Getting InThe Last Word...Zygote

AtoZ Challenge...Letter Z's fiction from forgotten fotos
Mama, where did baby brother come from?
He is your father's fault.
It all began on the playground...I was good at...
Jumping Rope!
Mom and Dad
sitting in a tree
First comes love,
then comes marriage,
then comes baby
in a baby carriage!
Okay, maybe that satisfied two year olds 'Back In The Day' when there were wicker 'Baby Carriages' and Mom's absolutely did not say the 'S' word... and more than likely were not familiar with the 'Z' word.  Bless her heart, she would assuredly have a difficult time explaining this....

zygotene: the synaptic stage in meiosis in which homologous chromosomes pair intimately. 

zygote: a cell formed by the union of two gametes; the developing individual produced from such a cell.
Truth be told...so did my mother.
That's why I was such a good Rope Jumper!

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The Three Yahoos...Who Knew We Stunk

AtoZ Challenge...Letter Y's ficton from forgotten fotos

Is this not an idyllic photo?  For someone it captured and memorialized forever a special moment in the lives of loved ones.  It portrays an age old tradition of sharing the love of books and storytelling.  It was STAGED.

Yep, there's mom dressed in her lovely pink chiffon evening gown, Baby Bubba in his WHITE romper and Buster Browns and me...well, let's just say I can never, ever, ever remember having enough hair to hold up that humongous bow.  This was certainly not our typical 'Bedtime Story' scene. 

If the truth be known, I can't recall mother reading to us...at bedtime or any other time for that matter.  She just didn't have time between working, cooking for a family of seven...sometimes eight or nine depending on what relative she took in...and she made most of our clothes.  By the end of the day...well again, let's just say...it wasn't the idyllic 'Bedtime Story' scene.
But here's the thing...Mother LOVED to READ!
Between work, cooking, cleaning, sewing and gathering eggs...we had chickens, she would make time to read.  That was when she would herd us outside, latch the screen door and say, "You three Yahoos go play."  For years I thought of myself and my siblings as 'Yahoos', and that our mother used it as a term of endearment.
Not so long ago, I was telling my sister about mother calling us a 'Bunch of Yahoos'.  Her response was, "That's terrible, I can't believe she would call us that.  You do know what Yahoos are, right? " 
caption:  I saw coming towards the house
a kind of vehicle drawn like a sledge by four yahoos.
cliff notes characterization:  they are human in form and feature...and they stink.
Obviously, not!


The 'X' Factor and The End

AtoZ Challenge...Letter X's fiction from forgotten fotos
continued from Letter W's....The Widower's Second Wife's Wedding Deception

The Wedding March ended.  My bride and her mystery escort had finished their march to the alter.  Before I knew what was what, I had placed my mother's gold band on Georgina's left ring finger.  The "I Do's" were done and we were marching back down the isle.  The applause from the Black Hats was a ROAR in my ears, and my WIFE was a stranger on my arm.  Her even stranger escort was no where to be seen.

In the Church yard under an ancient weeping willow, we stood greeting our guests, eating cake and drinking punch.  My six children surrounded us and showered their once 'school mistress' and now 'step-mother' with hugs and kisses.  It all happened so fast, and I seemed to be caught up in a time warp whirlwind when out of nowhere came a long whistle blast from the train.

Suddenly, you could hear a pin drop, and I heard myself say, "What is the train doing here today...it's not due in until day after tomorrow."   Beside me, I heard Georgina say, "Children, stay right here, while your father and I go to the train depot.  We will be back soon."  Still somewhat in a daze, I escorted my new wife the few blocks down main street to the station.  As if reading my mind, Georgina said, "I know you have questions.  Please trust me and know that I had and still have very good reasons for the Wedding Deceptions." 

Before we stepped into the private Railcar, she handed me a certificate, then opened the door and said, "Husband, I would like you to meet my twin brother, George."

George rose from the opulent chair, removed the oversized Stetson and took my outstretched hand in his black gloved one.  We shook hands briefly and exchanged nods....no words were spoken.  He motioned for me to be seated on the brocade sofa. 

Georgina sat next to her brother with one hand resting on his arm that had not moved from it's tucked position inside his coat.  She took a deep breath, and began.

