Myrtle the Teacher in 1949

Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin in 1949 at Hathaway High School in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Here is a photo of my maternal grandmother Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.  The photo was taken in 1949 when Grandma was a schoolteacher at Hathaway High School during the 1949/1950 school year.  Of course she wasn’t a grandmother back then.  She was just a mom to her five children.  I think her oldest daughter Sylvia had graduated high school the previous school year and was just beginning college at Lafayette.  My mom Betty Lou was starting her junior year of high school.  She would graduate in 1951 and that was the first year that students graduated with 12 years of school instead of 11.

So does that mean that there wasn’t a graduating class of 1950?  I never really thought to ask about that before.  And how long did my mom’s class know that they were going to have to attend 12 years of school instead of 11 before they were able to graduate?  Did they have a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years before that?  Whatever it was, it was not the year my mom graduated, even though she was a year behind her sister Sylvia.  My mom would have to go through another school year before she was able to graduate.

By the time her younger sisters Alma and Loris graduated, they were probably used to the idea of graduating in 12 years of school.  Austin was the youngest child and the only boy.  He was around 7 years old at the time this photo was taken.  His only scholarly concern at that time might have been wondering if he was going to have his mother as his teacher for the third grade.  That was mainly what Myrtle taught.  She wanted to get those kids in their formative years and make sure that they learned how to spell correctly!

She started teaching around 1928 after getting her Teaching Certificate.  She stopped when she got married in 1930 to have children and raise a family.  She resumed teaching in 1945 and continued to 23 years or so.  My earliest memories of her were of her being a teacher.  I don’t remember ever going to her classroom like my older sister Karen did.  I might have, but we tend to forget things through the years.  Especially if we don’t have a photo to reinforce the memory.  So that’s why I’m sharing this photo and story today.  So we’ll all remember Mrs. Myrtle Bucklin, the famed 3rd grade teacher from Hathaway High School.

H. C. Sings a Jaunty Tune

Daisy Keys and Harry Clifton Phenice in 1950 at the time of their Golden Anniversary.

Toward the beginning of last year (Feb. 13, 2020), I wrote a post about my great grandfather Harry Clifton Phenice.  He was my mother’s maternal grandfather.  In that post I shared a recording of him playing the song “Soldier’s Joy” on his violin.  The recording was from June 12, 1943, in Hathaway, Louisiana, the hometown of my mom Betty Lou Bucklin Landry.  In the beginning of that recording, a family member gives the date and says that the Phenice family was getting together for the first time to make a phonographic record of their time together.

That tune on the fiddle wasn’t the only music made that day.  Not by far.  One of the songs on the recording really got  my attention.  It was a song that H. C. sang solo.  It was not the best recording, but I thought it was a fun little tune.  I listened to it over and over again to try to figure out the words to the song.  I tried to search for a few song lyrics, but I was never able to find a result.  Then last week I was thinking it was time to share that song with everyone.  So I listened to it again to see if I could determine what song it was.  So I did a search with the precise words that I could make out.  I did a search for “whene’er I meet upon the street” and I got a result.  That’s right.  I got one result.   And it was the song I was looking for.

It was on a website that had Old Time Song Lyrics on it.  I knew that I could now share the song with everyone.  It had a word or two different that I couldn’t make sense of.  Then I found another site that had the sheet music for the song.  That’s right!  The sheet music.  It was the correct lyrics of the song, but it doesn’t match the melody.  The song was by Fred Wilson and it was published in 1865.  That song was as old to my great grandfather as this recording is to us today. 

The name of the song is “The Gal With the Roguish Eye.”  No wonder I couldn’t tell what old H. C. was singing about in that tune!  It starts with

“Oh, I think it very pleasant to promenade the street

and gaze upon the fashion of each pretty girl I meet.

With little hats and bonnets and boots (cost nine or ten),

Which makes her altogether more expensive than the men.”

