2021: T – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… The Family Photos

2021: T – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother fought off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with stories… and it’s because of mama, that I write!

T… The Family Photos

Mama’s parents… Ola (Askew) and Edgar McKinley. Love how granddaddy dressed up for this photo… even with a vest. He didn’t dress often… as he loved his overalls too much. I’m assuming it was taken at the farm… but I never saw this car… it must have been the one before he bought “new” a 1954 Ford… it seems Granddaddy only bought Fords.

Mama with her parents and brother Leroy (abt. 1931)

This photo must have been taken the same day as the the last photograph on this post… while that one is more of a better closeup… I love this one showing granddaddy’s Ford Model T in the background… such a classic!

Mama’s only sibling was Leroy… she was about 14 when he left for the Army. This photo of Leroy in uniform in Guam was sent to me a few years ago from a cousin… it was never in mama’s album. I wrote a few posts on Leroy serving in the Army and the letters he wrote home. He referred to himself as a plowboy… longing for home… and to be back behind his daddy’s plow… just one more time. Sadly that did not happen for him!

Mama always talked about her mother having a flapper-like dress and a cloche hat… which reminds me here of the one Nancy Drew wore on the cover of The Secret of the Old Clock. While mama wasn’t born yet… as this photo would have been taken around 1924. The hat and dress became one of mama’s remembered play outfits when she was a young girl… after discovering it in the hallway closet. I sure wish it had been around for me to have seen! It makes me smile to see my grandmother Ola smiling here as she holds baby Leroy… who seemed to be a happy baby. (Edgar Lawson McKinley was my grandfather’s father and Miss Bay was his step-mother. The other boys and girls in photo are his siblings, and brother in law.)

3 Generation Photo

This has always been a favorite family photo of mine… and we are all smiling! My mom with her parents, Ola & Edgar and me (Jeanne)… taken about 1952-53. Whomever the photographer was did an excellent job in capturing our happy smiling faces!

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Our Family Photograph

I had my original photo colorized to see the color in the embroidery that mama sewed on my dress. I’ve always wished that this specific dress had been saved… but people didn’t think that way in those days. Clothes were to be used, and it was passed down to her bestie’s daughter Pat to wear… and there’s also a photo of Pat wearing it; mama often embroidered on my clothes. In looking back through the family photos… I’ve noticed how mama often wore pearls… and daddy wore bow ties in many of his photos.

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Granddaddy (Edgar T. McKinley) in his WWI uniform.

Mama talked often and told stories about her father… she had a love for him that she never forgot. He was a hard worker and provider for their family on their farm… and when he came in from the field after a day of plowing, under the hot Georgia sun… mama brought out a pan of water and sat on the back stoop with him to wash his feet… now that is Love! I know mama is finally happy and at peace now… back with her father!

When I began sorting these photos years ago, I found the best way was to display, was to attach the small cut-ups to a 4×6 photo size paper… so much information was “cut out” in the backgrounds, but I’m thankful of what was saved… and I have.

1930… Big brother Leroy with little sister Helen. As I look at this photo, I’m noticing… someone dragged out a chair to prop mama in… and at first I thought, “why didn’t you take this photo in the house“… but of course, there were no lights… as they were lucky enough to even have a camera, or even have access to one… and no one except photographers had bulbs for indoor shoots. Most photos in these early years, you’ll find most children barefoot and standing on dirt yards; they didn’t have grass in the early years, that is why they often swept their yards to clear out the stones and sticks. (Most likely it was Aunt Emma McKinley who took this photograph, as mama always told me that if it wasn’t for her, we would have no photographs)

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: S – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… School Photos and Memories

2021: S – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

S… School Photos and Memories

Such an awesome photo to have of probably mama’s first day at school… wonder how she happened to sit on the side step, as her bestie, Willie Mae is more in the middle there with blonde hair and a white collar on her print dress. The blonde haired boy in the front center was Kendrick Lewis… they lived next door to his family, and his father was the local doctor… who delivered mama. Mama and Kendrick were more like brother and sister in growing up… and fighting like that also… he often took up for her in school… as a brother would.

Siloam Elementary school where the above photograph was shot… the photo was taken on the left side steps of the school.

Their lunch room was a seperate building… the photograph found in her teacher’s scrapbook; it wasn’t until last year that many of these school photos surfaced.

