2017 A to Z: Letter E… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter E…

I thought I’d change up the ongoing 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories and write  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the April A to Z, but as I might get just a wee bit long-winded, I thought I’d give myself a longer time frame. Hopefully by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



Letter E excels in remembering…. Events, Easter, Engaged, Eloped, Education, Email

Events: Being born a “baby boomer” in the 1950’s…. I’ve lived through many events, many life events that changed the world… many I never knew about, and many I wish I had paid more attention to. I’m sharing a few of them here with you, the ones I remember, and my remembered thoughts on them.

  • 1952: Jeanne Lee Bryan was born, Greensboro, Greene Co., Georgia. My life was just beginning… and many years later, I’m still learning and living through events. The most recent events to have changed my life in the past ten years are the births of my five granddaughters… they make my life worth living and they are who I write for.
  • 1952: Immigration and Naturalization Act was implemented. Ironically, how today there is much controversy on immigration laws and how they should be applied. My husband’s grandparents immigrated here from Italy, coming in through Ellis Island. My ancestors have been here so long, I have yet to find the boat they sailed on or where they initially immigrated to in America.
  • 1953: Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation; and in 2017 today, she is still Queen. I was only one-year old when she took the Royal throne at age 27…. and still going strong at age 90; soon to be 91 on April 21st.
  • 1954: First Atomic Submarine launched: I find it interesting how my husband became a welder and worked at Electric Boat in New London, Ct…. ironically working on atomic submarines. He has seen them up-close and personal as to what they look like, inside and out, and learned of the workings of them.
  • 1955: Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. I lived through racial times of where blacks and whites lived segregated lives. While it appeared normal to me, I never thought to question my life as it was: It was normal to me as a child. Mama told me a funny story once that sums up the thinking mind of a child. We were living in Union Point, I was about 4-5 years old. As I sat and watched a black man painting the neighbors house I constantly talked to him all afternoon… one of my questions I asked him was “did he have children”… I was looking for a playmate. My next question was “are they black like him, or white like me.” Mama said he fell over laughing! An innocent child just being curious…out of the mouths of babes. I grew up quickly learning how our theaters, restaurants, doctor offices, even schools were all segregated. I never gave it much thought, it was just accepted.
  • 1956: Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. I was 4 years old, so maybe my mama watched this, although she tells me that she was never a fan of his. She still insists that she saw him on the streets of Memphis strumming his guitar in front of the Army Navy store; I’ll never argue that point with her!
  • 1957: Elvis Presley purchased a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee and names it Graceland. I’ve always wanted to visit, but never have. My father-in-law went there while on a trip to Memphis for work; he was surprised to actually see how small the rooms were in comparison to how it was seen on TV. He was not impressed!
  • 1957: The Film Jailhouse Rock premiered featuring Elvis Presley. While I never saw this new in the theaters, being only 5 years old, I do watch his movies every time they are shown on TV…. reliving fun times of going to the movies. I remember many Friday nights at the movies in Perry.
  • 1958: Catch a Falling Star, Chipmunk Song, Volare, The Purple People Eater, At the Hop. The Purple People Eater is the song I remember the most, as it was a funny tune that caught everyone’s attention… and made you sing along!
  • 1958: “Barbie” was introduced… My favorite doll of all times and I spent hours playing with Barbie and Ken. After all these years, I have kept my Barbie, Ken and Midge in their original Barbie Case. I didn’t have an original Barbie in 1958, it was later, more in the early 1960’s when I fell in love with Barbie.
  • 1958: The Hula Hoop became a national craze… I was very good with that hula hoop and we all spent many evenings in my front yard swirling it around our hips – mama always liked to join in with us kids, but I remember her having a hard time keeping it up.
  • 1959: Alaska admitted as the 49th state. I was 7 years old, prob. in first or second grade and should remember this, but….
  • 1959: Hawaii admitted as the 50th state. I vaguely remember Hawaii more than Alaska, wonder why that it is? Maybe that’s why I had several girl pen pals from there.
  • 1959: NASA introduces the first group of astronauts…The Mercury Seven – Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Donald Slayton, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, L. Gordon Cooper, and M. Scott Carpenter. I was infatuated with space as a young girl and always glued to the TV set whenever the space capsule landed in the ocean. I can still remember watching them open the hatch and seeing the astronauts crawl out in the water; the Navy guys were always there waiting for them to open the hatch. I wrote many letters to NASA asking for information and still have a couple of papers they sent me on Space. I always wanted to go to Space Camp.
  • 1960: Democrat John F. Kennedy won the U.S. Presidential Election and became the first president, and the youngest, elected to the highest office at this time. It was exciting when he won as there was so much TV coverage on this election. I never thought anything about whether he was Democrat or Republican – parties hadn’t entered my head at that time. He was more appealing for several reasons… younger than the other presidents, his speech tone was so different and it was talked about, he had a family with young children, and a wife that dressed in fashionable clothing that drew attention. I kept many photos and newspaper clippings on him and his family in my scrapbooks.
  • 1961: President J. F. Kennedy signs legislation raising the minimum wage in stages from its current $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour by September 1963. I remember at age 14 (1966) being paid 50 cents an hour to work at The Coffee Cup in Perry… I only washed coffee cups at the counter, and  I’m pretty sure that job was “under the table.”
  • 1961: The United States began sending  U.S. troops to Vietnam. The first of many young men to go there. I wrote to a guy serving in Vietnam as a pen pal. He became quite infatuated with me through those letters and came to visit when he came home.
  • 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis had the world on the edge of another World War as the United States and USSR come close to launching nuclear attacks. I was 10 years when this was going on and probably paid more attention because mama talked about it… saying that she wanted a bulls-eye on our roof so when they send the missiles, our house goes first… wanting us to go as a family and me not being separated from her. It scared me and I’d cry… saying I didn’t want that missile to hit our house. She then explained to me in more detail of why she said that.
  • 1963: United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. I was 11 years old and in Junior High School. We were ushered into the auditorium and TV’s brought in so we could watch the events of what had happened. I remember all the girls were all crying, and were able to leave school early.
  • 1963: The United States began using Zip Codes. I vaguely remember this happening, and now there are even more than one zip code in a town.
  • 1963: U.S. Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. gives his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. If only I had paid more attention to the history I lived through! History class in school was never my favorite… actually I hated history class! Funny how life changes you… Researching my family history has me now watching war movies and wanting to remember dates and what happened in the wars. I became very interested in WWII when I researched my Uncle Leroy McKinley who was killed in Metz, Germany… just before the Battle of the Bulge.
  • 1964: The Ford Motor Company sold the first Ford Mustang. Little did I know that a few years later I would actually own a 1965 Mustang as my very first car… a pale yellow with an automatic gear shift on the floor…. I thought it was so cool! So why didn’t I keep it?
  • 1965: The creation of Medicare and Medicaid is signed into law by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. Now in 2017, I am entering the age for Medicare… boy is that a scary thought! Where did my life go? It sure went by faster than I ever imagined… I want my life back!
  • 1965: Mary Quant designed the mini-skirt in London and it quickly became a fashion craze. We loved the mini-skirts, but our teachers sure didn’t. I had a male teacher in high school that threatened to measure our skirt lengths… down to our knees. My mother told him, in no uncertain words, that he better not lay a hand on my knees! And he didn’t! I think my mother even wore some mini skirts!
  • 1966: Batman TV series premiered on TV: I remember watching Batman, and I loved the “Kapow” “Bam” and “Pow” words that appeared in bold letters across the screen like the comic books, to accentuate fighting. I think I secretly wished for a Batman-type character to come to my rescue one day; I found him a few years later… and married him!
  • 1967: South African doctor Christian Barnard completes the first heart transplant operation. I remember hearing this, but at age 15, I was only interested in when could I get my “learners” permit for driving.
  • 1968: Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray. I was a sophomore in high school, but I don’t remember what we did in school when it happened, like when Pres. J. F. Kennedy was shot and died. Probably the most important thing on my mind that year was turning 16 and getting my drivers license.
  • 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men to arrive on the Moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. This was exciting to watch as the first man walked on the moon… on TV, but there was much controversy later on. People questioned whether it really happened – or not. Even today people still question it, saying that it never took place, but instead  filmed somewhere in a studio, and portrayed on TV as it really happened.
  • 1969: The Woodstock music festival took place in Woodstock, New York and featured such acts as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who. I was a junior in high school when this took place and very much into music. Janis Joplin was a big favorite of mine and I remember playing Jimi Hendrix’s song, Star Spangled Banner; daddy heard it playing one time on my record player, and came in trying to adjust the dials to make it sound better; he thought there was actually something wrong with my record player. At that time, N.Y. seemed so very far away…. never did I think that one day I’d be living just one state away.
  • 1970: I graduated from Perry High School, in Perry, Georgia. The world awaited me after graduation, but I graduated with no definite plans. I never made plans for college as I had no idea of what I wanted to do, and Daddy said he wasn’t paying for me to go party…. so I went to work. If I had gone to college I wouldn’t have met Steve, so it all worked out for me.
  • 1971: I married Steve Insalaco, and moved to CT. A new life awaited me in Connecticut, a place where I’d never been to, and colder than I had ever experienced. Mama said that from a young girl I always talked about wanting to live somewhere where it snowed… well I finally got my wish. Now that I have lived here over 46 years, well I’ve had my fill of snow!
  • 2001: September 9, 2011 (911): The biggest event I’ve ever lived though, and paid attention to…and it left me shaken and terrified at what happened in NYC on that day. I am only two hours from the city and felt truly shaken at what was happening. I soon learned names I had never known before… names like Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Steve and I watched nothing but CNN for over two weeks –  no regular TV shows played. Even though they often played the same news stories over and over, we watched; that’s all we wanted to watch, and most people felt the same way.

Easter: While I have a few photographs of me dressed up in my Easter dress that I’m sure mama sewed, complete with hat and purse. I have no memories of family coming for Easter dinner, Easter egg hunts, or photos with the Easter Bunny like we take today with the kids. I do remember having colored chicks at Easter and seeing them on display in the widow of the hardware store downtown Perry. 

The Easter’s I remember more are since I married into an Italian family who celebrated Easter with unusual foods like Ham, Rice and Wheat Pies! My first offering of them was a quick “No Thank You.” It took a few years, and several tastes, to acquire a taste…. now they are some of my favorite pies. I learned to make them by watching Grandma Minnie and writing down recipes…. as no one had a recipe… they always called their mother every Easter to be reminded of exactly how much of this and that went in the pie. I don’t like to pat myself on the back, but I make great Easter pies… and I’m slowly teaching hubby how to. 


Me dressed in my Easter finery…. I’m sure sewed by Mama!

