Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Grandmama’s Jewelry Hope Chest

Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Grandmama’s Jewelry Hope Chest

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.

jewelry box

Grandmama’s Jewelry Hope Chest

 My grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley bought this for his wife, Ola Askew, when my mother was about sixteen. He also bought them both Hope Chests; I guess these mini hope chests were popular at the time.

Mama gave me this after I married and it’s sat on my bureau for almost as long as I’ve been married. I love the old fashion photo on the top and I’m always reminded of my grandmother when I look at it.

jewelry box 2

It’s held many trinkets through the years… always my go-to place when I want something saved. My husband and father-in-law’s dog tags have been hiding in there lately.


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
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.

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Friday Night Family Heirlooms | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Do You Know The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael

Do You Know The Poppy Lady?

Moina Belle Michael

stamp on letter

Photo courtesy of  shared by Tom Michael.


One of many “Commemorative” envelopes, which are known as “covers” or “cachets” – shared by Tom Michael at Tom has shared his extensive collection of Commemorative’s there… do check them out.

While visiting my mom in Georgia last October, I searched for famous people buried in Monroe, and I discovered the name of Moina Belle Michael, aka The Poppy Lady; I became intrigued to learn about the Poppy Lady and found her name popping up everywhere around Monroe. The next morning as we drove through Good Hope, I discovered a Poppy Festival in progress; sadly I couldn’t stop as we were meeting with family in Union Point. On our return, I noticed a marker near Good Hope, and it was for The Poppy Lady. We did a turn around so I could photograph it… and in stopping, I discovered the side road was named the Moina Michael Road. On our trip to Athens the next day, via Highway 78, I discovered a section of the highway named for her also. Miss Moina seemed to be haunting me! I was almost out of time on my trip in Monroe and before leaving, I went in search for her gravestone…. which I did not find, but I never forgot.

Four months later I returned to Monroe and again went in search of Miss Moina’s grave…. I don’t give up easily! After studying the photos and information on FindAGrave, I began walking along the fence area and finally found it. The information had listed it as enclosed in a fenced in area along Spring St., but instead, it lies along North Madison Avenue; often you just have to walk a cemetery to find what you’re looking for.

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Michael Family Gravesite





Moina Belle Michael


Moina was born on August 15, 1869, in a wood-frame house in Good Hope, Georgia. She was the eldest daughter, and one of seven children born to the family of John Marion Michael and Alice Sherwood.

home of moina michael

Photo courtesy of and shared by the Good Hope Poppy Festival Committee.

The Poppy Lady Marker

A marker placed at 3698 Moina Michael Road in Good Hope marks where her family home once stood. Coming from an affluent family, she was afforded an education at Braswell Academy in Morgan County, and at the young age of 15 she began teaching in her hometown of Good Hope at the persuasion of her mother; at this early age, she was feeling compelled to give back to the community. A few years later, her father fell on bad times due to conditions of drought that devasted his land, crops, and machinery. He was forced to sell his cotton plantation and Moina moved the family to a rented home she provided in Monroe, where she had found a paid teaching job.

In 1917, when the U. S. entered WWI, Moina was a professor at the University of Georgia in Athens, but she soon took a leave of absence to join the only line of service available to her – War Work with the YMCA. She was devastated quickly to learn that she was ten years too old for eligibility in service abroad. Still pushing to be a part of the war work, she landed a job at the training headquarters at Columbia University in New York City; Moina worked there until the organization was moved to Paris in January of 1919.

That was the start which led her to create the national emblem of Remembrance.

In 1918, from the inspiration of a battle-front poem entitled “In Flanders Fields“, Moina wrote a poem “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She never forgot the opening line of Flander Fields… “In Flander fields, the poppies blow… Between the crosses row on row.” It was then that Miss Moina vowed to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for the brave men and women who served in the war. It wasn’t until after the war did she realize that there was a need to help the service-disabled in building their lives back… by offering financial and occupational support. She began to pursue an idea of raising funds by selling silk poppies as a means of support. Moina Michael soon became known as the Poppy Lady and in later years, received numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts.

It was in 1924 that disabled servicemen began making and selling the red poppies through their VFW organization. Who hasn’t as a child, and an adult today, seen these men outside the local grocery store selling those poppies. There is no price – it is strictly by donation.

  • In 1944, a Liberty Ship constructed in Georgia was named the SS Moina Michael.
  • In 1948, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative 3-cent stamp to commemorate her life achievement.
  • In 1969, the Georgia General Assembly named a section of U.S. Highway 78 the Moina Michael Highway.
  • In 1999, she was named to the Georgia Women of Achievement Hall of Fame.
  • In 2015, the first annual Good Hope Poppy Festival began to benefit the Moina Michael Project, a charity organization that looks to carry on the Moina Michael legacy of improving the lives of disabled veterans.

I remember seeing these men selling poppies all my life. From a small child, my father always brought poppies home – that’s how I first became acquainted with them and they made an impression on me. I always noticed when he came home with it twisted around a button. My father served in the Navy and belonged to the local VFW, so I’m sure that poppy had more meaning to him than I even knew at the time. Little did I know, at that time, what the poppy meant, how it had come to be, or even that its origin began in my home state of Georgia.

I’ve never been able to walk by one of those VFW men selling the red poppy without stopping to fish for money in my pocket to drop in their bucket. No matter what your donation is, the poppy is always handed to you with a smile and a Thank You…. but the Thank You should be said to them, as they are the ones who gave their life for us! Always as I walk away, I’m fumbling for a button to twist the wire around; the poppy is supposed to be worn close to your heart. Once it’s taken off my shirt, I’ve always attached it to my purse for saving until it’s eventually lost.

Whenever I buy a poppy today, I buy it in my father’s honor while remembering the little girl within me wanting the poppy that daddy wore twisted around his button.


So if you’re like me, and never knew who The Poppy Lady is, take some time to read more about this extraordinary woman and the achievements she made during her lifetime. I believe it was meant for me to make that first search and discover Moina so I might enlighten you about her life and the meaning of the symbolic poppy.

This post is dedicated to all the men and women who have given their life and time to serve our country… Thank You For Your Service!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Georgia History, WWII History | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

2017 A to Z: Letter I… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter I…

I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “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 30 Day – April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving 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 I is for… Ice Cream, Ice Storms, Imagination, Impatient, Injuries, Insects and Ink Pens

Ice Cream:

Let me start with my favorite flavors of ice cream,  peach, butter pecan, and banana. While I never seem to eat ice cream cones here in CT., as soon as I’m home in Georgia I want ice cream! If I eat ice cream here, it’s usually a sundae and that favorite is half peanut butter and half hot fudge over soft vanilla. Hubby and I treat ourselves quite often at our favorite Mr. Sundae ice cream shop. It just opened for business a few weekends ago and we haven’t gone yet, so this means we are overdue!

One of my first jobs was working in an ice cream shop in Perry… I think it was called The Tastee Freeze. I remember it was on the opposite side of town from where The Dairy Queen was.

ice cube

Banana ice cream reminds me of my father, I have memories of him making this at home in metal ice cube trays. I believe it was made just using mashed bananas and condensed milk… not sure of other ingredients, but I don’t think he used much more. He mixed together and poured into ice cube trays, taking out periodically and stirring until it was frozen enough to eat.

Ice Storms:

My mother often talked about a bad ice storm we experienced about 5 years after moving to Perry. As she didn’t remember the exact year, I turned to my Facebook Group on Perry, Georgia, and it didn’t take long for several members to remind me that it was the year of 1963; some said New Year’s Eve, some said February, so the search continues for that exact date. I also contacted the local newspaper, The Houston Home Journal, who offered to search their newspaper archives for me. Hopefully, I’ll have an answer before I publish this post, but if not…. well that means you’ll have to check back.

While I vaguely remember looking out the window at the telephone poles and the trees completely covered in ice, mama said it was the worst ice storm she’d ever experienced. Remember I lived in the South, in a small town known as “The Crossroads of Georgia”… a place unaccustomed to snow, and most definitely unaccustomed to ice. This ice storm pretty much shut down the state and our small town of fewer than three thousand people.

ice storm

Ice Storm in Georgia… graciously shared on my Perry Facebook group.

Besides the people of Perry being stranded in their homes, people traveling on I-75 were stranded. The Interstate was impassable…. Georgia was not equipped with trucks to plow or throw salt and sand like we have here in the North. While there were several hotels/motels in Perry, this storm quickly filled those rooms and left travelers with no place to escape the weather until locals began offering to take in those travelers. Imagine today, people opening their homes to perfect strangers for a day or two! Perry was a town that saw many tourists stopping on their way to Florida as it was situated about the middle of our long state… my hometown was known as the “Crossroads of Georgia.” Tourists made a habit of stopping in my hometown yearly, even getting to the point of knowing the people at the hotels and restaurants by name, as they frequented yearly on their stops.