Mama’s Memories: “In school, if anybody’s lunch was stolen, it always seemed to be mine. We never had loaf bread in our house, as Daddy always said that it was like eating a wasp nest – too many holes in it. Everybody always wanted my lunch of biscuit and ham, or sorghum syrup. I carried my lunch in probably a tin pail, as I didn’t have a real lunch box like the city girls – I was a country girl. I remember Mama making me chocolate milk for school – putting it in a mason jar. We mostly drank milk at home, as my mother hated ice tea and only made it on Sunday or when company came. She said the taste of it reminded her of medicine… but she made the best sweet tea.”

“I remember a girl I went to school in Siloam with always brought pomegranates to school and shared with me… she had a tree in her yard. I always brought my lunch to school in a brown paper bag or pail – and I had to save it to reuse. Inside my bag was usually one of mama’s biscuits with a piece of ham, fruit, a slice of pie or mama’s home made cake. But I would rather have had one of the other girls lunches… as they brought a sandwich with store bought sliced white bread. When I think back now, that was probably why my lunch sack was often stolen. At that time I never understood why it was always my lunch bag stolen, but as much as I wished to have a sandwich, they wanted my biscuit, slice of ham, and the piece of homemade pie or cake. My mother did make the best pies and cakes I’ve ever eaten.”

One of the many buses that Mama rode to school… after the driver waited and waited on her; mama’s hair had to be perfect or she wasn’t going anywhere!

Mama’s Memories: “I was sent to the principal’s office one morning from an incident on the bus coming to school. The bus driver wouldn’t make the boys roll up the windows, and the air blowing in was ruining the girls hair on the bus… so I began singing this song, “John Jacob Jingle Hiemer Smith, his name is my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout, ‘There Goes John Jacob Jingle Hiemer Smith! As you sang the verses, each verse was sung louder than the last. I sang it all the way to school… which drove the bus driver crazy that morning… and he sent me directly to Principle C.C. Wills office! I went in and told him I was sent there, and after he asked my name, I told him I was Leroy McKinley’s sister… he just looked at me, gave me ten cents and told me to go get myself a coke, and sit down for awhile before going back to class.

“On the back dirt road coming from White Plains, Mama said. “I remember riding in the school bus on this road and when it rained it was so muddy that our school bus often got stuck in the red mud. Sometimes when the bus driver got to syrup mill crossing, he’d stop the bus and let us off to get a drink of sorghum syrup.  My father hauled his cane there to make syrup – he’d carry jugs to bring it home in. Often the owner would give us a small sip in a tin can and sometimes he’d even sit us up on top of the horse or mule that walked ‘round and ‘round as the cane crushed into syrup. My father grew two types of cane – one was called ribbon cane – it was a very thick cane stalk.”

“When I went to school in Siloam there was a small store not far from the school called Mr. Mooneyham’s. The owners lived next door to the store… it was a very tiny building, which sat just on the other side of the cotton field… on the side of the school. We’d take turns crawling through the cotton field on our hands and knees to go and buy penny candy for everyone. It was a really small one-room store where he sold penny candy and a few odds and ends. While one person went, the others sat at the edge of the school yard to wait. The one day that it was my turn, I found our principal, Mr. Burke, waiting for me when I came back. He didn’t do anything to me, he just told us girls to not do that anymore. If it had been the boys caught they would probably have gotten paddled. One time Kendrick Lewis put a book in his pants before he got paddled and then he got in even more trouble. He was the doctors son and we were good friends.”

On one of our “in the road” days we drove by Mama’s old school in Siloam… I stopped to recreate the day in 1937 when mama first sat on those steps.

In 1946, mama was one of the girls running for Queen of the Halloween Carnival… she is far right, on the back row. Mama talked about how many who’d voted for her, but at the last minute, someone’s father bought many tickets to ensure their daughter won. I don’t remember who she said was the winner.

I was never sure, but felt as since mama kept this newspaper clipping… that she was in it. Wish I’d asked her years ago on it, but always forgot. I do feel though, that she is the girl standing on the stairs behind the front two… and is wearing a dark coat with large buttons. Photo was taken on the steps of the Greensboro High School, Greensboro, Georgia… abt. 1947-48. Mama graduated in 1948, but was suppose to have in 1947… but due to her lack of school work, probably because of dating my father, she had to repeat her senior year. I have the 1947 yearbook, but no photo of her appeared in it… still looking for a 1948 yearbook.

Mama graduated in 1948… not long after she had married on May 29th… and when her name was called, she almost missed walking on stage, as her principal called mama by her married name… and she wasn’t expecting that; she’s on the second row, third from the right side. Mama was supposed to have graduated in 1947, but she slacked off in her studies that year as she was dating my father, often skipped school, and wasn’t turning in her homework or doing well on tests.