Engaged: I met Steve at a Halloween party, Oct. 1970… me dressed as a princess and he… well dressed as an USAF airman… in his green work fatigues; I actually wore a dress from one of my high school proms. From the moment I stumbled over him sitting on the floor, and fell into his arms, we became a couple. I ate and slept talking about him to my girlfriend. Two months later, he was transferred from Warner Robins… all the way to Loring AFB at the northern tip of Maine… next to the Canadian border… I was devastated! We continued our relationship through letters and nightly phone calls, and it was on one of those phone calls that he pretty much told me…we were getting married. He wanted to leave me married as he was being transferred to Thailand.


Returning home married!

Eloped: In talking about marriage and how would we make this work, I had the bright idea of eloping to get married. We didn’t have time to plan a wedding, making it work for all parents to attend, so my idea was that we would get marry by ourselves. When I look back now, I feel selfish in not letting my parents, or his be there, but I was 19, in love, and clearly only thinking with my heart! 

As to the eloping part… My thought was, we didn’t have much time to make that happen, so why not run away. I had always heard that the place to go was Aiken’s, S.C…. why there… because they didn’t require a three day wait for blood tests, you could be married immediately; I was partly right.

We arrived in Aiken’s late in the afternoon, and with no cell phone to plot our destination like today, we drove around and around until we found the courthouse… almost at closing time. After finding the office, applying for a marriage license, we were told that we couldn’t be married that day… as they required a 24-hour waiting period; I hadn’t done my homework! After getting over our disappointment, we found a hotel room to wait out… our “waiting” period; we married the next day.

Education: I began school in Perry at Perry Elementary from first grade through fourth. From my first day with Mrs. Couey, I was in trouble for not sitting still. I didn’t want to be inside sitting at a desk, I wanted to play outside. If she gave out papers and told us to not write on them… I didn’t listen… and I got in trouble. My favorite teacher in elementary school was Mrs. Pierce, my second grade teacher.

After fourth grade, I literally crossed the street to Perry Junior High School for grades 5 through 7. Junior High was a big change… for the first time I was now changing classes, and loving it. It made the day go by much faster, as we weren’t sitting in one class all day, and if you didn’t really like one teacher, well you weren’t stuck with them all day. No one ever likes all their teachers!

Eighth grade had me heading to Perry High School, and if we had never moved, I would have been only one street away from high school. Going to high school was the biggest change of my life, and besides also still changing classes, I was soon driving to school. Different classes were now offered, and we were allowed to pick and choose, although we still had the basic ones like English, history and math. History was never my favorite and I probably only passed because Maj. Smith was friends with my parents… he let all the girls pass.

I graduated in 1970, with nothing on my horizon… no plans for college, just continuing to work. I never had goals of what I wanted to do with my life. Little did I know, that after only one year out of school…I would marry, move. and live an entirely different life from how I grew up. I had married a Yankee, probably the biggest taboo of my life. LOL 

Email: I soon graduated from writing letters to hearing “you’ve got mail.” Writing letters is now a lost art, but on the rare occasions when I do receive a letter… it’s exciting to sit down and read.  While writing a letter and waiting for a response is exciting… with email, it can all be in the matter of minutes. I soon became hooked on email, especially for family history and keeping up with family. Everything soon became so much more “instant.”


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

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Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #40

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #40



Jan. 21, 2017: When I called mama tonight, I asked her about a photograph taken at the farm of her as a young girl, a baby, a young boy and a blond headed girl, and … “If that younger girl had blond hair, that was Grace’s daughter Margaret. They often came to the farm when Uncle Earle visited his father nearby.” And then the conversation turned to desserts… “Our desserts were cornbread and buttermilk after dinner, or a left-over biscuit sopping up sorghum syrup; mama made teacakes and pies but not often. When I came home from school there was usually a baked sweet potato sitting on the back of her stove… that was my treat! I’d grab that potato and enjoy it out on the stoop!”

“Most days mama was too busy ironing and chopping in the vegetable garden. She’d get up in the morning to chores, chores and more chores… wash day was all day, but she still had to cook lunch and dinner… all at the same time. The only entertainment for mama was reading.. Cousin Ulma (McKinley) gave her True Romance books, she read and then I read too. If she wasn’t reading, she was quilting or sewing.”

“The only treat mama and daddy had, was when they went to town on Saturday afternoon. She’d sit with her cousin Ulma (McKinley) at their store on the corner while daddy headed over to the filling station to talk politics and argue over who’s dogs were in the lead when they went fox hunting on Friday night.”

 I was the first one to yawn tonight…. Mama says, “I’m not gonna yawn tonight, I’ll think about something else.” She never yawned!

It was bad weather in Georgia today and mama remembered… “I’ll never forget the tornado that laid a pine tree across the front porch at the farm. I had just came home late from work and I was doing something with the mattress, as I had it off the bed. When I heard the noise of the pine tree hitting the front porch, I dove under that mattress. After everything stopped, I called my cousin Kenneth and told him I was dead… he laughed and said, “well you’re talking to me.” Those winds pulled up that pine tree by its roots. That tornado came from the top of the road and must have came straight down, stopping long enough to pull that tree down, then it went on down the road below me.”

Jan. 23, 2017: I called mama tonight to tell her that her DNA results finally came back today, and that she is less Irish than I am… she’s 25 %, where I am 35%. “Well what about the Indian lines, what showed up?” No Indian ancestry shows up for you. “Well I don’t care what they say, I have Indian in me. I know my mama had Indian in her, and you can’t tell me any difference… she had that jet black hair.” Laughing I said, “well it’s not showing!”

I changed the subject to ask how she’s feeling tonight… “I feel a little better, but I’m wheezing a little tonight from all the coughing I did earlier. I’ll probably go down to the center tomorrow so I can tell everyone that my DNA came back and I have a little bit of everything in me.”

Jan. 25, 2017: Mama didn’t go to the center today, still under the weather a bit. “The center called to check on me today… a couple of my friends called; they probably missed my big mouth. Boo must be feeling better tonight as he’s laying right under me. When you called, he moved away and burrowed himself under my bathrobe at the foot of the bed… I don’t think he likes me talking on the phone.”

Jan. 28, 2017: I asked mama what she had for supper when I called… “I haven’t eaten yet, what did you eat?” “We had steak for dinner tonight”. “Shut your mouth” mama said laughing. I then asked her if she’d like a steak dinner when we come down, we could celebrate your birthday, but I guess you won’t eat the mushrooms, how about garlic bread? “No I won’t eat any mushrooms, never did like them, but I’ll take garlic bread, so when are you coming, now I’m hungry.” When I told her that Steve said he’d cook us a nice steak dinner, she said… “you have a good one there. I used to sit on the front doorstep at night and pray you’d find a good husband, I guess my prayers were answered.” 

Jan. 29, 2017: Mama said she was feeling better, but still coughing… and promised me she was going to the center tomorrow… we will see! Somehow something I said made mama remember this. “Remember when I came up there one time and I had broken my tailbone. Steve was trying to make Stephen do something, when he said, “I can’t, I broke my tailbone.” Then Steve told him, “don’t do it and you’ll have a broken tailbone.” He was only a little guy, and he kept walking around saying he had broke his tailbone… it was so funny.” When I said “well I guess it’s time to hang up as I’m yawning too much”, mama said… “Time all dogs are dead, aren’t you glad you’re a puppy. Now where did that come from, that’s a really old line.”

Jan. 30, 2017: I called mama this morning to see if she really went to the center… Nope she didn’t go. Good thing I sent another delivery of Ensure to the house for her to keep drinking as she’s not wanting to go out lately. I’ll check back with her tonight. When I called… “Boo is laying right up next to me and I’m rubbing his belly. He’s got the Life of Riley here and doesn’t even know it. If he ever got out, he’d never be able to take care of himself. He relies on me for everything, especially when he wants to go out on the porch and I won’t let him.” And I’m the first one to start the yawning tonight, then mama yawns… what is up with that?

I told mama about a video I was watching on Facebook of three little kids playing in the mud and covered head to toe… “When the kids come down here I’ll make them a mud hole to play in like I did. When I was little, I’d go out in the cornfield or cotton field after it rained and stomp down my feet to make mud puddles; sometimes I’d be up to my knees almost in that mud. When I went to slip rock with Karen, Pat and Deb, we’d put mud on our faces as a mud facial and then lay out in the sun.”

Feb. 1, 2017: In telling mama tonight that I was working on trying to decide what I was going to write about on the A to Z Blog challenge in April this year, she said… “I don’t know why you worry yourself over these things. I don’t want to write on anything.” Then she started with the ideas of writing about her and the flowers she grows. “You could write about playing the piano… I don’t remember what happened to your piano, I think it was given to you by a woman that came to the beauty shop. She heard that I was looking for one so you could take piano lessons and gave it to you. But I still don’t understand why you want to rack your brain so much, cause I’d rather just sit here and do nothing. I can easily be content to sit here and watch TV, while doing nothing.”

Feb. 3, 2017: Mama called me tonight, as I missed calling her last night… she had heard we might be having bad weather here, and I said… “I live in Ct., it’s winter. LOL! It’s cold but no snow on the ground.” So what are you doing… besides laying in the bed? “Just me and Boo laying in the bed, guess he felt sorry for me so he came to lay with me. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d go out and get eggs, but too lazy. If I was really hungry though… I’d go. I have the Ensure that you sent, I’m all set! Some of the people at the center go crazy over the free cans and stuff they give out at the center… me I never want it. Living on the farm I never went hungry, so I don’t know what it’s like to be hungry I guess. Now if they were giving out free clothes, I’d probably go take a look, even though I don’t need anymore… I will always look.”

I mentioned taking Grace to Ballet class on Tuesday, and… “Now that’s something I would have liked when I was young, to take dance lessons. That was only for the city kids, the farm kids didn’t get to do any of that. Daddy would never have stopped plowing to go take me anywhere. It was always the city kids in school who got the parts in all the plays, I never could be in them.”

Feb. 6, 2017: When I called mama tonight, I could tell in her voice that something was wrong… “I don’t know what I was thinking this afternoon when I came home, but I can’t find my purse or car keys.” Well how did you get home, I asked. “I drove home, but I didn’t go in the house right away and piddled in my flower gardens, then when I went on the porch to go in, I had no keys. I went across the street to that young girls house and she came over, and somehow got my door open.” I tried to walk her back through what she did after getting out of the car, but at this point she was so upset over it, that I just let it go… tomorrow is another day as she’s safe in the house tonight.

Feb. 7, 2017: When I called this morning, she was outside with the cell phone, looking for her keys. My first words were, “please don’t lay the cell phone down, you need to wear dresses with pockets.” “I’ll try not to lay it down, but I’m just walking around looking for my keys, I can’t understand what I could have done with them…. Maybe I ate them. I’m not staying out much longer, I’m tired and my back hurts from bending over.” I told her to go inside and rest and somehow they will be found.