I guess I’ve always had an imagination, as I never had a problem playing alone. I do remember at bathtime that I could easily play in the bathtub…. for hours and be entertained. While I didn’t bring any toys in the tub I did seem to have imaginary friends that I talked to during bathtime. Mama says she remembers standing outside the door and listening to me have those conversations. Maybe it was because I was the only child, no siblings to talk to, so I created my own conversations. Bathtime in my house was just me, not like in other families where siblings take baths together.

Even when I played with Barbie and Ken, I talked to them in conversations… I gave them life and they did what I wanted them to. Was my imagination more vivid because I was an only child… maybe I was creating the siblings I didn’t have, or maybe it was a natural childhood occurrence.

Is it our imagination that inspires and helps us to write and build stories for characters in fiction and non-fiction?  It seems imagination is a good thing!

Impatient… or patience:



Probably one of my faults would be that I’m impatient… with people and things. I know that when I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go! Some say I have a lot of patience, as I write, research, edit and edit again… or is it that I just have patience for things I enjoy. Maybe I have more patience than I give myself credit for as I enjoy crafting and it takes time, especially knitting. I do wish I could just snap my fingers at times and my project would be finished… why am I in such a rush… why…. because my “to do” list is so long.

I just said to my husband today, that the most fun in collecting is the hunt… is that patience? I thought I’d begin a collection of Nancy Drew books for my oldest granddaughter Ella, but as I haven’t found one yet, my patience is beginning to wail. He suggested that maybe I’d find someone selling their entire collection and I immediately told him that I didn’t want to find them all at once, that the most fun in discovering them was one by one. Once you have them all… the fun is over. I guess I do have patience!


As far as I can remember, I’ve never had any injuries until I fractured, broke my foot in 2015. How did that happen, well the only thing I remember from that day of walking in a Georgia field, was when my foot wobbled and turned slightly while walking down a very short incline. The top of my foot ached afterward, but I assumed it would just walk off, and it seemed to until one day on the way home. I woke up and as soon as I put my foot down it hurt to walk on one side.

I went to a foot Dr. upon returning home, only to be told he saw no fracture or break… he diagnosed it as a sprained tendon. Gave me meds and sent me on my way. After suffering a couple more weeks, I consulted another foot doctor. She told me that I now had a break on the side of my foot and I left her office in a boot! The first doctor missed seeing the fracture, which resulted in a break from the continued walking on it. I wore that boot, faithfully, for six months. Although she pulled me out of work, being thick-headed I thought I could continue working. One day of work going up and down the stairs and walking, or dragging that boot around…. had me back at her office for that note to be pulled out of work.

As I had never, in my 34 years took time off from work, it was scary being out… worried that my job might not be there for me upon my return. But once I got used to being out…. I love it! I became super addicted to watching black and white movies on TCM, mostly from the 1940’s. Every day I scanned the movie guide to see what was playing… it soon became an addiction… watching over and over. I found the 1940 black and white movies to have the best story lines. Movies that I never gave a second thought to before, I was watching now, even war movies. Since I began writing, I have become super interested in the war movies, wanting to learn more, especially about WWII. It was from writing on my uncle Leroy McKinley and my father, that made me want to learn more history, to learn about the places they served in and what they experienced; history was not my favorite subject in school.

stage door

My new favorite movie: Stage Door Canteen

My husband constantly laughed at me for wanting to watch the black and whites…. saying that for years I didn’t want to watch them and now was suddenly obsessed with them. There was one movie called Stage Door Canteen (1943) that has become my all-time favorite now. It’s chocked full of cameo’s, with over 82 performers being counted; it will have you watching it more than once to discover them all. I have it DVR’d on my TV now and anytime I have nothing to watch, I’ll play it and enjoy many of my favorite scenes again. If you’ve never watched it, I hope I’ve encouraged you to search it out.


There are many insects around when you grow up in the South…. Let me start with my favorites I liked, June Bugs, Doodle Bugs, and Lightning Bugs. June bugs are beetles we’d catch and tie a string to one of their legs and let them go – they would fly round and round in a circle as we held the string, but we did let them loose. I know it sounds strange!

Everyone should know what lightning bugs are, but I think they are more plentiful in the South. I have memories of seeing oodles of them in my yard at night. A fun thing was catching them in a jar, bringing them inside and letting them light up in your dark bedroom. I’m sure mama let them go after I fell asleep, as they were gone in the morning.

Now to the bad bugs like fire ants, roaches, wasps and granddaddy long legs… If you’ve spent any time in the South, you very well know about fire ants and will stay clear of them. They are easily found in their red dirt hills they build in the yard… some are small, but some I’ve seen out in fields are unbelievably large! You do not want to stand on their home… they will attack you faster than you can move your foot and those bites hurt!

Roaches, well everyone has them no matter how clean your house is… it’s just part of living in the South. Recently one big one scared me at my mothers in the kitchen and I never would have slept if we didn’t end his life. Between me and hubby, and the vacuum… well he bit the dust that night!

About the only place I remember seeing wasps, on a regular basis, was at granddaddy McKinley’s farm. They would build nests around the porch. They really hurt if they stung you, so I always kept an eye out for them and stayed away.

I don’t know how the name of granddaddy long legs came about, but they really scared me silly! There was always a lot of them around granddaddy’s farm and I’d jump and scream every time I saw one… yelling for someone to hurry up and kill it. I’d surely do the same thing today if I saw one. I don’t see them very often today and I enjoy watching them now but from a safe distance. What makes me scream today is big spiders.

What makes me scream today is big spiders and my worst encounter was waking up to find a spider web had covered all my perfume bottles on my bureau. But what made me scream and say a few words… was when I moved a bottle and out jumped the biggest black spider I ever saw, and no one was here to yell for! I grabbed the only thing nearby… hairspray! Spiders and sleeping don’t mix, so I knew I had to find him or I’d never sleep in the same room with him again! With hairspray in hand, I moved my bureau and there he was on the floor, but moving slowly. Well, I slept in my bed that night! I won – He lost!

Ink Pens:

I much-preferred fountain pens over a ballpoint when writing… maybe because I loved collecting all those colored ink cartridges. They were not my choice for the constant doodling I did though; the ball points or old fashioned pencil worked better. The fountain pens I used through high school were the cheap Sheaffer fountain pens you bought for a buck or so. The very ones I threw out are now on Ebay for much more than the dollar I paid.

After all this remembering and research into ink pens, I think I’m going to treat myself to a new ink pen and cartridges….. hopefully, they don’t still leak and or I’ll end up again with blue fingers. I also had a couple of ink pens with a lever on the side, which I filled manually with ink; maybe that’s where I remember the blue fingers from.

I loved writing in all colors… I remember having ink cartridges in turquoise, green and red. Why was I so attracted to paper and pens… but never wrote stories?

In checking Ebay, who knew these old cartridge pens would be so pricey, I found one for $1400 dollars… don’t think I’m splurging that high! After seeing the prices they command now, sure wish I’d kept my pens.Th


It was that tip of the pen that always got me in trouble!

Bic ball point pens were popular in high school, no one had pens that clicked, although I loved the ink pens that had four colors in one barrel. Those were the best, just push a different lever down for a new color. I always chewed on my pen during class, and with the ball points, there was that little piece that stuck in the top of the pen over the ink. During class, I’d pull it out with my teeth, then push it back in, always been a fidgeter… Well, one day in class it popped right out in my mouth, and went down my throat… almost choking me! Of course, I didn’t want to say anything, feeling stupid… but after a few coughs, up it came. I think that was probably my last time of chewing on that pen top.


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

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2017: A to Z - All About Me, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 A to Z: Letter H… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter H…

I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “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 30 Day -April A to Z but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving 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 H is for… Houses, Hair Styles, Halloween and Haunted Houses, Horses, Handwriting, Hurricanes, Holly Tree and Hippies


My parents lived at 212 Binns St. in Union Point, Georgia when I was born; our house was just one house away from my father’s parents – Paul and Evelyn Bryan.  It was Granddaddy Bryan who built our house with lumber supplied by granddaddy McKinley… my parents first home after daddy left the Navy. We only lived in Daddy’s hometown for about five years before he took a job at WRAFB (Warner Robins Air Force Base) and we moved to Perry; this is where I grew up and went to school.