"George and I are the illegitimate children of a wealthy New York businessman.  The circumstances of  which I will explain later.  He acknowledge us from the time of our birth until the day of his death.  He provided for us in this life, in the future lives of our children, and we are two of the five legal heirs to his fortune.

I asked for the 'Black Hat Wedding' for his sake.  He suffers from a rare condition that has taken his ability to speak and makes him extremely fearful of  people, places and things that are new and strange to him.  It has made him a recluse and for him to make this trip took a great deal of courage on his part.  He did it for me, and he wanted to meet you and the children."
In the days that followed, George met his new nieces and nephews and presented each of them with a Certificate.  We spent hours with him in the safety of his private railcar.  By the end of his stay, we were bound together with much more than the 'Certificate Bonds'....the 'Bonds of Love'.

As the train whistle blew and the engine began it's way down the track, my oldest daughter, Willa, asked.  "Daddy, why does Uncle George never leave his railcar, and what does the 'V' on the side of his car stand for?"

Willa, honey, he suffers from a condition known as Xenophobia.
The 'V' is for Vanderbilt.
They all lived happily ever after.
The End


The Widowers Second Wife's Wedding Deception

AtoZ Challenge...Letter W's fiction from forgotten fotos
continued from Letter I's...The School Teachers Improvised Identity

I felt like a fool.  How I let Georgina talk me into a church wedding, I'll never know, and on top of that making me promise that all the men...including me...would wear their black Stetsons before, during and after the wedding...without exception.

The only answer she would give to my question of "Why" was, "You will have to trust me.  It is the only way my only living relative can attend the wedding."

So here I stand...in church...Stetson on...at the alter looking out over the gathering of well wishers...all wearing black hats.  I couldn't help but smile thinking about how the town folks joined in the 'black hat wedding' theme for their much loved and respected school mistress.  For her, every man, woman and child donned their black bonnets, bowlers, bows, and Stetsons.

With a nod of his black bowler, the preacher gave the signal for the wedding march to begin.  The oldest of my six children, Willa, played the opening chords on the old upright, and a wave of black rose to greet the bride and her escort.  As they stepped into the isle, my bride flashed me a brilliant smile then nodded her circled black brim toward her escort and winked. 
I felt like I had been punched in the gut...again!!!
It was Him...or...Her.  It was the School Master...or...Mistress...or.....!!!
Even with the oversized Stetson plopped on top of the Dandy's head, I recognized him from the Application Photo from over a year ago.  As they made their way down the isle, I flashed back to the day she stepped off the train and announced to the crowd that SHE was the much anticipated new School Master...or...Mistress....or ???? 
Suddenly I felt sick. 
Who the Hell is HE and who is SHE...who are these people?
Why this Wedding Deception?
To be continued with Letter X...or...Y...or...Z!


Aunt Viola's Violet Veranda and Her Verbose Niece

AtoZ Challenge...Letter V's fiction from forgotten fotos

 Viola was my Daddy's older sister who raised him after their mother left Texas for the wilds of Alaska.  That was in 1936 when leaving husband and six children was unheard of, but it happened and Viola, at 16, took over the raising of her five siblings. 

By the time Viola married, it would be safe to say she was in no hurry to have children, but her practiced and natural need to raise and nurture was not wasted.  She became a Violacea Horticulturist.

Although, not formally educated, she was well known in a Violacea Research Study for her contributions in the search for a safe and effective medication for EPP.  Her interest was two fold in the study known as the Violet Petal Study. First, she was the propagator of the primary African Violet used in the study, and secondly, she was barren.

By the time Viola and her husband decided to have children, she was unable to conceive due to severe endometriosis.  Thus, the interest and participation in the study of violet petals in the medical and pharmaceutical research field. 

Viola loved children and wanted one to raise as her own, and a niece would do fine.  So one summer while visiting Vi's Violet Veranda on vacation,  Vi and Vern made my folks...parents of four...a generous offer to keep forever my mouthy Second Sibling Sister. 

I voted Yay...Mom and Dad said Nay, but let her stay a couple of weeks with them. 

Best I remember, Aunt Vi was more than glad for her to remain my SecondSiblingSister ....instead becoming my SiblingSisterCousin. Something about...with the 'mouthpiece' around, there wasn't any need to turn on the radio, and getting a word in edgewise was like having a conversation with the six o'clock news caster.