Ironically mama had a Dr. appointment this morning, I called and rescheduled. That was the easiest thing for me to do. I called the senior center, where she went on Monday, and no purse was left behind there. When I called mama… “this has me so upset, I can’t understand how I could have done something so stupid like this.”

I called my friend Donna down there and talked to her, she offered to go over later. By the time she was able to get there, a storm approached and rain down poured, so it was only a quick search in the car and outside with an umbrella… no keys! She brought mama soup, eggs and bread… so I felt relieved that there was food in the house, beside the Ensure that she likes to drink. Donna called later to tell me she would go back on Thursday, as she had a car appointment tomorrow.

I called mama later… no news – no keys. I told her that I would pray to St. Anthony again tonight and ask him to help her lost items be found, it works. Well haven’t we all done dumb things without thinking… don’t beat yourself up over it, I will work something out I told her. No matter what I said, she still beat herself up and I could tell that she’s really stressing herself out…

In further talking this evening, she said. “My purse is laying here on the bed, but the keys aren’t in it.” At this point, I don’t know if she ever lost it or not, but I wasn’t pushing her buttons on it, so I said, “see St. Anthony helped with the purse, he will help with the keys.” Tomorrow is another day! I began searching on google on how to find lost keys… guess I was looking for a miracle. What I seemed to find the most of was… when you threaten to buy another key or actually buy one… you find the lost key.

Feb. 8, 2017: I hesitated to call this morning, but I did…. “Well I still haven’t found my keys, maybe one of the cats outside took them.” Me… Really, I don’t think any of the cats wants your keys. They will turn up, it will just take time. “Well I’m going back out there after and keep looking.” When I got off the phone I called the dealership in Madison and priced keys and options of how to get the car there. To buy two keys was about five hundred dollars and who knows what the cost to tow the car would be, as it probably would have to go on a flat bed.

While at lunch today, mama rang my phone, it was my friend Donna calling… “Guess what, I found the keys! They were in the flower garden under her window. So now she’s back in business.” What a relief off my shoulders… while I slept like a baby last night, my husband dreamed about missing keys all night and didn’t sleep. Let’s hope everyone sleeps tonight as snow is coming our way on Thursday… yuck!

Mama called later this evening, and while she was relieved, she was very tired. Hopefully she sleeps tonight as St. Anthony helped again today sending her angel Donna to the rescue and leading her to the keys. Needless to say I’m looking for a key finder to take down there to put on her keys and purse… so at least if they are in the yard, she might locate them easier; she has misplaced them in the house before, so this should help. Who hasn’t misplaced their keys in the house? I am like a dog with a bone when I’ve misplaced something, and not content until it’s found, same with hubby.

At this point we’ve found almost all the missing things in our house we have been looking for…. except Godzilla’s tail and a photo of me with my parents in the Glass Bottom Boat in Florida; I can still see that photo and have no memory of taking it out of my album for any reason, but I can not find it now. Maybe I’ll ask St. Anthony tonight to send me a clue of where to look, other than telling me I need to clean more!

Feb. 9, 2017: I called mama before lunch… and no answer, which tells me she probably went to the center with her “found” car keys. Later I called about 3:30 and just as I was about to hang up, she answered out of breath… “I crawled over to get the phone as I’m sitting on the floor sewing the bottom of this curtain going into the living room.” Why? “I’m sewing these jingle bells on the bottom, so when Boo walks through, I hear the jingling noise.” My husband just shook his head, thinking another noise for us to hear when we sleep in the living room and Boo walks in. “It’s just something to do, I saw them laying on the bureau and thought I’d sew them back on. The reason it took so long to get over to the phone was because I couldn’t get up that fast, so I just crawled over to grab the phone… I knew it was you.” I told her to take the phone back with her…. “No one will call, you’ve called now.” (We had a blizzard today, about 14 inches)

Feb. 14, 2017: Called mama to wish her Happy Valentines Day… “everyday is the same, guess I missed the party at the center as I can’t find my car keys this morning. They are in the house… somewhere!”

Feb. 15, 2017: I don’t remember how the subject turned to pickles, guess it was when I told her about all the uses of a cucumber that I was reading about on Facebook, so she said… “My mama grew lots of cucumbers in the garden, but we didn’t eat them as I only remember her making pickles. She always had lots of canned pickles in the corner cabinetm and pickles were a staple on the table. I remember her eating them, maybe my brother, but my father and I didn’t really eat them. Even today I don’t really eat them, unless it’s maybe on a sandwich, I’d rather just drink the pickle juice. I always ate quickly so I could sidle on out of the kitchen so I didn’t have to wash dishes. I’d rather be out in the front swing reading a True Romance magazine. Mama liked to do them herself anyway, sometimes my brother, Leroy hung in the kitchen and helped her; he was mama’s pet, while I was daddy’s girl; it was always that way!”

“I did go to the center today and ate a little. They offered Ensure drinks with lunch, so I made sure to grab a couple. I’d rather drink one of them then eat what they offer for lunch.”

Feb. 17, 2017: Mama was dozing when I called… “I can sleep anytime, it doesn’t matter what time it is to me. I went out to Walmart today looking for maybe another remote, but this one works now. Also went to the center this morning and hung out for awhile. I’m sure I picked at the food, but most of it came home to the cat… they never complain.” I asked mama about music… “I didn’t pay much attention to music when I was young until I started dancing the jitterbug, then I liked the songs that you danced to.” Who taught you the jitterbug, I asked. “Willie Mae and I used to hang in the kitchen at the City Hotel and the girls back there taught us how to dance, they were all good dancers. This wasn’t a dancing song, but I just remember a song called the Hut Sut, did you ever hear it? It went like… Hut-Sut Rawson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit.” While I remembered hearing mama say it, I didn’t know the words until I looked it up. It came out in 1941 and was sung by Elsie Carsisle… it was popular in the 40’s as a novelty song – originally a Swedish serenade song. Then I mentioned the other novelty song Mairzy Doats… “yeah I remember that, and little lambs eat ivy – it said at the end; it was another popular song we sang.”

Mama then turned music into remembering her father… “Often when daddy plowed, he picked me up and plopped me on the mule’s back. I’d ride up and down the rows as he stood behind the plow, yelling “gee, haw, you son of a bitch.”

“My grandfather Lawson McKinley had a radio, and as far as I can remember he was the only one at that time when I was young. We often went over there on Saturday nights, but it was never turned on until all the older folks were going to be in the room. They would listen to the Grand Ol’ Opry with Minnie Pearl. The only other time it was turned on was when the president spoke. If the president was speaking on a Saturday afternoon, then all the men went to the filling station in town and listened together… it was only the men who listened. I remember hearing President Talmadge speak. Finally later daddy got a radio, I think Aunt Lena or Aunt Emma bought it for him.”

I mentioned to mama that I wish I could get her a computer robot to greet her at the door everyday and say… “welcome home Helen, let me have your keys and purse. How was your day? ” She laughed, and … “Oh I’d love that, please find me one, and be sure and get one that does dishes because I always have a sink full… at all times. Imagine I used to keep such an immaculate clean house, but now I’m just not interested in housework, I’d rather watch a good movie. When it gets done, it gets done!” Well that gives me something to look for, they have the Echo and  Google assistant, but do they do dishes? LOL… I’ll have to check and see what they do!

Feb. 19, 2017: After talking awhile, somehow the conversation turned to cremation… “I remember my daddy saying if you ever want to put some flowers on his grave to just put bitter weed there; they have small yellow blooms. Daddy was always pulling them up if he found them growing in the field because if the cows ate them, it gave their milk a bitter taste. We chewed on some weed at school that had a bitter taste, but we mostly chewed on sweet gum branches. I remember mama dipping a sweet gum branch in her snuff and then chewing on the branch. She dipped snuff, but I never saw her spit like your grandmother Bryan did… she walked around carrying a spit can; that was so nasty!”

“I went to the center today and Caroline brought me eggs from her chickens. I scrambled one tonight, the yellow is a much deeper yellow than the ones you buy in the store, that’s because they are fresh. I’ll keep them on the counter for a few days then put them in the fridge.”

And then we were back to cremation… “Make sure you sprinkle some of my ashes on Monica’s grave as well as my brother Leroy and mama and daddy; just sprinkle me around with everyone.”

Feb. 28, 2017: First thing mama told me tonight was that she thought Boo was getting sick. “Boo just hasn’t seen like himself the past couple of days, he’s been acting mopish, not himself and just being quiet.”

In talking about her upcoming Dr. appointment, I told her I’m buying her a new address book and calendar and tying a string on them… so they don’t walk away from her.

I told mama I’ll make breakfast pizza for her when we come, and… “it doesn’t matter to me what I eat, I can eat a donut any time of the day and be happy.”

March 1, 2017: I asked about Boo when I called… “I took him to the vet today, they gave him some fluids and an antibiotic shot – hopefully he’ll start feeling better. It’s so difficult for me taking him, I have a really hard time trying to get him into the carrier and then carrying him to the car.”

March 2, 2017: I called mama from work tonight… “Boo was laying with me on the bed until the phone rang, he just got up and went in the living room. Why are you still at work, it’s 6 o’clock at night; no one would  tell me I had to stay that late. If people haven’t gotten their groceries by this time at night, then they don’t really need them. Boo seems to be feeling a little better, he ate some food this morning.”

Mar. 3, 2017: As I called mama tonight, she said hello, she yelled out… “Boo stop, let go of my hand. He grabbed my finger hard as I grabbed the phone. You can see that he is feeling better today. He got up this morning and ate some food and he’s back to wanting to be with me and laying up close, but every time I move my hand, he attacks me.”

“I made my rounds this morning and stopped at Hardee’s with all my “free” coupons to buy sandwiches to take to the center. I told the young guy that I was taking the extra’s to the senior center and I think he added a few extra in the bag. When I got there, I took one and went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. I left the bag for anyone else there to have a sandwich. Whenever I get a few of those free coupons they mail, I like to take the extra’s down to the center… but no one else ever does that.”

I was talking about how the kids are in school and …. “ When I was in school in Siloam, the kids were bad, and the boys were really bad. One time the boys climbed up on the roof and poured sand down the chimney, which put out the fire in the big cast iron pot belly stove. If I could have climbed up there, I bet I’d have been right there with them. Another thing they did was punch a hole in the wall of the boys bathroom so they could peek into the girls. The reason the boys were so bad is because most of the men were in the Army, it was during WWII.  There was no men home to keep them in line, they got out of control with only the women in the household trying to keep order. I’ll never forget this one boy who liked to jump up on his desk and “hump” like a dog. (she’s laughing) There was also this one bad girl who would go off with some of the boys at lunchtime and who knows what they were doing, and she was the preacher’s daughter.”