More photos and memories can be read HERE on mama’s school days.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: R – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Remembering more Photos

2021: R – April A to Z: Mama I Photos

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

R… Remembering more Photos

Mama’s 5 great granddaughters… she was so proud to always show their photos… and wished she was closer to have seen them more often. It breaks my heart in thinking how she also never saw my children grow up and then again with the granddaughters. It’s hard when your children move, but they all have to do what is best for them.

Mama with Donna… her “other” daughter. I’m thankful for all Donna did for mama through the years… besides being a friend… she was always there for her through the years when I couldn’t be.

Showing off one of our favorite sites to my son’s in-laws on a trip to Georgia. This was once a commissary general store for the Nolan plantation home… back in the day. We often took photos on this porch every time I came home… and everytime mama would say… “haven’t you gone there enough times and taken photos.

Mama appears to be waiting by the road here… possibly for the school bus in high school. This photo was sent to me by a cousin… it had never appeared in my album until recently. Looks to have been a colder southern day as she’s wearing a coat.

Only photo I’ve ever seen of Granddaddy McKinley riding a horse… he usually was behind the plow and horse. For some reason, the bag hanging down on the left looks like a purse… was it taken the same day as the one I have of mama crying on the horse… maybe that’s mama’s purse hanging here? Is there snow on the ground??

Look… they even got grandmama McKinley up on the horse, complete with a cowgirl hat and smiles from them both! I’ve never seen grandmama in any photo like this other than standing by granddaddy for a posed shot. Love seeing his old Ford Model T in the background. Wonder what else is missing… as mama cut up the photos years ago… and probably cut out even more background info! If that’s Pat, the horse, hope granddaddy holds onto him or he’ll take off high trotting back to the barn. He was known to take you always for a fast ride back to the barn… he never forgot the way home!

Until I took a closer look at this photo… I hadn’t known that Mama was in the mirror.. looking toward her jewelry!

In cleaning, I opened a basket and pulled out this unfinished top… I sat there wondering how long had it been there… as she hadn’t sewed in years that I knew of. Mama’s favorite color of clothes was always “white.”

The youngest photo I have of mama with me… and I hadn’t seen this in a long time to until I went searching… and nice to see again. Mama went through much depression when I was born, as her first child died at age 6 months… Monica was born with spina bifida. It took mama a long time to accept that there was nothing wrong with me… my Aunt Chris, who lived next door, often took care of me during the day.

Three photos that now only take up one space…. Oh what am I missing in all the cut outs?

I think Stephen was blushing here when his Angel gave him a goodbye kiss!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

signature-blog-card

For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

2021: Q – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Quirky and Unusual Photos

2021: Q – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

Q… Quirky and Unusual Photos

Mama was walking around the yard as I was taking photos and suddenly picked up her “fake” snake she liked to drape in different places… and struck a quirky pose… and I snapped it! Sometimes she’d make the strangest faces when she posed! Her hair was having a wild and wooly day here… and she was in her nightgown… which she never cared, saying, “well if they haven’t seen anything by now, then let them look.” Mama was never bashful… and always wanted to go to a nudist camp… and would have if she’d have known of one! Even in the winter she’ll still wear the short or sleeveless shirts and head out of the house in her flip flops. Trying to talk her into wearing a jacket… oh yeah, I would have had a better chance in winning the lottery! “I’m not cold, I’m only going to the center,” she’d say.

Mama decided to give Bambi a smooch… always game for anything… and still insisting she didn’t like to be the center of attention. Sorry mama, I never believed that!

Mama found a new friend on the bench in Hoschton, along with Cousin IT… it was amazing there… and impossible to see them all… scarecrows were everywhere! We did find the entire Georgia Dawg football team outside of town in a field… even complete with spectators along the fence. At times, it was kinda creepy seeing so many… kind of like being on a walking dead set! If you missed Letter O… Out and About, click HERE for more pics!

Now why did she wear her petticoat for a photo? Who Knows? I remember wearing slips and half slips as a teenager… but who wears them now… many kids probably wouldn’t even know what a slip was!

Mama really can stand on her head… no wall needed! She told me,“no sooner than I did that… my father bent over and stood on his head… I don’t think I’d ever seen him do that.” Why oh Why didn’t someone take that photo?? Who knew granddaddy could stand on his head! I certainly didn’t inherit her or his balancing ability… as I could never even do a cartwheel… I’m one of those persons, who chicken out about the time the hands go on the ground, and then look all awkward… I just freeze up!

Mama was probably telling Stephen how she used to stand on her head… and showed him how it felt…

Mama sewed a cat costume for Halloween… complete with a long tail… and looks like someone pulled it! She reminds me of Lucy here!

