2017 A to Z: Letter A… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter A…

I thought I’d change up the on-going 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 Dec. 31, 2017. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the April A to Z, but as I might get just a wee 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”… All about Me!



Family History has always been a passion of mine, and there’s much more to it besides pedigree charts filled with names and dates. It’s the remembered stories that make a family – their memories – my memories – that must be written – or will be forgotten. Imagine if you were able to read your mother’s, or your grandparent’s written stories, or diaries. I hope one day, someone will enjoy reading mine…and maybe it will encourage them to continue the writing genre with their own stories. I have five granddaughters and when they are old enough, my job will be to entice their interest into our family history; keep your fingers crossed for me!

So where do I began – well as this A to Z begins with A, I’ll take creative license in that and share a little of Letter A for AprilAll About Me…so let me begin with…


Jeanne Lee Bryan


Letter A brings to mind… April, AsthmaAccordion, Adopted, Alligator Point, Accidents, and Apartments


I was born on April 16th in a small country hospital in Greensboro, Georgia called the Minnie J. Boswell. As I don’t directly remember my birth, I’ve relied on mama for the details. My mother’s birthday is April 6th and she even went to the hospital on that day and told the doctor that she wanted me born on her birthday… he sent her home!

In mama’s own written words to me…“I was sitting in Mr. Henry English’s store on April 15th, 1952 and you turned over, and my dress made a moving motion. Mr. English said, “I believe it is time.” Your father came back from a job and took me home, where I proceeded to clean house, then I called my mom and dad and they came over later that evening. I kept clean, and they kept timing my pains and around midnight, I went to the hospital. You made your grand entrance a little after midnight with a head full of dark brown hair and one gray hair right on top; the colored nurses said you were born for luck.”


Minnie G. Boswell Hospital – Where I was born!

Mama said I had so much hair that the nurses plaited it, tying them with bows; my “one” gray hair stayed for years and then one day it was suddenly gone. I guess that didn’t mean my good luck ran out…. as I’m still here!


My mother spent many sleepless nights when I was sick with Asthma. It seems I was a pretty sick child, and there was one time when the Dr. looked over at my mother, as to say… I guess I wasn’t breathing; but I survived, as I’m still here. I remember using one of those old-fashioned nebulizers that you added liquid too, then breathe in the mist; there weren’t inhalers like today.

As I can’t, or don’t remember all that happened, I must rely on mama’s memory. During my sick years was when the family doctor made house calls. On one call, the doctor arrived to find me clinging to the middle post of the table. I didn’t want to use the nebulizer, but after much prying of my little fingers off the table post, he had me out. I guess he had his work cut out for him that night. My asthma finally took a turn for the better after Dr. Harry Jr. took my tonsils out… things changed and it was never as bad as before.

Later mama was pushed to have me tested for allergies to see if anything specifically triggers my asthma. I remember going to the doctor’s office and being pin pricked on my back a few times for the test. When the results came back, I was pretty much allergic to everything. I mama telling me that some of the things were dust, chalk dust, chocolate… and none of those things every gave me an asthma attack – go figure. I do think sometimes I used that chalk dust to my advantage in school if I didn’t want to go to the chalkboard, but I never gave up my chocolate and I haven’t met a dust bunny yet that gave me anything other than a few sneezes!

After moving to Perry, someone told my mother how Chihuahua’s were good for children with asthma – well guess what – I got a Chihuahua! I guess my asthma was bad as she said she’d try anything to help me. Did it help, you ask? Well, mama still tells the story how when Teddy Bear slept with me when I was sick… she would come in to find me not wheezing and Teddy Bear would be wheezing. I wonder who told her that story about the Chihuahua? I eventually outgrew it entirely as I became a teenager, but like they say… you never know when it can come back.


Don’t we all go through stages of wanting to play an instrument? I never owned one, but I think it was loaned from wherever I was going to take lessons at; I took free lessons to see if I actually wanted to play. What I think first intrigued me, soon had me thinking “this is not for me.” Once I actually held it – it was heavy – that quickly changed my mind. It always looks like fun to see someone else play, but not as easy to learn; it just wasn’t in my musical ability to learn.


I’m sure you are like – really! Well, there was a point in my life that I questioned if I was adopted… don’t ask me from where that idea was born. I don’t believe any of the neighborhood kids were adopted. Maybe I read something… and it put the idea in my head, as I do have memories of searching around the house for papers. Did Nancy Drew ever search for adoptive parents in her stories – I was an avid reader of her books!

Alligator Point:

It’s actually a town in Florida that we went to a few times with our neighbors, the Lampley’s; they lived across the street from us on Smoak Avenue in Perry, GA. Fred and Mary Lampley had a cabin there, and being it was a well-known place for fishing… well anywhere daddy could go fishing…  he was going.


Alligator Point, Franklin Co., Florida


This coastal community is located on the easternmost end of Franklin County and boasts eight miles of narrow beaches. The “Point”, as called by locals, snuggles in between the Gulf of Mexico and Alligator Harbor; an area also well known for clam harvesting.

I remember that strip of white covered sandy beaches as Mama and I walked it every day; it was covered with shells. I’d been on beaches of Miami, Tallahassee and Panama City, and never saw shells like I did at Alligator Point. Wherever there was a beach, daddy always found a fishing spot!

One summer Mama and I picked a bucket full of all types of shells, even a couple of large crabs that didn’t scurry away fast enough… they made the bucket! I quickly discovered that sea creatures actually live inside some shells when one tickled the palm of my hand – I dropped that shell fast; who knew there were living shells! The one shell I never forgot was the beautiful white sand dollars; they aren’t found on many beaches, but they covered that beach strip at Alligator Point.

