My dad and his army buddies on Thanksgiving Day 1944.
My dad and his army buddies on Thanksgiving Day 1944.
My grandma, Florrie Thomas Martin, was a multi-talented lady.
She spread herself around to her children and grandchildren by passing along items she’d crocheted, quilted or embroidered.
She shared with those outside of the family, too. Grandma crocheted a tablecloth for her church’s new fellowship hall, a tablecloth to be used for weddings and such. My wedding reception was in that church’s fellowship hall, and my grandma’s tablecloth was on the table where my wedding cake sat.
Last weekend my sister, my daughter, and I traveled to Tennessee for the 50th anniversary celebration of my cousin, Chet, and his wife Carolyn. In all, seven of the twelve of us first cousins were there. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in years, but that doesn’t matter one bit. My heart was filled with joy as I hugged each one of them and shared smiles and stories.
Many people don’t know their extended family members like aunts, uncles, and cousins. Not the case in my family. My mom was one of eight, and even though her siblings lived up and down the east coast she (and they) made the effort to visit back and forth.
I am thankful today for my mom and her siblings for staying connected through the years and over the miles. Their love for each other trickled down to my cousins, my sister, and me. I am blessed to have this bunch of people as my family.
For Follow Friday, I suggest this blogpost from The In-Depth Genealogist (That Online Tree is NOT a Source). It’s a much needed reminder about citing our sources and being careful about the information we attach to our family trees.
If you don’t already follow The In-Depth Genealogist, I recommend you do. Timely and accurate information with every blogpost.
This week I am honored to present a guest blogpost from C. Hope Clark, author of the award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series. Thanks, Hope, for guest blogging for me.
Novelists forever juggle fact and fiction, wanting so much to write what they know in real life but worried that someone will take issue with it and sue. They have a wealth of material they can incorporate into a tale to give it a sense of reality, and are afraid to use it. My mysteries abound with real life, subtly veiled as make believe, and since my craft is fiction, in my own way I honor people who’ve impacted my life.
Lowcountry Bribe is my first novel, the debut for the Carolina Slade Mystery Series. The story begins as an event that actually took place – I was offered a bribe and participated in an investigation that went sideways. For obvious reasons, I had to disguise many factions of that case. But I inserted many other pieces of my life to give it flavor, in honor of those I know and love.
On a tense scene on a front porch, Carolina Slade has a heart-to-heart with her newly separated husband about how their lives would change. Behind the door, her father stands guard, gun in hand, ready to deal with her daughter’s spouse if the need arose. I remember thinking of my own father as a hero during my own similar situation. Today he’s in his eighties. One day when he’s gone, I’ll gladly read that scene and remember.
In the same book, Slade recalls her grandfather seated at a Formica table and chairs, much like one she finds in an abandoned farm house. The floor is worn where the farmer sat day in and day out until he died. I inserted a fond memory of when my own grandfather sat at such a table, in his own farm house, my little sister on his lap. He taught her how to drink coffee cooled on a saucer, slurp it, smack in delight, and then say “Damn that’s good!” He’d reward her with a nickel to say it in front of my mother. The moment fit so well in that chapter.
My mother’s cooking, my son’s defiant behavior as a child, and even the name Slade. A strong name. A name with very defined roots in my family’s genealogy. Using that special family name, even noting in the tale that it was my Mississippi grandmother’s maiden name on my mother’s side, I’ve left a piece of my legacy in print for my progeny to pass on.
Honoring people in fiction doesn’t have to entail a poignant or nostalgic memory, though. In writing my latest release, Murder on Edisto, I recalled an argument between one of my best friends and my husband. She’s a free spirit and he’s law enforcement. When it comes to locks, she’s of the mind that strong security is welcoming danger into your life, as if embracing the negativity. Of course, security is a necessity in his world. To listen to the two go at it for an hour was humorous, especially knowing neither would convince the other to relinquish their polar position. As a nod to their beliefs, the conversation found its way into the story.
The list goes on and on. A writer can honor her world in fiction just as in nonfiction. Friends, family, pets, locations, events . . . anyone or thing can be inserted smartly into storytelling, with a wink to those who really know the truth.
BIO: Murder on Edisto is C. Hope Clark’s first Edisto Island Mystery in the series. Her award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series continues to be a favorite for many mystery fans. Outside her fiction, Hope is editor for FundsforWriters.com, noted by Writer’s Digest Magazine in its 101 Best Websites for Writers. Her homes are Lake Murray and Edisto Beach, both in her beloved South Carolina. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com
Aggie’s hair is short because she’d had scarlet fever, and all her hair fell out while she was sick. The sisters are approx 7 and 10 years old in this photo.
A special thanks to Valerie Hughes of Genealogy with Valerie for nominating me for the ‘One Lovely Blog’ Award.
Here are the rules for this award:
1) I work as a writing coach/tutor for Write at Home.
2) I’ve been interested in genealogy and family history research for 20+ years.
3) I have a cat with his own facebook page. Rusty the Mighty Hunter
4) I love Brussels sprouts.
5) My sister named me.
6) Many years ago, I worked as a tax preparer for H&R Block.
7) I am an amateur (ham) radio operator.