It’s kind of unusual lyrics for a song.  Most men don’t talk about the fashions of women and talk about their little hats and bonnets!  I’m not really sure what the line about boots costing nine or ten means.  It was over 150 years ago, so it could be referring to boots costing 10 dollars.  I suppose that would be considered expensive in those days.  And then it continues with

“Oh, dear oh, it makes me feel so shy

Whene’er I meet upon the street that gal with a roguish eye.

Oh, dear oh, it makes me feel so shy

Whene’er I meet upon the street that gal with a roguish eye!

I love the words to this song!  H. C. really sounds like a character and I’m sure he was giving a playful smile to his wife Daisy when he sang this song.  The definition for roguish in this context is playfully mischievous in a flirty way.  H.C. was 68 years old when this song was recorded.  My mom would have been 10 years old.  She always said he was a pleasant fellow.  I think it comes through in the song.  What do you think?  Give it a listen.

It’s such a fun song.  I’ve been singing it almost every day over the last week or so.  So I thought I’d sing along with him.  I recorded myself singing the second verse of the song.  It goes like this:

“Among the smiling faces, there’s one above the rest

who dresses with the greatest care and of the very best.

She don’t appear to mind me whene’er she’s passing by

But drops her veil clear o’er her face to hide her roguish eye.

If I knew how to do an edit to make it sound like an old recording, I’d do it.  That would be just the opposite of what I do with the photos all of the time.  The verse sounds okay, but my favorite part is when I’m singing together with my great grandfather!  How fun is that?!  If we’re fortunate, one day my brothers and I will meet up with our great grandfather in a Place Out of Time and sing that old tune together.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this rendition.

 

Myrtle in the Hat in the Sun – Revealed

Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin circa 1950

When I was looking for something to write about this evening, I stumbled across this old, blurry, sunbaked photo of my grandmother Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.  While it is not the best quality photo, I really liked the whimsical look and smile on her face.  Even though it shows a side of my grandmother I appreciate, I wasn’t sure the photo was in good enough shape to share.  But I thought I would give it a try.

This is one of those photos that I never know what the final result will be.  I’ve had better photos that I’ve edited and the results are awful.  Either I can’t get the features to look  right, or for some reason it doesn’t look like the person with the changes that are made.  I was worried that it would happen with this photo since there is contrasting darkness with sunlight and shadows.

I couldn’t even tell where her eyes were looking when I first started working on the photo.  The more I worked on it, the more I realized she was looking into the car that she is leaning against.  There are also lots of spots on the photo and a few places where the image surface had been torn off.  So I had to doctor it quite a bit.

When I went to run it through the sharpening program, it didn’t work.  It wasn’t able to recognize her face, probably because of the confusion of where her eyes were looking.  So I edited it some more to help to define her eyes.  That was all it took!  It sharpened up her face and it actually looked like my Grandma!  I still had to edit it some more to put more Myrtle back into the photo. 

Edited photo of my grandmother.

So here is the final result.  Look at that smile.  I think that’s the thing that drew me to the photo in the first place.  She looks like she’s having a jolly good time visiting with someone in the car.  I’m estimating the date of the photo based on how old she looks compared to other photos of her from around that time period.  Of course with the blurriness of the original photo, I could be off from the right date by a decade or so.

I am pleased with the result, otherwise you wouldn’t be seeing the revised version and you’d be reading about how I tried to improve that original old photo.  I would have still used that old photo by itself.  I was always charmed by it, but now even more so.  The photo was taken around 1950 when my grandmother was around 43 years old.  That was around the time that Betty Lou (Myrtle’s second daughter, my mother) was a senior in high school.  The oldest daughter Sylvia had gone off to college that year.  Alma would have been two years behind my mom, and Loris was two years after her.  The baby boy Austin was five years younger than Loris.

If I got the year close, it wouldn’t be long after this that she would become a grandmother.  She and my grandfather Fred Bucklin lived out in Hathaway, Louisiana, when most of us grandkids were growing up.  It was a fun place to visit.  They had a sock monkey that I always wanted to play with once I got there.  There were always puzzles to play with.  We had fun picking fruit in my grandfather’s nursery, making mudpies in the garden, and playing around out in the bamboo stand.  Their kitchen cabinets were backed with the same material as old chalkboards, so we could write and draw on them.

