coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Family, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

The shelf next to my “work” table. The small bone is a vertebra that I found at the lake. I think that the lovely carved wooden container is bamboo, and probably came back from the Philippines with my father.

Yesterday I started blogging some of my earliest memories and I’m going to continue to do that from time to time. I think a lot about them when I am in that world between wakefulness and sleep. Plus, there is not really too much else to write about in my personal life, and I prefer to not write about politics, although occasionally I will have to put my opinions out into the world. I don’t want anybody assuming that because I am a white Boomer from North Carolina that I am right wing. I am a leftie all the way, and I have been since high school when I began to understand what humanity is doing to our environment. I can’t say that I understood racism then, although my heart was in the right place.

My mother and father always voted opposite parties, until my father started catching on to Reagin and voted against him in his second term in 1984. He still voted for Jesse Helms, though, bless his heart, because he said Jesse was head of the Senate Ag Committee and everything was about small farms for Daddy. After Jesse was re-elected, he moved to the Foreign Affairs committee so Daddy’s reason was moot.

I am a leftie to the point that Portugal not only calls me because of its affordability, beauty, and friendly people, but because it has a democratic socialist government. I am going to do my best to get there and get EU citizenship when I retire in 2023, and Sandy seems to be committed to this as well. What is going to be the big headache is downsizing our hoard and fixing the house and yard up to get our property sold. It will sell quickly, based on what I’ve seen on this street. We invested well.

Once we get Portuguese citizenship, I hope that will be my back door to moving to Ireland, which has always been my dream, but its income requirements are beyond what we make.

I keep saying that I will get back to artwork but I just can’t seem to do it. At least I have started exercising. I joined Sandy for his “one mile express” low impact exercise video yesterday and my feet were fine last night. Hopefully my tendinitis has healed enough that I can continue to exercise and sleep without pain.

Yesterday afternoon, I retreated here again and played games on my Kindle and read news articles and my current book and cuddled with Diego.

The bed frame is from my Aunt Lib’s bedroom from the Parham house. It traveled to my parents’ house, where it became my grandmother Jones’ bed while she lived with us. It is just the right size for this room, big enough for me, the cats, and my books.

Right now I am reading “House Made of Dawn,” a slim book with beautiful prose that takes place in New Mexico. Given my renewed interest in writing, I may read Natalie Goldberg’s book on memoir writing, “Old Friend from Far Away,” next.

Family

Early family memories: Parham grandparents

This really will be a brain sweep, since I am kind of overwhelmed with all of the possibilities that I have for this weekend. All of them at home, of course. I’m trying out the gallery feature on WordPress for the first time.

The Jones women: sisters and sisters-in-law. Back to front: Aunt Mildred, my grandmother Madge Jones, my step-grandmother Pauline, unknown (maybe Nell), Gertrude or Eva with Madge’s hand on her shoulder, unknown, unknown, Addie in the dotted dress on left, Gertrude or Eva in white dress in front, unknown. I never could tell Aunt Gertrude and Aunt Eva apart. Aunt Eva was the oldest sister. Of all these great aunts, I knew Aunt Mildred, who was the youngest, the best. I probably resemble Aunt Nell the most in personality, but rarely got to see her. There were ten brothers and sisters.


So, a bit of autobiography. My earliest memory is probably my grandfather Parham (aka Daddy Thad) sitting in a red leather armchair with metal studs on the upholstery. This had to be when I was two or younger because he died in 1963. I spent a lot of toddler time in my grandparents’ house in Marietta. My mother had a hysterectomy after I was born so I like to joke that I broke the mold, but in truth it meant that between that and a lot of eldercare on her part, I was babysat a lot.

My grandmother Parham, Eliza Henley, died in the 1930s from a sinus infection, when my father was 13. My grandfather Parham remarried my mother’s aunt, and that is how my parents met. So the woman who I called Grandmother on that side of the family was actually my great aunt. It wasn’t until much later that I worked all that out. My father called his stepbrother “brother” and mother called him “cousin.” She called my “grandmother” Aunt Pauline.