“I had my share of being sent to the principal’s office. One day, after returning back to my class, I was sent back to the office because Kendrick said something to me when I walked back in, and I hit him on the head with my books. I didn’t go to the office, but to the library instead. I grew up with Kendrick, we were more like siblings. My father rented a house on their land; his father was the local doctor, who also delivered me.

March 4, 2017: While talking to mama tonight I was watching a video on Facebook of a cat drinking water from the spigot, and…. “my boss Clara used to say her cat could flush the toilet, but I never believed it. She tended to tell lies and talk about people. I’m sure she talked about me when I wasn’t around. She often talked about her clients after they left the shop, so I’m sure she talked about me as well. Boo is smart, he drinks water from the spigot, but I turn it on; that’s the only way he will drink water.”

March 5, 2017: I asked about Boo when I called tonight. “Boo seemed to be feeling good yesterday, but he’s back to feeling bad tonight. I guess I’ll have to call the vet Monday morning and  take him in, I dread that as he’s like fighting a tiger to get him in the carrier and it’s hard to carry him to the car. Maybe he will feel better tomorrow, he seems to be a little perky in the mornings, going in and eating a little, but then in the evening he wants to go hide.”

March 7, 2017: Mama had an appointment with Dr. Ootz this morning, as I tried calling her but she had left the house. Tried calling her several times later and the phone never rang, going straight to voicemail. Finally got her around 10 tonight. “I didn’t know anything was wrong with my phone, it was hung up. I left earlier to go out to the Dr. office and they took me as soon as I walked in…. And there was a room full of people waiting. He said I looked good and keep doing what I’m doing.”

When I told mama I made a blackberry cobbler last night…. “Oh don’t tell me that, I’d sure like a piece right now with my coffee. I sure wish I could have one like my mama made. She made up a biscuit dough, then rolled it out really thin. She laid it in the pan and cooked it till it was brown. While that baked, she cooked her berries a little bit on the stove, then she poured the berries and juice on top of the baked crust, and rolled out a top crust. She put a few pats of butter on top and baked it. We used to pick the berries on the side of the road, just near the driveway; there was lots of them there, but the best ones were the ones we picked in the back field where it was marshy. Those were the big juicy berries. There were also  snakes back there, we had to take Frank or Brownie with us; they’d kill a snake in a minute. The dogs would go in the bushes first, then when they came out, we could go in. They were smart dogs, always knowing what to do when they went with us. The bushes were back by that big rock I liked to sit up on…. my rock! There was another rock back there that looked like a fireplace had been carved in on one side. It even looked like it had been used; this was Indian land, so it may well have been used like that many, many, years ago. Daddy used to find a lot of arrowheads when he farmed, he’d empty them out of his pockets at night; at one time you had a lot of them.”

I stopped  at the center on my way home today, and they had soup for lunch… I like their soup. They even put some in a container for me; you can buy it if they have leftovers, and I always do.”

March 8, 2017: Mama called me tonight while we were watching Blue Bloods….. “I got another letter I want to read you, that car dealership over in Madison sent me a card that they want to buy my car, that I didn’t have to buy one…. I just want to know what they want in my car.” No matter how I tried to tell her that it’s a scam letter trying to encourage her to buy another car, we went ‘round in circles…

When I told mama I made another blackberry cobbler tonight…. “dam you, I wish I had a piece, but I want it like my mama made. I had a seedless blackberry bush in the backyard for years, but it finally died out.”

I told mama I bought Ella knitting needles  for her 7th birthday…. “I knitted when I was young, but I had to make my own knitting needles, daddy wasn’t going to buy me needles. We knitted squares that someone sewed together for the boys in the war. I also crocheted and embroidered, I really enjoyed the embroidery.”

“I want to plant some flower seeds soon, I think I’ll get some of those big sunflower seeds. It should be almost time for planting. I planted some corn seeds last year, but they never came up. I’m going to plant the sunflowers over in the patch between me and the neighbor.”

“I wish I had something to have with my coffee tonight, but I’ve been so lazy that I never went to the store. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow, but I just hate going grocery shopping. I had Brunswick stew tonight.”

I told mama that McKinley and Grace were here today as Melissa went to NY for a Woman’s Day store meeting. When I mentioned to McKinley that we had Ella’s birthday party this weekend, and that we would probably have pizza at the bowling alley… well McKinley was quiet for a moment, then said, “I think I’ll have mama pack me a lunch.” Mama laughed…. “boy she’s just like me, a picky eater; I wouldn’t eat that pizza either.”

March 11, 2017: When I called tonight… “I just put Boo on the porch and he’s checking out the cat carrier I left out there. He walked all around it… looking at it sideways. He usually  knows when I have it on my mind that I’m taking him to the vet… he’ll get quiet and lay under the table. I just happened to leave it out there, so now he’ll probably think he’s going to the vet, haha.”

“I’m very good at laying in the bed watching TV… I could win a prize for it! Sometimes I feel like I want to go out and dig in the dirt, in my flowers, but not as much as I used to.”

“Here comes Boo, he stopped to crunch on some food for a snack, now he’s up here laying with me again… until he decides he wants another snack.”



To be continued…

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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved






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Foods: Family Recipes and Memories – Sweet Potato Cobbler

            Family Recipes and Memories                 Sweet Potato Cobbler

Heirloom Recipes was published in the Spring 2005 issue. My first written paid article – Heirloom Recipes: Family History comes in many forms.

Take a walk with me down memory lane – back in your grandmother’s kitchen. Remember the comfort foods she cooked for you. They were prepared with a little of this,and a little of that – no paper recipes – and came out mouth watering every time. Whether you call them old-timey, heirloom, or just the family recipe, if you don’t record them on paper they will soon become a lost treasure.

As I prepared to write a family cookbook, I soon discovered that many of the family dishes I remembered when I was a young girl, were not in my recipe box; those little boxes we have sitting on our kitchen counters, but often unknown to most of our grandmothers. Handwritten recipes weren’t needed or used in their era. My grandmother just knew how to cook – and cooked great Southern country food!

When I first asked my mother about recipes for Grandmamma’s cooking, her reply was, “my mother didn’t have any recipes and probably didn’t even know what a recipe was. She just knew how and what to put together to cook the family food – my Mama was a great cook.”

After tracing much of my family history from the small gold-mining town of Dahlonega, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lumpkin County, Ga., down to Greene County, Ga. where I was born, I discovered a new form of family history – the family cooking. All too often we pass the recipe and memories from one generation to the next by word of mouth; a process well meaning, but often becomes lost with each new generation.

My mother has always told family stories about my Grandmamma Ola McKinley’s country cooking on their farm in Siloam, Greene Co., Ga. As I incorporated them into my family cookbook, “Cooking Memories”, I soon discovered that family history is much more than pedigree charts and information gleaned from library books. As you gather your family history and photographs, don’t overlook writing down the family recipes, as they all blend together to form a true family history. For once memories and recipes are lost – they are gone forever!

Every family needs a storyteller, a caretaker of the family stories to pass down to the younger generations, and also someone to write those stories, memories and recipes of the family. My mother enjoyed telling the stories, while my love is writing them for preservation. When she talks, she always makes me feel like I was there, right alongside of her. I can almost smell the blackberry pie cooling on the kitchen counter, taste Grandmamma’s famous Southern Jam Cake and if I close my eyes, I know I could lick the frosting off my fingers from one of her iced tea cakes. From those cooking memories gathered from Mama’s stories – I feel more connected in knowing my grandmother.

As my mother talked about our Southern Foods, I discovered more about my grandmother than I ever knew, and also learned that my Grandfather, Edgar McKinley, could cook a ‘mean’ pan of biscuits – when needed. It’s been the little things I learned that truly brought them to life for me. I learned that Granddaddy liked strong coffee – Mama laughs at the strong part and said, “he liked it so strong that it could walk off the table by itself.” He always saved any extra coffee, and he and my mother drank it cold as they sat on the back stoop in the evening. Recently Mama saw me drinking ‘iced coffee’ and laughed saying, “you drink it just like my father did.” But the only difference is that I go to a coffee shop for my cold coffee!

I didn’t have the opportunity to truly know my Grandmother McKinley as well as I would have liked. But through the cooking memories, I now feel she has been brought to life and become more of a person to me, not just another name on a pedigree chart.

Grandmothers spent much time in their kitchens back then – no luxuries like we have today. The cooking was more personal, and what good cooking came out of those kitchens! Mama was amazed how her mother always knew exactly how many logs to put in the wood stove to cook everything to perfection.

My Grandmother McKinley was a hard working woman; it was a vicious circle from morning till evening – and without any complaints. Her day began early in the morning before the family rose. She was the first one up making the family breakfast, then off to work in the field, back before noon to prepare lunch, then again to the field and finally back to the kitchen to cook supper. Work never stopped for her; sometimes she even went back to the field after supper. My mother still says today that she doesn’t know where her mother pulled all her strength from… to do all she did.

Every family in the South has a favorite biscuit recipe passed down in the family, and as I sit here writing about the family biscuit – my mouth waters for one. I have no memory of my grandmother’s biscuits, only what I’ve been told. And I’ve learned enough about my grandmother’s biscuits to almost make me feel as if I indeed eat at her table. Grandmamma McKinley made sourdough biscuits – always saving a pinch of dough in a cup for the next batch. She had a special cup that held the dough in the cabinet for the next day’s biscuits. When company came for Sunday dinner my mother always worried about the adults eating all the biscuits, leaving her none, but of course Grandmamma always made extra.

Mama learned how to make biscuits by watching her mother – exactly how recipes were passed down back then. But it still took much practice, and even after watching my mother make biscuits, I’m still practicing. My biscuits aren’t bad, but they’re not Mama’s! It’s the feel of the dough in your hands that you have to learn – that’s why they didn’t need recipes. But me, I still need my recipe and measuring cups – most of the time. I’m thankful that my children have the knowledge and taste of knowing what a true Southern biscuit tastes like – their grandmother’s, my mother. And when we go home for a visit, the first thing they ask for is one of Angel’s biscuits; they have always called my mother by only one name – she’s their Angel.

Sunday dinner in the South was the best – bowls and bowls of fresh vegetables from the family farm. We only ate fresh, as both my grandparents were farmers. I cannot ever remember my mother opening a can of vegetables. They came with a price – my grandmother’s sat for hours on the front porch shelling beans and peas and shucking the many fresh ears of corn needed for Southern fried corn – my absolute favorite. What work it is to cut the kernels off, and scrape the cob for the milky juice needed for fresh cream-style corn. I loved when Granddaddy Bryan headed to the field with his worn-out leather satchel slung over his shoulder – I knew he was going to pick a ‘mess’ of corn for dinner.

