Tuesday, December 15, 2009

News from Harrisburg, Arkansas 1933

Harrisburg, Arkansas, Dec. 29, 1933---I love that my grandfather's name is printed at the top of the newspaper "Wes Wicker." There were several articles that my mother had under-lined or drawn around with a pencil.
Louise Wicker (#5) was 13 years old when this newspaper was printed. The photo above shows her in 1932 with a group that won 4th place in ???
I can remember Mom talking about "Shorty" whom I think was "Big-Daddy", a man who was like a grandfather to her (all 5' of him).
Pictured above is "Big Daddy" with Jane, his granddaugher Barbara, and me.
This is another photo of Louise in 1932 (second row, third from the left).
I'm pretty sure Mom was in this 7th grade class.
Harrisburg High School in 1930's

This photo is from 8th grade---Mom has the X above her, although I don't think this looks much like her (other than the hair)
This is about a 7th grade prank which Mom probably participated in.
This was their neighbor---the Matthews-- whom Mom thought was "well-to-do" with her friend Jessie as a servant. Not marked in the newspaper is a small blurb "Bruno Redman was over from Waldenburg Saturday." I'm guessing that this was Jessie's future father-in-law because Mom always said that the Redmans were German.
I'm not sure of the date on this photo. But Mom couldn't be much more than 15 in this photo with Billie at 12 or 13.
I love the ads in the old newspapers and magazines. At the top was a listing of the movies showing at the Jonesboro theater, then ads from a few local stores and for the "new Ford V-8"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Louise's Christmas Memories

Several years ago, my daughter Rebecca gave my mother Louise Wicker a book to record her memories. After a year or two, Mom returned the book to Rebecca who typed the memories to share with all of us.
She said on another page:
I was always in pageants, plays at school. I had just started school (no, I was 7 years old) and was in a play. My mom had made us flannel sleepers (all kids). I came off stage and Molly [a family friend] told me my dad had been hurt and my mom had to leave.
My grandfather Wes Wicker had many leg injuries. One injury was from racing horses (when Mom was a baby), but in his later years he operated heavy road-building equipment and I believe one had turned over and crushed his leg.
Louise often mentions "Jessie" who was just a little older than Mom, but was a servant in the Matthews' home. My parents stayed friends with Jessie and her husband Albert Redman until the Redmans died. Mother loved the irony that Jessie who had been a servant married Albert Redman who became a wealthy rice farmer in Arkansas.
While I don't have any photos of Mom's Christmas trees, I do have photos of her grandchildren decorating a freshly cut cedar tree with popcorn and cranberries at her house.
They hand-made ornaments, decorated the tree with lights, but we always called it the "Christmas Tree for the birds" since they snacked on the decorations.
Other Christmas memories Mother shared:
One thing we had at Christmas night was fireworks, roman candles, sparklers. You see there was no such thing as all these lights.

Our [Christmas] celebration was always at home. Mother was a great cook and the highlight was always our dinner fruit salad. Lady Baltimore cake [recipe here] and Dad made eggnog for the adults that came by.

One Christmas, Billie wanted a Mickey Mouse watch. Of course, I thought I was too old. I got a standard. They were hid and I rooted until I found thembefore Christmas. To this day, I love Mickey Mouse watches (that I thought I was too old for)

[The best Christmas] was the year I got my first pair of roller skates and 2 pair plaid stockings (long that fit on supporters). It was a warm Christmas. By evening, both pair of stockings were gone but I had my skate key around my neck on a string.

No matter how little money there was as children (the Great Depression-no one had money) but dad would barter; they always made Christmas special--Molly, Pearl and Ann helped. So Billie and I were special. We never felt we didn't want what other kids had [actually, I think she means the opposite]
For more about Molly, Pearl and Ann (the Everette sisters), click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pearl Harbor

Last year, I wrote about our visit to Pearl Harbor in 2007. This year, I was cleaning and organizing "my stuff" in the basement and came across the book from Mom and Dad's visit to Pearl Harbor in the 1970's.
I glanced through the book and recalled Mom's story about several of her high school friends dying at Pearl Harbor.

I remember her saying how moving it was to see their names on a memorial plaque.
As I'm thumbing through this book, I see this section under-lined and I wondered why. It couldn't have been the ship Mom's friends were on because it didn't sink in Pearl Harbor.
Within a half hour of wondering why that was underlined in the Pearl Harbor book, I found this magazine and almost pitched it. Mom had written "Keep!!" on it, but I can't keep EVERYTHING.

Fortunately, I saw the post-it note and turned. Dad had written a note in the margin "I was here at this time" over a letter to the editor about the Aug. 12, 1945 bombing of the USS Pennsylvania.
Thanks, Dad! I don't think I need to tell anyone, that I'm crying----Dad may be dead, but his spirit still lives and I think he guides me even more than I realize in my sharing of family stories.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mary Long about Mary Long

My great-grandmother Mary Celecy Reiter McKee Long is remembered by her grandsons David Long and Bob Guinther as a stern woman that they were a little afraid of. Although she had been married before and had two children, her children and first husband all died---she is buried with them in Bethlehem cemetery.

She married Thomas H. Long (above) who was a widower with three children. She then bore him another 8 children (6 boys), so I imagine she needed to be stern to keep all of those children "under control."