A Small Flood

 

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I have no idea who this is…

“Someone dies and a little trickle of indestructible keepsakes appears, to swell the flood. This steady influx is not counterbalanced by any comparable outgo.” – E.B. White

I am still fighting this flood. The trickle began when my mother-in-law died and I became keeper of the family photos and what little history there was. Before I could make much of a dent in sorting and such, my mother died. That is when the keepsakes really began to swell the flood. If I had not been there to rescue some, my brothers may have put them all downstream. Now I am still dog-paddling through photos, documents, letters, and the occasional surprise. There has been a lot of outgo, though. Some has been passed on to family members and some has hit the trashcan. Yet still I have items in three different closets that often just overwhelms me.

I thought I’d have it all sorted before this summer ended. It is a daunting task at times. When I come across the fourth copy of a genealogy chart, I have to be sure it is actually a replica and not a different one before it gets tossed. When there are numerous copies of the same photo, I have to decide who else might want a copy and contact them before I toss it. It seems never ending. And for what?

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My great-uncle Sim. Maybe related to Jed Clampett?

I hope to pass it all down to my next of kin one day. I want them to get it in an orderly arrangement so they don’t have to think about it and won’t have to make all these decisions. I want it to just flow right down to be perused at their leisure. To give them a sense of family history. A sense of belonging. For that’s what it’s done for me, though it hasn’t been easy. Fresh grief doesn’t make it any easier, either.

 

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Thoughts inspired by MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY #2

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“Ashamed of herself as mothers are when they realize they have passed that point in life when they want more from their daughters than their daughters want from them.” – Frederik Backman

I hit this point many years ago. It has taken a while to settle in my heart that it’s a natural progression, this growing away from our mothers. And sometimes there is a point where we tip back towards them. I was still in that tipping back that comes when the empty nest makes you realize your mother’s nest has been empty a long time, when Mom died. Now there isn’t even a nest for her except in memories. Yet, I try to follow in her footsteps and reach out to those I know are lonely. I have a long way to go, but I have Mom’s example to guide me.

And all is not lost on the mother/daughter front. Sure, I yearn for the days when they were young and occasionally thought I hung the moon. But, I see in them a spark of Mom’s kindness and know that they will always tip back to me now and then.

 

Thoughts inspired by MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY

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This is the third book I’ve read by Fredrik Backman. Not sure if this or A Man Called Ove is my favorite.  This one is story with lots of characters, which gives me hope for the book I’ve written that all is not lost. It’s main character is a child, but every character is a rich part of the story.

“…. because the people who reach the end of their days must leave others who have to live out their days without them.” — Frederick Backman

There is death in this story, but it it necessary for the story, just like in our lives. I am living out my days without a number of people who I wish were till here. I wish Cathy was here because her sense of adventure and love of music matched mine. I wish Debbie was here to leave me long, drawn out messages on voicemail. I wish Betty was here to enjoy watching me eat Key Lime pie and to tell us that “Larry says Hi!” And that Larry was here to say Hi and listen because he was always interested in everybody. I wish Charlie was here to teach E how to fish.

I wish Mamaw was here so I could ask her about what happened in 1938. I wish Great-Aunt Marie was here because where she was love was. And I’d even like to hear her burp again. I wish Dad was here to teach his great-grandkids all his nonsensical sayings. I wish Mom was here for so many reasons, I can’t even begin. So I’ll just say she was the one who always asked how Loretta was doing. And she would have liked Ruby just as much.

So I live out my days without them. I take Ruby now on my adventures and listen to lots of music with my husband. I think of Betty every time I have Key Lime anything. I’ve reached out to other relatives, some of whom I only recently met, to ask about 1938 and many other things. My brothers and I carry on with Dad’s sayings, and Mom’s jokes. But my voicemail still stays pretty empty.

 

Bell Camp: Days Six/Seven

Our last two days went by too quickly!

Day Six

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Today we went for a short hike at Moss Rock Preserve. I think the kids knew we’d do at least one hike while they were here since we’ve done several with them in the past. We took a trail that I knew would take us to a mini-waterfall. There we all took off our socks and shoes and splashed around, and ate some snacks we’d brought along in my trusty backpack. It was really quite perfect!

In the late afternoon/early evening we went to the Ross Bridge Farmers Market. This was another WIN. We got a little produce, the kids got free balloon creations, bounced around in the bounce houses and rolled around on the lawn. We then got our meals from the food trucks. The kids had some chicken tenders from Eugene’s Hot Chicken, while Grandpa  and I got sandwiches from the I Love Bacon truck. Chuck got the The BLT of Curtis Loew and I chose the Miami Sound Machine, a Cuban sandwich made with beer braised pork belly.  We all polished it off with some shaved ice. E and I both got Vanilla Cream, while JuJu and Grandpa got Cherry Limeade.

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Ladybug balloon

Day Seven

Our last day was rather low key. JuJu and I met a few ladies from church for breakfast at Panera, then made a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. In the afternoon the kids’request was a return trip to the library. That night we had breakfast for supper per JuJu’s request, then a fairly early bedtime so we could be out the door by seven the next morning.