One of the things that I especially liked about my grandmother was her laugh.  She had a hearty, infectious laugh.   When I look at this picture, it reminds me of that.  I’m sure that this mirthful, expectant look was followed by rollicking laughter.  At least I like to think so.

Grandpa Phenice Working in the Yard

I had a hard time choosing the best title for this post.  When I refer to the man in the photo as “Grandpa Phenice,” some people may think that I’m referring to my mom’s grandfather who was Harry Clifton Phenice.  I myself did not have a grandfather that was a Phenice.  My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Myrtle Phenice and she was married to Fred Bucklin, so she was usually just called Grandma.  Sometimes I do refer to her as “Grandma Bucklin” just to be a little clearer.  The man in the photo was Myrtle’s paternal grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice.

Samuel Charles Phenice fought in the Civil War out of Pennsylvania and was a witness to the Lincoln Assassination.  Shortly after those events he got married to Cathrine Jane Foster.  They had children and moved around (for more details of that, see my post HCP in 1938) and ended up in Nebraska.  During that time there were documents about homesteading and marriages.  Samuel Charles was called either “Samuel” or “Charles,” while Cathrine was usually called “Kate.”  So I could have called the post “Grandpa Charles Working in the Yard.”  I just didn’t like the sound of it. 

Samuel Charles Phenice in Precept, Nebraska, circa 1920s.

The “Working in the Yard” part was the easy part.  As you can see from this old photo circa 1920s, Samuel is working hard in his yard.  He’s cutting logs, possibly for firewood.  It gets cold in the winters in Nebraska and I’m sure he would have a fireplace or two burning in that house to keep warm.  I can see that he had at least two chimneys showing in his house. 

I’m thinking that this is his home in Precept, Nebraska.   That’s where he lived with Kate until she died in 1921.  He was 76 years old when she died and probably lived there by himself for a few years.  I know that in 1930 he was living with his daughter Emma Quillen in Richmond, which is in the same county (Furnas) as Precept.  So my guess is that the photo was taken between those dates.

I got the photo from my cousin Mona who is the granddaughter of Emma Quillen.  She was kind enough to share it with me almost four years ago.  She sent me several photos and I call it the Lincoln Collection.  I call it that because of Samuel being a witness to the Lincoln Assassination, but also because Mona’s father was born and died on Lincoln’s birthday and his middle name was Lincoln.  If you’ve looked at my blog posts, you’ve seen most of my copies in the Lincoln Collection.  I’m running low on new ones to share.  I’m hoping that there are possibly some more that could be added to my collection.

This photo is not the best image quality, but I still really treasure it.  Something about how he is busy about his work and it looks like he is not even aware that his photo was being taken.  He’s just going about the business of getting his chores done:  Grandpa Phenice working in the yard.

Animating Old Photos

 

A month or so ago I ran across something that I thought was fascinating, amazing, and a little bit disturbing.  It was a short clip in a genealogy group that showed an old photograph.  What was so different was that the person in the image blinked and turned their head slightly.  It was just a short little two- or three-second clip.  It looked like it was an ad for a website or for someone who had some type of software to create the short clips.  I wondered what it would be like to see some of my own images of my ancestors with animation.  Would it be eerie?  Would it show their personality in a way that a photograph can’t?  Would it help me connect with them by making them seem more real?  I really didn’t pursue it much, but when I looked at some of my photos, I wondered how they would look animated.  I even thought about looking to see what the cost of it might be.  It was intriguing.

Then last weekend there was a genealogy conference online and it was free.  How could I pass that up?  So I signed up and went looking to see what I might learn from other people who are obsessed with their family history.  I got distracted by a feature they had that showed you all of your relatives who had signed up for the programming.  I had cousins from all the lines in my family.  People who had Patureau, Phenice, Landry, Bucklin, Leveque, Hine, Keys, Stanbrough, McGrath, or other names in common with me.