This is what happened many times when I said, “let me take your photo.”

Mama and I fooling around here… trying to fool the camera!

Mama loved talking about her pet pig… and how her father gave her the runt of the litter. She even brought him inside at night… letting him sleep under the wood stove in the kitchen for warmth. It makes me laugh to think of this little piggie following her inside the house… and granddaddy allowing it! But she always said she was “Daddy’s Girl”… so I guess that’s why!

After I married and l left, mama hung around way too much (LOL) with Willie Mae’s daughters, Karen and Pat… and look what they did… talked her into trying on their majorette flag outfit… I’m sure it didn’t take much twisting of her arm! Karen and Pat often came over to the farm and they’d all sunbathe together. Mama laughs about the story of the man painting the house one afternoon… and almost falling off the roof. The girls were sunbathing in their skimpy bathing suits and everytime they stood up… he looked! Those looks almost cost him a broken leg or worse that day!

My mother in her 40’s after I married… she never lost her girly shape! Slip Rock in Siloam was the local swimming hole… and at the end of the running stream was a pool of water… where you slid into from the long slanted slippery rock above. It was a very popular spot, and mama took me there often when I was young. I remember walking down the stream on its sandy bottom of small pebbles and sometimes little fish that led to the sliding rock… the water was so clear and clean, and I loved the feel of the smooth sand between my toes.

Everytime I see this photograph, mama reminds me of a movie star from maybe the silent film era… not sure what she draped around herself… looks like she hijacked one of grandmama’s bed sheets. I guess she and bestie, Willie Mae, were just being silly girls playing dress up for the camera!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

2021: P – April A to Z… Mama in Photos: Potpourri of Photos that I Don’t Have of Mama

2021: P – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother fought off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with stories… and it’s because of mama, that I write!

P…

Potpourri of Photos that I “Don’t” have of Mama!

Haven’t you heard stories… and the first thing you say is… “I sure wish I had a photo of that.” Well, here are a few stories… where unfortunately, you’ll have to visualize that photo!

I don’t have a photo of mama as she ran ahead of Bessie the cow in order to climb the apple tree… just so she could sit on the bottom branch, and slide off on Bessie’s back as she led the cows to the barn for the evening milking. Funny how the simple clanging of a cowbell signaled them to follow.

I don’t have a photo of mama dragging the cotton basket behind her in the cotton field… only to somehow just suddenly faint, so her father would carry her back to the house! It seems that never got old with him… she must have truly been daddy’s girl!

I don’t have a photo of mama as she learned to drive… daddy’s boss loaned her his truck and she’d practice parking in her father’s field between the apple and peach trees. Granddaddy said the fruit was never the same after that… actually I don’t think the trees produced anymore after that as she scraped the bark pretty much off them in trying to parallel park between the two trees. What a site that must have been!

I don’t have a photo of mama holding the rolled barbed wire as she helped her father build fences… but I do have a photo of her straddling that fence. Those barbed wire fences always scared me when trying to get through… one wrong move… and boy did they hurt… and like all southern girls… she’s barefoot also!

I don’t have a photo of mama as she climbed the apple tree to the very top… for that certain apple she wanted… and the whole time her father was yelling from the field to get down before she fell on that barbed wire fence… she fell, but she got the apple… then sat on the back stoop eating that apple, while crying.

Mama standing in front of one of the pine trees. You can read Riding the Pines for the story.

I don’t have a photo of mama “riding the pines” for entertainment… and I’m sure you’re scratching your head on that one! Well, the object was to climb up a skinny pine tree, button your coat around the tree (so you aren’t thrown off) and rock the tree to get it swaying. What a sight that must have been! (Click above for story.)

I don’t have a photo of mama as she shimmied up the pole outside the second floor of the Masonic Hall where my father went to meetings. Why… because she and her best friend were curious about what they did there! For this one I’d really need a video… as it sounded more like a Lucy and Ethel episode! Daddy spied her through the window, which led to her quickly shimming down; she and bestie, Willie Mae, ran all the way home… falling down on the front steps laughing away. Daddy came home later… and quite mad!

I don’t have a photo of the time mama tied a rope around her as she leaned out the attic window to paint… many neighbors walked over to tell her how she going to fall, but Mama just kept painting… and never fell.

Just picture a crazed woman with a rope around her hanging out the top window here!

I don’t have a photo of all the times mama sat on the stoop (above) in the evening telling ghost stories to the neighborhood kids…. and then having to walk them all home!

I don’t have a photo of mama as she tramped out to the center of her father’s wheat field so she could sunbathe in the nude! Maybe best I don’t have that photo! Mama would laugh in telling how she always liked to sunbathe in the nude… and how mad her father would be.

