Me as a Child

Did you have any pets? – We had a blond cocker spaniel when I was really little, named Taffy. Then we had a black cocker spaniel named Ebony when we lived in California. I had a hamster for about a year in grade school, and we had a bird when we lived in California. And off and on there were small bowls of fish who usually died of starvation or over-feeding.

What did you like to eat as a child? – My favorite of all times was and is Fried Chicken.

What did you do for fun? – I loved to read and to be read to. Books were my favorite toys. I also loved to listen to adults talk, even when I didn’t know what they were talking about. I had dolls and liked to play with them. I also played dress-up with Mama’s and Nannie’s old clothes. I loved to play with paper dolls. We played card games and board games, a lot.

Did you ever have a secret place or a favorite hiding spot? – No, not really. I loved to play house under the bushes at Nannie’s though. She had a huge hedge of spiria between her house and the Dudney’s who lived next door. Donna Dudney was a good friend and we had a tunnel under the spiria bushes that we used to go back and forth. It also made a wonderful play house.

What did you wear? – I wore dresses to school. The only time I wore shorts or pants was during the summer and occasionally after school. Nannie made most of my dresses for school until I was in 4th grade. She was able to look a pictures in magazines and make dresses for me just like the pictures.

Here I am in kindergarten. Nannie made that dress.

This is me in first grade. Nannie made that dress, too.

This is me on my 6th birthday. I was a cowgirl.

Here I am at age 7 in second grade.

And here I am the next year, still wearing the same dress.

No More “Emperor’s New Clothes”

I won’t do it any more. I won’t pretend that both sides are to blame in the debt crisis debacle. I WILL call it as I see it. The right-wing of the Republican Party is behaving like spoiled brats, refusing to have anything to do with compromise, or reason. It is obvious to me that they are motivated entirely by greed, prejudice, and self-centered navel-worship. The President has offered everything that could reasonably expected of him. He offered an increase in Medicare age eligibility, many, MANY spending cuts and only small revenue increases. (see this column in the conservative New York Times).

But the thing that is really galling is the fact that John Boehner’s proposal (finally passed by the House Friday evening) was described by Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as “tantamount to a form of ‘class warfare’” that “if enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.” Since the Boehner plan has no tax increases, its entire $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction must come from budget cuts.

Those budget cuts would have to come from cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees – that’s right – elderly people, already living on the edge of poverty, who have paid into the system in good faith for many, many years.


The cuts would also have to come from the safety net for low-income children, parent, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.

Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, said in an announcement this week, “In a time of anemic economic recovery, millions of people are relying on Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and countless other federally funded services that make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Severe cuts to any of these programs, or even across-the-board budget changes like a global spending cap, debt trigger, or Balanced Budget Amendment, would increase suffering and exact the most sacrifice from those who can least afford it, while exempting from additional responsibility those who can afford to pay more.”

These representatives claim to be “Christian”. Haven’t they ever read Matthew 25:31-46?

Grandparents – Mama’s Family

Did you have grandparents? – If you’ve been following this series, you know that so far my posts have been FULL of information and stories about my mother’s parents – Nannie and Gankie.

Where were they born? When were they born? – They were both born in southwestern Arkansas in 1888. Gankie’s birthday was July 10th, and Nannie’s birthday was December 8th.

What do you remember about them? When did they die?

William Barr Oglesby, Sr.

Gankie was born in Hope – yes, the same town where Bill Clinton was born, but many, many years earlier. His family can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th century in this country. One of the early Oglesby daughters was taken by the Indians in a raid on their homestead in Kentucky – the same raid that Davy Crockett’s sister was stolen in. His mother died at his birth and he was raised by an aunt and later an older sister. He was a twin.

His name was William Barr Oglesby, and his twin brother was Stuart Roscoe Oglesby, Jr. They had an older brother named Micajah Oglesby, and a couple of much older sisters named Rosa and Fanny (or Fanny may have been an aunt). Their father was a banker in Hope and, also the Sunday School Superintendent at the Presbyterian Church. In those days the Sunday School Superintendent was the lay leader. Gankie went on to be a banker all his life, ending up as Vice President of State First National Bank in Texarkana, Arkansas, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Uncle Stuart was a preacher, and retired in an Emeritus position from Central Presbyterian Church, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here are Gankie (on the right) and Uncle Stuart in about 1945.