So Aunt Viola and Uncle Vern's front porch went back to being
"The Quiet Violet Veranda"


The Under____ & The Banker's Daughter's

AtoZ Challenge...Letter U's fiction from forgotten fotos

My Daddy owned a bank. His idea of a suitable husband came with a Trust Fund, Certificates of Deposit, and at least a VP at the end of his name with assurance that the next abbreviation would be Mr. My Father-in-law Died' and left me in charge as PRES.

Somehow I felt I would disappoint him in my choice of a husband.  Even though I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and never wanted for anything, I felt there was something missing in my life.  Call it a sense of purpose other than stitching samplers, setting a proper table and attending high-falutin' social events. 

I shouldn't complain, afterall, I did meet my future husband at one of those social events sponsored by  Daddy's Bank.  I can honestly say it was love at first sight for me, but I resisted the immediate attraction I felt when we were introduced.

"Miss Fannie Mae may I present Mr. Freddy Mack."  As our hands touched in greeting, my ears started ringing, but I heard... "he is an Under___"...the buzzing grew louder as I looked into those deep blue eyes....the introduction continued..."Freddy is associated with the Certificate of D___buzzzz Registry buzzzz in the Fun____BUZZZZ _____BUZZZ_____Home______BUZZZZZZZtttt."  It was not until our handshake ended that the buzzzzzzing stopped and I heard Freddy ask if he could get me some punch.  It seemed he took my non-speaking and slack jaw as needing something to wet my whistle.

For several months Freddy and I carried on a discreet relationship...meeting at resturants, movie houses and under the guise of double dating.  He didn't seem to fully understand my reluctance in his meeting my father, but didn't push the issue until he insisted on asking Daddy for my hand in marriage.  I was thrilled and terrified at the same time.

"Daddy, I would like you to meet my beau Fre_____".  "FREDDY my BOY....about time Fannie brought you home."

I was flabbergasted as they shook hands and patted each other the back like they had known each other for years.  "FATHER", I squeaked, "you know Freddy?  You knew we were seeing each other?"

"Why of course I know Freddy.  He is Vice President and Chief  Underwriter of Certificates of Deposit in the Funding and Financial Department of my Banks Home Office."  Of course I knew you were seeing each other.  I introduced you.  What took you so long?"

I was stunned by his answer.  My mouth went dry and the buzzing in my ears became a ROAR. 

When I came to on the settee, I looked into Freddy's deep blue eyes and said,
"I thought you were an Undertaker
with the Certificate of Death Registry at a Funeral Home".


Gone But Not Forgotten Tamarisk Tombstone

AtoZ Challenge...Letter T's fiction from forgotten photos

Not My Kin...just folks I find...whose Stones I photograph...whose stories I tell...who sometimes are 'Kin Connected'.
Mary Springen was born in Norway on November 20, 1853 and immigrated to America in 1860 at age 7...according to the 1900 Census from Ward County, Texas.

I will begin her Texas story in September 1897 when Mary and her brother Ole Springen bought property  in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas on the SW corner, of Ave D and 2nd Street.  Here they erected Grandfalls first Hotel, a two story building with wide porches and railings on both levels.

Ole and Mary were part of what was called the 'Scandinavian Invasion' in Ward County with many immigrant families seeking land and opportunities in what was being touted as the 'Finest Climate In The World' by developers of the Grandfalls Irrigation Company.  Besides the Hotel, Ole Springen ran a Freight Wagon business between Grandfalls and Monahans, and farmed along with his wife Lena.  Mary, it seems was the primary InnKeeper as was noted in the 1900 Census. 
The circumstances of Mary's death on May 11, 1905 are not known. 
Her gravesite and tombstone are the only records of her death with a possible clue
as to the cause of death with the inscription.
No Pain No Grief No Anxious Fear
Can Reach Our Loved One Sleeping Here
Tamarisk Cemetery...Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas
Sometime after Mary's death, her brother Ole and his family left Grandfalls and Ward County.  Ole's name appears in the Pecos Valley Irrigationist newspaper dated Thursday, March 27, 1913 as a new subscriber from Boumont, California.

In the 1910 Census Ole and his family of wife Lena and three children reside in San Fernando, Los Angeles, California where Ole owned and operated a Blacksmith Shop.