Well pump house at the farm

I don’t have the photo of when mama was almost caught in the nude… hiding in the well house, but I do have the story she told. Mama lived on the farm by herself… and it was way out in the country. One afternoon she ran outside to get something in her car… in the nude, and about the time she stepped off the porch, she heard a car pull into the yard… and the only thing shielding her from sight was the well house… of which she made a quick dash for. She quickly stepped in, pulling the door shut and hardly breathed, she said. A few minutes later, she recognized the woman’s voice calling her name as she knocked on the screen door, and she almost stuck her head out, but before she could, she heard a second voice… the voice of a man. She froze in her tracks! They didn’t seem to give up easy that she wasn’t home, as her car was there, and the house was open, but after about twenty minutes… they called it a day and left. Mama waited a few minutes until she couldn’t hear their car and made a dash for the house… falling down across the bed laughing away… then calling her bestie to tell her what happened. Mama decided to never tell her friend that she and her husband had almost caught her that afternoon in her birthday suit! Such a streaker she was… and what a photo that would have made!

Even though I don’t have these “wished for” photos, I can still see mama in my mind… in every one of them… if only I could print that photograph!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

signature-blog-card

For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

2021: O – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Out and About in Photos

2021: O – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

O… Out and About in Photos

Out and About checking all the scarecrows (that’s what they called them) in Hoschton, Georgia… who were vying for the most scarecrows in The Guinesses Book of World Records… and believe me, they were everywhere! Here’s mama with all the gunslingers in town… and she roped in her granddaughter Rose for a photo. The 1,700 real residents of Hoschton had hoped to nearly triple their population with 4,000 scarecrows and break the Guinness World Record for “Most Scarecrows in One Location.” (Sadly they didn’t make the book, but everyone had fun!)

Mama couldn’t decide who her favorites were! Personally I think she was partial to the man in black!

While in Athens, Georgia for lunch… mama spied the “big” Georgia Dawg… and quickly posed for a photo. Everything in Athens is all about the “Dawg”… and they are everywhere you turn.

We were heading inside to rummage through one of the many antique shops in mama’s hometown… but not before she pretended to admire the flowers… LOL… mama was really trying to decide what she was going to break a piece off… on the way out. And I bet she did just that! Granddaughter, Melissa, was her accomplice that day.

Out and about with my Ga “Sis” Donna on this day… enjoying lunch at The Blue Willow Inn, located in Social Circle, Ga. The restaurant is set inside a southern antebellum home… and on Sunday afternoons, you’ll find men and women dressed in the period of dress, so possibly a Southern Belle or a Southern Gentleman might offer you a glass of sweet tea to sip on the veranda while rocking and waiting for your table… unfortunately we chose the wrong day and missed them! The front porch is full of large rockers… for you to your southern sweet tea… what could be better! It was one of the most popular restaurants in the area… but sadly has now closed after years. (Not sure why mama was making this face, but I vaguely remember her saying something like, “should I look like this?” I think my son was taking the photo… and caught her off guard, but it’s a keeper!

L. to R. rocking… my son Steve, Mama, Rose (daughter in law), Anna (Rose’s mom) and my daughter Melissa!

The Blue Willow Inn

The Georgia Dawg “scarecrow” football team, complete with onlookers…

Looked more like the walking dead along the road… Mama pushed grandson, Steve, to get in on some of the action… not sure why she didn’t want to get roped that day… guess she was sharing the fun!

Mama (2006) at grandson Stephen’s wedding… she couldn’t resist a photo with the wedding car… if the keys had been in, she might have taken it for a spin! Have to keep your eye on her every minute…

… and before I could blink, she wangled the driver to pose with her!

Here was the “real” wedding couple of the day… mama’s grandson Steve and new granddaughter Rose! It was a fairy tale wedding day… and so glad Mama was able to come and enjoy their day!

And a few years later… Mama was chasing granddaughter Ella down a Georgia street… in her flip flops!

We sure had lots of fun on our “Out and About” days with you Mama… Thank You for spending so much time with us… we made lots of memories!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: N – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Nickname is Angel

2021: N – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

N… Nickname is Angel

I bought this stained glass frame for mama one year… anytime I found something with Angel on it, I often bought. We always arrived with birthday gifts as we usually visited in April… Mama was born on April 6, 1930.

My mother’s real name is Helen Rebecca McKinley… and was always called Helen until she began working at The Holiday Inn as a bartender. Her “bestie” worked there also as a waitress. As she often travelled late at night in going home, she bought herself a CB radio for the car. Her handle quickly became “the 1 Angel”… and the nickname of Angel soon started right after. It may have been the truckers who gave her that name… as she looked after them in the bar, keeping them out of trouble and they looked after her on the way home.