As I was trying to get going with some of the programs available, I decided to look at my emails.  I had gotten several reminders for the event with suggestions of “must watch” videos.  Instead of finding that, I found a notice of a new feature on the website MyHeritage.  They were announcing that they had acquired a program for animating photos.  I had already paid for a year-long membership because of their feature for enhancing photos. (That and a deal of only paying 1/3 of the regular prices!)  I’ve mentioned that feature before, because I have posted photos that have been enhanced.   So now, in addition to enhancing (and/or coloring) photos, I can also animate them.  Who needs a conference?   I had some animating to do!

So that’s what I did all weekend.  I have a lot of old photos.  It’s really amazing to see some of those old photos come to life.  The people in them can look sweet, pensive, or concerned with just a blink of an eye or a slight turn of the head.  Like the first example I posted above.   That one is of my great great grandmother Cathrine Jane “Kate” Foster Phenice.  I grew up seeing one photo of her that my mother had.  In that photo Kate was an older woman and she always reminded me of Grandpa Munster.  I got this photo of Kate taken in 1890 from a cousin (thanks again, Mona!) a few years ago.  It’s one of the first photos that I used with the enhancement feature and I was amazed with the results.  It’s one of my favorites for the animation feature, too.  Now when I think of my great great grandmother, I think of that impish smile from this video.  I think that if I had known her, I would have been able to get her to grin like that.  This is much better than thinking of her as a Grandpa Munster lookalike!

But how realistic is it?  While I do find some really amazing looking animations, I go through so many more that I discard.  I posted some of the better ones last weekend on Facebook.  One of them was of me from the 2nd grade.  I had originally discarded the first results it showed.  It showed me looking up to the side and my eyes were badly crossed.  That’s not how I looked back then.  (Most of the time.  I didn’t cross them often because my mom warned me they could get stuck like that!)  When I found out that there were 10 options for each photo, I went back to my 2nd grade photo again and found an acceptable option.  Yet even with the best results, I still get comments about the animations being “creepy” or “freaky” or “robotic.”

And they are right.  Here is an animation of Kate’s granddaughter Myrtle Phenice.  She was my maternal grandmother.  We all called her Grandma.  This was made from my favorite photo of Grandma.  I was able to get a good version of the photo because of the enhancement feature I talked about.  Yet, when I use the animation feature on it, I can’t get a good result.  I can get something better than this one, but I’m using this as an example.  It doesn’t leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling like the first one.  It’s the same exact process, but the results are more on the disturbing side.

While it is easy to accept the sweet, impish grin of Kate and to reject the distorted face of Myrtle, neither one of them could actually represent what the person was really like.  While it may help you notice some features of someone that you might have overlooked, take it with a grain of salt.  But I still think that I could have gotten Grandma Kate to smile like she does in the animation!

Photo of Myrtle Phenice Bucklin taken circa 1930. This is the photo used for the animation above.

Harry Clifton Phenice in 1938

Grandpa HC in 1938 in Elton, Louisiana

Here is a nice old photo of my mom’s maternal grandfather Harry Clifton Phenice.  Mama always referred to him as Grandpa Phenice or Grandpa H. C.  I’m not sure if most people knew him as H. C. or as Harry.  I’m rather fond of the Grandpa HC moniker.  He always looks like a kind person.  Maybe I’m biased because my mom always had good things to say about the only grandfather that she knew.  Her Bucklin grandfather died before she was born.

HC was born on May 24, 1874, in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  His parents (Samuel Charles Phenice and Cathrine Jane “Kate” Foster) were also born in Pennsylvania.  Charles and Kate lived in Pennsylvania for a few years after their marriage in 1866.  Their first child Chauncey was born in 1868.  Later that year they moved to Tennessee, which is where Anna May was born in 1869.  They moved back to Pennsylvania in 1970, where they had three sons in succession – William Emory in 1871, James Edmund “Edd” in 1872, and HC in 1874.