Me on bike

My bicycle with training wheels on Binns St. in Union Point.


It was at this house on Binns St., whether I remember it or not, where I learned to walk, talk and almost ride my bicycle without training wheels. It was with the help of Butch, our German Shepherd, that I learned to walk by holding onto his tail. He guarded me, never letting me leave the yard… or letting anyone in the yard. He was part bird-dog, which meant… he’d point you before he bit you.

Santa first visited me there but for some reason, I have no Christmas memories other than what mama has told me through the years. It seems I was not a fan of Santa and wanted nothing to do with him….. or his toys. One Christmas Eve, Santa came to our door with a doll for me… I took one look at him and ran to hide under the bed, and never touched the doll. She tells me on Christmas morning that I’d walk by and look in where the toys were left, but it would be days before I actually played with them. I sound like a very strange child! One of my favorite toys was a wooden stick horse, which I rode until I wore the end down to a point. Mama often remembers it and wished she’d saved that one toy, as I never showed as much interest in anything else.

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My first birthday parties were in this house, mostly only a few friends… remember I wasn’t older than five! Another thing I don’t remember are those birthday parties, but mama saved a picture! I don’t know what I received for Xmas, but it looks here like I was enjoying it.

House No. 2 was our first home in Perry at 1321 Smoak Avenue. We moved just in time for me to begin first grade at Perry Elementary, and it was on Smoak Avenue where I finally learned to ride my two wheel bicycle… no more training wheels. I probably learned more quickly because the other kids already knew how and after making fun of me…. I learned quickly. There were a few run-ins with the bushes and the pavement, but I learned!


The 1321 Smoak Avenue steps that mama sat on for Friday night games! My bedroom was on the left side of the house behind the living room. The dining room was where the middle window is and the right side window was above the kitchen sink.

There were many kids on that street, two girls near my age just next door, an older girl on the other side and another girl, near my age, up the street. Directly behind me was a girl my age and just around the corner another girl. There were several boys of all ages on my street, but it was mostly the girls I played with unless it was Friday night… then we all played kick the can until way after dark…  until the sound of our mother’s calling us home echoed in the night.

Our front stoop was often the center of games… most evenings mama sat on the steps and called “Mother May I” and “Red Light.” Another activity that took place on the front stoop was the scary stories mama told. She’d spread out quilts for us to sit on and when it was dark, the stories began; often she’d have to walk most of the kids home. In as much, as I’m not a fan of being outside in the dark now, it never bothered or scared me as a child.

This house was where my love of reading matured and my collection of Nancy Drew books began, along with Trixie Beldon, The Bobbsey Twins and more. Mama says I kept my bedroom meticulously, and never liked anyone to touch my bookcase; I wasn’t one to share my books. After I graduated from Nancy Drew and the like, the town library was where I often spent my Saturday mornings. My love of reading continued with biographies of presidents, inventors, and every historical person in a book that I could find. I’d walk to where mama worked at Clara’s Beauty Shop with an armload of reading material… hoping mama would be taking lunch soon to take me home. The rest of the afternoon was often spent, laying on a quilt outside, reading and watching the clouds roll by; Mama usually read my books before I returned them.

We moved to House No. 3 at 706 Hillcrest Avenue by the time I entered Perry Junior High, which was grades 5 – 7. It was a much larger house with three bedrooms, an L-shaped house with two fireplaces. Granddaddy McKinley was now coming to live with us and enjoyed using the fireplace in the den, which probably reminded him of being at the farm.

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Me sitting on the hearth of the fireplace granddaddy loved to keep burning. On both sides of this fireplace were two bookcases, one was filled with a set of encyclopedia’s mama bought me. They were the heaviest and thickest set of books I’ve ever seen, but with very super thin pages.


It wasn’t the same in this neighborhood, very few kids, but I had already outgrown those Friday night games. Now I was a teenager, things were changing and I was no longer interested in outside games. This was the house where I grew up… going to the prom, learning to drive and graduating from Perry High School… but it was not my last home.

I thought my bedroom was the best because of the huge bulletin board that covered half a wall. It didn’t take me long to fill with pictures of my favorite movie and music stars! Teen and 16 Beat magazines kept me supplied with my favorite teen idol photos of Herman’s Hermits, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Monkees and the Beatles to pin on that board. Peter Noone was one of my favorites, and although I never was able to see him as a teenager, I did see him a couple of years ago at a local summer concert. What a show he put on singing all the now…oldies – I couldn’t have enjoyed it more!

Jeanne in room Hilcrest Avenue

The “famous” bulletin board with all my movie star photos and the popular chewing gum wrapper chains popular at the time! The monthly movie calendar from the Perry Theater was always pinned…. I didn’t miss any Friday night movies, especially if Elvis was playing.


There was a circular driveway at this corner house and it was here where I got my first car … a 1965 yellow mustang! I remember daddy looking for months and months for a car for me, although it seemed like much longer. I’ll never forget how excited I was on the afternoon he came home and told me my car was parked outside. I don’t think my feet could scurry fast enough… it was so exciting! It was my granddaddy McKinley who had paid for the car – a whopping $500 in 1967. I wanted to just get in and take off, but I was only allowed to take it around the block a few times.


Me and a family friend by my 1965 Mustang!

I thought I was “cool” driving that mustang with the shift on the floorboard – I’d pretend I was changing gears. Too bad I didn’t keep it!

It was at this house where my parents divorced…. my life changed! My mother moved back to the farm to care for my grandfather and I remained with my father to finish school. I didn’t want to leave during my Senior year and miss my Senior prom or graduate at a new school.

It wasn’t much later before daddy and I moved across town to House No. 4 at 836 Oakridge Drive. While living there, I met my husband… and it was while living there, I left daddy’s house to marry and move to Connecticut. Daddy cooked us and our friends a catfish and hushpuppy dinner our last night there. Steve couldn’t believe all the fish he had caught in such a short time that morning; I’m sure he had a honey-hole fishing spot!

daddy cooking fish

Daddy cooking my last supper before Steve and I left as a married couple headed to Connecticut. If you look closely in this photo you’ll spot the famous beer can that seems to never “not” be in a photo with my father.  I need to blow this photo up more and take a closer look at all the background items I see lurking. I love the background things!

me and daddy

Me with my father in front of house no. 4 on Oakridge Drive in Perry.

Hair Styles:

I didn’t always have long hair, but for the most of my life… I did! My early years before school showed curly short hair… today my hair won’t even hold a curl! Mama said as it grew, the curls were pulled out. In looking back at my school photos, and I’m not posting those, Oh My Heavens are they awful… you will just have to take my word on them! My hair was probably just like yours if you’re near my age. I don’t know why mama didn’t just let it grow long long when I was in Junior High, but I’m sure by the time I entered High School it was way past my shoulders. Although there was that one time I cut it super short when that was the style… short in the back, then tapered toward the front in a long point cut. Mama cut it like I wanted, and I cried for weeks after that; she never cut my hair again! She still doesn’t like to even trim it today as she knows how fussy I am. Most times I cut my own hair, I’ve just never been a fan of relaxing at a salon having my hair cut… I know – I’m strange!

Ok, I relented with the school photos!  Bangs vs no Bangs!

Many of my early photos showed me with bangs, but as I grew up and the hair grew longer, the bangs grew out, and I haven’t had bangs since! See the photo of me above by my bulletin board, I had bangs.

I was born with a head full of hair… mama says! Here I am with my cousin Paulette… about 3 years old with bangs and long hair in braids. Mama must have cut it soon after.

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Here I am with my parents when we lived on Binns St. I remember those chairs, maybe I was 4 here. I love studying photos… I am barefoot with my mother, so I’m assuming that photo was taken after the one with my dad… I had one shoe off in that photo. Love daddy’s argyle socks! Note the short curly hair here!

I still have bangs in these early photos, I guess mama liked me with bangs. She always talks about my Shirley Temple curls…. how did I loose those? I remember my daughters hair in those ringlet-type curls when she was small.

When my hair was long I went through the streaking stage, and if you’ve ever streaked your hair back in the day…. My Oh My…. what a process! I remember my girlfriend Janet helping me… and it took all day! You stretched a plastic cap on your head, then pulled small strands of hair with a crochet hook through the tiny holes in the cap…. and it seemed to never end. It was only after you pulled as much, or as little, hair through the holes before you could bleach them. I think one time we pulled so much hair through those holes that I ended up almost totally blonde, maybe that’s why my hair looks so blonde at graduation.