Mama often talked about how she kept order in the lounge and was always able to talk someone into leaving who’d had too much to drink. It’s not easy managing people, but she always had a way of talking to them. Of course, it was like old times with her bestie, Willie Mae, also working there… even having a few tete a tete issues… but their rumpus never lasted. They were friends to the end!

The truckers dominated the late night hours on I-20 with their CB’s… and often chatted with mama all the way home… making sure she was safe off the highway in the late-night hours. In those days, no one had a phone, so unless you had a CB… you had no contact for help unless someone stopped to help you.

Mama’s grandchildren never called her grandma, or any other name except for Angel… my son would tell people… “she’s not my grandmother, she’s my “Angel.”

I brought this beautiful Angel home from Mama’s on a previous trip… she was sitting alone in a corner… I wonder where this one came from?

Mama became obsessed with angel statues… and she scattered them throughout her house and gardens… they seemed to just come her way; we always brought a new one when we came. As I walked through her gardens for the last time, I packed up a few to bring home, but sadly many had broken through the years. (more pictures to follow of the ones packed in the car at present)

I have no clue where mama picked up this cute little angel… but she hung it up. I don’t know where I’ll hang it, but I rescued her to bring home… she will be my guardian angel.

I cleaned up this sign I found outside at mama’s… I’ll hang it on my fence in her memory. Mama always believed someone was watching over her… she said her father was always there keeping her safe. She felt him strongly when she lived on his farm… sometimes at night his favorite rocking chair would suddenly begin rocking… and while that scared her bestie, Willie Mae, she never felt scared to think of him nearby.

Mama loved hanging her favorite signs on the screen door!

Mama always said she wanted a white rose laid on her gravestone… so I left two… one for her, and one for Boo. I also left a few of her garden treasures… the little kitty was for Boo; hope they are there when I go back. I wish I could have planted a white rose bush at her grave, but I’ll plant one in my garden and put her Angel statue by it. (photo forthcoming)

Missing you Mama, especially today as I didn’t get a call from you wishing me a Happy Birthday, but I know you’re still thinking of me. Missing you so much!


Hope you’re watching over my shoulder and laughing at all your photos I’m posting… but I have one question… what made you really cut them all up? There’s so much information in the backgrounds that I’m missing! I’ll be thinking of you always… especially when I see a rainbow, as I know you’re in heaven at the other end!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: M – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… More Photos Around Town

2021: M – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

M… More Photos Around Town

I have many photos shot around Siloam, where mama was born and grew up… and in Union Point, where her best friend, Willie Mae, lived… it was also where we lived after they married. Developing photos was expensive in those days… and thought wasteful by many. Even though mama won a camera once… she said after that roll was developed, she knew her father wasn’t going to buy her anymore film… and definitely not pay for developing. I guess she took advantage of that roll of film and why I have so many “posed” photos.

I believe this photo to be taken in front of the City Hotel in Union Point… owned by Willie Mae’s (mama’s best friend) parents. Mama often spent the weekend there with her best friend… and spent the entire weekend getting into trouble!

And here’s mama again in the same clothes… that’s why I feel those two spent the entire day traipsing around Union Point… taking posed photographs! She is sitting on top of the tunnel built under the railroad, and known to the locals as the “rat hole.” Notice the train behind her… I’m thinking it’s stopped, as it probably would have blurred in an older film camera. The reason for the tunnel was… that when the train stopped, the workers could still cross underneath to get to work at the hosiery mill, which was just across from the “rat hole.” And it’s still there! When I first saw the photo, mama just referred to it as a tunnel, but it was Willie Mae who yelled out, “that’s the rat hole.” She crossed under it every day on the way to school!

The “Rat Hole” today!

Mama posin’ by the war memorial… just outside the hosiery mill gate in Union Point. I guess she and Willie Mae were making the rounds… trying to use up the film. Just two silly girls out and about on a Saturday afternoon!

Mama always took a good photo!

Top left photo has mama posing on another day… leaning on the war memorial… the two photos to the left, I’m assuming to again be at the City Hotel. Mama did tell me that she was sitting on the backstairs at the City Hotel. The bottom left has mama again in her plaid shirt, rolled up denim jeans and saddle shoes… I’m not sure where this photo was, but I think it was near town. The middle bottom photo looks to have the hosiery mill in the background… maybe she was posing for a photo to send her boyfriend… my father. The bottom right of mama and a friend eating ice cream, also looks to be by one of the hosiery mill buildings… and I just bet they bought those cones uptown at Rhodes Drugstore. I never did get a chance to show her this photo to see if she remembered the other girl, and I’ve yet to find anyone who recognizes her.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: L – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Look, Mama makes Biscuits

2021: L – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

L… Look, Mama makes Biscuits

Mama made the best biscuits… and when watching her… she always made it look so easy… but it wasn’t in the beginning!