I don’t know why they moved back to Pennsylvania.  Maybe it was to be with family.  Cathrine’s mother Anne Magdaleen Milliron Foster Richael died in 1873 (her father Morris Foster had died in 1852) in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Charles’ parents were still alive, but that didn’t stop Charles and Kate from moving their family to Milford, Nebraska, to start homesteading that same year.   Charles’ mother Susan Jackson Phenice died in 1877 in Butler County.  That left Charles’s father Daniel Phenice as their only living parent.  He must have been willing to relocate, because he showed up in his son’s household in Nebraska in the 1880 Census. 

In Milford Charles and Kate had another daughter named Mollie in 1881, but she died as an infant.  Daniel Phenice died at some point before the 1885 Nebraska Census in Milford.  Then after 12 years of living in Milford, the family moved to Hitchcock County and applied for a homestead there in November of 1885.   That is where Lola was born in 1886 and Emma was born in 1889.  I don’t know what life was like as a family homesteading in Nebraska in the 1890s.  There was no electricity, no radio, no TV, and no cars or tractors.  It must have been a much quieter place than our modern world.  We were out of our comfort zone recently because of cold weather causing us to be without electricity for a few days.  They never had electricity and I’m sure the winters of Nebraska were colder than the ones down here in Louisiana!  But somehow they survived.  That’s probably why HC learned to play the fiddle.  The family needed entertainment during those long cold winters.

Those cold winters may have been the driving force in HC relocating to southern Louisiana when he was a young man.  Even though his family moved around when he was growing up, once HC got married to Daisy, they stayed in one place.  Well, not really.  They did stay in the Hathaway area, but they lived in several different houses through the years.  There’s a long list of places.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.  Since they did stay in the same area, my mom got to know her grandfather pretty well.  And like I said, she always had good things to say about him.

He looks like a man with a pleasant disposition – like he would welcome any of his little grandchildren with open arms and a warm smile.  In the photo I also notice a few men sitting on a porch behind him.  It looks like they could be waiting for him.  It was traditional at their family get togethers to play a few games of dominoes.  This looks like a family gathering after Sunday church.  (Why else would he be wearing shoes?)  He was at his brother-in-law’s house in Elton, Louisiana.  So after posing for a few family photos, he may have been ready to shuffle a few dominoes. 

Myrtle Circa 1927 Colorized

This is going to be a short one today.  Short and sweet.  I went back to work today after being off for close to eight months.  I didn’t realize how long it was until I went to write this post!  I don’t have nearly as much time to write these posts as I have had during my time off.  Plus, I had to go to safety training this afternoon.  If you have never done such a thing, it is brutal.  You have to sit and listen to a recording of some man talking about safety concerns when going into a plant.  And you need to pay attention closely, because you get tested on it and have to make a certain score.  But you can’t worry about that, because you have to pay attention to what he is saying as you try to keep your eyes open and follow along.  It made it a long day with a real-l-l-ly long afternoon.  I’m living the dream!  And it’s a safe one!

My maternal grandmother was Myrtle Sylvia Phenice when this photo was taken circa 1927. She is the one on the left holding the purse. This photo has been colorized.

But this post has nothing to do with all of that.  Last weekend I shared a photo of my paternal grandfather that I had colorized.  I used that as an update to a previous post because I had shared the black and white photo originally in my Man In Black post.  This time I’m posting a brand new photo.  It’s an old photo, but it’s a new one to me.  It was shared with me by my mom’s first cousin Julie.  Thanks, Julie, for sharing a photo of my Grandma Myrtle that I had never seen before.

I just happened to get this photo when I was in the middle of experimenting with the colorization feature I’ve been using lately.  So I thought I would go ahead and try it on Myrtle and her friends.  I like the way it came out.  It still looks like an old timey photo, just with a bit of color added to it.  It gives it a bit more life.  Of course, I edited it a little to fix some things I didn’t like about it.  It wants to put purplish/pink on people and it almost looks like bruising.