A recipe that I hoped to include in my cookbook was my Grandmother Evelyn Bryan’s Sweet Potato Cobbler, but there was no recipe. I was told what ingredients went in and about how she prepared it, but I was left to devise my own recipe. Many of the foods I grew up with were not prepared from any type of written word, and I soon learned that most family recipes were not written down like we do today.

From knowing the about ingredients, and remembering the taste, I soon began experimenting to develop a written recipe for my grandmother’s cobbler. I had memories of standing by her side, many times, as she made this simple Southern dish; when I close my eyes I can still see her preparing it. With those tools I was able to finally create that so-needed recipe. After many tries, I finally had the taste I so remembered from my youth; a taste that reminded me of Growing up Southern. Even though I now live in Connecticut, I will never forget my Southern roots, foods, and memories of “Growing up Southern.”

Grandmamma’s Sweet Potato Cobbler was a favorite of Granddaddy’s and mine – we could always count on one for dessert after Sunday dinner. Granddaddy Bryan grew many ‘taters so he had plenty for his favorite cobbler. They were kept in his ‘tater hill’ after they cured and dug out as needed. My grandfather was very particular about his cobbler – always buying cow butter from his brother. He would not use store bought butter!. I dug up all his ‘taters one year when I was young – thinking I was helping him. I couldn’t understand why they had to be buried if you were going to use them!

Sunday dinner at my grandparent’s, Paul & Evelyn Bryan, was often eaten on the screened-in back porch of their home in Union Point, Greene County, Ga. I always scrambled to make sure I sat next to my grandfather. We were usually the first at the table waiting for that ice-filled glass of sweet tea, and if he put a slice of lemon in his – I did the same.

From the cooking memories I have written from my mother’s stories, I have more of a connection in understanding the cooks – my grandmothers. Writing my family cookbook brought me more family history on my grandparents than I ever imagined. I began to know them through my mother’s eyes, years before I was born – and more things than any book could ever tell me.

If you have the opportunity, take some time and record the family recipes because they truly are your family treasures. If you feel like heading into the kitchen to whip something up, maybe you might just want to try my cobbler!


Sweet Potato Cobbler

5 – 6 medium sweet potatoes (9 x 13 pan)

1 cup sugar (+ more if needed)

Nutmeg (optional – to your taste)

Cinnamon (to your taste – I generally only use cinnamon)

1 stick butter

Pastry dough (or 1-2 boxes Pillsbury dairy dough) depends on what size dish using.

2 cups (abt) boiling water

Peel sweet potatoes and slice thin, abt. 1/4-inch. Make pastry dough or use Pillsbury dough in dairy – which I use. Some cobblers have dough on bottom and some don’t – it’s your choice. I make it both ways. I use a 9 x 13 inch pan.

If using crust – add bottom crust to buttered pan. You can use a solid crust or make lattice strips. Lay sliced sweet potatoes on bottom crust. I put a thicker layer of potatoes in the bottom and also lay slices around the sides. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the sugar, 1/3 of the butter chipped up and spices if desired. I go light on the Nutmeg unless you like it. I do sprinkle cinnamon but not heavy.

Cut strips of dough and lay lattice style over the potatoes. Add 2nd layer of sweet potatoes, 1/3-cup sugar and another 1/3 of the butter chipped up and another light sprinkle of cinnamon. Continue again for a 3rd layer in same way.

Pour boiling water over all (I pour slowly on the side so it goes to bottom and not all over everything) – fill up baking dish about half way with water – judge with the 2 cups. Lay another layer of dough on top – either lattice-style or whole with slits cut. Lightly sprinkle a little sugar and spices on top also – if desired.

Bake 350 oven for about 1 hour, until brown & bubbly and potatoes soft when checked with a knife. Don’t overcook to mush! Check several times to see if cobbler is too dry. If too dry, add a little more water as needed. Let sit a little before cutting (if you can) so the juices absorb.

Note: The directions can be cut down for a smaller cobbler. Works well cooked in a deep pie dish also.



Want to read more…. Foods: Family Recipes and Memories

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: I Found Lassie

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often you’ll be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes


I Found Lassie!

As we drove through the beach area of Stratford, CT., I spotted Lassie on a garage. Having a fondness for Collies, I quickly grabbed my camera. When my son was six, and in love with the Lassie show, we bought a collie…. named him Rowdy Piper after the wrestler. What a great dog, very protective over our family.



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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Show Horse Inc. Southbury CT.

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often you’ll be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes


Horse weathervane atop Show Horse Inc. stables in Southbury CT.

On one of our detours from the New Milford Flea Market, we happened upon this; hubby had to do a turn around so I could grab a few photographs.


I only wish I had taken more photos that day as it was a really nice area where horses are boarded, trained and sold. Maybe I’ll drive by again one day.


My camera wasn’t fast enough here and I didn’t realize I missed the sign until I was home. The sign reads Show Horses Inc.


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© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Turner Family Research: William Pinkney Turner – Are John & Hannah Turner your parents? Post 2

William Pinkney Turner: Are John & Hannah Turner your parents? Post 2

A continuation of findings, facts and more in my search for William Pinkney Turner’s parents…

My original post on the search for William’s parents can be found Here – it was written January 4th of this year. Since writing it I have decided to make follow-ups in order for a  better continuation of information. The more you look and study the facts – the more of a chance to find a piece of info you have over-looked!

Before I go any further, I’d like to add all I know on John & Hannah Turner


1840: John Turner, Union Co., South Carolina – Pg. 178

Citing this Record: “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHTZ-B6W : 24 August 2015), John Turner, Union, South Carolina, United States; citing p. 178, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 516; FHL microfilm 22,511. (On Family Search, I found 2 John Turners in Union Co., S.C. – could the other one be John Turner Sr.?)

Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1                        John Turner
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1                     Hannah Turner
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1                       John Turner
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2              John & Hannah Turner
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2             John & Hannah Turner
Total Free White Persons: 2             John & Hannah Turner
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 2            John & Hannah Turner

In 1840, a John Turner lived in Union, Union Co., S.C. with possible wife – Hannah? If this is John and Hannah Turner, then it seems they probably just married. Son, Oliver P. Turner, was born in S.C. 1841 and also Elizabeth b. 1843. If my William is the William on the 1850, Davis District, Lumpkin Co., GA census, then between 1843, and by 1846 when William was born… the family had moved to GA (Moved to Ga. between 1843-1846)


1840 Union, South Carolina: John Turner / David Turner – Pg. 189

Turner John and David SC 1840 Clip

John Turner: 2 males under 5; 2 males 5 under 10; 1 male 50 under 60; 1 female under 5; 2 females 5 under 10; 1 female 15 under 20:  Seems this family of John Turner has no mother living unless it’s the last female 15 under 20, but highly unlikely as she possibly would have been 15 or younger having first child.

David Turner: 1 male under 5; 1 male 30 under 40; 1 female under 5; 1 female 15 under 20; 1 female 80 under 90: Could this David be a brother of this John Turner. Probably no mother in household, but older female is either his mother or mother-in-law.

Citation: “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYB2-V4Q?cc=1786457&wc=31S2-BD9%3A1588669885%2C1588666046%2C1588665902 : 24 August 2015), South Carolina > Union > image 36 of 128; citing NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


1850: John & Hannah Turner – Davis, Lumpkin Co., GA.turner-john-and-hannah-and-william-1850-lumpkin-co-ga-clip

Family No. 35 – Davis, Lumpkin County, Georgia

  • Turner, John, age 26, born S.C. (1824 – although most times it is 1821)
  • Turner, Hannah, age 30, born S.C. (1820)
  • Turner, Oliver, age 9, born S.C. (1841)
  • Turner, Elizabeth, age 7, born S.C. (1843)
  • Turner, William, age 4, born GA. (1846)

I do believe, at this time, that this is my William P. Turner in the family of John and Hannah. Living directly next door is Clementh Abercrombie, whose daughter Sarah Fanny Abercrombie married Oliver Perry Turner.

1860: census has not been found… as of yet!

Believe me I have looked every which way, along with others, and John and Hannah are just not to be found. Anyone reading this – I’d love for you to take a shot at it, and I’ll be in your debt forever if you can locate it! It’s very frustrating, as I know they didn’t leave Georgia, and John was listed just 4 years later on the 1864 Lumpkin County Militia Census… so why, or how, were they not listed on the 1860 census?

1864: Lumpkin County, GA. Militia Census – John Turner


County of Lumpkin, District 935: Age 42 years, 11 months (abt. 1821). First place I found an occupation other than a regular census, which always listed him as farmer, but here he is listed as a “hatter.” Also listed as born in South Carolina. Under “gun” column he lists that he owns a rifle, and in good condition. Under “cavalry” he lists nothing, so I’m assuming no horse owned.

This is the only found mention of him after the 1850 census as no researchers have turned up the 1860 census. I have searched in many ways, but nothing as of yet. I went back and searched his neighbors, but no John or Hannah; I have found families listed inside other family surnames before. This 1864 proves that he remained in Lumpkin Co., but where was home? I know the war had been raging from 1861 – did he possibly not want to be counted in 1860 for military reasons?

1870: John & Hannah Turner – Dahlonega, Lumpkin Co., Georgia.


Name:                Family No. 904 Age
John Turner 48
Hannah Turner 55
Sarah Turner 18
Francis Turner 17
Mary Turner 14

In 1870 John is listed as a farmer, age 48 (b.1822); real estate valued at $500; personal estate at $350; born in South Carolina. Daughter Mary’s future husband, Samuel Rider, is just two households away.


1880: John & Hannah Turner – Hightower, Lumpkin Co., Georgia


Name:                      Family No. 55 Age
John Turner 59
Hannah Turner 64 (too old to have a 6yr. old daughter)
Oliver Turner 39 (not actually living in household)
Elizabeth Turner 35 (could Darian be her daughter?)
William Turner 34 (not actually living in household)
Sary Turner 28 (could Darian be her daughter?)
Marion Turner (last census he was listed as Francis, now using his middle name) 25 – He is listed as a “widower” – assume he’s back home and working on fathers farm. Could Darian be his daughter?
Mary Turner 23 (not actually living in household)
Darian Turner 6 (who’s daughter is this?)

John lists his father as born South Carolina and mother born North Carolina.

For some odd reason, John & Hannah listed all their children in the 1880 census, whether living with them – or not. I’m not sure who Darian (female) age 6 belonged to, as I don’t believe Hannah, at age 64, was still having children. I’m thinking possibly no one lived home now, unless the two unmarried daughters, Elizabeth and Sary, of which I have found nothing on, still lived with parents and female Darian, age 6, belonged to one of them, or the widowed brother Francis M. Turner, who is back home.


