Sunday, June 17, 2018


Daddy always woke early while the women of his castle slept. He would roar through the house, singing happily. We would grumble from our respective locales, but at five or six A.M., we didn't want to move.
One day, his women--mom, me, and my sisters--decided to give him a taste of his own medicine. He went to bed early, around nine or so. When we thought he was asleep, we crept to the kitchen, arming ourselves with pot lids and spoons,and trying not to laugh, we surrounded his bed. We began a cacophony of chants accompanied by frantic drumming, then ran like rabbits as he jolted out of a sound sleep. Once fully awake, he had to laugh at the sight of his wife and children racing away in hysterical laughter. He was a little quieter after that, but would, from time to time, break into spontaneous song, reminding us all what a happy soul he was. Love and miss you dad. Happy Father's Day.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


My grandfather was a southern gentleman and a romantic. This is an example of the poems and writings he would send to my grandmother from work or leave in their home for her to find.

I visited my grandparents every summer from the time I was six. Mom and Dad would put me on a Greyhound bus for the trip from North Carolina to Alabama, nine hundred miles away. Sitting directly across from the driver, I enjoyed the scenery, confident in my safety. I'm sure my parents compensated him for his care. In a few years, my sister, Carolyn, joined me for the yearly adventure. Those were happy times.

Memories of those summers include my grandmother's baking. She made extra money by providing cakes for the community and was known for her ability. My desire for sweets developed at her feet.

My grandparents sang in the church choir and my love of music grew with every summer's visit. They both possessed lovely voices, and I remember many evenings sitting next to my grandmother at her piano.

Papa, as I called him, was a wise man, loving simple pleasures. His sense of humor and his intellect endeared him to many. 

He loved to fish and we spent many hours on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. We enjoyed the meals from our 'catch of the day'.  Fondly remembered are the tours with Papa giving the history of the town and its inhabitants, showing me his favorite spots and important landmarks.

Every evening, we would sit on the expansive front porch with our feet on the banister, watching the resident spider spin its web. To this day, the lessons from Papa on the simple things of nature bring delight.

Thank you, Papa, for the sweet memories.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018



                                   An anthology for autism awareness with stories from 18 authors.

Randy Brown
Roux Cantrell
Tracy H Gilmore
AB Glenn
C.G. Higgins
Terra James
Sharon Johnson
J. Grandison
A. K. Lawrence
P. Mattern
Teesa Mee
Brian Miller
Savannah Morgan
Leah Negron
Robin Rance
Jennifer Sivec
Lea Winkleman
J.C. Wing



Saturday, June 2, 2018


Grandmother Glenn

Grandmother Glenn was a grand lady.  A schoolteacher by profession, she was beloved by all.  She possessed a beautiful voice, a good mind, and a romantic nature.  I remember summers spent watching spiders spin their webs, singing with Grandma, and going through her schoolroom for books to read.

From an early age, Dad put me on an overnight bus from North Carolina to Alabama where Grandma lived.  Traveling alone was a great adventure.  Sitting behind the bus driver, I could watch the road from his vantage point, feeling like a 'big girl' as we made our way southward.  I’m quite sure my dad tipped him to watch over me, but back then, it wasn’t like today with pedophiles around every corner.

Grandma and Papa would meet me at the bus station and we would go 'home'.  The house was on a lovely street, one of the many in the small southern town.  A median about 20 feet wide ran the length of the street, separated by a convenient cut-through every block or so.  Graceful trees filled the median and gave much needed shade in the summer.  The house sat approximately 30 feet from the street with a porch that wrapped around to the left.  Two windows were visible from the second floor, that being a single room with a dormer.  The front porch had a swing in the left corner and plenty of comfortable rocking chairs.

Grandma loved sweets and baked cakes and pies to make extra money.  She always had several ready for my arrival and I also had a sweet tooth, a very large one.  I sometimes slept upstairs and sometimes in the front bedroom.  There was no air conditioning, only fans and open windows.  I do not remember being hot.  Ah, the innocence of youth.