I was tempted to put some ‘normal’ looking hair on the boy in the photo, but I refrained.  I’m not sure what’s going on with that.  But my grandmother must have been fond of him.  She is leaning on him in a decidedly friendly way.  I don’t know who the identity of the other girl standing next to the boy.  She doesn’t look familiar to me.  But I’m almost certain that the girl on the far right is Edna Bucklin.  Edna was the younger sister of Fred Bucklin who would later marry Myrtle in 1930.  It seems that the Bucklin and Phenice families were pretty friendly with each other through the years.  They were in the same small community, and both of them had relatively large families.  I’ve shared several photos with individuals from both families in them.

I’m sure there are more.  But that will have to be at a later date.  I hope you enjoy this one now.

Mitochondrial Sisters

Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin family circa 1950 in Hathaway, Louisiana.  The children from left to right are Sylvia, Loris, Austin, Alma, and my mom Betty Lou.

This post is coming together from several things that I’ve been working on lately.  I’ve been editing a lot of old photos from different eras.  It’s also time to look at my mom’s side of the family.  I think I’ve neglected them a bit lately.  I did post this really nice edited photo of my mom’s childhood family recently just to give that side of my family a little bit of family history crumbs.  But it wasn’t a bona fide post.  I’m including it in this post to make it official!

The other thing that helped me to focus the theme for this week was a new DNA match at 23andMe.   He is a grandson of Aunt Marguerite, my grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin’s younger sister.  Since he matches through his mother as I do, our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the same.  The mtDNA is passed on from mothers to their children without any changes most of the time.  From time to time there are mutations.  Since 23andMe only gives an estimate of the mtDNA and those estimates are slightly different,  I’ll just say that our designation is H1.  Some of the close relatives get an -n or an -h at the end, but we’re all basically in the very common group H1.

Grace Phenice Sowder, Myrtle Phenice Bucklin, and Marguerite Phenice Hill in their young adulthood.

I also had edited photos of both Marguerite and their other sister Grace.  I recently got a blog comment from Grace’s nephew by her husband Ray Sowder.  He commented about how Grace seemed to be out of his uncle’s league as far as looks are concerned.  I have to admit, those Phenice sisters were attractive young women.  I was thinking of sharing those photo edits, as well as a photo of my own sisters that I had completed recently.  It made me realize that there are several generations along this maternal line with three or more sisters.  So I decided to make this post about all of those mitochondrial sisters.

Alma Bucklin Waldorf, Marguerite Phenice Hill, Betty Lou Bucklin Landry (my mom), Myrtle Phenice Bucklin (my grandmother), Loris Bucklin Woolley, and Sylvia Bucklin Pilcher at Grandma’s house on Alice Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on January 22, 1984.

I found several photos of my mom with one or two of her sisters, but none of just the four sisters by themselves.  I also wanted one of them as adults.  The one I decided on was this photo of Grandma with her sister Marguerite and her four daughters after the funeral of Grandpa in 1984.  It’s a good photo of all of these H1 carriers.  It includes two of the generations that are the focus of this post.  Too bad they didn’t think to include some of the granddaughters in this photo, but that wasn’t the focus on that day.  This was one of the most difficult times in my Grandma’s life and it’s nice to see her surrounded by those she cared about the most.

There are two generations before and after these two and I keep changing my mind about which two I will talk about next.  I suppose I will go with the previous generation since I’ve shared those photos before.  I’ll save the new photos (in all living color!) for the end.

Rosetta Ruth Keys Bryan, Daisy Keys Phenice, Mabel Keys Miller in 1894.

So that brings us to the Keys sisters Daisy, Ruth, and Mabel.  I’ve posted about them previously.  They all immigrated to Louisiana from England with their mother and brothers in July 1887.  Ruth lived in Jennings, Daisy lived in Hathaway, and Mabel lived in Kinder.  They stayed pretty close to where they originally settled after arriving in the United States.

Those lovely girls were the daughters of Martha Cook Keys, the brave woman that brought her five children to America after her husband had passed away.  She was a dressmaker and shop owner in London at a time when a revolution in clothing manufacturing was taking place.  I always took it for granted that she made her clothes with a sewing machine – a machine that seems so common.  But it was a newfangled thing back then.  Before that, people went through the painstankling process of sewing everything by hand.  She was part of a revolution.  I found this out from a TV program I saw when I took a break from writing this post to take a lunch break.  I have a bit more respect for old Martha now.

