Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sentimental Sunday Find Nancy Phillips Hankins Birth

Nancy Phillips Hankins Obituary

Until I found my 2nd great grandmother's obituary, I did not have any clue as to her birth date or her death date or what her character was. Today, I revisited my ancestor's birth dates on FamilySearch while filling out the questions to ask your grandmother sheet for my grandchildren. I identified that two of my daughters were born on my dad's two sisters birth dates. I was curious as to who else might have been born on another relative's birth date.  Several were really close like my 4th daughter was 2 days away from my dad. My oldest son was 4 days away from mine and 3 from my mom's sister. My youngest son was born on my Mom's birthday. One of my children was born in December. I have not found an ancestor born in December, marriages, just no births. I do have to say that there are many we don't have full birth dates on.
Back to my reason for this story... My birthday is the same as Nancy's. I hope my longevity is as great as hers and more, but mostly I hope there will be nice things said about me like they said about her.  A life goals.
This was a Mother's Day endeavor to practice what I preach and write down my personal information for my grandchildren.
How about you. Have you written down things for your family. Maybe you don't have children, but you have memories you can share about family that nieces and nephews, cousins would love to know.
FamilySearch Blog has some ideas to help.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Hero Had GERD

Talking with his mom, you would never know that the Hero had an obedient bone in his body, but I witnessed him being called, in a manner of fashion, obedient by his doctor.
In his mid fifties the Hero was diagnosed with GERD (GERD, is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease; a condition in which acidic gastric fluid flows backward into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn. It had become painful and caused him sleep loss so we had gone into the doctor to find a solution. The doctor said the best treatment was weight loss and raising the head of our bed to a 45 degree angle. The Hero was cautioned to not use a foam wedge that was available on the market. The effect of that would be to cut him off in the middle and make the GERD worse. We will not talk about the weight loss.
We went home and the Hero began problem solving. There weren't any wooden support extensions back then and our bed was a huge wooden backboard bed that had a memory foam mattress that he had paid 2500 dollars for, so he wasn't giving that up. Hmmm, said he, if I put blocks up under the edges I think I can raise the bed up to the 45 degree angle. He bought concrete cinder blocks, and began his process of measuring the angle and adding smaller bricks to achieve his angle. He did it. Our massive bed was like this...
It was exactly what the doctor had described. The only problem was you would have to occasionally crawl back up to the top at night when you slid down the slope. 😄😄 I love that man, he made life such an adventure. 

When we went back to see the doctor on the follow up visit and the Hero told him what he had done. The doctor was amazed. He said no one had ever actually done that. (I am sitting here laughing at the doctor's face and the Hero's face who was amazed that no one had ever done what the doctor said... duh) We continued to sleep like that for a few years until the Hero was diagnosed with cancer and it became impossible for him to get into the bed like that.
Today there is actually a huge wedge that goes between the mattress and the box springs to elevate the whole top of the mattress and not bend the body at the waist like the "pillow" wedges do.
Well, when you go to bed tonight in your comfortable bed, think of the Hummer who would use her elbows to inch up in bed to the top quietly so as to not wake her Hero up. Life can be funny.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Scenic Pictures - Sentimental Sunday story

I have a rule that when I with family on a trip that the scenic pictures always has a family member(s) in them. That way the scene means something later when viewed by later generations (needs name and place on back still. 😉).
However, there are times that a picture maybe taken of an object or thing without a person and to you it will mean great memories. To others without a story, it may get tossed to the wayside and why did they take that picture. I have two such pictures and will proceed to write the stories behind them for future generations to enjoy.