Being the crafter my mom always was, she brought that bucket home… and after cleaning, she had an idea! Mama took one of the old frames from the farm, cut a piece of squared heavy metal mesh for the back and attached the shells; that crab received front center attention. Didn’t pay to be so slow that day… a little faster and he could have made it back to the ocean. She was very proud of herself how she cleaned him all spic and span, and then she varnished them all.

I kept that frame of shells for many years, even after I married, but finally one day I took it apart. Today I went looking through my photo album…. and look what I found! I also made a discovery in my china closet… I found one of the sand dollars that I took off that frame!


See the frame to the left of me! -Mama’s craftiness…. As to what I was doing or who took this photo, well I have no words! What puzzles me is where was this taken? It had to have been my bedroom – Yikes… I slept under that crab! I have no memory of that bookcase either, but I sure wish I could read the names on those books!

Definitely a Polaroid Moment!

I loved my camera and took lots of photos – my first of many cameras to come!

Me on bike

I still had my training wheels on here in Union Point, but it wasn’t long after moving to Perry that I had my accident! Cousins Debra (holding doll) Amos with brother George and cousin Cassie Marchman.


The only accident I remember is when I ran into the back of the Lampley’s pointed back car tail lights. I guess I hit the points so hard that I split my head open above my left eyebrow. Mama took me to Dr. Hendrick’s but I guess I must have been crying and acting up as he told Mama that if she couldn’t hold me, he wasn’t going to do stitches. So guess what – No Stitches! I have a small scar, but it’s covered now by my eyebrow; guess I didn’t really need stitches. He wasn’t our regular doctor so I didn’t know him, not sure how she happened to go there – I’m thinking either his office was the closest, or he was covering for our Doctor. (I asked mama and she thought we had just moved there and didn’t have a doctor yet, and he was recommended as you didn’t need appointments.)


 I never lived in an apartment until I married. Our first apartment was at 95-E Clark St. in West Haven; a three-story brick building, with 6 apartments. We lived on the 3rd floor… I’d never take a third-floor walk-up now, but we were young. Bringing up groceries was often a nightmare, as well as doing laundry in the basement; I never went down there alone either!

Our rooms there were larger than many apartments, and it’s where we got our 1st dog… a Samoyed we named Pretty Boy Samson. I didn’t work then, and unless I took Steve to work, I was left with no car. Often when Steve worked 3-11, Samson and I walked over to Armstrong to meet him. I wasn’t afraid to walk late at night with him… no one dared to come near me; Samson was large, powerful, and very protective. He wasn’t a breed people saw often, so they tended to keep their distance… he showed them he was my protector. We didn’t stay more than a couple of years, as this apartment soon went to “no pets”.

Apartment No. 2 was still in West Haven and located at Rolling Ridge on Maloy Road. It came with the perks of a pool and a balcony; we could now BBQ! Our balcony overlooked the pool, so we had a great view from our first-floor apartment. Samson loved having a balcony and enjoyed announcing everyone who walked by. While living there, we began going to flea markets and auctions… and soon began collecting vintage radios, mostly of cathedral style. Later we sold most of them and changing our style to collecting vintage crank phonographs. And once more, our apartment search began again, when this apartment complex gave notice to everyone with pets that they would have to relocate. This was becoming very frustrating… we were not going to give up Samson.

Apartment No. 3 was actually the second floor of a two-family house in the Westville area of New Haven. Although it wasn’t far from West Haven, it was a big change for us to this new area. I had nightmares about living there before we even moved in! It was scary to me, as Steve usually either worked late at night or all night… leaving me and Samson home alone. I’ll never forget the one dream I had after moving in… in my dream, I got out of bed to go in the living room to make sure the glass french doors, leading to the front hallway, was closed. In my dream, as I put my hand on the doorknob to pull it shut, something on the other side was pulling it back. I woke up to my heart pounding! Needless to say, that when Steve got home that night at 3 a.m. all the lights in the house were on!

Out of nowhere one day, I’m told at work that the owners have sold the house we were living in, … once again we had to look for a new place to live. Mama reminds me today that I called her up crying and telling her that we were homeless! It was this, that finally pushed us into looking for our own home. After house hunting for a few months, we found a cape cod home in the same area. We had two children by then, and with them both in locals schools here, it all worked out that they didn’t even have to change schools. Just this year (2017) we made our last 30-year mortgage payment… boy did that feel good! Three big life changes this year, I turned 65, mortgage paid off, and I retired!


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

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2017: A to Z - All About Me, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 2017 A to Z: Letter A… All About Me

  1. Fun challenge…I like!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Evelyn Smith says:

    What wonderful memories.
    I like that you thought you were adopted. Did you ever ask Helen about it? I can imagine what she would have said. Funny, I’ve always said that I was the one no one could say was switched at the hospital, because I was born at home.
    I’ve enjoyed searching beaches for shells myself. I couldn’t stand all those little crabs running around. Wish I knew what happened to all my sand dollars. I do have a few of those large shells that you hear the ocean. What are they called? Conch shells? I also have some jewelry made from shells. Now to remember where they are.
    Oh my goodness, I love that picture of you and would love to know what you were doing. Actually, I think you were dancing. Look at the wave of your arms and the swing of your pendant. Bet cha.
    I won’t even go into the accidents I’ve had in my life. You know all about the last one.
    Well, on your way to complete another challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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