the house in GREAT SHAPE. YAY for LB!!

And the moment when I saw Ellie and Luke on Sunday night. That's heaven. Who can top that acclamation???? They threw themselves upon me. "It was too much to bear", as my mom used to quote her mom and aunt - "Northcutt Drama". They squealed over me, they squealed over Kate, and they squealed over Charlie. And then they saw their Daddy - See?? Ellie and Luke had been with their MOM in McDonough, GA visiting Laura Beth, Ada and Scott. They returned on Sunday, when Charlie and Steve were at a "church meeting". So they came straight to my house, saw me, then Kate, then Charlie, then Steve. It was all separate. Those two little bitty people couldn't have showered us with more blessings. How can I be so blessed as to have two little precious people love me so? But they did it to each of us, the same. Too Much. The only thing that would make it better would be to have Ada in the mix.

Kate had prepared, on Sunday evening, a meal for Charlie and me. And a birthday cake. My birthday was Monday July 14th. 57.

So, Monday was my birthday - and Kate woke up here, but had to leave by 11:00. She was a bit late, but got away. I turned around to see my house and how we had added clutter upon clutter. I was sorting through all of that when I received a phone call from my "cousin-in-law", Martha .......

Save that story for next day's post.

For the record, my dear friend, Mary Bratton called me ON MY BIRTHDAY, to wish me a happy birthday and to set a date for "lunch out". Also, got a voice mail from SWEET SUE Paulk, who was out of town, to wish me a happy birthday. Also, Ann and Ellie showed up early Monday morning with a gift and card and candles to put in the cake which we had already cut on Sunday night. Thanks to all - I forget most birthdays and those that I remember, I'm tardy in my recognizing them. I deserve nothing, but those who remember - that is grace upon grace. If any of my daughters forget, well, it's only what I taught them - reach a certain age, and one can forget. :-) The forgetting relieves my own guilt - therefore, the forgetting is a gift in and of itself.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Quick Recap Before I Go

This is Ada . This is Luke.
Ada on Sunday morning. Getting into my cabinets.
I have now bought safety guards. I just need to install them.
Ellie took this picture. Luke looking through my magnifying glass.
I can't do without my magnifying glass, when I need to see something really small. Ellie. With lipstick, and posing for the camera.

Mary Ann with her great niece and great nephew.
Luke explaing things to Ada.

Really quick. The Fourth of July weekend has come and gone. Charlie and I are going to Gulf Shores, but Laura Beth, Ada, and Sarah will be here. Laura Beth will actually be having a friend from her childhood visit and stay overnight, with her new baby boy. I am definitely getting old. I used to leave Ann and Laura Beth, as teenagers, with Sarah and Kate, who were elementary age, while Charlie and I took a "weekend" away. Now, they are both married, with children, and I feel somewhat stressed about leaving my house with them to have another friend over who is married, also, with a child. I definitely need to take a step back and reevaluate.

The weekend was fun. The children were adorable. Mary Ann enjoyed them so much. They loved her. Ada, my "out of town" granddaughter, and I bonded a LOT. She really, really wants me, and cries for me. That definitely boosts my "maternal ego". It was a very big family thing, but exhausting. My blessings are exhausting me.

I will go to Gulf Shores and return to write about.....

never mind - Ellie and Luke are here....
and I am going to bathe Ada.....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday in the Present

Today is Wednesday. We are heading into some full and active days - changes. Something different. Sarah, my 3rd daughter(see list of blogs under MY ART), is traveling home tomorrow from Auburn for a very long weekend. She was planning to come home today, but one of her art instructors changed that. He set up a mandatory critique for tomorrow. She'll travel home tomorrow afternoon. My sister, Mary Ann, is coming tomorrow. And tomorrow night, later in the evening, Laura Beth, my 2nd daughter (see list of blogs under ADA UPDATES), and Scott and Ada are traveling here, from Georgia. We will all be here on Friday, along with Ann and Steve and the children, to celebrate the 4th of July. Food will be involved. It's a family gathering.
Saturday, Mary Ann will return to her home. Laura Beth and Scott are going to "take a day", while I keep Ada. I'm guessing Ann and Ellie and Luke will come over. Sarah will be here. Some of those folks are staying at my house while Charlie and I go on a little trip next week.
I'm saying all of that to say, this could very well be my last post for several days. Today I'm getting ready for my family to come here, plus I've been with Ann and Ellie and Luke. I am about to post pictures which I took today of our time spent at their new house, which is being built. It would be very appropriate, if I had a scanner and access to pictures which are at Mary Ann's house, to post black and whites of Mary Ann and Me and Mother taken in 1954 when Mother and Daddy were building their house at 305 Williams Avenue in Evergreen. What I have instead are today's pictures - which would be more appropriate on Ann's blog, but I happen to know that she is especially sick today, with the new baby hormones and probably won't be posting a blog today. We did stop by CVS to pick up wrist bands which are supposed to help with motion sickness, morning sickness, and chemo sickness. They look like sweat bands for athletes.