Ole Springen's application for US Citizenship in 1917 reveals more of his and his sister Mary's family background.  Ole and Mary were born in Flesberg, Norway, emigrated to the US from Windsor, Canada on unknown vessel and arrived in the port of Detroit, Michigan in 1857.  Their family name in Norway was Oleson, and declared as Ole Springen on the Declaration of Intention.  His wife Lena was a natural born citizen of Marshall, Wisconsin.  In 1920 Ole, Lena and family are in San Gorgonio, Riverside, California where Ole is working as a farm laborer.  Ten years later in 1930,  Ole, Lena and son Oscar are living on owned farm and listed as Hay Farmers. 
Ole Oleson Springer died in 1937 at age 83.  His wife Lena died in 1948.
They are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Beaumont, Riverside County, California.
 Mary and Ole are Not My Kin. 
 I photographed Mary's Headstone near the Pittman Family Plot in Tamarisk Cemetery.
We are Not Kin...but...We are Connected.
A Grandfalls cowboy.  Ott's Blacksmith Shop. C. Hale's Meat Market, and Grandfalls Hotel.
Photo from Ward County History 1887-1977 pg.181
 Original Photo found in my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll's Album.
The Cowboy is thought to be Bob Olfield... Martha Jane's second husband.
I'm pretty sure Mary and Ole Springen knew not only Bob Olfield, but my Great Grandfather George Washington Pittman and wife Nancy who arrived in Grandfalls about the same time as the Scandinavians Invaded.  Great Grandmother Nancy who died in 1918 is buried not far from Mary Springen. 
It's a small cemetery and a 'Small World Afterall'.


Chester Shear's Stump

AtoZ Challenge...Letters S's  fiction from forgotten fotos

Chester and Carl Shear were born on the very day General John Hunt Morgan led his troops into Kentucky...July 2, 1863. Two days later Morgan engaged Union forces at Tebb's Bend, a bridge crossing the Green River near Campbellsville in the Civil War torn state of Kentucky.

  The new born infants of German immigrants began life in a state with divided loyalty's to the Confederacy and the Union with strong ties to Kentucky born President Abraham Lincoln. At the age of 19, Chester and Carl made their way to Texas.

In the late 1890's Chester was a Pharmacist at a drug store located in a small West Texas town. Carl continued on South to a larger populated area to study medicine.  It was during this time Chester became acquainted with Dr. Abel Bergman and his four daughters.   Dr. Bergman, a Swedish physician from New York, came to America in 1889.  He and his wife Hilda were persuaded to come to Texas with the promise of 80 acres which included a Sanitarium.

After several years as the Sanitarium Director,  Dr. Bergman became concerned his now of age charming daughters would become involved with the rough and rowdy men of West Texas.  The Bergmans packed up their belongings and four daughters and boarded a train heading South.  Before they traveled twenty miles, the train was boarded by four masked men who grabbed the four beautiful daughters, who happily rode off on horseback.

Twenty year old Gretchen Bergman became the bride of Chester Shear, 34 year old pharmacist in 1899.  A few years later Chester and Gretchen moved to Arizona, for Chester's health...he suffered from consumption (tuberculosis).

 As a common malady of the time, TB was often the reason for moving to the drier climate and sanitariums of Arizona.  Chester and Gretchen returned to Texas before 1905 when their son Harold was born. Chester died the next year leaving his young widow and son alone and destitute. 

Gretchen and five year old Harold are next found in the 1910 Census living in San Antonio, Texas in a doctors private home where she was employed as a live in servant.  Ten years later in the 1920 Census, they are listed as living with, Gretchen's father who is now widowed and a practicing physician. Also listed is Gretchen's new husband, Dr. Carl Shear.


Researching Your Roots...A Repository of Rules & Records

AtoZ Challenge...Letter R's fiction from forgotten fotos

*'Follow the rules of the records repository without protest, even if they have changed since a previous visit or differ from those of another facility.'

I have always been a 'Rule Follower'...raised in the 50's and 60's when parents, teachers, and 'Robert's Rules' ruled. 

I still respect and abide by 'The Rules', but when it comes to 'Researching My Roots', I've become a Repository and Rule Protestor...of sorts.

For example...Cemeteries
The cemetery where my Georgia ancestors are buried does not have perpetual care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs...and many of the old gravestones are in broken pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.