The photograph on the right is my graduation photo, everyone took these style senior photos with the velvet drapes. Every parent had one or several of these painting-type framed pictures hanging in their living room. For whatever reason the schools in my area did these, I’m glad they did… and would love to see them make a comeback. 

My husband has only known me with long hair, as well as my children. When my daughter was about three, I could actually sit on my hair… yes it was that long. Having long hair is easy to care for…. wash, dry and go… no rollers. But I was constantly harrassed,  by his family members to cut my hair. Did they just want me to have to roll and style my hair every day, and constantly go to the salon? Well, I wanted no part of that, and besides… my husband loves my long hair, and never wanted me to cut it. My daughter also had long hair, although never as long as mine ever was, but it was much more beautiful. She could easily have been the “Breck” girl with her long thick red hair…. and it held a curl, unlike mine. I’ve just dated myself by referring to the Breck shampoo commercials from TV.

If you’re wondering if my hair is still long, because we’re told that as you get older, the hair is supposed to get shorter, well it’s not short, and it’s not long, but it’s still just past my shoulders. I don’t think I could ever go the route of short hair, unlike my mother who likes hers the shorter the better. Once it starts to creep down the back of her neck, out comes the scissors and she starts clipping away; she’s a beautician and has always cut her own hair.

Halloween and Haunted Houses:

I don’t remember dressing for Halloween in any of those boxed costumes, but I do remember dressing up as a teenager as a Hobo. I’m not sure how I thought cutting my jeans into long strips made me look like a hobo, but that was how I dressed; I must have had a few of those Halloween boxed costumes when I was young though.

Jeanne Hobofix

I found my “hobo” photograph! This picture was taken in 1965… Look I had bangs!


We had Halloween carnivals at school and sometimes they even set up a haunted house, but nothing on the scale like they do today. There were also carnivals that came around near that time with rides and scary houses and the house of mirrors maze that made you scream trying to escape. I always went inside them and was always amazed at how long it took in finding my way out… another favorite was the ride-through scary houses where I screamed with fright at everything that jumped out at me but loving every minute of it.


I guess stamp collecting would be the only hobby I had in as far as collecting specific things. Too bad I wasn’t interested in collecting family history information at a young age – just imagine what I could have learned. What I wouldn’t give to have had a one-on-one with my grandparents and heard their stories first hand… and have a conversation with daddy on his childhood and his days in the Navy, especially while on the USS Blueridge during the atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll. Why did he never talk about that? Oh if I could only have had that conversation and hear what he actually saw; I learned about all these things too late in life.

My Stamp Collecting Books

Mama sewed strips on black construction paper to hold my extra stamps.


I’ve always enjoyed horseback riding and wished for a horse of my own. My parents had friends with a farm who had horses, and it was there where I first began riding; we went often to their farm on weekends. They had a son, Mike, just a few years older than me, who often helped me with saddling and he’d usually ride with me. Naturally, he was my first crush and I’d pretend to need help in picking up the saddle; they were heavy though.

My girlfriend, Janet, dated a boy who’s mother owned a horse farm… another place where we rode. One time a colt was born while we were there, it was awesome to spend time with such a young horse…  we’d even bring him inside their trailer, although his hooves didn’t do well on the smooth floors. He’d follow us girls around and suck on our shirttails.


While I don’t feel I have nice handwriting now…. often because I’m rushing to write… I did when I was young; there was no computer or other attractions competing for my time. Today the only time I’m writing is when I’m scribbling notes to transcribe on the computer, but before I wrote letters, real letters to people…. today we write emails or send messages… no one needs to have good handwriting. Sad, as letter writing is a lost art and I treasure the letters I have saved.

As a teenager, I loved writing letters… so much that I had several pen pals over the years. Many of my letters were written with my favorite ink pens that you changed cartridges with for different color inks. I also often had blue, red or green ink colored finger tips from those cartridges.

While my husband was in the Air Force, I honed my handwriting skill… and we both saved all our letters; my daughter has laid claim to them one day. Mama told me she had saved hers and daddy’s too, but somehow they were lost in moving. How I would love to read them now.

 All our letters were written to each other while my husband was in the Air Force! 

I’m always envious when I see someone with unique and exceptional handwriting. It’s mesmerizing to watch as they’re so at ease in writing… I try to slow down and write instead of my often scribbles, but I quickly lose patience. Today in school, they want to exclude cursive writing in being taught…. that is so wrong. How will the children of tomorrow read my letters I’ve saved – will it look like a foreign language to them? If they become a family history researcher, how will they read the old wills and land deeds? I have a hard enough time in trying to decipher them as their style of letters are different from what I learned, but this generation will look upon them as a foreign language. I will be teaching my grandchildren how to write cursive!


While I never experienced any hurricanes in Georgia as a child, I’ve lived through many here in Connecticut as an adult. My first experience was in 1971 while living at my in-law’s house in West Haven.

I remember how the strong winds frightened me and after finally falling asleep, I was woken to a loud thundering crash. It was so loud, that it made me almost afraid to even go downstairs, thinking a tree hit their house. In finally venturing down, I found that their large Weeping Willow in the backyard had uprooted and fallen, but missed the house. Weeping Willows have very shallow roots so often become uprooted in high winds; Steve was overseas in Thailand when Tropical Storm Doria toppled that tree.

Several years later while living in a two-family house on Fountain Street in Westville, we experienced the wrath of Hurricane Gloria on September 28, 1985. By the end of the winds, there were two trees covering the garage… where our cars were. That meant the chain saws had to come out in order to free our cars from the branches holding them hostage.

It was during Hurricane Gloria that we lost power for almost two weeks. We had a small radio that picked up television signals, so we laid in bed at night and “listened” to TV… and laughed about how we were experiencing what our grandparents did at nighttime on a regular basis…  sitting in the dark at night, listening to the radio. Here we were, many decades later, doing the exact same thing! It quickly became a way of life for us, every evening before sundown, we went to bed – to lay there and listen to our TV programs and visualize. It was impossible to try and do anything else by candlelight, so we adapted our lifestyle. The night that the lights suddenly came on…. actually felt weird!

Living near the beach gives you a respect for water….. seeing first hand exactly how high those waves become during a hurricane is eye opening. Water is a force of no stopping, once it starts, it doesn’t stop until it’s ready. It’s not even safe to be too close to the beach, between the waves and the wind, you can easily be swept away; if the wind is blowing at full force, you can’t even stand. The high winds scare me now as I’m always afraid that a tree will crash onto my house.

The last time my husband and I lost power here, we were lucky that the top of my gas stove was usable, so out from the basement came the old tin coffee pot and we enjoyed percolated coffee. It was actually really good and I missed it a little when we went back to the Mr. Coffee drip pot; this was during Hurricane Irene in 2011.

If you’ve never lived through the experience of “stocking up” during a storm at the grocery stores, well you’re lucky. Just mention hurricane and everyone runs to the grocery and hardware stores. The shelves are emptied quickly of milk, bread and every snack imagined. Everyone wants to be home with an ample supply of potato chips, cookies, and ice cream. I’ve seen the stores so empty that it’s almost like a new store opening – starting from scratch in re-stocking the shelves again. I work in a grocery store, so I’ve worked through all the hurricanes except when we couldn’t get into work, or I didn’t want to go out.

One of the worst hurricanes to hit the eastern seaboard of CT. was in 1938 when an unnamed hurricane came ashore… leaving much destruction along the West Haven shore; It destroyed most of the Savin Rock Amusement Park that sat along the shore.

Holly Tree:

When we lived on Smoak Avenue in Perry there was a Holly Tree in our backyard… and what was in it – my tree house! It was nothing fancy, basically a platform, but it was My tree house… a place for me to read, play with my Barbies or just be by myself. Now putting a platform in a Holly tree is odd, as Holly leaves are a little prickly, but it was the only place it could go. The other trees were large Pecan trees and the lower limbs were too high off the ground to grab… the Holly tree was more manageable to climb up into with no help.

A funny story about my Holly tree is that the neighbor often teased me about it. She was already in high school and several years older than me and she liked to tease me, telling me it was her tree; the tree sat almost on the property line. One day I went running into mama telling her that Jackie said that my Holly tree is hers. Well, I guess mama had had enough and told me to go tell Jackie that if it was her tree, then move it in her yard. I can just picture me flying back out the back door telling Jackie to move that tree if it was hers. I think that pretty much ended the ownership of the Holly Tree!


I grew up during the age of Aquarius…. the hippie generation of the 1960’s. It began with the music of the Beatles and quickly transformed me into a bell-bottom, flower power hippie. I had all the hippie style clothing of the times from the hats like the Beatles wore, to Nehru-style jackets, and the wide bell-bottom pants. Many of those wide pants were hip huggers which required wide belts.