Ellie and Luke peering into Ann and Steve's tub. They see a big bug. In Steve and Ann's bedroom, opening fixtures.
Going upstairs to see the fixtures.Ellie before she climbs the stairs, telling me something very important. Ellie in her pink room, showing me her light fixture.
Luke and Ellie and in the bathoom they will share. Hope that works out, peacefully.

Ann checking things out. Notice her wrist bands for nausea. Ellie looking also. She imitates everything Ann does and says. Ann commented that she looks 4 months pregnant in this picture. She doesn't usually look that way. It's the angle and the camera. Oops.Luke looking out his bedroom window. Wonder how much he'll grow, and the memories he'll make, living in this house, and in this room.Ellie and Luke, in Luke's room.Very loud country music was blasting throughout the house. Notice the red box. Music Source. Ellie and Luke are dancing here.The house in progress. The truck and trailor are carrying some cabinets to be installed. The red ditch on the left is the electricity being put in, or installed, or hooked up. Whatever. The house will have electricity.The house taken from the van where Luke and I waited while Ann and Ellie transported doorknobs, several, to the house.Luke, in the back of the van.Ann and Ellie coming for another load of doorknobs.Ann and Ellie, close up. These days, Ellie will hardly be willing to let Ann out of her sight. She does NOT want to stay with "Near", that's me, the baby sitter. Luke, on the other hand, loves me and prefers me. Wonder how long that will last.Luke, after his bath, on the couch, watching Tigger and Pooh. He loves hats, and his paa-paa(pacifier) and blanket. Ann and Ellie had to make yet another run to Home Depot. Ellie wouldn't even talk about staying with me. I gave Luke a bath. He was so dirty from the house trip plus, a dirty diaper.

Luke watching Tigger and Pooh, can't break the concentration.

Again, mesmerized.


That's all for today, and for a while. I'll take pictures of the next few days and post them. Can't wait to see my little Ada. I want to see her take some steps. I've heard she's taken a few. And then, I'll plunder through old stuff and see what I've got.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Northcutt Family

When I was in the 8th grade, in a biology class, Charlie Wild, a classmate, turned around to me and said, out of the blue, "The Northcutts and Kudzu are going to take over Conecuh County". I just laughed.

This is my story for today.

I've mentioned that I lived in Evergreen, Alabama, growing up. My grandparents were Ella and Elbert Northcutt. Ella and Elbert lived all of their lives in Evergreen. They had four girls, Lucille, Edith, Florence, and Mary. The first 3 were three years apart, but Mary was born 10 years after Florence. So, you can see that Lucille was 16, Mom was 13, and Florence was 10 when Mary was born. So, before any of them grew up and married, and before any of us (their offspring) were born they had this big life going on there, with many relatives living nearby and visiting quite a bit. We always heard those stories. Elbert was in business and eventually became the owner of Northcutt's, a Clothing Store for Men. But always he was in that kind of business; first working for someone, and eventually having his own business.

They all lived in a rather large, yet unadorned house on McMillan Street. 111 McMillan Street. I think they had it built. It sat on a slope of ground so that the front porch was close to the street and closer to the ground than the back of the house. The back of the house sat high off the ground, and I'm telling this for a reason. It was a wood frame house built on brick columns. There wasn't a solid wall around all the area "under the house". There were just brick columns throughout for support. So, in Mother's day and on into my day we called that area "Under The House". We'd say, "let's play under the house". They said it, too. It was a great "underworld". It was hard smooth ground under there and it was dark and cool. Naturally there was more light, closer to "Out from under the house". An adult could stand up under there, toward the back of the house, but of course even a child had to kneel down as he got closer to the front of the house.

So, we have Ella, Elbert and their four girls; and living with them was Granny. That was Ella's Mother. Ella was the youngest of many siblings. (I always forget how many.) Granny's name was Ada Chapman Henderson. I never knew her, but it's as if I did. If I had a perfect memory and could write all the stories I've heard about her I would do it. She died right before my sister was born - so I just missed her. I was born 2 years later. I'm getting sidetracked.