Still, I strive to follow the Rules of Headstone Recording by deciphering the dates without disturbing the dirt, pulling weeds or messing with the snakes.  The bugs get Off'ed.

Photo courtesy of a cousin once removed...rule of credit due...check.  You know the cousin rule...right...'once removed, they may not return.  (sorry, I couldn't resist)
Courthouse Repository Research Reveals
~Locating the county where your ancestor lived is the first step in finding records...like the time he was hauled into court for shooting his neighbor's dog, threatened the census taker with a shotgun, or arrested for making illegal corn whiskey behind the barn.
~When in the courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55 pm on Friday afternoon.
~Your ancestor moved frequently and sold all of his property to his children before he died to avoid probate.
~Research in one county courthouse that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation.
~Your ancestor is featured in the county history because he was the first prisoner in the new jail.
Birth and Death Certificates
~A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.
~The application for a death certificate you want insists that you provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother...which is exactly what you don't know and is the reason for wanting the death certificate.
~Death Certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.
Stuff You Should Know...Before Researching Your Roots
~Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room.  Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for a lively free-for-all.
~Work from the known to the unknown.  In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.
~When you contact your home state's vital statistics office and ask if they are "online" and they respond..."on what?"...you may have a problem.
*Guidelines for Using Records Repositories and Libraries...Link
Parts of this Post Referenced from...Dollarhide's Genealogy Rules...Link


Traces of a Queens Genes

AtoZ Challenge...Letter Q's fiction from forgotten fotos

Who Do You Think You Are?

Really!!!  Isn't it considered rude to answer a question with a question, I thought to myself as I looked the 'Professional Genealogist' in the eye and said....

"I think I am the 17th Great Granddaughter of the Queen of Scotland." 

Her pupils dilated, she bit her lip and her eye began twitching as she replied, "Uh huh, and I am descended from a Pope".

OMG!!!  She thinks I'm some kind of nut job, I thought as my heart raced and my left eye twitched.   I bit my lip, furled my eyebrows, peered over the rims of my specs, and retorted...

"When Pigs Fly".
She handed me a Kleenex and said, "Here wipe your eyes, and let's get started tracing your Queen Genes".

Another gale of laughter and uncontrollable flow of tears streamed down both of our faces, as I took the tissue, dabbed my eyes and handed her the photo of my Great Great Grandfather Rene.  "I thought his given name Rene was unusual for a man from the deep South and after ruling out his paternal namesakes, I found another Rene on his mother's side of the family.  He was named after his mothers grandfather".

After sharing the rest of my confirmed research which ended at Plymouth Rock, I left the 'ProGenealogist' a 'cheek swab' and a down payment toward the search and confirmation of my 'Queen Genes'.

Two weeks later a package arrived with this book and accompanying note....

Dear Sue...just a quick note to let you know that your 'Queen Genes' may be so, although grave digging through Scottish Royalty is a bit tricky.  Seems you're ancestors may have suffered from GVD....an inherited disease.

Genealogicus Vulgaris Disease...A chronic mental disorder usually contracted in mid and late adulthood, though  occasionally found in teenagers.  Disorder is characterized by a strong desire to conclusively identify every member of a family. 

Sufferers enjoy reading obituary columns and frequent trips to cemeteries.  Physical symptoms include:  an involuntary twitch when the word "ahnentafel"* is mentioned in casual conversation, dilated pupils and increased heart rate when passing local libraries or state archives, sweaty palms in the presence of a microfiche.

Only known cure is death, which must be proven with the appropriate certificate.

*ahnentafel...genealogical numbering system for listing a person's direct ancestors in a fixed sequence of ascent.  Wikipedia link.


The Child Prodigy

AtoZ Challenge...Letter P's fiction from forgotten fotos
...continued from Letters N-O...Naturalization Papers and the Orphaned Boy

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the conductor for this evenings performance of La Boheme, Henry Schurtz Thorensen".

As our son turned to the audience and acknowledged the introduction, I turned to his mother and said, "Look, Hilda, our Henry has fulfilled his destiny." 

Henry raised his baton and with a subtle motion to the 'Strings', the violins opening chords filled the Metropolitan Opera House.  Tears filled my eyes and I was transported back to the time I first heard these opening strains of La Boheme....