Whenever we arrived at mama’s… we knew that biscuits would be served at the breakfast table… and we couldn’t wait for breakfast. Mama would have crispy bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and… biscuits! It often became a fight at the end of breakfast for the last one… but it was usually my son who won that battle! He always made sure there were no leftovers on the biscuit pan.

Mama made biscuits just like her mother… there was no rolling out… and there were no cutters… biscuits made with just her two hands. The biscuit dough went directly from her bread bowl to the biscuit pan… and for the longest, I thought that was the only way you made biscuits! It took me a couple weeks to master her technique, but not quite entirely as she made them… but if I do say so… I make a pretty good biscuit! Mama’s biscuits were never rolled out, but instead, a small amount of dough was pinched off… rolled slowly in her hands into a ball… then laid on the old darkened baking sheet… and finally pressing down lightly with her fingers… hence the imprints on the biscuits you see.

The one thing I never liked in mixing the butter into the milk and flour was that your fingers were covered with sticky dough… but mama never minded. She just stopped… scraped off the dough and kept going. Me, I use a fork for the beginning part before diving in with my hands. Maybe the secret key was… to just plow on and eventually the sticky would disappear.

The summer I decided that I was going to finally learn how… was not at mama’s… I was too intimidated to try in front of the master! Upon returning home, I made biscuits every day for almost two weeks, until I finally felt as if I had mastered the art of biscuits 101! It took that long, because if I’d waited too far inbetween, I would have forgotten the feel of the dough that I needed to learn. That’s why our grandmothers didn’t cook with recipes… they knew what the final product would feel or taste like… and that’s how they cooked. My grandmother certainly had no written recipes… and mama said, “my mother probably didn’t even know what a recipe was, she just knew how to cook… and was one of the best cooks around. Everyone wanted to put their feet under her table for Sunday dinner. I didn’t like all the family coming, as it often meant not much left over for the kids, as the adults ate first. One Sunday, I snuck in mama’s kitchen and hid a chicken breast in the cupboard… and I got a switching for it, but I ate a piece of mama’s chicken that day… it was worth it.”

The one thing I could never master, and maybe just didn’t want to, was the art of making the biscuit dough in the actual bread bowl… directly on top of the flour. Are you confused yet! Mama first scooped up the top flour and sifted… throwing out any hard particles left over from previous biscuit making. Then she proceeded to make a well in the flour while patting down the flour to make it more dense… then adding softened butter and milk. She had no measurements to tell me… a pinch of this, enough liquid to stir and blend into the flour… and stop when the dough feels soft to the touch. Did you get all that?? It took me years before I braved to make biscuits, but I felt confident as mama said, “the first time I made biscuits, you could have fought a war with them.” I didn’t feel so bad then, as if she started out that bad… and ended up this good… well, I felt like I had a chance to succeed!

Mama even dressed with earrings as she makes biscuits!

I took this photo many years ago with my film camera… hence the working motion didn’t capture well, but the motion tells the story. Mama mixed her biscuit dough with only her hands… telling me you need to feel the texture of the dough… it needs to be all worked together, but the dough should be soft to the feel. If it’s soft, you’ve mixed all the ingredients with the correct amounts… if the dough feels thick and hard… well guess what… your biscuits will taste the same! Not all of mine have been perfect, but once I learned the feel of the dough, that gave me my knowledge and what I needed to know to finally be able to make a biscuit that was as close to mama’s as I could get. Click HERE for photos of my biscuits and baking.

Mama’s bread bowl grew in later years with this large bucket that held her five pound of flour, plus giving her room to work. The small yellow cup was what she used for measuring… and it sits in my cabinet today. I still reach for it to use even though I know it measures a 2/3 of a cup. Sometimes you feel jinxed when you don’t use certain things. Mama’s old blackened cooking pan cooked the best biscuits… not sure what happened to it.

So many memories flood back in viewing this photo… Mama’s “Minnie Pearl” hat hanging on the door (I’ll tell you in another post), the new “high” table and stools I hated, seeing many of mama’s “chatzies” in the background, all the plastic tubs she saved from the chocolate ice cream she ate every night, and those bacon, eggs, and biscuits are making me so hungry right now. What I wouldn’t give to be able to wish myself back at this table… just one more time… and I wouldn’t even complain about sitting on those high stools!