In that house on 111 McMillan Street lived the Northcutt family, Ella, Elbert, Lucille, Edith, Florence, Mary and Granny(Ada Henderson). Next door to them, in a smaller house which looked like a "Low Country Cottage", lived Grandma Chapman, Granny's Mother. It's been told to me that Granny lived with Ella and Elbert and would take care of Ma Chapman during the day and spend the night with her, so she wouldn't be alone. She had to have been quite old, because that was 4 generations living side by side. Ella's many siblings also had children, which created a large extended family for Lucille, Edith, Florence and Mary. The three cousins whom the girls seemed to be the closest to were Virginia Holt, Elizabeth, and "Brother". These were the 3 children of Ella's sister, Elizabeth, whom we called "Sister". Virginia Holt, Elizabeth, and Brother were "out-of-town" cousins, but visited often.

In this Blog Post I am going to share a letter written by Louis, the son of "Brother". He would be a second cousin - He's at my level of the Fam Tree. He wrote it to the surviving sisters, Edith, Flo and Mary, after Lucille died in October 2004. He mentions Joanne and Chuck in the letter. They are the two children of Cousin Elizabeth.

Dear Florence, Edith, Mary and all y'all,

Hearing about Lucille brought back some of the grief I felt at losing my parents. It especially made me recall my father, because he always did think the Northcutt women were wonders of the world. It also brought back some fond memories of how kind Lucille and all of you were to a shy, pimply-headed younger cousin from Virginia. Dad's affection for you was never hard to understand and you have a special place in my heart as well.

I've imagined that if Mack and Lucille have met up again somewhere, he probably said, "Oh, no," and Ella probably said, "What's wrong, brother, it's just Lucille?" And he said, "Well, I know, but it looks like I'm gonna have to die again - at least this time it'll be from laughing." If he's been talking with Elbert, he's probably already considerably weakened. I do believe that the laughter you all shared in your lives will survive your generation and has already been passed on. Joanne, Chuck, and I have known it and share it with each other - and we all owe you a debt of gratitude for just being who you are in that very special place that's Evergreen, Alabama.

It's been a very long time, but y'all are still my people, and I love you.

Sincerely yours,

And now I'll share a poem written by Carolyn Leslie, daughter to Cousin Virginia Holt. This poem was written for her brother after Virginia Holt died. It expresses the emotions and feelings and realities that are threaded throughout this Southern Family.

I Love this Poem. It Speaks My Heart.
Generations Recalled
Mist and memory
Veil my childhood trees
Of autumn scarlet and gold
Bound with the green of pines.
A place so real my heart
Can visit still and hear
Our calls and laughter
Echo in the woodland hills.
Dreams spiraled upward
Like the smoke of burning leaves
and left us breathless
In October's blue forever.
So swift the passage of the years
Through a blur of seasons
Spun with laughter, music, tears.
Dreams and promise beyond reason
Fed our souls a heady brew
Of tomorrows and sunrise and forever.
I hold the feelings close.
The boundaries of time cannot sever
My fragile tie to that magic place
Where whispers are a child's command.
My father's smile is in your eyes
My mother's blessing in your hand.
-Carolyn Lesie
So that is today's post.
Oh, and I'm behind on my 1962 Diary Entries. Let me catch up. Which I think I'll go through the whole week to give a better flow of things.
Thursday June 28, 1962 - Dear Diary, Plain old hot day today.
Friday, June 29, 1962 - Dear Diary, I played with Jane today. I also got a shot today. D.T.
Saturday, June 30, 1962 - Dear Diary, Mary Ann and I made a tent today. Daddy helped.
Sunday, July 1, 1962 - Dear Diary, Mary Ann, Ann Millsap and I kept Mary Claire and Melissa in the nursery.
Monday, July 2, 1962 - Dear Diary, I'm spending the night with Rachel tonight.
Tuesday, July 3, 1962 - Dear Diary, Today I went swimming. Ann Millsap ate dinner with us.
Wednesday, July 4, 1962 - Dear Diary, I went to Prayer Meeting tonight.
Thursday, July 5, 1962 - Dear Diary, Tonight Ella and Elbert came out to our house.
Friday, July 6, 1962 - Dear Diary, I got a shot today. Also we cooked outside tonight.
Saturday, July 7, 1962 - No Entry.
Sunday, July 8, 1962 - Dear Diary, We ate dinner with Elbert and Ella today.
Have a great day!