Martha Cook Keys and Henrietta Cook Keys were from Great Wigsborough, Essex, England. They were married to Keys brothers.

I only have one photo for both of Martha and her sister.  I think the one of Martha is a photo of a painting.  At least we have something!  She was born in 1836 in Great Wigsborough, Essex.  She was the first child of Job Cook and Ruth Horsnell. Henrietta was born in 1839 and she was the last child of Job and Ruth.  That’s because Job died the following year at the age of 38 from “phrenitis.”  Otherwise I’m sure there would have been at least one more daughter.  All the other generations that we know of had three or more daughters.  Henrietta passed that H1 down to the present also.  I have a DNA match that came directly down from her through a line of daughters.

Ruth (1816-1880) was the daughter of William Horsnell and his wife Ann (1774-1859).  We don’t know Ann’s last name.  Since I don’t know her last name, and she is the originator of the H1 DNA for all of these women, I think I may put her last name as H1.  Somehow that seems appropriate.  Ruth had two sisters, so Ann started the trend of having three or more daughters along this line.  It could have been started earlier, but we don’t know that history.

Jamie, Jodie, and Karen in 1978

Jamie Landry Perry, Jodie Landry Rhodes, and Karen Landry Fontenot on Christmas Eve 1978 in Jennings, Louisiana.

Let’s get back to the more modern era.  I had three sisters.  My two older sisters have died.  My sister Karen died this year, so that was another reason I wanted to write this post about sisters.  This photo was a photo that my parents had on a small table in their living room for many years.  It’s from 1978 and it’s a good photo of all three of my sisters.  I can see why Mama wanted it where she could see it frequently.

Jodie did not continue the tradition of three daughters.  She had two children and they were both boys.  Karen did a little better.  She started out with a son, but then did better by having two daughters.  (Just kidding, James!)  Then Jamie decided that she had to keep the tradition alive.  She had three daughters.  She really did have three daughters, but you surely know I’m joking about her trying to keep up a tradition.  It’s just a trend that happened through the years.  Mostly it was the result of large families and the law of averages.  If you have lots of children, about half of them will be female.

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry in November 2020 in League City, Texas.

Here is a very recent photo of Jamie’s three Perry girls.  This was taken last month at the wedding of her youngest daughter Beth.  Weddings and funerals are usually such big family events for us, but this was the year of Covid.  Karen’s funeral had very limited attendance due to precautions for the virus.  The high point was that the cousins in Lake Charles gathered around in the distance at the graveyard to show their love and support.

Beth and Glen’s wedding was postponed from the spring because of the pandemic.  I was looking forward to the family getting together for their wedding in early November.  But Covid struck again and Allen (the father of the bride) came down with a positive test.  So we had to have a virtual attendance to the event.  It’s not as good as being there in person, but it’s much better than missing the whole thing!

Now that she’s married, she can start thinking about carrying on that tradition!  I know, I know.  It’s not really a tradition, but we can’t let that stop her.  Jill already has one daughter.  They could make it fun – like it’s a contest or game.  Our family likes games.

Let the H1 continue!

Grandma Phenice and Her Chickens

I’ve been thinking of writing about this for a while.  I’ve thought about the subject when I wrote other posts about my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice (mother of my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin), but inevitably the posts ran longer than I wanted and there was no room for this topic.  I try to make these posts short and sweet, despite what you may think when you see all the words I sometimes write.

My great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice with her granddaughter Marilyn Phenice in 1938 in Elton, Louisiana.

So I decided to write about Great Grandma Phenice and her expertise with chickens.  Then I went looking for a photo to go along with it.  This is the photo I first thought of and I think it works, even though it’s not a photo of her with a chicken.  That’s actually her young granddaughter Marilyn Phenice, my mom’s first cousin.  The photo was taken at a Keys family get together.  I posted a photo of the whole group two years ago.