My “hippie purse” I bought one Friday night with a check Daddy gave me for emergencies…. To me, this was an emergency!

One of my favorite pair of pants was my hip hugger bold blue pants with the large colored flowers all over – they were my “flower power” pants. I sure wish I’d kept them. LOL  The one pair of pants I kept for several years after I married was a light pink pair of jeans. I never remember having any blue jeans, but I did have jeans in other colors. Even after they didn’t fit anymore, I held onto them; don’t we all think one day, you’ll fit into them again! Finally, I parted with them! I bought them in my favorite shopping store in Perry called Tot’s to Teen’s… all the teenage girls shopped there.

A couple of my “flower power” pant outfits! Love seeing granddaddy’s old Chevy in the background. I used to hate when I had to drive it – now I’d love to have it!

Shoes of choice in growing up were flip flops, Be-Bops (black and white saddle shoes) and later the Dr. Scholls in every color I could find. I don’t remember ever wearing sneakers, and that’s all I wear now. Maybe I should get myself a pair of Dr. Scholls again! I also went barefoot a lot and still enjoy it, but hubby fusses at me that it’s not good for your feet…. he insists that feet belong in shoes! The minute he goes barefoot, he always steps on something! I didn’t go barefoot too often in Perry, as I didn’t like stepping on sand-spurs; they are like stepping on cactus spines.

Note: I know I have a few more photos to add to this post…. when I find them, like the picture of me dressed as a hobo (I found the photo), a picture of our house on Binns St. and Hillcrest Ave and our cars held hostage during the hurricane.


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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Forgotten Cemeteries: The Young Cemetery of Oconee County, Georgia

Forgotten Cemeteries:

The Young Cemetery of Oconee Co., Georgia

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It was this lone cemetery alongside the road which drew me in….

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It was this stone of Sara W. Young which peaked my interest…. I wanted to know her story, but I soon learned it was a short one… sadly she only lived to the age of sixteen.

In driving the back roads of Oconee County, from Athens headed to Washington, the Young Cemetery off Hwy 78 caught my eye… we were quickly drawn to stop. While this cemetery now sits in Oconee County, it once was Clarke County until 1875. The Young Cemetery is located on Barnett Shoals Road, sitting alongside the intersection of Old Barnett Shoals Road; it is about 5 miles east of Watkinsville, GA in Oconee County on the grounds of the now closed, Green Hills Country Club. On this trip, my mother was with us, but not sharing our passion of stopping to visit and photograph lost and forgotten cemeteries, she chose to remain in the car; we were eager to walk in. Sometimes these trips don’t end up in miles accumulated when sites of interest catch our eyes; it’s a good thing that my husband and I share the same passion.

This “forgotten cemetery” sat just along the edge of a field, enclosed within a fieldstone wall; a protection of boundary. When I see those piled stone walls, it’s hard to not picture the many hours toiled in the fields, throwing rocks to the side in order to build.

The Young Cemetery is slowly deteriorating from much wear on the gravestones, along with several broken stones… including the one of Thomas Hampton Young (1786 – 1857), which I believe which was the largest. I could not tell its shape until I found an older photograph in Ancestry, taken in 1989. Time or vandalism has taken its course as seen in my photographs.

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Gravestone of Thomas Hampton Young (1786 – 1857) in The Young Cemetery, Oconee Co., Georgia. This photo was taken in 1989, but by the early 2000’s it was noted as fallen and lying in several broken pieces. Photograph courtesy of Keith Moody61 on Ancestry. 

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The broken and tumbled gravestone of Thomas Hampton Young (1786-1857) still lying in pieces in 2017.

Thomas Hampton Young, son of George Young Jr and Nancy Wade Hampton (Thomas Hampton (1729-1796) & Sarah Pattison Conyers (1728-1795), married Jane Chane Dillard Gresham on 15 Feb. 1811 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia; the name of Hampton was often used as a middle name and helped to trace this family. Thomas Hampton Young was born April 23, 1786, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. His gravestone, even though it’s over 221 years old, still remains… if it hadn’t been vandalized and broken, it would still be standing along with the others.

From the will of Will of Thomas Hampton (1728-1796)…. I give unto my daughter Nancy (Hampton) Young a negro boy named Daniel, after her decease to Thomas Hampton Young, (his grandson) and his heirs forever, for want of Such to be equally Divided among the rest of the Children, to them and their heirs forever. (A future blog post is planned on the slaves listed in the will of Thomas Hampton) Will found on the blog site of Adkins Genealogy Page.

As many families created their own family cemeteries on their lands, I believe this was on the Young family farm. On the 1850 Puryears, Clarke Co. Census, Thomas showed a figure of $9000 dollars in real estate. That is not a small figure for a farm – could this be the 189 acres of land that is situated there now? In the late 1950’s this area was turned into Creeksides Green Hills Country Club, which is no longer in business; the land is still undeveloped. I searched for the 1850 agricultural census to discover the actual acres of land owned and crops harvested, but I could not find one listed. The $9000 owned of real estate proves he owned many acres, and with owning of slaves he might have owned a plantation and growing cotton; it was a big industry in that area.

1830 Census

Total Free White Persons: 11
Total Slaves: 14
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 25

The 1830 census shows Thomas H. Young in Walkers, Oglethorpe Co., Georgia with a total of 25 people in the household. Thomas and Jane (Gresham) had married in Oglethorpe County in March of 1811. Between 1811 and 1830, there were 8 children in their family. There was one other male between the age of 40-49 in his household, it would have been too young for his father George Young Jr. (1755-1830) so we might assume it would have been a brother.

1840 Census

Total Free White Persons: 20
Total Slaves: 16
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 36

On the 1840 census, Thomas H. Young has moved his family to Davis, Clarke County, GA. There is a total of 25 persons living in this household, 11 white free and 14 slaves, with 9 people listed as involved in agriculture on his land; the older brother is possibly still residing in the family.

1850 Puryears, Clarke Co. Census, Thomas showed a figure of $9000 dollars in real estate. That is not a small figure for a farm – could this be the 189 acres of land that is situated there now? In the late 1950’s this area was turned into Creeksides Green Hills Country Club, which is no longer in business; the land is still undeveloped. I searched for the 1850 agricultural census to discover the actual acres of land owned and crops harvested, but I could not find one listed. The $9000 amount of real estate listed, proves he owned many acres, and with owning slaves he might have owned a plantation and grew cotton, which was a big industry in that area.

By 1860, Thomas H. Young died (1857) and I found his widow Jane (Dillard) Young still living in Puryear’s, Clarke County. In 1870 Jane moved in with her granddaughter Emily Caroline (Culberson) Macon, wife of Thomas Grimes Macon; Emily was the daughter of Martha Jane Young (1821-1854) and David H. Culberson (1810-1866). (Info provided by GGGGgrandson Keith Moody)

Young by D East in 2006

I discovered this photo on FindAGrave (D.East #46858208) and noticed…. there was a golf course directly behind. This photograph was taken in 2006 – mine below just taken in 2017…  no more golf course! 

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My photograph of The Young Cemetery shows no more golf course! 

The disrepair of the cemetery stones haven’t really changed all that much from the 2006 photograph above – but much undergrowth on the inside has changed and covered up a few of the stones.

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Gravestone of Martha Jane (Young) Culberson (1821-1854) GGGgrandmother of Keith Moody on Ancestry.

These are the two smallest gravestones at the front of the cemetery, the one on the left looks like it has the initial of “L” to me, but another web page lists the footstone initials as W.H.Y. (I was not going to dig or step inside to look any further)

There are eight to ten graves I counted on my visit and after visiting Ancestry I put together the names buried there as:

  • James F. Sturgus (1822-1851)
  • Eliz Williams (1792-1858) wife of a William Sturgus
  • William Young (1828-1837) aged 9 years
  • Thomas Young (?-1851-57) dates are sketchy
  • Lucy A. Young (1832-1844)
  • Sara W. Young (1834-1850)
  • Martha Jane (Young) Culbertson (1821-1854) wife of D. H. Culbertson
  • small stone – possibly with initials of W.H.Y. (In my photo I see an L… maybe)
  • small stone – I saw no markings

While I have no direct lines to this Young family, I somehow felt compelled to tell their story and document their family cemetery. If you are a Young family descendant, I have no other information to share, but I would enjoy hearing from you.