The first picture involves my dad and my Hero, Ned. 
When we first moved to the "farm" (6.7 acres) we had a small barn, chicken pens, and a pig pen, and rabbit hutches. We were as my father-in-law put it, gentlemen farmers; meaning the Hero worked in Houston then he and my dad built stuff on the weekends. After clearing much of the brush and small trees in the back, my dad was worried of losing trees.  As he was sitting next to the barn watching his chickens, he as he liked to do, he noticed a small pine seedling sprouting in the barnyard
Not the actual seedling, but exactly like it.
He decided it would be a fine addition there to give shade to his critters. Picking up a stick he fashioned a stake and stuck it in the ground to protect it from foot damage so we would know it was there. The Hero thought that was a great idea too. So as the pine grew, so did the stake, thus everyone would know it was a choice tree. 
40 years later both of my men are gone, but I imagine occasionally they might look down and say that is a fine tree.  It turned out it is a Loblolly Pine and is beautiful. Every time I pull in at home and park, I face it.  I remember the years of protecting it and the care the two men did to make sure it survived to be the tree it is now. 
Actual tree 2019, 40 years later.
The other landscape picture is of a road going to our home. We used to call it the tunnel. Everyone knew that when we arrive at the “tunnel” that home was just a short way down the road. We loved the oaks and pines that covered the road and that you could see light at the end of the tunnel.
As the children would say..."Almost home"...
There were many stories about that area of the road. The the road was an iron ore road that had to be graded by a road grader. 
For my grands: a 1960s grader (like the one on our road) 
The grader would not smooth the road out after his first pass and it would leave the surface like a washboard. 
For my grands: a washboard women used to wash their clothes...remind me to tell you a story about that.
You would drive down it and feel like your teeth were chattering. The worse time was when I was expecting my 4th child and every time we drove over it I would exclaim “slow down!” The Hero would smile or even (added injury) giggle and say won’t help. My body parts did not agree, but it was what it was…miserable. Everyone was excited when they finally decided to blacktop the road (wish I had written the date down).
The tunnel is gone now due to development. New owners decided they needed a clear view of the road, but the random picture I took one day to remind my children of home, still survives. I am so glad I took it. When they see it, they still think home. That is why there is a picture of a tree tunnel in my picture box.

Write the stories. Grandchildren will love them and they can pass them down to theirs.

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Funny Thing Happened the Way To Grandma's...

As I was making my way over the creek (no river on my land),  and through the woods to see my son, I let my mind wander to Thanksgivings in the past.
It was a tradition for my dad, mom, and I to go back to Pawnee to see family.  Today an hour drive doesn't seem like much but back then, it was FOREVER. Riding in the car with my parents was always and adventure. My mom and dad loved each other very much, BUT were not above a spirited disagreement. My mom had a funny history of getting her driver's license that should have kept her from being one to tell another how to drive, BUT it didn't keep her from being a backseat driver.

My memory of this particular Thanksgiving was enhanced by my dad's response and follow up.  It was the best ever...I was laughing as I drove with this playing out in my mind. (btw if you see a little blue car with a yellow stick on the back that says "Genealogist don't die they just lose their census" know the driver is 50 % in the present and 50% in the past. 😉 Back to my story...

After we had been driving about thirty minutes and mom never stopped with "Lester, you're going too fast." "Lester, watch out you are too close to the car ahead of us." "Lester, slow down." etc. etc.,
he said "Mary, that is enough." He pulled over to the side of the road, got out, handed her the keys, and said "Mary, you drive since you know best how to do it."  She protested, but he got in the back seat with me and leaned back with his hands behind his head.  She got into the driver's seat and started the car, and off we went.  At first I was wondering what on earth was going on, then about five minutes on the road on my dad began pointing out everything she was doing and exaggerating about her choices.  This went on for about fifteen minutes and she began to laugh and pulled over to the side of the road.  Point made, and driver was changed again. The rest of the trip was made without conflict.
Do you have a story to top it?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Obituary for Mary Lee Whitson Langley

My mother died in Hospice at her granddaughter Christina's home in Houston, Texas on March 21, 2018 with myself and her granddaughter Christina sitting by her side. It was a peaceful passing.
Her obit was penned by her granddaughter Aine.

Mary Lee Langley, a long time resident of Montgomery, Texas, peacefully passed away at the residence of her granddaughter Christina Whitworth of Humble, Texas. 

Mary was born on May 4, 1928 in Fay, Oklahoma along with her twin, Marley Heggan.  She was the thirteenth and last child of Harry and Matilda Whitson.  Mary married her husband Lester Langley in 1947 and had one child, Frances.  