....he stood on the chair, violin tucked under his chin and drew the bow across the strings.  The Missionary Office was packed with displaced immigrants seeking their way to become a part of America's promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Every man, woman and child stood in awe of the child on the chair as he performed the opera.  I was among them.  I was to be this childs father.

After weeks of searching, no relatives were found and no one came forward to claim the Orphaned Boy.  For days after discovering his dead mother in my Naturalization Office, I could not get the boy out of my mind, or the idea that we had missed some identifying clue on his papers.  The overlooked number on his citizenship papers was finally traced to his mother's application which revealed his last name and her immigration history.

The immigrant crowd burst into applause as the music came to an end.  I took Henry by the hand and we walked away as father and son.  Through the years, Henry continued to perform a repertoire of operatic music beyond the grasp of a child. 

It was after his use of English improved we learned that his grandfather from the old country had given him the violin. "Mama's papa made violins.  My Papa played the violin at a big concert house". 

It was not until Henry entered Julliard, that his violin was taken to a violin specialist for tuning.  It was there that Henry's natural parents and grandparents gifts and legacy were fully understood.

The 'Old Violin' found in his Mama's bag...the one tucked beneath a small boy's chin...the one that brought crowds of people to tears...the one played by a small boy standing in a chair...was a...


Naturalization Papers, and the Orphaned Boy

AtoZ Challenge...Letters N and O's fiction from forgotten fotos

It had been a long day of hearing oaths in so many different accents that the Naturalization Officer hardly recognized the 'Oath of Allegiance' anymore.  As he stamped and certified the last oath taker, he called for the next person in line.  A small boy stepped forward and handed him his papers.

"Where is your Mother, young man", he asked as he looked around the now empty room.  The boy pointed to a chair in the far corner of the room and began to cry.  "Mama, Mama", he sobbed.  The Officer came from behind the counter and approached the woman who appeared to be sleeping.  He placed his hand on her shoulder, and spoke softly to her, "Madam, it is your turn". 

"Mama, wake up", cried the boy as he attempted to climb in her lap.  As he did so, the woman slumped forward and fell to the floor with her sobbing child holding her in his arms. 

In the minutes and hours that followed, the Officer sent for the immigration/morgue authorities, searched the woman's bag for identification papers and comforted the boy, who between sobs, had revealed his name as being Henry.   The search for the woman's identification yielded only the papers the boy had given the Officer, which proved that his name was indeed Henry, but the last name was unreadable.

With no other alternatives left for identifying the child and finding his next of kin, an Immigration Missionary Representative was notified.  The Missionary organization provided assistance to those immigrants who needed temporary shelter and protection especially, to women and children. 

The Naturalization Officer knew that young Henry would be in good hands and receive the care and attention he would need as an Immigrant Orphan.   He gave the Missionary Representative Henry's mother's oversized bag with the old violin, and the citizenship papers, such as they were, in hopes that they would contain a clue to Henry's identity. 

Little did he know that he held the key to Henry's identity the whole time.
And never would he have guessed the part he would play in Henry's future fame and fortune. 
To be continued with Letter P's fiction from forgotten fotos
The Child Prodigy


Mrs M's Mink and Mable's Perm Machine

AtoZ Challenge...Letter M's fiction from forgotten fotos

Her name was Maggie.  I'll never forget the day she bolted into my Beauty Parlor with two dead weasels draped around her neck and a towel wrapped around her head.

The driver gave her the all clear before she stepped out on the curb and dashed into my shop.  As soon as the door was pulled closed, she started giving orders to close the shades and lock the door...like SHE owned the place.

My girls jumped to it as if a machine gun was in Maggie's hand instead of her purse.  Satisfied the shop was locked down and the threat of becoming the Chicago Tribune's next days headline, Mrs. 'M' jerked off the turbaned towel and began to wail, "Just look at my hair!!!  That Butcher Beauty Operator has ruined it."

You could hear the 'GASP' of all three of us Beauty Operators as we stood in the semi-darkened, locked, beauty shop in a stunned state as we stared at her neon orange stripped and spiked head of hair.  I quickly slipped the scissors I was holding in my pocket.

By now, she was in a state of sobbing snot and smeared mascara.  With all the compassion and care I could muster, I slipped the 'Mobster Mink' from her shoulders and seated her in a chair facing away from the mirrored wall.  Then assured her we could restore her color and fix the 'Butchers Botched Bob'.