1) The In-Depth Genealogist by various authors
2) The Family Curator by Denise Levenick
3) Dare to be Happy by Sharon Jordan
4) Chris Morris Writes by Chris Morris
5) No Story Too Small by Amy Johnson Crow
6) Thyme for Herbs by Jane O’Brien
7) Diane Rivers.me by Diane Rivers
8) Seriously Write by various authors
9) Olive Tree Genealogy Blog by Lorine McGinnis Schulze
10) Jana’s Genealogy and Family History by Jana Last
11) Michigan Family Trails by Diane Hall
12) One Rhode Island Family by Diane MacLean Boumenot
13) My Link to the Past by Kris Stewart
14) Teresa Shields Parker by Teresa Shields Parker
15) The Armchair Genealogist by Lynn Palermo
I will be contacting the bloggers on my list through a variety of social media avenues like facebook and twitter. Thanks again, Valerie!
My grandma, Florrie Thomas Martin, belonged to a seniors group at Wesley United Methodist Church in Vienna, VA. The group was called Never Grow Old. They met monthly for a cover-dish lunch and a time of fun and fellowship.
My grandmother almost always brought an asparagus casserole. Everyone at Never Grow Old loved it.
In the beginning my grandma made it but as she got older my mom, Gladys Martin Heiser, would make it and Grandma would just bring it along to the gathering. I don’t care for mushrooms so I never ate this casserole, but everyone I know who’s tried it liked it.
It’s difficult when we lose loved ones. Sometimes our grief is like Tsunami waves. There we are standing and all of a sudden we’re thrown off balance completely.
But as time goes on, the waves lessen, except maybe certain days. Anniversary dates, and special celebrations. Like one we’ll have in December.
My sister disappeared in 1982 never to be seen again. Peggy was a victim of domestic violence. Her missing person case was changed to a possible homicide. In 2004, we went to court and after 10 grueling days, we watched her husband declared “not guilty.”
The other side of the courtroom erupted in cheers, giving him high fives. We sat frozen till an officer escorted us out of there.
A couple of months later we had a memorial service for her. All of us had a chance to share what she meant to us. Although there were many empty chairs, we knew there were also many who cared about her.
And as we know, life went on. Her boys who were five, seven and nine years of age are now 37, 39, and 41. Two of them have married and have beautiful children. And in December, we’ll attend the wedding of her eldest son.
He called me the other day and said, “My wedding will be quite different than my brother’s wedding, but there is one thing I’d like to be the same. Would you give me the honor of walking me down the aisle?”
I felt a few tears slide down my face as I said, “I would be honored.”
My emotions will be varied that day. While I feel privileged to walk my nephew down the aisle, I’m sad Peggy won’t be there.
But instead of stuffing my emotions in, I will acknowledge them. And then I’ll carefully fold them up and put them away. Denying our feelings never works. We need to embrace them and move on.
My nephew received excellent advice from his pastor.
“I know you have loved ones who won’t be there. Your two uncles who recently died as well as your mother. Honor the ones who won’t be there in a tangible way and then focus on those who are there to celebrate with you.”
As I walk down the aisle in December, I will be thinking of the little boys who she loved so much. Peggy would play the piano and the boys would appear out of nowhere. They would dance to the tempo of the piece and finally collapse on the floor as we all laughed.
Yes, I wish Peggy were here to walk him down the aisle herself. To beam like I did when my son got married.
But this December we will celebrate my sister’s son’s wedding and we’ll be smiling. And maybe this poem I wrote depicts what my sister’s thoughts would be.
Although you will not see my face,
as you walk down the aisle,
Imagine me just watching you
with my familiar smile.
Imagine just how proud I am
that you have found true love,
And know that I’m not missing this,
I’m watching from above.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author of Real Love: Guaranteed to Last, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, and most recently, her first children’s book, Emma’s Wish. Anne is also the author of 42 published Bible Studies through christianbiblestudies.com, an affiliate of Christianity Today, as well as the author of over 28 articles. Anne’s poetry is sold throughout the U.S. and in 23 countries. For more information about Anne visit http://www.annepeterson.com, or https://www.facebook.com/annepetersonwrites.
These candlestick holders sat on my mom’s dining room table.
Sometimes they held red candles for Christmas or peach ones for spring or white ones for no special reason at all. They were part of what made my mom’s dining room hers.
They were part of the sameness of my childhood, the comforting consistency, like the hardwood floors creaking in the same places all the time and the yard being blanketed with yellow maple leaves every fall. And then one day the candlestick holders were gone.
My Aunt Millie and Uncle Norman had moved into a large parsonage with many rooms to fill. My mom offered the candlestick holders to Millie, her sister, to use in the parsonage dining room. I was sad about it because I loved them. They were simple but elegant. They were Mom’s to give, though, so I didn’t make a fuss about it.
Several years later I married. When we came home from our honeymoon my husband and I opened presents. The card and gift box from Aunt Millie and Uncle Norman were non-descript and traditional. But when I opened the box itself I found my mom’s candlestick holders inside. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the note tucked in between them.
They live in my china closet now, the one I inherited from my mom when she passed away. I use them on special occasions, but they’re visible all the time through the glass front of the china closet. Whether they grace my table for a holiday dinner or I view them through the glass, seeing them brings me right back to the comforting consistency of my childhood.