I don’t know why I was so formal with what I called my grandparents. I called both grandmothers “Grandmother” and both grandfathers “Granddaddy.” My other siblings called my grandmother Jones “Mom-o.”

Great Aunt Pauline Smith Jones Parham

Anyway, Grandmother Parham/Great Aunt Pauline spoiled me rotten. She lived in the back part of the house and the rest of it was shut off, dusty and mysterious, and I was terrified of the rest of the house. There was a small room with a propane heater, a sofa and chair and a little bed to sleep on. Perhaps because she was descending into dementia, I got a hefty fear of ghosts from her, because I remember her sometimes talking about Granddaddy like he was still alive, and it was very confusing. She cried a lot and reminisced about her once long red hair. I loved staying there, though, and I know that she loved me to pieces. She scratched my back to settle me down and I still long to have my back scratched when I need comfort. There were interesting old books of fairy tales and nature illustrations, and wooden blocks and little plastic figurines to play with. Outside, I loved to pick figs from her tree and her next-door neighbor, Miss Marie, had a rope swing. I remember spotted tiger lilies and lantana.

I was enthralled with a cup that had a picture of a cow on a cup that had a cow on a cup into infinity. I see the kitchen so clearly in my mind. I must have eaten many meals there.

When I dream about this antibellum house, which is often, there is a mysterious stairway down to a huge cavernous abandoned ballroom, with lots of interesting antiques and junk to poke through. It is scary and fascinating at the same time.

My brother and his first wife lived there for a time, and then my sister inherited it and rented it out. I explored it thoroughly and found some treasures. The attic was huge, pitch dark, unwired, and full of 19th to early 20th century junk. This house nearly fell apart before my sister finally sold it to someone who spent a huge amount of effort and money fixing it back up. The chimney actually fell through the roof. Then they went bankrupt and it sold to someone in the community who takes loving care of it. It is a beautiful house now.

Later, Grandmother Parham/Great Aunt Pauline went to a nursing home, and Mama and I visited her every week. She descended into that violent paranoid place where she attacked her roommate for stealing from her. I was told for a long time that I inherited Aunt Pauline’s “nerves” which I can tell you that I did not appreciate hearing. I dread the specter of dementia more than anything else in this world.

I have such complex memories of that old house, and it’s usually a pleasure when I dream about its rooms. If there are any photos of it, there aren’t any that I can access. The visual memories will all have to reside in my brain. My brother has the Civil War era bowie knife that I found in a closet. I have a Civil War cavalry manual, stack of 19th century magazines, a corset, a spinning wheel, and an American history book that is pre-Civil War.

Family

Welsh Roots

I finished “How Green Was My Valley,” a coming-of-age novel set in a small Wales mining village, at a time when workers were beginning to strike against the mine owners. My great-grandmother was named Martha Washington David, from a line of Davids that immigrated to South Carolina from Wales in the early 1800s.

Anyway, it set me thinking about maps and names, and how it seems that the Welsh often have what we consider to be a first name for a last name – like David, Thomas, James, and John. One of my direct ancestors is named David David. Variants of John’s son are common in the English speaking world, and Jones is a major line in my family.

In a parallel reality I am a historian researching names.

The funniest one I found last night was Hypolite LeFevre. He was from Middlesex, England.

Anyway, here is a map of the area around Swansea where the Davids came from. Looks like a beautiful place to put on the bucket list. I found these maps on a great site: A Vision of Britain through Time.

I love the language and the names of the places, but I can’t imagine learning Welsh.

Owen David was born in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales in 1711. He died in Cheraw, South Carolina in 1788. Pembrey is in the bottom right corner of the second map.

Thomas David was born in Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Carmarthen, Wales in 1622.

David Davies was born in Denbighshire, Wales, and married Anna Ellen Morgan in Llanrhidian, Glamorgan, Wales in 1618. His father’s name was David Rees, and his alternate name is David ap David. I assumed “ap” means “son of” and kept going back.