When Mama and I lived with Nannie and Gankie before Papa came home from the war, Gankie used to say, “Are there any little girls around here who love their Gankie?” and I would hold up my hand and say “Here’s one!” He always called me his first little “Here’s one.”

Here he is in the living room at 2017 Laurel just before Nannie and Gankie’s 50th Wedding Anniversary in May of 1962.

Here he is as one of the four Williams – Uncle Billy (William Barr Oglesby, Jr), Gankie (William Barr Oglesby, Sr.), Billy (William Thomas Watters), and Bill (William Robert Greisser). This was taken when Billy was baptised in the spring of 1972. Gankie died just before Christmas that same year.

Annabel Eakin Oglesby

Nannie was born in Washington, Arkansas. Washington, Arkansas was where Jim Bowie made the first Bowie knife. Her father, William Eakin, was a lawyer, and her grandfather was also a lawyer and a Supreme Court Justice in the Confederate State of Arkansas. Her mother was Mary Harris Eakin – one of the Harrises of Virginia. The Eakins were Scotch-Irish and came to this country in the first decade of the 19th Century. (If anyone ever wants to get into the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution there is an Eakin ancestor who fought in the War of 1812). She was related to many of the old Southern families – I know there’s a Searcy, as well as the Harrises in her lineage.

This is a picture of Nannie and Aunt Mary who was just a year younger than Nannie. Apparently there was a traveling photographer who went around southwestern Arkansas taking these pictures of young kids, since this is a match to Gankie and Uncle Stuart.

Nannie had two older and two younger sisters, but the youngest one died at the age of two. Her name was Elvira Searcy and we always said she died in protest to her name. Her older sisters were Florida Elizabeth – called Floy – and Pauline. Aunt Floy married a railroad man named Arthur Allen, and later moved to Colorado after he came down with tuberculosis. They had two sons – Arthur, Jr., and Nat. Aunt Pauline married Stuart Wilson – a banker, who hired Gankie to be the head Teller in his bank in Texarkana – and they had three girls – Pauline (always known as Little Pauline), Mary Adele, and Margaret (Mama’s bosom buddy and best friend growing up). Aunt Mary (also called Aunt Mamie) married an engineer, Jim Dawson, and had a daughter named Mary Lou.

There are the Eakin girls on the porch of Aunt Pauline’s house in Texarkana in 1915.  From left to right: Mary Dawson, Annabel Oglesby, Pauline Wilson, and Floy Allen.

Here’s the whole family five years later (I know the year, because Mama was born in 1920, and she’s the baby.) From left to right: Mary Adele, Little Pauline, Aunt Pauline, Nat Allen, Aunt Floy, Arthur Allen, Nannan (Mary Harris Eakin), Mary Lou and Bill Oglesby (in front), Aunt Mary, Nannie (Annabel Oglesby), Mama (being held by Gankie), Gankie, Jim Dawson.

Here are Nannie and Gankie in the fall of 1944.

And here they are for their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1962.

This is Nannie and Aunt Mamie (in the wheelchair) in 1973, shortly before Aunt Mame died.

And here’s Nannie in 1978. She was living with Mama and Papa at the time at 1924 Laurel. Shortly after that her Alzheimer’s progressed so far that she had to go to a nursing home. She died in early January 1982.

Another Day – Another Apology

I know I promised you a post today about the Grandparents on Mama’s side, but the fact is – I have run out of time. I returned to find over 150 emails to be sorted through, my Credit Card had been hijacked, and I had to go to my client for end-of-the-month bookkeeping.

I finally finished, at least reviewing, my email – it’s not all read and answered, but the important stuff has been sorted and dealt with.