When Frances went to school Mary got her teaching certificate and taught school for twenty-five years in Oklahoma City.  In 1979 Lester and Mary moved to Montgomery Texas to be near their only child and her twin sister.  Mary was hired as a teacher at Montgomery Elementary in Montgomery, Texas until she retired in 1993.  She was active in the Montgomery United Methodist Church.  She wrote weekly devotionals for the Montgomery County News and articles for The Courier and the Montgomery County News.

Mary loved art, hot air balloons, Macy's parades, bird watching, fishing, watching basketball, and football, along with Olympic figure skating and gymnastics.  Her favorite tradition was having the family over for Sunday lunch.  

She is survived by her daughter, Frances Ellsworth of Montgomery, Texas, and her six grandchildren:  Aine (Russell) Schulmire of Idaho, Christina (Douglas) Whitworth of Texas, Edward (Marian) Ellsworth of Oklahoma, Emily (Joel) Ellsworth, Sarah (James) Smith, and Sean Ellsworth.  She is also survived by thirty great-grandchildren, her beloved twin sister Marley Heggan and her sister-niece Jeannine Houchin, as well as many nieces and nephews.  She was well loved and will be missed.

The viewing will be on Monday March 26th 2018 at the Cashner Funeral Home at 801 Teas Road, Conroe, TX. at 11 am followed by a graveside service in the Garden Park Cemetery officiated by Reverend David Lindwall of the Montgomery United Methodist Church.

Her memorial will also be held on Monday March 26th 2018 
from 2:30-4:30 pm at the  
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 
1516 Wilson Rd, Conroe, TX 77304
Call or text 936 229 8291 if you need directions.

Her Funeral Card... 
The front is her painting of the original Montgomery United Methodist Church in 2001 that she loved so very much.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Where Are Your Roots?

That is a good question and one that many are seeking an answer to by doing DNA test to find their "ethnicity". I did this too, and found that there were parts of my DNA that point to an area I had never consciously looked for. Sweden. My grandfather's name was Whitson. That should have already triggered a way point. As I have been involved in helping others used DNA to try and get past brick walls as well as myself, I have also been considering this question "Where are your roots?"

I considered the question and I realized that for me, my roots are not where my family "came from" rather it is the people I associated with. I, as you know if you have read my blog, had both of my grandmother's live with our family as I was growing up. You might think, "that must have been awesome to have them around to tell stories.". It might have been had I known what to ask. There weren't prompts to do so, or places like FamilySearch to give prompts like #52 Stories Weekly Questions when I was growing up. Oh what a difference that makes today. My grandmother's didn't talk about their past, and the few questions I did ask were quietly moved to the side and answered in a way that, I suppose, was where their minds lay. What I did learn was as I have said before was being spiritual, serving, and cuddling from one. The other was perseverance,  fortitude, and getting along with others.

Thus my roots were planted and nourished by two women who not by words, but actions shaped what kind of person I would become. They were women who had been shaped by both pioneer parents and raising large families. They were of the land and had lived their adult lives during the settling of Oklahoma through the Great Depression. I am sure that is where my tendency to save and never throw anything away comes from. 
on Left Matilda Whitson on right Lenorah Langley

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Tribute to My Mom

Mom is still living albiet she is not active any longer.
As I was sitting watching her in ICU and talking with younger cousins on Facebook, thoughts of how it was I knew cousins and aunts and uncles in my family strode through my mind.  Those thoughts were intertwined with my mom and her love of family. Being number 13 in a family of 13 and all of her brothers and a few sister being gone by the time she was in school, must have given her some sense of need to keep in touch with family. There never was a picture of the whole family. I know her mom taking in two of her grandchildren and raising them with mom made an affect on her for opening your door to family.
When I was very small, due to my dad losing the lower portion of his leg, we lacked funds for a house. We lived with my Aunt Lynn for about a year when we moved from Iowa back to Oklahoma. I guess my cousins and I slept in the living room on pallets and the parents had the two bedrooms. I just remember the house and playing outside. Another example of family helping family in my mom's early married life. She was able to go to college and dad supported her by washing dishes. Since the college was a few hours away, she chose to stay there during the week and come home on the weekends. She worked for a lady to pay for her room and board during the week. We missed her, my dad's family said she would leave him, which he poo pooed at (using a slang term of the time  😉
and it didn't happen.
mom me and dad
We moved to Edmond, Oklahoma where my dad was able to get training in HVAC. She finished at Central State College (it is a University now) and did some of her student teaching there. Their first house they bought was a duplex because my dad's mom needed to be close to someone. Mom was kind and helpful to her. Eventually they bought a separate house and moved it in on the oversized lot next to us. Dad remodeled the duplex into a three bedroom home, one of the bedrooms was a converted screened in porch that doubled as wash room and guest room. I was an only child.  Mom taught 5th and 6th graders in Millwood School  from 1955 to 1980. (I need to write about my mom learning to drive...that was a trip).
When holidays came, we would usually go to Pawnee, where my aunts and uncle lived. It was always fun, the women in the kitchen, the guys talking about hunting or a game on the tv and the kids playing outside. Then two of my aunts had a disagreement, my dad didn't want to go anymore, but mom insisted that we go and take a day going to visit each one individually. We did not lose contact.
Dad and two of his sisters

