Certainly I am not the only person who
wakes up in the middle of the night for no reason at all, and then cannot get
back to sleep; everything is quiet and there I am traveling around in my private
thoughts remembering people and details instead of creating sweet dreams. Believe
it or not, in the still of the night is when many of my columns begin to
develop, although when I open my laptop the next day, I sometimes struggle to
recall all the countless details that I remembered about precious family members
during those midnight hours.
Although detailed research reveals that
none of my ancestors were particularly rich or famous, generally they were
distinctive in the fact that they were individuals who were kind, cared about
their neighbors, minded the law, worked hard, told the truth and loved their
One of the older relatives that I
remember was Lottie Davenport Lain, she had several other names because she was
married three times but that is a story for another time. She
was my paternal great grandmother who was born in January 1880 and lived to be
eighty-six years old. I was a newlywed when
she passed away and although I have documented countless details about her, I
wish that I had asked more information about the days of her youth.
By the time I had specific memories
about my great-grandmother, she was a widow who stayed close to home and kept
busy cooking, sewing, caring for others and playing endless games of solitaire. She
had short white hair, was taller than most everyone in the family with a soft
but clear voice who drank no spirits or said no discouraging words. She
made homemade biscuit, prepared fresh vegetables, and served the sweetest tea
Miss Lottie dedicated her life to
serving others, she was the mother of three girls but only one child, Ruby Teel
Scott, and my maternal grandmother lived to be older than twenty years old. Johnnie
and Vesta passed away as young women, one from a ruptured appendix and the other
from influenza; they are both resting at Hopewell Church cemetery in Fayette
County, Georgia. She supported her family by
running a boarding house on the outskirts of Atlanta; but she preferred calling
it taking in boarders.
Rutherford B. Hayes was the nineteenth
President of the United States when she was born; the president that was
seriously wounded while fighting for the Union Army during the War Between the
States, his predecessor was Ulysses S Grant.
She was in her thirties during World
War I, not quite fifty years old on October 29, 1929 which was called Black
Tuesday and the beginning of the Great Depression. She
was in her sixties during World War II, and cried when she heard that John F.
Kennedy had been assassinated. Lyndon B.
Johnson, number thirty six, was in office when she passed away but I have no way
of knowing if she ever voted in an election.