The farthest back this line is traced in familysearch.org is Jenkyn David, father of Ieuan Ap Jenkyn David, who was from Llantwitt-fardre, Glamorgan, Wales, whose first wife, lo and behold, has a first name from “How Green is my Valley”: Angharadd.

Each child from this marriage is listed as having the last name Davis or Davies, but their parents and ancestors hark back to the old naming conventions.

Let’s look at Angharadd Verch Philip Jeven, born in Gwydir, Caernarfonshire, Wales in 1550. Her father was named, you guessed it, Philip ap Jeven Gwilim. So “Verch” must mean “daughter of.” Her brother: Rees ap Philip.

So that’s my Welsh lesson for today, courtesy of the Church of Latter Day Saints. If you read this far, congratulations!

coffee pot posts, Family

Sunday sweep

Just finished up 2011 on the Flickr to WP blog project. And boy, in hindsight, it’s obvious why I ended up needing hand surgery. I was a busy bee. There were SO MANY photos of books that I made in these posts that I forgot about entirely, and were either sold or given away. I was also stitching and weaving. I wish I could conjure up some of that creative energy now. It’s been good to see that I am capable of all this, though.

Today is the anniversary of my father’s death, which was in 1986. However, this morning I was thinking about the day that I walked away from my mother, the last of her children to depart after the funeral. I felt her eyes on me long after I drove away, but maybe that was just me. She was pretty angry with me for minor stuff, like what I wore to the funeral, and we would have the worst fights of our lives for the next six months, saying awful things to each other that still haunt me. In my defense, the worst came from her. I really put up with a lot and tried to appease her, since I realized what she must be going through.

I wondered what she did after she turned and went back into her house that day. Did she sleep? Did she cry? She was living alone for the first time in her life.

Later, she thrived in her independence. She traveled without having to worry about my father or her children. She had part-time work as a temp for the local postal service and made enough money to get by. She could have married again to a boyfriend who she really loved, but decided against it because they lived about a hundred miles apart and neither wanted to move. She was the Queen Bee of Marietta, NC, and stayed constantly busy in church, community, and art groups. Her children actually worried about her doing too much when she hit her 80s, and she was, until back pain and frustration with computers slowed her down. She worked until she was 83 and had a huge garden until a couple of years after that.

I’m glad that we finally started getting along. I miss her. I think that Daddy would have been happy with the way her life continued after he died. On one hand, I wish she was here for me to turn to in these dark days. On the other, I am glad that she didn’t live to deal with it. She would probably be in a nursing home and miserable, and by the time she died she was ready to go.

I was proud of my mother. She lived her life fully. I was Daddy’s girl, but by the end, I was Mama’s girl too.

Family

Rest in Peace, Virginia DeLaine Anthony

My beloved Aunt DeLaine passed away on Saturday night at the age of 91. She had a long, amazing, adventurous life. The last time I saw her I had a feeling that I might not see her again, so I told her that I have adored her all my life and that I hoped that I would “grow up” to be like her. At that time she was recovering from heart and hip surgery, and was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s but still living in her own apartment and still walking up and down those 17 steps. That was the long weekend when we went to Cripple Creek, Colorado. That was in September 2017.

In 2016, we visited a lovely French bistro/shop in Longmont, and later the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings Museum:

Our visit in September 2015 included the infamous ziplining adventure over a creek in Idaho Springs. I ended up having a panic attack and wimped out. DeLaine, however, was the most enthusiastic and stalwart of the four of us. At age 87, she may have been the oldest zipliner they had ever had.

In 2014, we went to the Denver Botanical Gardens for the Chihuly exhibit.

I loved that she could be goofy too. This was in Boulder in June 2010.

I have loads of photos of Aunt DeLaine. I chose the ones of our adventures in Colorado together during the past nine years, but she came to North and South Carolina to visit often as well. She was a world traveler, and had lots of tales to tell, including about the celebrities she met when she was a “Girl Friday” for KBIG in Los Angeles.

I will miss her deeply.