One of my favorite ways to eat a biscuit after finishing my eggs, was to dunk the biscuit in a mixture of butter and syrup… place a dollop of soft butter on your plate, then pour syrup over it… mixing into a semi-thick paste with your fork… then dunk your biscuit in… yummm! It quickly became a hit with my son… no biscuit went to waste with us. She always tried to make a few more each time… but no matter how many she made… there was never enough! I don’t think we ever ate lunch on those big breakfast days… it was enough fuel to last us till dinner… unless we passed a BBQ place… and then we wanted a sandwich! No sooner was breakfast over… we were headed out somewhere… we never stayed in the house… as mama would say… “we were in the road all day.

Thank You for the memories Mama!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

2021: K – April A to Z: Mama in Photos… Keepsake Photos

2021: K – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

K… Keepsake Photos

Love this early photo of my parents with me… I look to be maybe a year old. Wish I had more memories of them together… but they’re just not there. My mother looked so unhappy here… just looking in her eyes… actually both looked somber. Maybe their relationship was already on the rocks. Mama always said they were the happiest when daddy was in the Navy and they lived in Memphis, Tennessee… maybe they never should have returned to their hometown.

I love being the keeper of the family photos… and often have a hard time parting with them. My mother gave me all her family photographs many years ago and I’ve treasured them through the years. Later, as I became interested in our family history, they became even more interesting and precious to me… and then as I began to blog stories, I began looking at them in an entirely different way.

Every photograph tells a story… and it’s often the beholder… whose job it becomes to tell that story! Even though I asked my mother hundreds of questions through the years on many of the photos… I wish I had went page by page with her to ask questions. And now… I have no one to ask any more questions of… hope you’ll give me a sign mama on questions I now have!

This would be our last 4-generation photo taken in 2012 with Miss McKinley. Mama’s second granddaughter was given mama’s maiden name to carry the name on… it really made her day when my daughter announced she was naming her daughter McKinley. We took this photo on the steps of the Nolan home… a cotton plantation built around 1905. For some reason, I fell in love… or more obsessed over this house from my first sighting. On every trip to Georgia, it was a must to visit and take photos… even though mama would say, “you’ve been here a thousand times, why stop again.” Why… because I just want to walk up and take another photo!

Mama looked more like my sister here, than my mother. Not sure what I was wearing, but I do see my favorite black and white shoes… Bebops we called them. Mama was definitely not dressed as a mother normally dresses.. as she’s wearing a short skirt and boots… but my mother never dressed to please anyone except herself. Even though I never approved… and sometimes embarrassed, I never said anything to her.

This was our last photo of just mama and me… taken at Wolf Mountain Vineyards, just outside of Dahlonega, Georgia. My daughter and son in law was with us… and it was probably my daughter who insisted on taking this photo. I’ve always wished for more photos of us, but I’ve just never been one to be comfortable in front of the camera. Point a camera in my direction and I panic! (If you are ever in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia… do check out this winery)

While it isn’t mama in this photo, but instead her best friend, Willie Mae (Walker) Sisson… it’s what I discovered in this photo that’s important to me. Mama took several small photos with a camera she won on a punch board as a young girl. All the photographs are only about two inches in size…. but even though so small, they gave me something I’ve always wished for… in the background in this photo is a barn… my grandfather’s barn! Possibly only a family researcher might understand my excitement that overwhelmed me when I blew up the photo online… and there it was… granddaddy McKinley’s barn. If only I could have “pinched” the photo to enlarge and not distort. That was the barn where he milked the cows morning and evening… that was the barn that mama rode Bessie the cow to… that was the barn where Pat the horse was housed… that was the barn where granddaddy housed his cotton bales… that was the barn that could tell so many stories! Yes, I saw that barn along with his new barn many times in growing up… often playing in them, but I wasn’t paying attention! The only thing I paid attention to was how much corn I could put through his hand cranked corn sheller… and watch the kernels fall all over the barn floor… I kept the barn mice well fed! If only I had taken my own photos or became interested in family history at that time… If!

This photo would be mama’s favorite… as both her grandchildren with their spouses and family… all her five granddaughters are in one photo! If only I could turn back time here! Mama always said that even though she had no siblings now, and only one daughter… she was blessed with a large family!

There are more keepsake photos to follow in future posts… but they are all keepsake photos to me! The only drawback to many of my photos… is that mama to the scissors to them when she decided to crowd them all in one album… she didn’t care about the backgrounds as I do!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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