Cousin Cindy

 

Brooksey Benjamin Blackman Teel was my fraternal great-grandfather and in his early years he resided in and around Atlanta.  He was the father of my precious Nanny and her late sisters, Johnnie and Vesta Teel but they were children from his first marriage.


BB Teel, as he was known, was the son of Phereba "Pinkie" Thornton and John Teel, born November 4, 1877 in Fulton County, Georgia, and died at the age of 71 on February 12, 1948, two months before I was born.   Because he and my great-grandmother Lottie Davenport Teel were granted a divorce by the court, I had little knowledge about Mr. Teel.  Nanny did tell me that she had a half-brother who was known by the name of Ralph although he was officially named BB Teel, Jr., but she gave me scant information about these relatives and I did not ask a lot of questions because it made her sad to talk about them.


One day in 2004 I was doing research on the internet for a story I was writing, and on a hunch, I input the name Teel, and consequently I found a post by someone searching for relatives of the Teel family.  To my surprise, I found several pictures of Nanny as a young woman holding her infant son Bill, and sitting with her dad and his young son.  To say I was stunned is an understatement but much to my delight, she had posted an email address so I sent her a detailed message.


Finding my cousin Cindy and her husband Morris has provided such enjoyment, several years ago they visited us in Baldwin County and other cousins, Ruby, Tricia and Rita, traveled from the Lizella area to meet her too.  Mr. Teel was her fraternal grandfather and his only son Ralph was her dad.  We shared pictures and information and have stayed in touch over the years.  A few weeks ago Cindy called to invite me to visit them in Seneca, SC, and soon I was traveling to their home for an extended visit.


Cindy invited family and neighbors to drop by to meet me and I smiled and chatted more during those days than I have in a long time.  We enjoyed her pool, went shopping for groceries for bible school at their church and then attended a concert where Squire Parsons was the guest performer.  For those who do not follow gospel music, he wrote and performs "Sweet Beulah Land".


Seneca was once a mill town with communities of mill hills as they were called, and she gave me the grand tour and told some great stories.  Cousins Connie came to visit as did Jennifer, and I got to meet Cindy's brothers, Thomas and Raymond and neighbors Chad and Jason who gave me a tour of their newly remodeled home.


Cindy is a fantastic cook who prepares meals the old fashioned way so eating at her table was a delight.  I will visit again because we made unforgettable memories.

 

Brenda S. Brown 

 

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