Soon the flaming stripes were covered with 'Mary T Goldman's Hair Restorer' and Maggie's botched bob was clipped and layered for the latest  and stylish 'Wave'.  "Now, Mrs. 'M' the very best thing for your new style is a perm, I said as I guided her over to the 'Perm Machine'.
"I don't know Mable, it looks kinda scary".  You sure it's safe? 
One threat of electrocution in the family these days is enough."


Letters Written by Lamp Light

AtoZ Challenge....Letter L's fiction from forgotten fotos
August 5, 1861 
My Dear Brother Jessie,
      It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that our Mother has joined her heavenly father in the promise land.  Praise be, she is free of the pain and suffering that has long been her burden to bear.
      In her final hours, Jessie, her thoughts and prayers were for you.  Tears of love and sorrow filled her eyes as she prayed to Our Lord and Savior to comfort you with his healing touch on your wounds and heart. 
'Sweet Jessie, we will be together in the Glory of Heaven." 
With those last words, she went peacefully to The Glory.

Your devoted sister,
Mary Amanda

August 20, 1861

 My Dear Brothers George and John,
      It is with a greater sadness than you will ever know that I write to you of the death of our beloved Mother. I do so at this later date than her passing to include the Obituary from the Jacksonville News.
      As I write this letter and think of Mother's last days, I am reminded to tell you of her concerns for her three sons as you fight in this terrible war.  Her prayers were constant for her sons so far from home in Tennessee and Texas.
      Days before her passing, we recieved a letter from Jessie.  It was penned by another, but were his words of news that he was mortally wounded and lying in the hospital at Camp Bristow, Tennessee.  Jessie passed from this earth one day after Mother on August 6, 1861.  Her faith and close conversation with The Lord opened her heart and soul to a vision of the Glory of Heaven.  In my minds eye I see her inside the Golden Gates, her loving arms reaching out for Jessie as he walks the golden path to comfort and love of his Mother and the Lord they so love.
     I pray, my Brothers, that Mothers vision and words are prophetic for the safety and well being of you both.  It has been many months since you left Alabama for Texas, and the lack of news from you gives us concern.  We continue to pray for you both and for news of your safety and well being. 
Your loving Sister,
Mary Amanda
Obituary - The Jacksonville Republican News, Jacksonville, Alabama - December 12, 1861
Agnes Susan Castelberry Leatherwood departed this life August the 5th, 1861, aged 52 years, on month and 15 days.  The deceased was a native of South Carolina, then moved to Benton County (now Calhoun) Alabama where she remained until her death.  She had been affected for some time, and the latter part of her afflictions was very severe and yet she bore the same without murmur.
The deceased lived a member of the Baptist church and adorned her profession by a godly walk and close conversation;  but her seat is now vacant in the church house, and also in the family circle;  but in the language of Revelation, "blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from hence forth, yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works, do follow them." 
Her Christian walk will still live in the memory of those with whom she associated.  She was a warm and devoted friend, and generous and forgiving to her enemies - a good and generous neighbor - a kind and affectionate wife and mother.  She has left a husband, 10 or 11 children, and many relatives and friends to mourn her loss, but their loss is her eternal gain.  We sympathize with the family in their bereavement, and may the Lord give them grace to sustain them in their heavy bereavement.
Letters Written by Lamp Light is a fictionalized account based on true facts, dates and names from my Leatherwood Family Tree.  Agnes Susan Castelberry Leatherwood  was my 4XGreat Grandmother.  Her oldest son John Moore was a Confederate Soldier in the 20th Regiment Texas Volunteer Infantry. He survived to become my 3XGreat Grandfather, but his brother George died of wounds inflicted on a battlefield in Texas.


Kinfolk from King Williams County

AtoZ Challenge...Letter K's fiction from forgotten fotos
"According to these documents, your 6th great grandfather was a Chancellor to King William and established the colony now known as King Williams County."

Finally, a small scrap of information explaining, what for generations, has been called the family's 'Royal Curse'. 

I thanked the Antiquity Records Librarian for her help in tracing the recently discovered maiden name of my fathers great great grandmother whose ancestors hailed from King William County.

My quest for answers to an affliction that has plagued the men in my family for many generations began with this question asked of my father...

 "Pa, why do you not own a straight razor?"

