Sunday, February 22, 2009
Aunt Fay is the 3rd person from the right. I think the man on the far right may be my grandfather Horace Hodge, but I'm not 100% sure. It could be Aunt Fay's husband to be Tryon Branton, but I think he is more probably one of the men in dark pants. On the far left, I suspect that may be my great-grandmother Cora Hodge. No ideas on anybody else, so if anyone out there has a guess, let me know.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Today I rediscovered a couple of photos that shows the watermelon pile under the tree and my mother in the act of enjoying one of them.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Buddy & Nettie
The second shows the best man and the maid of honor.
No professional photographer attended to ensure there were pictures of the bride and groom with their parents. I feel lucky that someone took these two snapshots that day, or there would be no photographic record at all.
For years Mother's wedding dress, white with navy piping, hung in the closet. I don't think I ever tried it on, though I played dress up in the other dresses she kept in the dim recesses of her closet. I don't know when she disposed of it, but I guess she got tired of moving it from parsonage to parsonage and donated it to some clothing drive. The only heirlooms I have from that day are their wedding rings and the memory book with the registry of guests.
The wedding register is practically a family census. Aunts and cousins, brothers and sisters, old family friends and church friends.
About 14 months later, I came along.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I regret that I never got to know Grandpa Wilcoxen well. Even after an extended visit to their home when I was 9 years old and stayed with them for 6 weeks that summer, I returned home with very little additional knowledge of the man. He was a quiet man, with not much to say. Even when my brother went through a toy soldier phase and had left his troops strung across the floor and my grandfather stepped barefooted on their little plastic bodies, a pained grunt was his only comment. I never heard him raise his voice.
The Arthur Wilcoxen family, in the early 1940s.
Me and Grandpa, about 1955.
I think my grandfather was a good person. He was kind to me, soft-spoken, went to church faithfully, and if he had a red-head's temper I never saw evidence of it. He is responsible for my "Yankee" half. Born in Perrysville, Indiana, 110 years ago yesterday, he moved to Texas with his parents when he was a young man.
Grandpa, I hardly knew you. But I miss you.
Arthur John Wilcoxen
February 12, 1899 - January 2, 1976
Until then, here are my grandfathers in a rare pose of the two of them together.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Much was made today of it being the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.
It suddenly occurred to me that there was a 100th anniversary to remember and that means much more to me.
Tomorrow, February 13th, marks 100 years since my grandfather was born.
Horace Hodge in his prime
To my mind he was just as fine a man as Lincoln. He was self-educated for the most part, just like Lincoln. He was honest to a fault, just like Lincoln.
The Horace Hodge family, 1954
He worked long, hard hours in the fields, raising wonderful watermelons and peanuts. In my earliest years, I would see him mostly at meal times. This picture of him at the supper table represents my memories of him then.
In his later years, he was plagued by health problems and was usually in his chair reading, but always generous with a smile and full of gentle teasing of his citified granddaughter.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
This post will serve as both Heritage Photo of the Week and Heirloom of the Week. I have spent a good deal of the past week dragging old photo albums out of the closets and drawers and re-inspecting their contents for interesting photos I have missed in previous explorations. It never fails that I will find pictures that interest me very much now when I totally overlooked them in the past.
Case in point. This photo was titled "Susie". Susie was undoubtedly a favored milk cow owned by my grandparents. From the photos that share the album page with this shot, I'm guessing this dates to the late 1940s. I've never paid much attention to this photo, but this week it suddenly leaped out and grabbed my attention.
To the right of Susie, sitting back against the fence, is a white jug. This time when I glanced at the photo, I saw the jug in the background. That same white jug now sits in my living room.
There is no doubt that this jug was a product of the McDade Pottery Shop. It bears the distinctive stamped number to indicate its size, this one being a 5 gallon jug. Much of the McDade pottery bears this kind of stamp in a size that is unique to the output from that pottery shop.
Even back when Mother rescued the jug, McDade Pottery was already becoming collectible. She got to feeling guilty about having made off with the big white jug and returned it to her parents' home. Shortly afterwards, my uncle took possession and it resided with him for many years.
In one of those peculiar turns of event, a few years back my uncle and his second wife separated. She was concerned that some of the items remaining in her possession might be family heirlooms and invited me to come take a look and reclaim anything with attached family history. My aunt and I made the trip to her house and the first thing I saw when we arrived was the white jug I had heard so much about and that Mother had grieved for when she had returned it to the farm.
So the big white jug came home with me, to Mother's great delight. It now sits proudly in my living room, along with other pieces of McDade pottery, including the ugly brown crock in the photo. My family has a special connection to the McDade Pottery Shop, which I will explain in a future post. Every piece of McDade pottery I own is a treasured heirloom.
The big white jug is back home where it belongs. And the photo is one of those rare finds that proves the provenance. It did indeed sit in the cowpens, just as Mother told me.