Oliver Perry Turner

Son of John & Hannah Turner


Son, Oliver Perry Turner, married Sarah A. Albercrombie, September 30, 1866 in Lumpkin Co., GA. (Not living in household of parents, John & Hannah Turner in 1880)


William Pinkney Turner

Son of John & Hannah Turner

Nimblewill, Lumpkin Co., Georgia


Son, William Pinkney Turner, married Laura A. Gooch, Nov. 14, 1867 in Lumpkin Co., Georgia. (Not living in household of parents – John & Hannah Turner in 1880, as shown where John is listed.)

Name:              Family No. 99 Age
William Turner 33
Lauria A. Turner (Gooch) 28
Barner Turner 10
Missouria Turner 8
Mary E. Turner 5
Sarah E. Turner 2   (married William Clark Bryan)

Questions on this 1880 census:

Family No. 97 has a William Gooch with a servant listed of a William Turner, age 9, living in household as a servant. Which family did he belong to and why at the young age of 9, was he living in this household?

Family No. 98 is a George Turner, age 27 living next door to my William P. Turner., age 33: I know they aren’t brothers, but could they be cousins, and if so, well who is his father?



Marriage record of my William Pinkney Turner to Lauria A. Gooch

November 14, 1867 – Lumpkin Co., GA.


Mary Turner Rider

Daughter of John & Hannah Turner

1880 Barrettsville, Dawson Co., Georgia

Name Age
Samuel Rider 20
Mary (Turner) Rider 21
John Rider 3

1880: Auraria, Lumpkin Co., GA. Household of daughter Mary Turner (daughter of John & Hannah Turner) and husband Samuel Rider. (Not living in household of parents John & Hannah Turner.) By 1900 they were living in Dawson Co., GA.


Elizabeth Turner

 Daughter of John & Hannah Turner, born about 1845 in South Carolina. I have found no marriage, death or links to Ancestry trees on Elizabeth.


Sary / Sarah Turner

Daughter of John & Hannah Turner, born about 1852 in Georgia. I have found no marriage, death or links to Ancestry trees on Sary.


Francis Marion Turner

Son of John & Hannah Turner, born about 1855 in Georgia; married Clara Lee “Carrie” (Helmis/ Helms sp?), born Sept. 24, 1876 in Coweta Co., GA., and died April 20, 1917 of pneumonia at Scottsdale, GA. Info of name and dates from the the Georgia Baptist orphanage admission notes on children admitted to orphanage due to father being unable to care for children. Father, Francis M. Turner’s, address listed as Decatur, GA. (not all page was copied – copy sent to me by Lee Harvie). Married about 1885 using the 1900 Shoal Creek, Lumpkin Co., GA. census. 1910 census, Browning Distr., Dekalb Co., shows they were married for 4 years.)

  • Albert B. Turner, born June 1907 (twins)
  • Alfred D. Turner, born June 1907 (twins)
  • Frances Turner, born June 10, 1910
  • Henry Taft Turner, born Nov. 13, 1912

Georgia Baptist Orphanage Relinquish form: May 11, 1917orphanage-admission-notes-19172101

This is a partial copy of a page from their admissions to the Georgia Baptist Orphanage – Relinquish form of May 11th, 1917. Frank’s wife, Carrie Turner, had just died of pneumonia on April 20, 1917. Sad that he could not support his children after the wife’s death and had to relinquish them in order for them to have care.

This orphanage began in only a ten-room house in 1872, located just 2 1/2 miles from Atlanta. This home began to help children and families in need, as such the case with Francis Marion Turner. His wife and died and he was destitute… I’m sure it was a sad day for him and those children, when he walked out… leaving his only family of four children in the care of the orphanage.

Ulysses Grant was president at this time and there were only 37 states in the United States. Our nation was not only still in turmoil, but changes were happening. It was the women at the Second Baptist Church of Atlanta who saw that need and first began this home in 1872 for destitute and helpless children who were left orphaned by the Civil War.

Frank M. Turner stated on the form that his present address was RFD #2, Decatur Georgia

The grave of Carrie Turner was found by a FindAGrave volunteer who documented the find on her blog, Adventures in Cemetery Hopping. What a great story she wrote… do stop by and read her adventures!

  • 1850 John & Hannah Turner with family in Lumpkin Co., GA.
  • 1860 Turner Families not found
  • 1870 Lumpkin Co., GA. Census lists Francis in household.
  • 1880 Lumpkin Co., GA. Census lists Francis as a widower. (he listed all his children as living with him on this census – not sure why?)
  • 1910 Dekalb co., GA. Census lists Francis as M2 and Carrie also as M2 – meaning this marriage is their second marriage. (Need to find their first marriages; were there children? Carrie lists 5 children she had, 4 living in 1910)


1891: John Turner (12-18-1891) Jones District, Lumpkin Co., Georgia


This is the second time I’ve found a listing for John Turner as a hat-maker! The first mention was the 1864 Militia Lumpkin Co. Census. (Source: History of Lumpkin County by Andrew W. Cain)

Excerpt reads: John Turner, of Jones District, this county, the old hat-maker, was in town Wednesday. He is still making hats. He had three along with him. The only objection to his hats is that they never wear out. The old gentleman is more than three score and ten and is hale and hearty.


Mrs. John Turner (obit)

June 2, 1893 – Dahlonega Signal

Possibly this is Hannah Turner, John’s wife


This obit was found in Deaths, Murders and  Lynchings; Abstracted from Lumpkin Co., Georgia, Newspapers 1873-1900 by Jimmy E. Anderson

Could this be our Hannah Turner, wife of John Turner of Lumpkin Co., GA? We will be looking into this, hoping it (more) will yield more information. Our hopes that this is our Hannah is because the obit was posted in a Lumpkin Co., newspaper; possibly posted as it was her family’s home.


1900, Barrettsville, Dist. 0019, Dawson Co., GA.

Daughter Mary A. Turner, wife of Samuel Rider. Mary’s father, John Turner, is living in household.



John listed in family of Samuel and Mary (Turner) as father-in-law; within two months John Turner died. He most likely moved in with daughter after wife, Hannah, died; John and Hannah were both  listed as born in Kentucky on this census, but all previous ones listed them as born South Carolina, which I believe to be correct. On this census, a year of Jan. is given, along with 1821, which seems to be the year given most times.


1900: Mt. Zion #1 Church

John & Hannah Turner were members

John Turner died Aug. 15?, 1900john-turner-mt-zion-church-list-edited-clip

From copied member pages of Mt. Zion #1 Church, we have an exact death date of Aug. 15?, 1900 for John Turner; this proves which church they belonged to. I previously thought they had belonged to the Nimblewill Church. The cemetery for Mt. Zion #1 is now located inside the ranger camp; it has been visited and no stones were located for Turner, but John and Hannah may still be buried there. (Source: Roz McLelland)


Hannah Turner

 Mt. Zion No. 1 Church Member Records

Due to copies being in bad condition, I can not determine a datehanna-turner-mt-zion-no-1-records


John Turner: Application of JJ Shedd for Letters of Administration of the Estate of John Turner

November 5, 1900


Partial copy of the estate of John Turner on microfilm at Dahlonega, Georgia library; transcribed copies below.


John Turner – Estate of
p. 278
application of JJ SHEDD for Letters of Administration of the Estate of John TURNER:
Georgia Lumpkin County to the ordinary of said county the petition of JJ SHEDD A citizen of said county shows that John TURNER late of said county deceased departed this life in August 1900 and as he believes intestate leaving Property real and Personal of the Probable value of two hundred fifty dollars lying in said county of Lumpkin and that said estate should he administer upon for the Purpose of collecting the debts due to and owing by said Estate and for the Purpose of Making distribution therefore among the Heirs at law of said deceased whereof yore Petitioner Prays an order directing citation to issue and be Published in term of the law that if no good cause is shown to the contrary yore Petitioner be appointed the Permanent Administrator of the estate of said deceased this 5th day of November 1900.
W.S. HUFF Petitioner’s atty
Read and conceded and it is hereby ordered that citation issue and be Published is required by law this
Nov 5th 1900. WHC TATE ordinary

p. 279
Georgia Lumpkin County
to all whom it may concern JJ SHEDD has in due form applied to the under signed for permanent letters of Administrator on the estate of John TURNER late of said county deceased and I will Pass upon said application on the first Monday in December 1900.
Given under my Hand and official signature this the 5th day of November 1900.
WHC TATE ordinary of Lumpkin Co., GA

JJ SHEDD applicant for letters of Administrator on the Estate of John TURNER deceased
Upon hearing this case it is adjudged by the court that letters of Administrator upon the estate of said deceased issue to JJ SHEDD upon his taking and subscribing the oath and giving the Bond required by law the amount of which Bond is hereby fixt at five hundred dollars.
Granted this Dec 3d 1900.
WHC TATE ordinary

p. 280
Georgia Lumpkin County
I JJ SHEDD do somuly swear that John TURNER died intestate so far as I know or believe and that I will well and truly administer on all the estate of said deceased and disburse the same as the law requires and discharge to the best of my ability and my duties as Administrator on the estate of said deceased so Help me God.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this Dec 3d 1900

State of Georgia Lumpkin County
the Honorable the ordinary for the county and state of aforesaid to JJ SHEDD
Whereas John TURNER late of said county and state aforesaid deceased died intestate having whilst he lived and at the time his death Real and Personal estate within the county and state aforesaid the means whereof the full disposition and Power Granting the Administration of all and singler the Real and Personal estate of the said deceased and also [?]

the accounts calculations and reckonings of the said Administration and a final dismission of the same to this court is manifestly known to known to belong & desiring that the Real and Personal Estate of said deceased may be well and truly Administered converted and well disposed of do hereby Grant unto the said JJ SHEDD

Full Power by the tenor of these Presents to administer the real and Personal Estate of the said deceased which to him in his lifetime and at the time of his death did belong and to ask issue for recover and receive the same and to pay the debts in which the deceased stood obligated so for forth[?] as his Real and Personal estate will extend according to their rate and order of law being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of almighty God to make a true and perfect inventory thereof and to exhibit the same unto the court of ordinary aforesaid in order to be Recorded and before next [?] and to render a just and true account calculate when thereunto required

p. 282
and I ordain and constitute you the said JJ Shedd Administrator of all and Singler the Real and Personal Estate of the said deceased

Witness the Honorable ordinary for Lumpkin County [blank] day of [blank]


Frances Marion Turner and Carrie E. Turner

1910 Census: Browning, Dekalb, Georgia

Name Age
Francis M Turner 56
Carry Turner 34
Albert B Turner 2
Alfred D Turner 2
Francis Turner 0

Children of Francis Marion and Carrie E. Turner

Albert William “Bill” Turner,  June 10, 1907 to parents Frances Marion and Carrie Turner.; Carrie died in 1917 and is buried in Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Tucker, DeKalb Co., Georgia. Albert’s mother died of pneumonia and his father, Frances Marion Turner, age 65 and unable to care for the 4 children, placed him and his 3 siblings in the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home, Hapeville Ga. He left the orphanage in 1925 and went to New Orleans, LA, where he became a merchant marine and lived that life in New Orleans until his death on Nov. 15 1976; he is buried in Melwood Cemetery, Stone Mountain, DeKalb Co., Georgia; Plot: Lot 319 – Section 2 – Block A – Grave 2: he never married and had no children.