On her side of the it wasn't that easy. Her sisters were all over, and three of her brothers she had not seen since she was 9 lived on the Pacific Coast. The youngest brother was in the Service so he would come visit when they were in the country. We would drive over to her niece Jeannine's in El Reno, who was just a year younger than she was to visit with her and her family or down to Oklahoma City to visit with Aunt Edna and her children... This family would come and visit at our house. One year dad bit the bullet and saved enough so we could drive to Albuquerque to visit her sister Lola at Christmas. That was a treat. Aunt Lola's husband was Polish, so she fixed Polish dishes one meal and then Southwestern dishes of New Mexico at another meal. Great memory.
Lola and my Grandmother Whitson

During the summer, I remember we would have cousins from either side of the family come at different times to stay for a multiple of reasons. Mom opened her door for anyone in need. Older cousins came with their families and lived with us in the small house while they were getting on their feet. One cousin, the son of the brother in the Air Force, came and stayed with us for a short time until he got an apartment while he went to college. Grandmothers on both sides came to live with us.

My dad's mother longer, that is another story.
When they moved to Texas to be near me, the cousins and aunts and uncles came down to make sure that Ned and I were treating them right. 😊

Mom was always on the phone with someone or writing to them. After my dad died, she had enough money to travel. One of the first trips was to California to see her brother George. She love that. Then she and her sister and niece went to Washington to see the brother in the Air Force that had settled near Spokane. While up there they met with her oldest living brothers Elbert and Ray and made contact with their son Ray who was an artist. Since mom loved art and was dabbling in painting, this was exciting to her. Ray and his wife Caroline kept in touch through mail until she couldn't think well enough to write. Even after Ray has passed away, Caroline and she still send Christmas cards to each other.
Mom, Meadie, Marley, Lola, and Jeannine

When it was time for Fay, Oklahoma's bicentennial celebration, she was instrumental in collecting pictures and stories for a personal book called Fay Day's [a book of poems about family and acquaintances she remembered from growing up]  which was illustrated by her cousin's husband William "Bill" Shotts  and  Fay History Book.
Her heart and arms have always been open to love on family. Even now as she lies trying to overcome pneumonia, she keeps coming back the same question... Naomi and Melvin are gone? This is my dad's nephew and his wife that were the same age as mom. She loved them greatly.

At 89, she has seen all but herself and her twin pass away in their family. My dad and his brothers and sisters are gone. She loved on all of them at some time and held on to the nieces and nephews. She has been my example to gather family like a hen gathers chicks, and to not be selfish.

In closing, I will tell you... She taught 35 years as a elementary teacher. She taught all subjects but her love was reading and art. When she retired, she took up writing and was published in newspapers and a couple of magazines. Kids she taught still remember her and projects she did with them. She also tried painting. Many of the family have her paintings still in their homes. When she started developing dementia and anxiety, my aunt and I went through a period of denial because it was so foreign that she could be such an active mind and all of a sudden not even pick up a pen to write with or a book to read. She is a lovely lady and I am grateful for the example she sat for me through the years. It has made me a better person.

A note: I have the original Fay Days book. If anyone would like one, let me know.