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Georgia War Memorials: Wilkes County

Georgia War Memorials: Wilkes County

I yearly contribute to the Honor Roll Project of  Heather Wilkinson Rojo – the purpose is to photograph and transcribe Veteran names for family research. Heather’s Honor Roll page can be found at Honor Roll Project. If you would like to contribute, information can be found there as to “how” to send your photos and transcriptions in.

Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia

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The Wilkes County Courthouse in Washington, Georgia. The War Memorials sit behind this Confederate Statue on the grounds of the courthouse.

While in Georgia this year I visited the town of Washington in Wilkes County, a town where my great-grandfather, William Clark Bryan, lived before moving to Greene County, and where my grandfather Paul Pinkney Bryan was born. In honor of my grandfathers, I’ve chosen to highlight Wilkes County for an Honor Roll post.


War Memorials in front of Wilkes Co. Georgia Courthouse


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Dedicated By The Washington-Wilkes Jaycees: In Memory Of The Men of Wilkes County Who Made The Supreme Sacrifice In Vietnam

Melvin Bolton  –  Charles M. Corry  –  Arthur E. Scott  –  Charles M. Shelton  –    Michael A. Smith


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Woodsmen Of The World Memorial:    In Sacred Memory Of The Men Of Wilkes County Who Made The Supreme Sacrifice


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The Glory Of Their Deeds Shall Live Forever


Jerome A. Wootten – Samuel Barnett – Marcus A. Pharr Jr. – Ollie E. Ray – John W. Hogan – William G. Bradford – William O. Cheney – Robert L. Coe – Samuel M. Hyman  Radford Owens – Raymond R. Thornton – Robert S. Smith – Grady M. Cochran


James H. Bailey – Robert E. Christy – Wilton L. Downer – James A. Gunter – Thomas E. Hearn – Grady L. Jenkins – Eugene L. Lindsey – Howard G. Lance – Henry B. Poss  Robert M. Matteson – Lee Danner – Anthony G. Brown – Osborne B. Ficklen – Milton L. Heard – Samuel S. McWhorter – George M. Ficklen – Vincent B. Garrard – Wesley Echols – William E. Blanchard – Walter E. Beard – George E. Blakey – Sol Anderson Jr.  Claud A. McClendon – John T. Surles


Clifford D. Burt – Willie L. Denard – James R. Schroeder


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On This Site Stood The Old Georgia State Building In Which President Davis Held The Last Official Meeting Of The Confederacy – May 4, 1865.  At This Meeting The Confederate Government Was Dissolved. The Last Official Papers Were Signed. The Residue of Coin And Bullion Brought From Richmond Was Disposed Of By Order Of President Davis And Both Civil And Military Officials Separated To Make Their Escape.


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Wilkes County, Georgia was laid out first under legislature act of Jan. 23, 1730 and a second time under legislative provision July 31, 1780. Erected by Georgia Society DAR – Feb. 27, 1934


For more Georgia War Memorial’s, click Here….
© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #41

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #41


Mama’s “Birthday” cake for an April 6th delivery!

March 18, 2017: I called after we returned from Steve’s tonight. We went over so I could show Ella how her new knitting needles worked. I think it will take some time for her to learn how to handle the needles and feel comfortable… maybe she’s too young at age 7. I brought an extra set of needles and Rose (daughter in law) seemed interested, so I showed her the knit stitch. She began knitting that night and continued the next morning. My son said she couldn’t wait to get home from the bridal shower to practice knitting. “I taught myself how to knit, there was no one to teach me and I even made my own knitting needles. I knitted squares for the soldiers and someone at school sewed them together. I had wanted to be part of that project, so I taught myself.”

March 21, 2017: When I called… “It’s going to thunder tonight, we are under a storm watch. It was pretty here today so I went to the center, then I worked out in the yard for a bit. I have to buy some flower seeds like petunias for my flower boxes. Boo is under the bed, it just boomed and he ran for cover.”

While we talked, mama skimmed through the TV channels…. “Girls are on TV doing gymnastics and swinging on the bars. Now that’s something I would like to have done when I was young. I swung in the trees a lot, it’s a wonder I never busted my head! I did relay races and high jumping at school. I could outrun every boy! Wish I had a time machine… I have a lot of things I’d like to go back and change.”

I told mama I paid off my last mortgage payment today… “so you now own it! I own this house and I hope to live here until I don’t live anymore. I grew up without even having a bathroom in our house. A tin tub was my bath tub. Sometimes I took my bath after dark out in the yard, the water would have gotten nice and warm.”

March 24, 2017: I called around 9:30 p.m. tonight, and… “I just came in about an hour ago, I was out there fooling around with my window box at my bedroom window. I’m going to buy some flower seeds for it and throw the rest by the road. I raked a lot of leaves out there to throw over in the flower beds, then I cleaned up the dirt by the edge and threw it back in the gardens.”

“I went to the center today and came home with a nice pair of blue jeans… they fit me just perfect. I wore them home from the center as I had spilled water on my pants, so I went in the clothes closet and spotted them. I changed and left my pants there…. LOL!”

March 26, 2017: I asked if she had dinner yet when I called tonight…. “I had an Ensure, wasn’t really hungry, but I’d sure like a Thanksgiving dinner with some cranberry sauce,” I told her she’d better get in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans… she laughed! “I’m all over that! It was a little cold today… I had no desire to even go outside. I’d prefer to just lay in the bed today and watch TV. I did enough out in the yard yesterday!”

March 28, 2017: When I called tonight I told Mama that I played her today and laid on the couch and watched TV all day. “Well that’s OK, it’s called “spring fever” – and then you get over it and get energized! I piddled around for awhile in the yard, but there’s nothing in the house that interests me to do!”

March 30, 2017: I got a little surprise tonight when I called…. “I thought I’d sit outside this afternoon as it was so nice and pretty, but when I sat in one of those old web chairs, well it gave way and I pulled a “Stephen” thing… remember when he fell through one…. and ended up sitting on the pavement. I couldn’t get up no matter what I tried. I sat there for a little bit hoping the neighbor would come out of their house… I could hear the TV on. After waiting long enough, I began yelling loud and getting madder every minute that no one was hearing me. Finally, an older couple driving by stopped about the time the man across the street ran across to help. He had a big grin on his face when he rounded the corner and found me sitting on the driveway… inside the chair. It was one of those moments when you laugh at the same time, but well not laughing. I don’t know why I thought about sitting out there, and I should have known better and remembered how it had happened to Stephen.” Boy, what I wouldn’t give for a photo!

March 31, 2017: First thing I said was… just called to make sure you didn’t go sit outside in any more chairs today… she laughed. “No, I don’t think I’ll try sitting outside in those chairs again.” The first thing I’m going to do when I come down is get rid of those chairs, they’re going bye-bye. “No don’t throw them out, I might do something with the pieces or put the chair in my garden and plant flowers inside.” Well, it better be done before I get there or out to the curb they will go… what would you have done if no one stopped? “I guess I would have slept there or maybe when it got dark and quiet someone would finally hear me yelling, I can yell pretty loud!”

April 2, 2017: When I called…. “Boo is just being lazy with me, all snuggled up in my arms. I was just cutting my hair earlier, it was getting too long and I don’t like it touching the back of my neck; I’m funny about that now. I need another hand mirror, can’t find mine so I just sat in bed with no mirror and whacked it off; then I went to the bathroom to see. I did a pretty good job! Remind me when you come to buy another mirror or maybe you can buy me one of those mirrors that hang around your neck.”

April 3, 2017: I called mama about all the bad weather I’ve been hearing about in Georgia, and… “I didn’t hear anything today, it must have sailed right over my house. If there was bad weather, Boo would have told me as he flies under the bed. I don’t think anything happened around here today, guess it missed my house.”

“I just had a piece of the best cake, your package came this afternoon and I couldn’t wait to rip open that box, I knew something good was inside. I’ve had two pieces already and might have a third before I go to sleep tonight. Who needs dinner, I have cake.” Your son-in-law made that banana chocolate chip cake, so you know it’s good!

I mentioned basketball, and… “Mr. Burke would say Helen is gonna play where she wants to play, not where you tell her. I was the guard, but I always wanted to be the shooter, and if I got a shot to shoot, I took it… no matter what was said to me. Mr. Burke did everything at school, he was the principal, basketball coach and anything else needed; I was his pet.”

April 5, 2017: I called several times today as Georgia was under severe weather with tornadoes all over the state. Every time she’d tell me I’m not really seeing anything. “I’m just keeping myself home today and minding my business… it will pass. I remember having bad storms and tornado’s when we lived in that log cabin…. we were poor folks. The rain beat so hard on those cheap glass windows, and they rattled so bad that daddy had to stick rolled up paper between the frames to keep them quiet. There were bad storms when I was small.”