 Alfred Tine Turner , twin of Albert, was born June 10, 1907, Tucker, DeKalb Co., Georgia; he left the orphanage and eventually married Ruth Sams of Fulton County, GA, and moved to NC, where they lived until his death on August 30, 1963 in North Wilkesboro, Wilkes Co., N.C. and is buried in Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs, Fulton Co., Georgia.

Frances Delano Turner, their only daughter, was born on June 24, 1909 in Decatur, DeKalb County, Georgia. After leaving the orphanage, Frances eventually married Allen J. North of Georgia; they had no children. Frances died March 27, 1987 in Powder Springs, Cobb Co., Georgia.

Henry I. Turner, born Nov. 13, 1912, died Sept., 1980, in Jersey City, Hudson Co., N.J. and was cremated; the only sibling to have children (4). From Find a Grave, it is listed as… He is survived by a loving nephew and 3 loving nieces and their families in NJ. Henry seems to be the only one not actually listed on Find A Grave with a gravesite; maybe because he was cremated, there is no actual grave? (At some point before 1951, he was living in California as his social security number was issued there.


1920: Georgia Baptist Orphanage Home – Hapeville, Fulton Co., GA.

Children of Francis M. & Carrie E. Turner



In 1920, the census lists the four Turner siblings in the Georgia Baptist Orphanage Home in Hapeville, Fulton, Georgia. (Info on Henry was found on the 1920 Census and the U.S. Soc. Sec. Death Index on Ancestry ) There are two more Turner’s listed, but they are listed as a separate family on the census.


A work still in progress….. Click Turner Family Research to read more.

If you have any suggestions on searches – Please contact me or leave a comment!

If you are a TURNER researcher – Contact Me, we may be related!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Stoudt’s Black Angus Restaurant and Pub

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often you’ll be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes: Stoudt’s Black Angus Restaurant and Pub – Adamstown, Pennsylvania.

The famous “Bull” on top of Stoudt’s Angus Restaurant & Pub



What was once a famous steakhouse in Adamstown, PA. – has now turned into an antique mall on their famous strip of “antique malls” – known as the Antique Capital of PA; if you enjoy antique hunting, this is the place to come. We enjoyed our trip there last summer and will definitely be returning; so many unusual places to shop and eat and it’s only a hop and a skimp over from the Amish area.




Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2017 A to Z: Letter D… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter D…

I thought I’d change up the ongoing 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories and write  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the April A to Z, but as I might get just a wee bit long-winded, I thought I’d give myself a longer time frame. Hopefully by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



D delivers … Daddy, Dolls, Dreams, Diary, Dogs, Dancing, Driving, Divorce, Desserts

Daddy: I could have saved him for the letter F, for father, but he was my daddy. While I have many photographs of me with him when I was young, I think we became closer later on. Many reasons for that, but it is what it is, and I never stopped loving him.

I don’t have many memories of family time with daddy as a young girl, he was always working and if not there, it was because he had fallen into the bad habit of gambling and drinking. He picked up the bad habit of gambling, I’m told, from the early age of a young boy. He wasn’t always the one sitting by my bed when I was sick or taking me to school, but he was there for me in other ways.

I remember daddy taking me out to dinner in a restaurant called The Saratoga in Macon for birthdays… always special having dinner dates with him. I was never too old for him to order me a Shirley Temple. He even took Steve and I there for dinner before we left Georgia, and I guess I still got my Shirley Temple while the guys had a drink… married and still not old enough to have a drink!

He became closer to me when it was just the two of us living together after my parents divorce. The time Steve came down to marry me was one of the toughest things for him, although I never realized that until much later on. I was a giddy 19-year old, in love, getting married, and only had eyes for my soon-to-be husband. Daddy was loosing his little girl. I’ll never forget the first time he met Steve…. I was sent to take an early bath, as he wanted a man-to-man conversation with him. Of course, I kept the water running low because I wanted to hear. He was reading him “the riot act” as they say, and how he better be in love with me, and not do anything to ever hurt me. Well after, almost, 46 years of marriage this year, I guess he complied! (I met Steve while he was stationed at Warner Robins AFB)


New Perry Hotel: photo from Wikimedia Commons  with a creative license 

Daddy took us out for dinner at The New Perry Hotel the day we returned home married …after our little excursion to Aiken, South Carolina. Why did I marry there…. long story, but if you must know. Steve was in the Air Force and soon being transferred to Thailand, from Loring AFB in Maine; he wanted to leave me home as his wife. My big brainstorm was that if we weren’t going to plan a wedding, we’d run off without any parents and marry. I had heard you could marry the same day…no blood tests – no waiting; we learned quickly, after arriving, that there was a 24-hour waiting period… I hadn’t done my homework!

The day we left for Connecticut, daddy rose early and left the house before I was even awake. He called later to say goodbye, and apologize that he couldn’t make it back before we left. I learned later from a friend of his that he was having a hard time dealing with me leaving; I guess he couldn’t bring himself to say goodbye to me in person. If only I had known, I would have searched him out for that last daddy hug!

Dolls: My biggest doll obsession was always Barbie, but I did have a baby doll I kept all these years… my Madame Alexander baby. She is now my new hat model for the granddaughters hats, and she never complains!

pink grey hat

My Alexander Baby Doll modeling one of my many knitted Baa-ble hats!

Barbie is who I most remember mostly playing with and I’ve kept her, Ken, and Midge safely tucked away in a Barbie case for many years. Mama was Barbie’s personal seamstress; often in the summer she’d let all the girls and go to her and place our Barbie clothes orders… returning later in the afternoon to pick them up. Mama sat at her sewing machine all day just to sew for Barbie… that’s a loving mother!


Barbie, with friend Midge has lived inside this case since the mid ’60’s. How interesting that my Barbie was a red head in light of my daughter and two granddaughters…. also red heads! Look how cute Midge is with that flipped up hair-style, so popular back in the day, but the blue eyes they gave her is just a wee bit scary!

The leopard stole is the one item in Barbie’s wardrobe that my mother stitched… and that I saved. Hmm, wonder what she cut up to make that? I only wish I knew what else she made for Barbie, but neither one of us remembers at this point! Don’t you love my Barbie and Ken doll case, but my Ken seems to be MIA. Did he run away because he was balding; he once had a small fuzzy head of hair, but over the years, he seemed to have lost most of it. I will be on the hunt for him!

Dreams: I don’t remember any dreams as a child, and I very seldom remember any of my dreams now, but my husband has the wildest and craziest dreams ever. I often ask him what he dreamed about because he was usually kicking and fighting me in bed the night before. When I first came to Connecticut, and lived with his parents while he was in Thailand, I had a very vivid dream that had me seriously questioning whether true or false when I woke; I dreamed about planes flying over and we were possibly under attack. It took me several minutes to get myself together, and it left me very shaken. I really wanted to call Steve in Thailand to make sure he was ok, as I thought maybe it was a sign; I knew it wasn’t possible to make that call, which was tough.

Several years later, after moving to Westville, we lived on the second floor of a two-family home; Steve worked nights, so I was home alone with the kids. I often stayed up late working on crafts, but after falling asleep one night I dreamed that I walked into the front room and saw the glass french doors ajar; they opened to the front hallway going downstairs. As I put my hand on the doorknob to pull it shut, I felt resistance, and I struggled to pull shut to close…. while thinking someone was on the other side trying to come in. I woke to my heart beating so fast…  Steve came home to every light on in the house that night at 3 a.m. I probably dreamed about those doors as I worried about them even before we moved there; they say that’s why you dream about things – things on your mind and worrying you.

The one dream I remember having over and over is one about my father… but it has finally stopped and I can’t even remember now when I last dreamed about him. In my dream I’m calling him on the phone, or trying to, and I’m having a hard time finding his number and then getting him to even answer the phone, and when he does answer he’s very evasive about seeing me. Another part of the dream is actually going home and looking for him at places where he was suppose to be, but I can’t find him; or trying to find where he was living, but he was never there. At times in my dream, I’d get him on the phone and beg to see him, but I can’t remember why I never could get there. So what does my dreams mean…. well I don’t know. I can only assume that I wanted to see and be with him, but when he remarried, things changed. Strange how dreams occur… I guess they happen when your mind or self conscious works overtime at night.

Diary: I guess my diary qualifies as my first blog…. but it was just personal for my eyes only!  Even though each day was only a few lines long, I wrote super small, making sure all my “important” thoughts fit in. I’m sure I wrote on every nook and cranny on those pages too, and I still wrote off and on in them until I married.

I remember having several of those diary books… the ones that came with a little key to keep prying eyes out. Really! Who would pry in my house – I had no siblings to pester me about reading them.

And what did I do before I married…. Yep…. I did one of my most regrettable things ever – I threw them in the trash! I can still see them laying there in my trashcan by my bureau. I’d like to slap myself silly now for doing that… “self – what were you thinking?” I wasn’t! I didn’t want my new husband to happen to read all my silliness, so I threw away all my teenage thoughts, silly boyfriend troubles, loves and hates and whatever else written between those book covers. Knowing my husband as well as I do now, after almost  years of marriage, he would never have read them or even want to.


Just think, one of my granddaughters, or great to-be’s, could have blogged those diaries to all the world one day. My dream is that someone possibly found and rescued those diaries from the trash, but where are they? I’m sure there are people who collect diaries… Hmm, is there still a chance for me! What’s the odds? Yea I know, it’s a 500 million shot to one, that they’d ever show up, but a girl can dream… and hope!

I’m sure if I ever had the chance to re-read them, I surely would have a good laugh at myself for being so silly in worrying about “boyfriend” troubles. And knowing what I do now, I would surely have sent that boyfriend packing that gave me trouble… causing me to shed tears over him. I remember telling my daughter, if he’s the right one for you, he won’t make you cry!