Luckily the bank caught the Credit Card stuff – they noticed there had been over 50 small (under $100 each) charges on the card from New Jersey over the weekend. They called Big Al, and he was able to tell them that they couldn’t have been ours. They took them off the bill, but they also cancelled our card and sent us a new one. The only problem is – I have LOTS of on-line merchants who have that card pre-approved, so I’ll have to go back through my billing and change the credit card number for them. GROAN

I spent the morning at my client, and while I was there I got a phone call saying that someone wanted to look at the house between 1:30 and 3:00. I had to tell them “No” because the maids were scheduled to be here between 1:30 and 2:30. I asked the potential buyers to reschedule to between 3:30 and 5:00, but that didn’t work out for them. When I got home about 1:00, Big Al said the maids had turned up at 11:30 and were already gone. So I could have let the people come after all. I’m not that worried about it though. These are the people who were scheduled to come on Tuesday afternoon who finally cancelled after they were already an hour late. I’m not real concerned about them if they are so scattered that they miss one appointment entirely and don’t try to reschedule until an hour and a half before they want to come, and then they can’t be flexible by an hour.

All in all, not a very productive day – so I’ll try to do something about Mama’s family tomorrow afternoon.


For all of those hanging on my “Family History” posts, sorry that I’ve not posted anything since Sunday. I’ve been at a church conference and I just flat didn’t have either the time or the energy left at the end of the day to post anything. I promise I’ll get started again tomorrow, with Grandparents – Mama’s family.

Grandparents – Papa’s Family

Did you have grandparents? – Papa’s father was dead by the time I was born, but his mother was still alive and I knew her well.

Where were they born? – Papa’s father was born in Illinois, near Peoria, I think, in the late 1860s or early 1870s. His father was born in Germany and immigrated to this country as a young man.

Papa’s grandfather’s name was Francis Xavier Greisser. He changed it from Griesser to Greisser. He was one of six brothers and as nearly as we can tell any Greisser or Griesser in this country is related to us. His wife (Papa’s grandmother) was Harriet Evans also from Peoria, Illinois.

What do you remember about your grandparents? When did they die?

This is Papa’s father – Victor H. Greisser. Papa’s mother was Bessie Hutchinson (Gaga). She immigrated from England with her family when she was about 2 years old. Her father was a Methodist minister and there were three girls in her family. They lived near Peoria, Illinois through the 1880s and 1890s (think Little House on the Prairie after they moved to town.)

Grandfather Griesser and Gaga married and moved to Spokane, Washington, where Grandfather was civil engineer and worked on some of the dams and locks on the Columbia River. There is a particular type of lock mechanism that he invented and is named after him.

These are Papa’s parents in 1916, about five years after Papa was born. Papa had two older brothers, Victor Percy Greisser was seven years older than he and Arthur Hutchinson Greisser was nine years older than he.

Grandfather Griesser had heart trouble and moved Gaga and Papa (Uncle Vic and Uncle Art were grown by that time) to California where he died in 1933 in Palo Alto, California.

This picture was taken when we lived in California when I was two years old – both grandmothers, me and Mama.

This is another picture from that year – Gaga, me, and Nannie.

This picture is in Gaga’s backyard during the time we lived in Concord. The man is Uncle Vic, and the woman next to him is Aunt Esther, Uncle Art’s wife. Mama is sitting to Gaga’s left.

Gaga was afflicted with Parkinson’s disease in her later years, and died in 1971 at the age of 99.

The Siblings

How many brothers and sisters do you have? – I have two sisters and one brother.

When were they born? – Harriet was born June 2, 1948, Betty was born December 21, 1950, and Bill was born June 5, 1955.

What memories do you have of each of them from when you were growing up? – They have all figured prominently in this series of posts so far, but I’ll talk about each of them in more detail individually now.

Harriet Greisser

Here’s Harriet in the Christening Robe that Papa’s mother was baptized in, then Papa and his brothers, then all of us and all of his brothers’ children, and finally my children, and my grandchildren. I still have it, but it is VERY delicate and I’m afraid to wash it or even handle it.