I mentioned strawberries, and…. “We use to go strawberry picking with the seniors somewhere, but they don’t do that anymore. I just went and ate what I wanted, and I didn’t have to pay anything. I wouldn’t have done anything with them if I brought them home, so why would I. Maybe I’ll get some plants and make a strawberry patch on the side of my house. I might just do that, that spot on the side has some rich earth where I’ve been throwing dirt.”

April 7, 2017: Mama was talkative when I called tonight…. “I got up this morning and went to the center… it was warm and pretty outside. When I came home I worked in the yard for awhile planting the seeds I bought the other day. I planted them in buckets and later I’ll transplant them to my window boxes.”

My azaleas haven’t bloomed yet, they’ve gotten older, so they don’t bloom like they used to… maybe they’ll bloom while you are here. I think I’ll go buy some more seeds tomorrow, maybe I’ll even buy some watermelon seeds… I love watermelon. I can plant them maybe in the ditch on the other side of the house.”

“I don’t mind working out in the yard, but I sure do mind working in this house… you know you’ll find a sink of dishes when you come.”

I mentioned how I hate to go to work tomorrow… and “so call out sick, it wouldn’t bother me to call out sick. I’d just call the boss and say I’ve been on the ‘mode all night and I can’t come in.” She laughed! “It’s only a little white lie, I don’t think God would mind. He only minds about the big lies.”

After me yawning and then mama, she told me good night, “go to bed – you have to go to work tomorrow!”

April 10, 2017: When I called she was talking about hearing on Tv that a local man killed his wife.  Laughing she said, “I’ve never wanted to kill anybody, but I’d like to hurt a few.. maybe next time they’d think about not messing with me.”

“I went to the center today, nothing going on. Food must not have been any good as I don’t even remember what they served. I only give them a dollar, they want two, but don’t think it’s worth even the dollar.”

“Y’all need to move South, so you don’t have to content with that snow.  just move on down here, I’ll give you the house, you can build a room on for me.”

Mama made lye soap to wash our clothes with, that’s how they got the clothes white, but daddy washed me with it one time after I rolled around in the poison ivy all afternoon. I guess it worked, as I didn’t get any poison ivy.

April 11, 207: “It’s like summer here, I worked out in the yard and now I”m tired. My hands are so pretty. I hope some of the seeds come up I planted by the mailbox, it needs to rain now to knock them down into the ground. I went to the center, found a nice pair of pants I brought home, but now I don’t know where I laid them, hell they might be laying outside. I’ll find them in the morning if I think about it.

Mama asked if I was retiring sometime this summer I told her it should be soon. (June 2nd is my last day). “Then you and Steve will be footloose and fancy-free. LOL”

April 12, 2017: “Daddy grew a big watermelon patch up by the road, he grew them mainly to feed the pigs, but Leroy and I would bust one open almost every day and eat what we wanted and then throw the rest over to the hogs. Sometimes people would steal one since they were by the road, the young kids liked to steal them. The big ones he brought in the house for us to eat.

April 14, 2017: I mentioned Hollyhocks, … “I used to have so many in my yard, but they just went away, I’ll have to get some more seeds, why you want some?”

“I’m watching Anne of GreeneGables, I’m surprised you never read the book, I read it as a child. Its really a good movie, and was a good book, she reminds me of Melissa.

“I’m out of Ensure, but I was too lazy to get dressed to go to the store… so I did without.” I told her well the mailman should be lugging a 24 pk to the door tomorrow. “Oh goody!”

April 16, 2017: I called Mama to wish her Happy Easter, and she then wished me a Happy Birthday. After dinner, I called her back to tell her about the bug boxes I had put in the girls Easter baskets. Just a cheap dollar store bug box had McKinley pulling Uncle Steve around to pick up rocks in hopes of finding a bug underneath. Steve, Rose and the girls had come over for the Easter Egg Hunt after dinner and it quickly got noisy with five girls hunting for eggs. While I was talking mama said, “ I’d like to have a glass of wine right now. She laughs and continues… There was one time I was feeling no pain. I don’t know how we happened to be out on the bridge, but I walked on the bridge railing – we all were feeling no pain.”

“I remember whenever mama would hear on TV about going to the moon, she would say… “no one can go to the moon.” This was after her mind went.”

When I told mama I cleaned out my cookbooks in the dining room… “you can bring some to Carolyn when you come, she likes to collect cookbooks. Well, only four more Mondays before Trump takes office. Is he going to build that wall? I’ll go help him if he will come get me.”

“Did I ever tell you that I built an outside fireplace from old bricks I found that someone had thrown out; it even had a chimney. I tried to cook on it, but I didn’t have enough wood to make a good fire. They laughed at me and told me the smoke would go up the chimney, but it didn’t.”

I told mama later that we had eaten ham at Melissa’s today and she had made mac & cheese for McKinley and Grace…. Immediately McKinley said, “that’s not my regular mac & cheese.” After a few moans and groans, she finally took a bite, then said… “this is yummy!” Go Figure!

April 18, 2017: When I called tonight, I told mama that I dropped off my union pension papers, so I guess I’ll be retiring… “What a pretty day it was here today. I went to the center this morning then went looking for tomato plants… and I found nothing. Someone must have bought them all up. Maybe I can find some out at Walmart this weekend, also still want to get some watermelon seeds. I just want to see what they will do, daddy planted them about now and they grew way into the summer; they grow in the heat. He picked them after the stems began drying up, then they were nice and big and ready to be picked. After I came home, I piddled around in the yard and when I got tired, I came in and laid down. I know I need to go in the kitchen and do a little cleaning, but I just don’t want to. When I hang up, I’m going to figure out an outfit to wear for tomorrow. I’ll go down to the center in the morning and piddle around there for awhile.”

From last April 2016 in GA. As we rode down Slip Rock Road with mama… “I used to walk many a time on this road. I also rode in the wagon with daddy… he’d get so mad when the horse, Pat wanted to go on home. He’d run so fast that he would run off down in the ditch; it made daddy so mad, he’d cuss up a storm. No running of water on either side of the road anymore now that Slip Rock has dried up;  it’s just the rocks down there now – no water. I used to like to walk barefoot through the water headed down to the rocks.”

April 20, 2017: “It tried to rain, but it went away… it’s dry as a bone here. It sounded like it was going to do something because Boo ran and hid when he heard rumbling.”

I told mama we went to McKinley’s dance recital today at The Shubert Theater; this was her first year at The New Haven Ballet School… “I was in a play at school, there was three girls, me and Kendrick. My line was “I do believe I’m getting a pimple on my chin”… I said it all prissy and then stuck my tongue out at Kendrick. The audience howled with laughter and I was the center of attention; I have no clue how I happened to be in that play.”

“Leroy was in a play also one time, he played a soldier. He marched on stage with other boys and they were supposed to march on and then march off, but Leroy just kept marching long after the other boys marched off. Someone had to go onstage to get him off. I wasn’t there, but I remember my mother telling me.”

April 21, 2017: Mama answered with… “I am so danged tired tonight… I worked in the yard moving my lilies around and weeding. I gave a lot of bulbs to the girl across the street. “Save me some,” I said. ” I’ll give you one of every color I have and you can do a grouping at home with them. When they bloom they will look variegated.”

I told mama we stopped over Steve’s before leaving. Ella showed me her drawing of Dr. Seus she drew at school… and she did an awesome job! “I picked up a couple of drawing books down at the center the other day on how to draw different things, I’ll save them for Ella. I did a lot of drawing as a kid, I drew houses and trees and I drew a woman. I’ll have to practice and show you.”

“I bet I sleep all night and into late, late Saturday morning. I am so tired of digging in the dirt – my hands are a mess!”

April 22, 2017: We left Ct. about 4:10 a.m….  we made good time hitting Maryland around 10 – finally stopping near Charlotte, N.C. about 5 p.m. I swear I thought we circled back through Virginia on a couple of loops… it seemed to be extra long today.

April 23, 2017: We arrived at in Georgia after lunch today… the rain followed us all the way from Virginia. In nearing mama’s, the sun finally showed itself, but as fast it came out, it went right back in. As we were bringing our “stuff” in, mama said… “I think you’ve brought everything but the kitchen sink!” I laughed, “you know we don’t travel lightly. I can’t go anywhere without my laptop, camera, scanner and notebooks to write in.”

April 25, 2017: Mama walked by my chair as I was writing… “If you die before me, I’ll make sure you have pen and paper in your casket.”