According to Aunt Marguerite in some of her writings (Marge’s Memories), Daisy knew and loved her chickens.  Living out in the country in southern Louisiana in the early 1900s, raising chickens was a necessity.  I doubt that Daisy learned that as a young girl growing up in the city around London, England.  She was busy learning sewing and making things associated with her mother’s dress shop.  But when her mom (Martha Cook Keys) brought the family to Louisiana when Daisy was 11 years old, Daisy and the other children had to learn some new skills.

So as an adult, Daisy had become an expert with her chickens.  She knew when they were ready to set or lay eggs that could be hatched for a new group of chickens.  They wouldn’t set unless they were ready, and Daisy could tell when that was.  Maybe that had to do with the fact that when the family first moved to Louisiana, they had to live in a chicken coop until their house was built!  She was a chicken whisperer.  When she would see a storm coming, she immediately thought about her chickens.  She would run out into the storm to help the chickens into safety at her own risk.

The chickens produced lots of eggs, of course.  They were able to barter the surplus for other staples at the local Piggly Wiggly.  The family ate the eggs and the meat as well.  Like I said, Daisy loved her chickens!  When she was ready to fry some chicken, she gathered up some feed in her apron and went out in the yard.  I remember my mom telling me when I was a kid that her grandmother was the best at wringing a chicken’s neck.  Just a quick turn of the wrist was all it took.  She was quick about it, too.  From the idea of cooking some fried chicken to the point of serving it to the family only took a couple of hours.  Not exactly fast food, but that wasn’t available back then.

Mom’s Memories page 12

According to my mom, her Grandma Phenice’s fried chicken was especially tasty.  It was worth a mention in her memory book that she kept when she was getting older.  So it made it into Marge’s Memories and Mom’s Memories.  That must have been some fried chicken.

As my mom wrote, “It kept us a little warmer on the way home on cold nites.”  I think little Betty Lou loved Daisy’s chickens, too!

 

Betty Lou Visits Arkansas in 1938

Christmastime in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1938.

I wonder if my mom would have remembered this event if she didn’t have the photos to remind her of it for the rest of her life?  It’s amazing what photos do to enhance your memories through the years.  I doubt that I’d remember what I looked like as a little kid if I didn’t have the photos to refer back to.  A picture tells a story – it’s like a thousand words or something.

You may think this photo looks familiar – or not.  Four years ago I posted another photo from the same day.  That photo only had my mom and the other little girl and the two dolls.  That post was about Girls and Their Dolls.  This one is not.  I’m not sure what it’s going to be about, but it’s not about girls and their dolls.  Or maybe it is.  That was the only thing my mom thought about when she talked about the photos from her visit to Fayetteville, Arkansas during the Christmas of 1938.

My mom is the little blonde girl on the left.  She is looking off to the side.  She never mentioned what she might have been looking at.  Like I said, she only talked about the dolls.  Her name was Betty Lou Bucklin and she was born May 20, 1933, in Hathaway, Louisiana.  She lived most of her life not far from there.  Her mother’s name was Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.   Myrtle’s older sister Grace was married to a man named Ray Sowder.  Grace and Ray must have decided to take little Betty Lou with them to visit Ray’s family during the Christmastime of 1938, because the rest of the kids in the photo are Sowder relatives.

The two boys in the photo are the sons of Ray’s sister Alice and her husband Raymond Keith.  The little boy next to my mom is 2 1/2-year-old Donnie Keith.  He seems to be distracted by the same thing as my mom.  The other little boy is 4-year-old Paul Keith.  The other little girl is Kara Lee Sowder.  She was the daughter of Ray’s brother Hugh and his wife Bonnie.  But more importantly, she was “The Girl With the Two Dolls.”

And they weren’t just any old dolls.  They were store-bought dolls.  That was significant, because little Betty Lou didn’t have a store-bought doll.  So it was a really big deal to her that she got to play with a real doll and have her photo taken with it.  She cherished those photos for the rest of her life.

Come to think of it, she probably would have remembered that doll even if she didn’t have the photos to show it.  But since she did have those photos, now everyone reading this post can share that joyous experience she had in Arkansas back in 1938.

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