Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pinkie and PeeWee's Photo

And here they are. I understand that this was their engagement pic.

I did that backwards didn't I? I should have put the pic up as a Wordless Wednesday post and then the text. I guess it's OK anyway cause this post is not wordless.

What do their expressions say to you?

Hers: I got me a Man!

His: How in the heck do I get out of this?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pinkie and PeeWee's Anniversary

About two years ago, Karen, the director of my local Family History Center was helping me with some research. The question came up of my parents' marriage date and I didn't specifically know what the date was. My mother's older sister, who provided the information for Mom's death certificate, provided that their marriage was April and two years ago, I didn't remember if it were 1951 or 1952. So up until now, I had used only Apr 1951/52 as documentation of their marriage. I had looked when Karen was helping me and last week I looked again at the Mahoning County Ohio Probate Court site looking for information to send for their marriage license. In the meantime, on one of my research trips to OHS where they have a lot of Ohio newspapers, I found their license application date was 5 April 1951. I finally emailed the Probate Court last week and got their marriage date and the citation info. Their wedding was 28 April 51, Volume 88 – Page 302. The great news is that Mahoning County Probate will send me a genealogy copy for ten ¢ (that is 10 cents) plus a SASE or a certified copy for $2 plus SASE. Isn't that Awesome? I expected around $10 and no genealogy copy.

So, while celebrating this couple of folks, let's take a look at some parts of their lives.

PeeWee was born 27 September 1926 in Fitzgerald, Ben Hill, Georgia. He was the son of a sharecropper, John Pink DRAPER and Ella Lee BRIMMER. His name at birth was Clovis Lee DRAPER. He was the fifth son born of this union, also having several sisters and a brother from John P's first marriage to Minnie Lampkin. John was quite a bit older than his second wife, so his father was 52 when PeeWee was born. PeeWee went to public school up until the sixth grade. I often heard of that story. I think his intent to relay that was not that he was bragging but quite proud of what he accomplished in life with only a sixth grade eduacation. I also often heard the story of how he got his nickname, that we was twelve years old and weighed 90 pounds. Not included in the story but was also true is that he was relatively short as most men go, about 5' 6" or 7". He was a veteran of WWII, serving as a cook in Germany and at Fort Benning Georgia. I have attempted to send for his service record but have to take another shot at that because of the fire at the National Military Records Center. Without sending for those records, I have a suspicion that he lied about his age and somehow got into the US Army as maybe a 16 or 17 year old.

That suspicion is based on that he was in the army and back out again, serving a full enlistment (two years?) before his father died in 1948. OK, I know it's not necessarily so bc in 1948 PeeWee turned 21, but his father died in February, PeeWee was 20 1/2. Regardless how old he was, it's a genealogical question that I didn't bother to ask, nor cared to know until I started researching. I will most likely find the answer when we eventually meet again. After John Pink died, the family moved to Youngstown Ohio in the vicinity of one of Ella's sisters and brothers. I have traced the DRAPER and BRIMMER Families from the 1920s through the 1950s around Youngstown using city directories. At one point, for maybe three or four years, PeeWee disappeared. That will have to be another blog someday. PeeWee was a construction worker employed by the Torrello Construction Company for over twenty years. Chester Torrello owned a small company, and PeeWee was one of his cement finishers and laborers.

Pinkie Ann HARGROVE, was the second daughter, fifth living and youngest child of Oliver HARGROVE and Clara DUNCAN. Pinkie Ann renamed herself to Anna Mae at some time after the age of maturity, so at that point Pinkie became more like a nickname. In actuality, I thought it was her nickname until she died. That's one of the many things I am looking into. I may never know specifically why until we meet again. I am trying anyway to decipher when was that occurrence. If you are one of my faithful blog readers, please do not confuse Pinkie Ann with Pinkie Ann HOPE HARGROVE, that's her grandmother after whom she was named. So for clarity of the two, I will call mom Anna Mae. Anna Mae was unique among her brothers and sister, the only one not born in Jackson County Georgia. Sometime after the birth of her next older brother in 1923, the family moved to Pricedale, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Anna Mae was born there, 20 September 1927. In 1929, the family moved again to Youngstown. I have also tracked the HARGROVEs around Youngstown from 1929 through to the 1960s. LOL My memory can pick a lot of it up from there.

Besides when did Anna Mae change her name, something else I was curious about for this couple is 'how did they meet?'. Only because I have been researching have I come up with a few conclusions. One is that one of his aunts lived on Park Ave at the same time as one of her sister in law's family. Another is that one of his cousins lived on Oak Hill Ave at the same time as somebody else that she knew. I have to look again to see who that person was. A third conclusion is that they were both out, maybe at some weekend event or maybe that they both happened to be celebrating their birthdays in the same establishment. You notice that their birthdays are a week apart, or actually a week short of one year apart. My most plausible guess is that they met at some combination of the three; birthday celebration, aunt's neighborhood and cousin's neighborhood. In other words, I remember meeting my husband through a mutual friend, then ran into him somewhere else and remembered from where we were introduced previously. Then once more, I 'ran into him' again, with all three of these events being within about thirty days. I should have known by that time that I was being stalked.