In the long, hot summers in Texarkana before air conditioning, we cooled off in a wash tub and the hose. That’s me and Harriet, enjoying the water.

Here we (the cousins, Harriet, and me) are cooling off in the shallows at Little River Country Club. You’ll notice we have a tight grip on Harriet. Mama said that as soon as we would let go of her she would stick her face in the river and refuse to come up! She was about 13 months old in this picture.

Here we are showing off a string of fish Papa had caught. I was about 7 years old, and Harriet was 3. She was always tall for her age, and I was always short, so we looked like there were fewer than four years between us.

Here’s Harriet and me getting ready to go trick or treating for UNICEF with a friend of ours. I’m the ghost and Harriet is the devil in Red. Harriet was 12 years old and I was 16 here. See, she’s taller than I am and she hasn’t finished growing yet.

This is Harriet in her hippy years. I was married and in Germany by the time this was taken. She was getting ready to go the University of Michigan.

She married a fellow from Westfield while she was at the University of Michigan, and she was not around much when I was for almost 10 years. She divorced and fell in love with her current husband during that time – meanwhile, I was living in Louisiana, Nevada and England.

We basically reconnected at my grandmother’s funeral in January of 1982. By that time she was a career woman working for Channel 13/PBS in New York City, and loving the urban life.

When Big Al and I came home from England, she scooped us off the boat and we spent a day with her and her future husband in New York City. Here we are walking in Riverside Park.

Here she is in her wedding picture in 1985.

Elizabeth (Betty) Greisser

Here’s Betty in the Christening Robe. I think we were saving money on the picture. Mama said the only way she could tell Harriet’s picture from Betty’s picture was that Harriet’s ears stuck out.

This was later that same summer. Betty has joined us and she was about 7 months old here.

Here we are the Christmas that Betty was 2 years old, Harriet was 4, and I was 8.

Betty was enough younger than I that I didn’t pay much attention to her while I was growing up. She was still home, though when I came back to Westfield to live after Ray was born. She was still in High School, so I got to know her a little then.

Betty and Mama came to visit us when we lived in Germany. Here she is in our apartment.

That’s Ray and Betty and me dangling our feet in one of the lakes in Germany.

She went to Trenton State College in New Jersey. By the time she graduated, Mama and Papa had moved to Texarkana, but they and Bill went back to New Jersey for her graduation and to help her move to Texarkana, with them.

She got a job in the Trust Department of the Bank that Gankie had been a vice-president of. I saw her more often while we lived in Louisiana, but didn’t see much of her from the time we went to England until after she was married.

She was VERY pregnant at Nannie’s funeral. That’s Harriet and her visiting. It’s a shame that we didn’t get together much more than for funerals, because we really enjoyed each other when we were together.

After we came home from England, we lived in Texarkana and I got to know her as an adult.

William Robert (Bill) Greisser

There’s the Christening Robe again, and see, his ears aren’t sticking out, so we know it’s not Harriet.

This is all four of us with Mama in the summer of 1956.  I’m 12 years old, Harriet is 8, Betty is 6 and Bill is 1.

This was taken in the summer of 1963. I’m 19 years old, Harriet is 15, Betty is 12, and Bill is 8.

Here’s Betty and Bill in the spring of 1970.  This was shortly before Mama and Papa and Bill moved to Texarkana. I was the same amount older than Bill as Bill is older than Ray – 11 years each way, so he was as much my kid as he was my brother.

Here are the Four Williams – William Bar Oglesby, Jr (Uncle Billy), William Bar Oglesby, Sr. (Gankie), William Thomas Watters (my son Bill), and William Robert Greisser (my brother Bill).

I was around Bill fairly regularly from 1970 until he went to college at M.I.T. in 1973.

Then I didn’t see much of him until he came to visit us in England in June 1979. Here he is with Ray and Bill Watters.

Here he is with Mama and Papa in Texarkana. He got a job with Texas Instruments and moved to Louisville, TX. He married a girl from Louisville in 1983. Since we both live in the Dallas area, we see more of each other now than we did growing up.