Dogs: Our first dog was part German Shepard and part Bird Dog – and mama named him Butch. She got him when I was really small and we were living in Union Point. While I have no memory or photos of him, I’m told I learned to walk by holding onto his tail. He guarded me in the yard and “no one” came into the yard that he didn’t know, and often even who he did know, approached cautiously unless mama was in the yard also. Besides keeping people out of the yard, he also didn’t let me leave the yard… being part bird dog, he’d point you before he bit you; not sure if he actually bit anyone, but that’s what mama told me. He was my first play-mate and between him and me we broke almost all of mama’s little ceramic figurines. I’d pile them into his mouth, and he’d stand there just holding them, well until mama came in the room and yelled his name. That’s when they broke! If she yelled his name, he dropped them on the floor. I guess that’s why mama only had a few to survive; I have only one which survived the years. 

My little “one” figurine that has survived with me for sixty-five years of my lifetime. It was probably either bought in Memphis or in Union Point, where we first lived. This could possibly have been one of my “heirloom posts” but I chose to include it here.

Mama and Daddy had a little terrier dog named Tinkerbelle they’d gotten in Memphis, but I think he died when I was a baby. She believed that someone poisoned him and threw his body in the city septic area below our house.

After moving to Perry, about 1957, someone told mama how chihuahuas were good for children with asthma… guess what? It wasn’t long before I had a chihuahua, and I named him Jeanne’s Teddy Bear. Whether it’s true or not about the asthma part, she always told me how she’d find Teddy wheezing after I went to sleep, instead of me.

Dancing:  My first introduction to structured dancing was going with my parents and watching the country square dancing they did. While I only watched for the most part, I was allowed to participate in the “last call” dance of the evening. To me, that was the highlight of the night!

I remember taking ballroom dance lessons, learning the fox trot, box step and the two-step, and how to hold your partner. When I asked mama, she had no memory of me doing that, so I hope I’m remembering correctly. LOL

As I became a teenager, I loved to just dance, especially all the new dances like the Twist by Chubby Checker, the Pony, and a crazy one called the Mashed Potatoes. I think the Twist was one of the biggest dances that had everyone, old and young alike, getting up on the dance floor to give a try. I know mama always liked to twist if I was playing records and dancing.

Driving: Besides driving my parents crazy, let me tell you about when I turned that magic age of 16 and how I got my drivers license. At 15 in Georgia, they had the coveted “learners permit” allowing you to drive with anyone over the age of 21. I drove mostly with my father, and it wasn’t always quiet in the car! He’d yell at me that I wasn’t doing it right, and I’d yell back…  then he’d tell me “do as I say, not as I do.” Several times I pulled over and yelled, “well then I’m not driving with you anymore.”  Eventually we’d smooth our tempers and I’d be back on the road. I don’t remember driving with mama, she tended to leave it to him.

Drivers Ed: This was the course in school everyone couldn’t wait to take. The girls basketball coach, Coach Brady, taught everyone to drive. There was usually about two or three of us who went out driving at a time. But the best part was, he stopped at 7-11 and let us stock up on candy and drinks, while he bought cigarettes; which was the real reason for the stop! Once all stocked, we were on the road and usually driving toward Warner Robins. Anytime I drove, especially if I was last, we were always late back to school as I never passed any cars. I was afraid to pass no matter how hard he urged me… and I still don’t like to today. I always feel like I’m going to miss seeing that car coming up behind me. The other kids in the car never minded…. who wanted to get back to school!

Drivers License: Ok, so now I’ve learned to drive… next was the dreaded license test! I guess I studied, although my husband will say today that if I really read my book, I’d know the answers to what he asks me about driving.

Well the day finally came and mama took me to get my license. There was no DMV there… you went to the local State Patrol office in town. We walked in and when they asked mama what she needed…  they just smiled and said well have her sign here! I took No written or driving test…. I just signed my name and they handed me my license – I was good to go… and drive! And the funny part of this story is that not only did I take No test, but my mother never did either.

The day my father took mama to get her license in Union Point, they walked into the local police station and the officers were fiddling with the TV…. they wanted to watch the ballgame. Well, it was their lucky day…as daddy repaired TV’s for a living. He offered to look at their TV, and shortly… they were watching the game. They then asked what he was there for, and after telling them his wife wanted her license, well you can guess what… she just signed her name and they gave her a license; No written test and no driving test! My husband still shakes his head over the whole thing!

When I moved to CT. and went to visit the dreaded DMV for my license, the young instructor said, “well I guess you should take a test.” Immediately I said, “are you serious, I’ve been driving for 4 years, why should I take a test?” I guess I intimidated him, as he just looked at this long haired, 19 year old Southern girl staring at him and said, “OK,”  and soon handed me a CT. license!

Divorce: No matter how old you are, divorce still hurts. My parents divorced the year I graduated from high school…. I was 17! Although I knew for years that their marriage wasn’t what it should have been, they were still together, and now it was finally over for good. My mother moved home to care for her father, while I remained with my father to finish high school. I was graduating in a few months and no way was I changing schools at the end of my senior year.

I think those months I lived alone with daddy, was when I became very close to him, although it was a rough ride for him at times. He had never been the disciplinary one at home, and I tested him many times. When mama was home, I walked the line, had a curfew, and didn’t dare test her, but daddy was easy to get around. One weekend, I even ran away, packing my suitcase and walking out. I hid out with friends and worried him all weekend, finally returning home on Sunday evening. Why did I do that…. what was I mad over…. I really have no answer, but I was hot-tempered and testing him out I guess.

Most times, wherever I told him where I was…. well I wasn’t! I think he had people in high places that kept an eye out for me and I found that out when he told me that a friend of his in the  GBI paid him a visit. I’ll keep mum on that one!

He always gave me a check to keep in my wallet in case of an emergency…. That was a mistake as I loved to shop. One day I walked into a hangout called The Coffee Shop and there was a blue suede fringe purse that just called out to me; remember I grew up in the “hippy” era. I didn’t have fourteen dollars in my purse, but I did have a check! When daddy read his bank statement that month, he asked “so where is this coffee shop you ate at“? He didn’t get mad, just told me to reconsider how I use the next check; one of his most-often sayings to me was “better tighten your belt!


My blue suede “hippy” purse – Even my daughter used it during her teenage years. See daddy, it got lots of use and now it’s vintage!

Desserts: Why am I adding this, who knows… but it came to mind, so I saved it for last. Desserts were not often in my house when I grew up. Mama was a great cook, but not a baker! I was such an under-privileged child! Mama never baked chocolate chip cookies, not even one time! Poor Me!

We did have many sweets at the holidays though, because her clients (she was a beautician) brought cakes, cookies and candy. That’s where I first tasted Divinity! The only dessert mama ever made was her lemon pie and it’s still a favorite of mine, as well my daughter. I bake many desserts from cakes to pies and cookies, too many to mention, but mama’s lemon pie is still one of my go-to’s that I just have to have every so often. I recently made one at mama’s house while there and she definitely enjoyed it; and I might just have go make another one now that it’s on my mind. Come on over and sit a spell and I’ll be glad to serve you up a slice! If you’d like to read about foods, just click on my A to Z where I wrote on Southern foods and memories.


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Weekend Weathervanes: Row Row Row your Boat

Now I know what to do with those photos – “thanks” to Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy; she blogs Weekly Wednesday Weathervanes  in New Hampshire.  Please check out her page and enjoy the many unusual weathervane photos and often you’ll be entertained with a history lesson. It’s amazing at what you can encounter in your travels – You Just Need To Look Up!

Weekend Weathervanes: Row Row Row your Boat


As we headed toward Stratford, CT., my husband said, “look up“… but of course I wasn’t prepared and I missed my shot. I had to wait until later in the day when we headed back over the bridge to get my shot of the little Row Row Row your Boat. I also found many weathervanes that day as we rode along the Stratford beach area, but I’ll save them for another day.


What I loved about this boat was how uniquely detailed it was from the little man sitting inside the boat and the oars he rowed. I could easily picture him rowing away from the marina, out for a morning row along the river. This weathervane is the perfect topper for Village Marina on Bridgeport Avenue; the border of Devon and Stratford, CT. and sitting right alongside the Housatonic River. Even though the locals call it the town of Devon, it’s actually a borough located inside the town of Milford.


Using Google maps, I located Village Marina (red check on house) located alongside the Housatonic River… just before the Stratford bridge.


Want to read more, click…. Weekend Weathervanes:

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: The Biscuit Making Bread Bowls and Butter Molds

Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories:

When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, they often become items tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and record your memories so the family treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.

The Biscuit Making Bread Bowls and Butter Molds

mckinley heirloom_0002 (800x562)

These bread bowls, rolling pins and butter molds were part of staple necessities in Grandmama McKinley’s kitchen.

Grandmama made her biscuits from “no” recipe, just the feel of the dough with her hands, and that is also how my mother makes hers, but me… well I had to write out a “somewhat” recipe. Although I have to say, that the more I have made them, I can add a little bit more of this and that and “yes” I do know the feel of the dough.

I learned to make biscuits the old country way, no rolling, just pinch off a ball of dough, roll, and lightly press down in your pan. My choice of cooking pans to bake biscuits is a cast iron pan, and mama always taught me to keep them close together, as it helps them to rise instead of spread.

Grandmama made a lot of butter, and mama should know as she was the one sitting behind the butter churn. On Saturdays when they went to town, grandmama often took a few pounds of butter to trade off for other things she didn’t make. I’m told she sold butter and eggs and saved her extra cream to sell to the “cream” man who came around once a month; except for the time mama decided to take a cream bath!

One of these days, I’m going to clean that bread bowl, add flour, un-measured just like grandmama, and make biscuits… then I’ll write a biscuit making post.

My biscuits – Before and After!


Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to  read more stories…

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Family Heirloom Bloggers:

I started a Family Heirloom challenge in November 2015 asking fellow bloggers to join me in telling the stories of their family heirlooms. Writing the stories of the family heirlooms I’ve been entrusted with has been on my mind for a long time; the time is now and I plan to write their stories on a weekly basis.

Please check out the weekly Family Heirloom stories of…

Blogger: Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls
Blogger: Karen Biesfeld at Vorfahrensucher
Blogger: Kendra Schmidt at trekthrutime
Blogger: Linda Stufflebean at Empty Branches on the Family Tree
Blogger:  Schalene Jennings Dagutis at Tangled Roots and Trees
Blogger: True Lewis at Notes to Myself
Blogger: Vera Marie Badertscher at Ancestors in Aprons                              Blogger: Heather Lisa Dubnick at  Little Oak Blog
Blogger: Kathy Rice at https://everyleafhasastory.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/heirloom-afghan/
Blogger: Mary Harrell-Sesniak at  Genealogy Bank Heirlooms Blog
Blogger: Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Check out her Blog at –  52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap  for links to more Heirloom posts.

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