Papa was a real romantic.  The letters he wrote to her when they were courting are beautiful and poetic.  I can imagine the joy in her heart when she received them.  They were married December 26, 1912, when Grandma was 23.  Times were difficult and they worked hard to make ends meet like most their age.  Teaching was her calling and she taught first grade for 40 years.  Her classroom was beyond its time, without tables in rows like most.  She used round ones, giving her students a feeling of importance and her ability to walk among them, giving much-needed individual attention.  I loved my visits to her room, even though it was scaled down for the summer.  Not being much older than her students, I wished that I could have been in her room every year.  She also managed a hotel restaurant that had the reputation of being one of the best in town.  Her menu brought in many customers and she had a loyal following. 

My times with her were sweet treasures. We would sing at the upright piano in the living room, and I would enjoy her and Papa singing in church on Sunday.  There was a chicken pen in the large backyard and we would go out every morning to gather the eggs.  She would protect me from the rooster who had a bad habit of spurring anyone he could.  One swift kick and he would make for the back of the pen.

Lindy, the cook, would come in the mornings to make breakfast on the wood stove in the small kitchen.  I loved watching her and would quiz her on how and why she did things.  One vivid memory of Lindy is the day she showed me how to kill a chicken.  I sat on the back steps, eager to learn.  She picked up a chicken and wrenched its head off.  The poor chicken’s body ran around for quite a few minutes.  Despite this horrendous sight, we continued to enjoy fried chicken every Sunday.

As I grew older, I continued spending the summers with Grandma and Papa.  It was a lazy, innocent time with them, peaceful and free from care.  When I was in the tenth grade, my family moved to Alabama and a year or two later, after Papa died, we moved in with Grandma.  What a delight.  Sweets whenever I wanted them and music as well.

She was happy in her later years with her grandchildren, her cats, and her flowers.  I will be forever grateful to her for giving me so much love and sweetness, which is what she was made of.  I will hold the image of her when young, dressed in a long skirt, white ruffled blouse, and dark hair pulled back in the style of the day, contrasted with her aged, portly frame, dressed in cotton gingham, hair white, and with those wise, sweet eyes clouded by time.

Grandma is seated.

In her first grade classroom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


My great-great-great grandfather was born in North Carolina in 1786. At the age of 20, he moved to South Carolina and was admitted into the Methodist Conference. The following year, he was ordained a Methodist minister.

After his marriage, he moved to Alabama and built a fortified house for himself and his family. The town,  Glennville, named for him, developed over time and was known in its heyday as the "Athens of the South". It had collegiate institutes, finishing schools, a military academy, classic churches and stately homes. In 1854, John Glenn, cousin to James, left to establish a school at Auburn and became its first president of the board of trustees. This school in successive changes became Auburn University. 


"Rev. Glenn had a full-rounded face, a florid complexion, a voice like a trumpet and 'faculties naturelle of the highest order'. Being an ordained Methodist preacher, he began his search for a congregation. 

 Mr. Glenn made repeated efforts and failed. One of the peculiar notions of the people and the only one on which there appeared to be a uniformity of faith, was the belief in witches. He resolved to take advantage of this fact, and in due time, was heard throughout the settlement, for miles in every direction, by written posters over Mr. Glenn’s own signature, and by public announcement, that he, on a certain day, at a certain hour, at a certain place, would publicly proceed to kill witches.

There was no cabin or other dwelling large enough to hold the crowd, which gathered for the exhibition. His method of killing witches included drawing of a witch’s picture into which he shot golden balls. His pictures included infidelity, drunkenness, and other vices. After that service he could draw a crowd from a twenty-mile radius at any time."

Unfortunate accident

"Mr. Glenn was very much given to walking long distances. It was March, 1851, and he wanted to walk the two miles to the church, give his sermon, and return home. His family persuaded him to ride a gentle old horse.

After the service, he began his journey. As he rode down a steep slope, a hog jumped out from the brush, scaring the horse, which bucked, throwing him against the pommel of the saddle, injuring him so severely that he died several days later."

