Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Gailey Cousin Christmas Tree Tradition

Most of my family reunions and get-togethers have been centered around holidays or special events. It's hard to pick out a special personality (we have several - as I'm sure most of you do) and I've thought about all of the pets we've had in the past, the special heirlooms that grandma loved to display during the holidays and I'm really having a hard time coming up with a single one.

My aunt Irene and uncle Raymond always had the big get-togethers at their house, because it was the largest, had acres of pecans trees to play under and they had the most grandchildren! Of course, all of that was later, after all six of us cousins had grown up and had children of our own.

Thinking of Christmas, my mind keeps going back to the time before I moved into Grandma and Doc's home and we celebrated at our house. I remember getting a beautiful bride doll one Christmas. Wish I still had that doll. Have no idea where she traveled to after she got married. And then there was one time that I got an entire Cowgirl outfit. I looked like the real deal. I remember we used to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with all of my Gailey cousins and aunts and uncles.

Time passed and my sisters and I moved to our grandparents' home, and the tradition continued of having the entire family there, unless one of them was working, which was unlikely. I don't know what happened to the decorations for the tree from year to year, because Grandma would let me decide each Christmas what color we would use. One year I chose pink, another all lavender, then blue ~ you get the picture! And the trees were all mis-shapen oak trees that either Doc or one of the three son-in-laws had cut and brought to the house.

The family got together at Aunt Maedelle and Uncle Floyd's house Christmas of 1957 and the group of black and white photos below were taken then.

"O Christmas Tree ~ Our Cedar Tree"

Sister Peggy and her Christmas Doll
 Sister Ann and her Christmas Monkey
 Cousin Jim and his Rex '90' Wagon & Bike
 Family opening gifts - Judy sitting in middle.
Linda Kay sitting at right.
Peggy distributing gifts from under tree.
Ann sitting in Daddy's lap lower left.
Linda Kay displaying gifts including my Nancy Drew Mysteries
 Grandma Gailey opens her dresser set.
Sitting beside her is her father, Harvey Vandegar Puckett.
From left Maedelle, Vernelle, Edna, Harvey, Judy and Jim
Cousins Jim and Reggie
This may have been the Christmas before
since Jim and Reggie were younger.
They  both got a bike with attached wagon!

Our family didn't have a lot of money in the 40s and 50s, and I remember Doc shopping for Christmas presents for all of his grandchildren. Most of the time he would give us each a stocking from the local five and dime ~ Duke & Ayers ~ a red see-through stocking filled with nuts, fruit, and candy. Some of the most unusual hard candy shapes I had ever seen. My favorite was always the peppermint swirl. I remember him buying the two boys pocket knives, but I can't remember what he gave us four girls other than the stockings.

I remember one Christmas we drew names to see to whom we would give a gift. I drew my only girl cousin. I am only five months older than she is and we went to school together and were in the same grade all the way through. We have remained like sisters. The picture shows her with the gift I gave her that year. She says she still has the books; several Nancy Drew Mysteries that she still has on her bookshelves. She was in an accident later that winter when their house caught fire and her back was burned. She said those books were read and reread while she was in the hospital and recuperating at home.

I don't remember an argument or bad feelings in the family at Christmas, but then, I was a little girl. I only saw the promise of Christmas. Grandma would read the Christmas story and uncle Raymond would give thanks for all our blessings. The food was abundant and so was the love.

This post has been submitted for the 100th Edition for the Carnival of Genealogy...There's One In Every Family, hosted by Jasia over at Creative Gene. This is Jasia's 100th Edition!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Ellis P. Bridges

Ellis P. Bridges
Sept. 20, 1909 - May  _9, 1978
Pickwick-McAdams Cemetery
At Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto County

Bridges, Ellis P., photograph, digital format, taken and owned by Judith S. Richards, 2009

Pickwick-McAdams Cemetery
Palo Pinto County near Possum Kingdom Lake

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Home Town by Dorothy Hansen

My Home Town

For thirty years this California town
has been the place where I have slept at night,
and shopped, and worked, and driven about.

But home is where my childhood feet
ran bare on Texas clay …
on streets that were like arteries
to all the lives I loved and shared.

Now, as storm clouds gather in November
and leaves are on the ground,
these asphalt streets and stranger’s cars
seem even more remote.

I long to live where I am known,
and my grandparents, too …
where all the folks I meet each day
know just where I belong.

They’ve known my folks and relatives.
They’ve seen me go through school.

I have a place on Texas soil
in the town where I was born.

It is my home, belongs to me,
and I yearn for a hearth that’s gone.

From Dorothy Hansen's “Cedar Berries,” her collection of poems about Texas.

Dorothy Lee Hansen wrote this poem about my home town of Mineral Wells, Texas. She was born there in 1925 and is of my mother's generation. From what I have read about her she was full of life, laughter, determination, and grit. She was full of pride about her pioneer heritage and always interested in sharing it with others. She was a great-great niece of Charles Goodnight, who along with his partner, Oliver Loving, were famous cattle drivers from the Mineral Wells area. The book "Lonesome Dove" was based on them.

Mrs. Hansen kept a home in Mineral Wells that she called "Hill Cove" to which she returned often. She was a world-wide traveler and when she returned she would engage her friends and the social clubs with readings from her poetry.

She died in February of this year at the age of 84, an Emmy award winner and poet laureate. She also had many accomplishments in theater, radio, and teaching. She was also very active in civil rights.

Cedar berries: poems of pioneer Texas and American Indian heritage
Goodnight Descendant Dorothy Hansen Dies by Libby Cluett, Mineral Wells Index

Although Dorothy Hansen was not my ancestor, I am a descendant of Mineral Wells, and because of this association, I offer her poem which speaks to my soul for your enjoyment.

Bill West's 2nd Great American Local Poem and Song Genealogy Challenge at West in New England.

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas
Copyright (c) 2015 by Judith Richards Shubert