Little did I know then as his youngest girl child, that his answer would lead me to my life's work.  Not to mention the discovery of a Royal Family's secret that lead to my own tainted Royal Blood Line.

"Daughter, I have no need of a straight razor, for I am cursed...as was my father and his father before me.  For as long as we know, the men of our line do not shave for fear of bleeding to death.  For some unknown reason, it has been called our family's 'Royal Curse'."

In conclusion:
~The Chancellor was King Williams illegitimate son and carrier of the 'Royal Disease'.
~The Chancellor's son, my father's grandfather, bled to death from a musket ball wound to the leg on the battlefield of the Revolutionary War.
~Chancellor Kingston, my father's father, died of old age having never shaved or owned a musket.
~My father, Chance Kingston, lived a long life with the knowledge that the 'Royal Disease' he was cursed with ended with his death...he was the last of the male heirs of King William's illegitimate son.

Signed:  Dr. Chauncey Kingston, M.D. of Hematology
 Director of Haemophilia Research
King Williams County
~Photos in this story from CollectInTexas Gal's OldPhoto©Collection...representatives of the periods and not meant to be taken as persons named in this story.
~All Family names are fictious and used to enhance the story's Alpha theme of the Letter K.
~This author's 5xGreat Grandfather was born in King Willliam County, Virginia, and was a decendant of Royalty with no known or documented 'Royal Disease' in lineage.


'Ordinary Court' Judge's Greenback Judgement

AtoZ Letter J's...fiction from forgotten fotos

"All rise for the Honorable Daniel Pittman".  At the command of the bailiff, the buzz of conversation turned into a combination of noise from chairs scraping on the wood floor and the rustle created by the standing of a packed courtroom.

The Honorable Judge rapped the gavel and declared, "This Court of the Ordinary will come to order and remain orderly throughout the 'Declaration of Judgment' in the case of the Fulton County Greenback Party versus the Congressional Resumption Act of 1875."

At the mention of the Congress, the courtroom burst into a shouting of slurs, fist pounding, and foot stomping....Damn Yankee Bankers...Crooked Money Changers.  After a good bit of gavel pounding and threatening to clear the courtroom, order was restored and the Judge continued, "Before I declare the courts Judgment in this case I offer this 'communication' recently published in the *Macon Weekly Telegraph, April 2, 1878."  (for brevity, the following is in parts from the original article sourced from GenealogyBank.com)

~The talk of too many greenbacks is all bosh, suggested by the bondholders to mislead and deceive the people. 
~Look at the wide and undeveloped West and southwest, which is waiting for money even as the ripened wheat fields of Ohio and Illinois yearn for the mowers and reapers to save the golden grain in July.
~Look at the natural increase of the population of this country from births and immigration.
~Above all, look at the ruin;  degradation, starvation and bankrupts which have all been caused by the contraction of the currency and the creation of the non-taxable bonds, and then tell me if there is danger of too many greenbacks.

We are quite sure if the people could be made to understand aright, they would never consent to the restoration of the old banking system which flooded the country with a deluge of bills, not one in five of which could be redeemed......in gold or silver.  What is needed, is all the gold and silver that can possibly be utilized as a circulating medium, supplemented by an additional issue of greenbacks to supply the wants of trade, guaranteed by the United States government, and made receivable for taxes and all other dues not inconsistent with previous contracts. 

Then we would have a uniform currency and be in no danger from spurious wildcat money. 
by Mr. Daniel Pittman of Atlanta, Georgia for the Atlanta Constitution.
The courtroom burst into appreciative and courteous applause as all stood and quieted as Judge Daniel Pittman stated the courts judgment....
"I find in Favor for the People of Fulton County, Georgia in declaring the
Congressional Resumption Act of 1875 unfair and unacceptable."
Court Adjourned!
~The Honorable Daniel Pittman was my 1st Cousin 4XRemoved.  The photo is a representation of the period and not to be taken as Daniel Pittman or any person named in this story.
~The courtroom scene and court case is fictional, but the historical events and Daniel Pittman's writings are authentic and sourced via the links included.
~* Macon Weekly Telegraph, Macon Georgia Vol.LIII, Issue 13, pg.4...copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society, 2004
~One dollar Greenback of 1862...The Color of Money   ~  The History of the Greenback Dollar