In addition to “Field Trips”, our days were filled with math, maps, and language arts; screen time; playing with, feeding snacks to and walking Ruby; reading and coloring; card games, board games and puzzles; Legos and scooters; telling family stories.

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Our first Bell Camp was a success and we look forward to many more to come!

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Outake – LOL!!!

Bell Camp: Days Four/Five

 

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Day Four

Today we discovered Let’s Play Hoover. The kids had a blast!  Let’s Play offers unlimited all day play that allows you to leave and return the same day with no extra charge. The kids ran, bounced, jumped, climbed, and slid. We went home for a lunch break, then returned for more fun. There are plenty of spaces for parents to sit and read or use wifi.

 

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Right next door is Roll It Up Ice Cream. This is a unique ice cream shop where each creation is made to order while you watch. It’s fun to watch and oh so delicious to eat. I can’t wait to return! We ended the day watching Wall-E for the nth time. It’s one of E’s favorite movies!

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E’s creation

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Yum!

 

Day Five

This morning we went to Hoover’s new Explore Playground and Splashpad. This was another WIN! There is plenty to do on the playground and then there’s the splashpad for fun and cooling off. And best of all it’s free.

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Under the tree house

 

After going home for lunch,  we headed to the library. The kids always request a trip there. I have to admit it’s the ipads that attract them, though both kids love to read.

We finished out the day with a trip to  DQ per Grandpa’s request. Smiles all around. 🙂

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Bell Camp: Days Two/Three

Day Two

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After breakfast at the Hyatt (which was great both mornings we were there) , we headed home via Lawrenceville to do one more house drive-by – the home of Chuck’s grandparents. Then we hit up Boulder Creek Coffee where JuJu found some hidden treasure in an old trunk upstairs! We let the kids get some wiggles out at the playground before hitting the road.

After we got to Bham and unloaded, JuJu and I went to get Ruby from the vet. This was the first time for them to meet and they were both excited.

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Ruby

 

Day Three

This was Toy Story 4 Day. We started the morning with Toy Story 4 cereal. Kinda meh on the flavor scale.

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The kids wore their t-shirts and even though I messed up the tickets I’d pre-purchased, the manager saved the day and we enjoyed the show. I laughed a lot and teared up a little. It was a hit with all of us!

 

Afterwards we had an early supper at Jim-n-Nicks, then a little scootering around the neighborhood  and some Toy Story 4 Pez before the day ended.

Bell Camp: Day One

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Day one consisted of cemetery/house hopping.

Our first stop was the Oconee Hill Cemetery. It’s a lovely, historic cemetery and the setting for a book called The Song of Daniel by Philip Lee Williams. It is a huge place and I had no clue how to find my relatives except for a photo I had of some steps with my great-grandparents’ names on them. I had the kids and Chuck on the lookout for Baileys and not only did they find some, but also some Eberharts, Seagraves, Bells plus a few other names that the kids thought were funny. It was the photo that saved the day – we found the steps and then nearby the graves we were searching for. I was so excited!

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I had not been to the cemetery since 2000 for Aunt Marie’s funeral. Our little Juliette Marie is named after her as am I and my cousin Susan and my daughter, Leah. Juliette is also named for her mom, Claire Marie, her Noni and two great-grandmothers on her Mom’s side. We are all MARIE STRONG!!

 

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I found the resting places of my grandmother and great-grandparents, also. We found a random Sorrells headstone, which is how my husband and I are connected, but that’s another story for another day.

 

The next stop was the Friendship Baptist Cemetery in Danielsville. This is where Dad’s parents, grandparents, and other relatives are buried. I remember going here a few times as a kid when Mom and Dad would bring flowers and clean up the area a little bit. I also found the graves of Uncle (Give me some sugar) Eugued and Aunt Mabel Nash. Huff is a another family name and there were Huffs buried there, including my great-grandmother Annie Tallulah Huff Graham.

 

There’s a great story about one relative named Peter Hoff/Huff. Way back in the day, Peter Huff was a bootlegger who went by the name of Pint Peter since he supplied the pints for discreet drinkers in the area. When the government came in to put in a post office, they asked the people what to name the area. They said Pint Peter, but a misunderstanding resulted in it becoming Point Peter. Using gps, we were able to find the location, but the area is now referred to as the Glade. However, we did find a road sign, which led down a dirt road to a quarry.

 

We headed back to Athens for lunch at The Varsity.

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After lunch we located three old family houses in Athens. The first was on Sylvia Circle where we lived when I was about two. Again, it was a photo that led us to the correct house. The next was Grandma’s place on Vine Circle. It looked very much like I remembered it.  The last was a house where my great-grandmother Lucy lived in the 1940s. I found the address on a letter that was in a box of letters Mom had saved. I also have a picture of Lucy sitting on the steps of that very house which was built in the 1920s. I wanted so badly to go up and knock on the door, but I settled for taking a picture from the car window.

 

That night we once again walked to Mellow Mushroom for supper. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

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Artist at work in Mellow Mushroom

Day one of Bell camp was full of family history and a walk down memory lane for me.

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Scooter and playground break