He was buried in the Glennville cemetery and his wife, who died a few years later, rests beside him. The town he founded disappeared into history a few years after his death. Refusing to allow the railroad to go through brought about its demise. A few of the stately homes are present as museums, and the restored cemetery remains as a reminder of the souls who lived there.

(Not authenticated)


Saturday, May 26, 2018


My aunt was a brilliant woman, full of wit and good humor. She and I shared many things through the years... our love of family, of good books, art, and music, of nature, and of people. We were the watchers who often communicated without speaking.  A look or a touch of the hand spoke volumes.

Sister, as we called her, was a walker. We took many excursions, she strolling jauntily ahead, me struggling to keep up. Her energy was boundless. One memory that stands out is sitting under a huge tree, watching the leaves blow and the squirrels run. Words were unnecessary.

In looking through the family pictures, I have definite favorites, but the one that brings smiles is Sister in her grandmother's wedding dress, taken when she was eighteen. 

Raised in a small southern town, she had all the advantages her parents could provide. She and my father were close, enjoying times with friends and family. These pictures are of the two of them as young adults, playing off each other with their hats, and later in life, after marriage and family.

Sister attended college in Georgia before moving to Boston, where she met and married the love of her life some years later. When I moved to Virginia in the late sixties, I stayed with her until I began teaching. She and my uncle took me to concerts, lectures, and museums, broadening my horizons. Her presidency of the local women's club provided another level of awareness as I witnessed her in that capacity.

She was a touchstone for her family. I am her namesake. She was my aunt, but she was also my friend. 

Thanks, Sister, for the memories.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kith and Kin

My early years were with my grandmother. I remember her face, her smile, her unconditional love. A small woman, she possessed an elegant grace and an enigmatic smile. One never knew what she was thinking. I thought of her as my mother though I knew she really wasn’t. Grandma was a unique individual, a woman wrenched from her idyllic life one Christmas Day in 1929. Her husband died in a plane crash, and mother told me of the long line of black cars outside their home. My grandfather, the first licensed pilot in North Carolina, had earned the respect of all. His pilot's license was signed by Orville Wright.

Grandma moved from her small town to a larger one, and having no resources, fed tobacco factory workers during their lunch hour to make a living. She was a wonderful cook and an excellent tailor. She would look at a dress in a store window and make one just like it without a pattern. I still remember my favorite, a shirtwaist dress with long sleeves.

A proud woman, she could be utterly charming or caustic with a smile. One memory that brings laughter is of a pretentious man walking away with a "did she just tell me off” look on his face and Grandma’s sweet, Cheshire-cat smile behind him. She was a major influence during my early years, accepting me with all my faults and frailties, never criticizing, always supporting. I never told her of my many failures, the family grapevine did that; but she always greeted me with a smile, a hug, and lots of love. I pleased her despite myself and to this day, I will remember the feeling with gratitude.

Grandma and I loved the trips we took home every year.  We would turn a nine-hour trip into fourteen or fifteen hours, stopping on the spur of the moment for anything that looked inviting.  We usually took the scenic route, staying off the interstates, so we passed through many little towns filled with craft and gift shops, fairs, and restaurants.

One year, I was in a hurry to get home.  Bad weather was on the way and I took Interstate 95.  Atlanta was notoriously busy and we hit it at rush hour.  I was a little nervous, but having taken the yearly trips home had given me a familiarity with the traffic. Grandma was sitting next to me with her hands folded, probably willing us down the road.  

I was in the middle lane when suddenly, a car shot from the left in front of me across all lanes of traffic headed for an exit on the right with no warning and no turn signal.  To my credit, I didn’t slam on the brakes but out came the dreaded “F” word followed by “you S.O.B.”  As soon as I uttered those horrible curses, I realized who was sitting next to me.  I spent the next few minutes profusely apologizing.  Grandma didn’t say a thing and when I finally stopped, without batting an eye, she patted my hand and said, “That’s alright, honey, I probably would have said the same thing.”

Many other tales come to mind, but this one always brings a smile. Thanks, grandma, for all the memories.