PeeWee and Anna Mae's marriage did not last very long, but long enough to have bore one live birth. According to my birth certificate, there were two miscarriages before me. That's enough for now. Happy Anniversary Pinkie and PeeWee.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Model Grandma

The first memory I have of Grandma Clara was that we that 'we' called her Nanny. That applied to one of my first cousins and I. She had five other grandchildren who called her Grandmother or Grandma. The other first cousin and I caught on and we started calling her Grandma also. Now that I am a grandmother myself, I can see that the Nanny thing was most likely to distinguish this grandmother from that one. I didn't see my other grandmother as often and when I did, they were never both together, so the part about distinguishing one from the other became a non issue.

Grandma Clara was a model for all grandmothers to follow. She made every one of us feel that 'we were the special one'. Although, now as an adult, I know it isn't so. When I was let's say ten and younger, you would not have been able to convince me or my other six cousins that it wasn't the absolute truth. Certainly could not convince me because I was her baby's baby; regardless of any other factor, you can't change that.

Something else about Grandma is that she had glaucoma. For those who don't know, it is a blinding disease where seeing shadows eventually become total darkness. Her oldest child, Agnes was her caregiver. Aunt Agnes' her husband, son, three others of my cousins and myself all lived at Grandma Clara's house on Myrtle Ave. Now and then I think about that and it makes me snicker. Eight people and one bathroom! I tell you what, we had it down to a science. The five of us kids were six years apart from the oldest to youngest. School mornings we had a routine that was strictly followed by all five of us. You better be waiting outside the bathroom door when your turn came or you got skipped and even went to the end of the line.

Back to grandma. When she got her social security check, she would often slip all of us a 'piece of change'. It's no wonder she didn't always give us a little every month and I don't blame her. I have observed occasions where one, maybe two of my cousins stood there waiting for their money and grandma would ask for confirmation "Is that a five?". "No, Grandma, that's a one". I tell you what, Grandma couldn't see but she knew exactly how much money she had.

You see this photo of her standing in front of her church? I'm positive it was Mother's Day. See the white carnation? I had one of my cousins help me to decide when was this pic taken and we figure it was about 1965 and she would have been about 76 years old. Well, eventually she got to where she didn't want to 'bother anybody' to drive her across town to go to her church on Wilson Ave, so she started attending the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It was coincidentally down the street about a 10 minute walk. Even though it wasn't very far, she still needed assistance getting there and back. Any one of my other cousins could have taken her (an they may have now and then) but I think I remember taking her most often. I said it was a ten minute walk, any one of us kids could have gotten there and back in five minutes but you had to walk a little slower if you were walking with Grandma. You had to alert her to the cracks and the uneven sidewalk slabs.

I hope I don't sound like I was her little angel. I must admit, that I did her wrong once. She told me not to go anywhere and I did anyway. I made the mistake of taking her blindness for granted once and I paid for it when I got back. I have asked forgiveness for that dirty deed. She assured me I am forgiven but don't do it no mo. I also remember when there was a thunderstorm, we had to turn out the lights and sit there quietly while the Lord was doing his work.

One of my cousins and I shared her bedroom. Hers was the largest bedroom in the house and fit three twin beds, dressers and a desk very comfortably. The one thing I remember best about Grandma is that when she went to bed at night, she got down on her knees to pray most nights before she went to sleep. Now and then, she'd get in bed then pray but she did pray every night.

At the end of her prayers she would say the first verse of The Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Added inspired note after reading Sandra's article My Grandmother Always Said…… :
My Grandma used to always say, "Keep on living, you'll be old someday." I do get it.

You Must see The Generations Project

Durrell's episode is on The Generations Project this week. IMHO it is one of the most fascinating of all the Generations Project episodes I have seen. You have to watch this. Just to pique your interest without giving away the story, I was captivated by the mention of his ancestor's involvement with the mayor and chief of police. I find The Generations Project even more fascinating than the Who Do You Think You Are series. For one, there are no commercials! You get a full hour of entertainment for your genealogy fix. Another, as stated before, these are 'regular people'! I got the expression regular people from someone who commented on Dr Henry Louis Gates, Jr original episode, African American Lives that it was a great show. But how about featuring us regular people?

Maybe noncelebrity would be a better expression of who they are. I missed one or two of these episodes but I now look forward to every Monday when I can watch to see what's coming next. Another episode is Deanna, whose great grandparents died in a house fire. I have figured out that 'coming soon' might really mean already broadcast. There was at least one episode where it showed the nugget of an upcoming show I had already seen. So it seems that all these shows have already been taped and are not necessarily shown in order. I'm glad that I was able to actually view Durrell's episode since I was really pumped and have been waiting anxiously, since March 2 to see it. One point you might note is that even though The Generations Project is online, it looks like viewing missed episodes is not possible unless you have satellite service and have saved it via dvr.

I think I may apply. Maybe I can get some help identifying Smith's parents and siblings. Or maybe to confirm my newest conclusion is that Smith's wife, Pinkey Ann HOPE, is the half sister of John HOPE. John HOPE was an educator and first black president of Atlanta Baptist College, now known as Morehouse College.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010