April 28, 2017: Mama sat on the couch looking out the screen door and… “I sure do dread cleaning out that flower garden where the big Angel Trumpets are.” I said, “it’ll give you something to do.” “Well I’m afraid there might be snakes over in there, so I don’t like sticking my hands in. The men who cut the timber down on the farm told me that they always take their big saws and lay on the ground running… the vibration from the saws send the snakes slithering off; they always do that before cutting.”

While watching Family Feud with Steve Harvey, mama said… “Let’s go to Atlanta and get on his show and win a car. We’ll take Melissa and Frank, and I’ll show off, being myself. I like him on that show, he’s funny.”

April 29, 2017: While watching a Food Network show tonight… “I’d sure like a slice of that watermelon with salt sprinkled on, but not that slice they put on the grill… all you’re going to end up with is a slice of pulp. You need to come back down when the watermelons and peaches are in season… and stay longer.”

“One time I skipped school with my friend Doris… we went down to the railroad tracks and spent the day smoking. Many times, my girlfriend’s boyfriend, picked me up on just outside of school on his motorcycle. He’d wait around the corner for me to get off the bus and sneak away. I’d go spend the day with Willie Mae… she had skipped too. When the truant officer came to tell daddy, he ran him off telling him he would take care of the situation… and he did. My backside got blistered. That was the end of me skipping school.”

After returning from Greensboro picking up our BBQ and stew to bring home, mama said, “I’m exhausted and tired.” She sat down on the couch with a Boost drink, then before I knew it, she got up… “I think I’ll go piddle around in the garden for awhile.” Maybe those Boost drinks she consumes daily really give her energy!

May 10, 2017:  I was just going to hang up after 8 rings when mama finally answered. “I was talking to Carolyn and just hung up… doesn’t it tell you I’m on the other line? I only came in the house a little while ago, had been out pulling weeds and pruning until I heard a snake slithering in the bushes where I was working. I got up and came in the house! Mr. Snake better move on tonight and be gone tomorrow.”

“Boo is all stretched out across the bottom of the bed – he can almost reach the opposite side when he stretches out from head to toe. He’s got the Life of Reilly and doesn’t even know it.”

“Nothing good to eat today at the center, but they only can cook what the government gives them… and what they give them isn’t worth much lately. I don’t even remember what it was, so it wasn’t anything I was interested in or I’d have remembered.”

“I cut back all those country pink roses out front and dragged the cuttings to the road; they were trying to run away I guess. Maybe I should let them cover my house and just leave me an opening to come in and out.”

May 12, 2017: Mama called tonight to tell me about the rain coming. “It was really hot today… after I got too hot working in the yard, I finally came in the house. My tomato plants sure do need some water. I should go back out and water them, but I’m too lazy. Years ago the plants on our farm didn’t get water unless it rained. We had no hoses back then for watering, and probably didn’t even know what a hose was. If you needed water, you had better pray for it. It was God who decided if your crops survived or not.”

“I don’t know where Boo is right this minute. Me and Boo get along just right, If I yell loud enough, he takes off. I don’t want no husband – it’s just me and Boo!”

“I brush my hair every night, it’s good for your scalp. I’ve always loved my hair brushed. If you put cotton balls down in your brush it will pull the oil out of your hair as you brush. I don’t wash my hair as often as you do.”

May 14, 2017: I called to wish mother Happy Mother’s Day and tell her that I had sent a case of Ensure… and “I forgot all about what day it was, I’m just lounging around today in bed. It’s chilly out so I’m not working outside either. I’ll find something on TV to watch.”


To be continued…

Like to read more… click on  Conversations with Mama and more

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2017: A to Z... Conversations with Mama, Daily Writings and funnies... | 4 Comments

Weekend Weathervanes: High-Wheeling Bicycle

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

High-Wheeling Bicycle

DSC_0196 (2) fix

Found this off  I 81 in Carlisle, PA., while looking for an antique store. Hubby had to make a trip back for me to get my photo of Cole’s Bicycles; my first High Wheel Bicycle Weathervane!

DSC_0197 Fix

Weekend Weathervanes are found through most of my back-road weekend travels. My camera is always ready, and hubby is always willing to make a u-turn! There has only been one weathervane that I did not find after turning around and going back three times… I won’t forget where it is, and I will find it!


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: Mama’s Memory Jar

Friday Night Family Heirlooms… telling their stories: Mama’s Memory Jar

Memory Jar

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.


While browsing through a copy of Woman’s Day magazine, I came across an article that caught my eye; my first thoughts were, “I have to make this for my mother.” I was so excited about creating it… and I couldn’t wait to start. As soon as I found pen and paper, the memories flowed so fast that I could hardly keep up in writing them. One page led to another and another, and before I knew it, I had many written pages of memories to share with my mother. I became more and more excited about this project as I wrote.

Every time I thought I’d exhausted my memories, more flowed in. I was having so much fun in remembering all the shared memories with my mother… I didn’t want to stop writing!

I couldn’t wait to show “my memories” to someone so I asked my daughter, Melissa, what she thought about the memory jar. She was excited with the idea  and after I let her read all the ones I had written, she said, “tell Angel to save these for me!

I could tell how much she loved this gift so I immediately began making her one also. I first thought “21” years wasn’t long enough to generate enough memories for her jar, but as soon as I began writing – I thought I’d never stop. Writing down my memories for her, was just as much fun as writing Mama’s. I was so excited, and couldn’t wait for both of them to open their memory jar on Xmas morning. I bet Melissa tells me, “I knew you’d make me one!” On Xmas morning she had a look of total surprise… looked at me and said “I’ll open them when I’m alone.” She didn’t want to share them with anyone.

What I wouldn’t give is to have seen Mama’s face when she opened hers. The rules for the memory jar were to open “one” everyday, but I know my mother – she’ll sit down and read every single one at once, and that’s exactly what she did. When I called her, the first thing she asked was “do you have any more, you left some things out.”  She wrote down some things she remembered that I forgot and put hers in with mine; I had teased her that I was making something special for her and Melissa. In each jar I put a special note in the bottom of the jar; which was supposed to be opened last. Melissa couldn’t wait in telling Angel to save her jar for her.

I had so much fun in writing all those forgotten memories for my mother and daughter that I actually hated to finish, but there’s always new memories to add in the future. Maybe I have created something new, but it will be an on-going gift; a gift that never stops – a “new” family heirloom.

My next memory jar will be for my son – hope he won’t think it’s too mushy, but I plan on putting his memories in an old cigar box; and there will be one for hubby too!

This was Mama and Melissa’s Xmas present in 2000.


Click Friday Night Family Heirlooms to  read more stories…

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserve

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
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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2017: A to Z Reflection Post

2017: A to Z Reflection Post

2017 survivor

I made it…. all the way to April 30th, Letter Z! Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!

Congratulations to everyone who participated this year. It is my second time participating in the A to Z challenge and I’ve enjoyed each time. Even though it’s sometimes, somewhat hectic…. I’ve enjoyed meeting new bloggers and learning from their blog posts. It’s brought new traffic and readers to my blog, and that’s always a good thing. And if you’re reading this and haven’t read my A to Z of Conversations with Mom, please do stop in!

This year, I kept a list of blogs I read, as last year I regretted not doing so and I lost touch with many that I enjoyed reading. You learn from your mistakes!

A few of my favorite A to Z Blogs from the 2017 challenge:

Check back for more of my favorites, as I’m still discovering and adding!


Now that the A to Z challenge is completed, and I survived…. I’ll have more time to re-visit blog posts I missed! I also will be checking back through the A to Z posts to discover other blogs I missed. It was fun…. now to take a little breather before writing new posts, but I’m already feeling lost in not having a post to edit daily.

As I only experienced the “Linky Link” last year, I can’t say whether I missed it or not. I checked the  “letter” post daily for new blogs, so it worked OK for me. My only problem was how Facebook sometimes only posted the url link with nothing else, so I would have to write the name of my A to Z theme for interest…. just having a “url” show, isn’t always eye-catching

One of my suggestions to future A to Z bloggers is… to post a link at the bottom of each post directed back to your first post; I sometimes had a hard time finding the other posts.

2017 stat views

My views for the A to Z Blog Challenge

2017 best view B post

My top post was Letter B… for stories relating to Mama’s brother and Boo, her cat!

My mother grew up on a small farm in Georgia, and has more memories of her childhood than I can only dream to remember. If you’d like to follow along from day 1, click on 2017: A to Z… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2017: A to Z... Conversations with Mama, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , | 8 Comments