Throw-back Thursday


In keeping with the theme of last week, here I am with one foot in Alabama and one foot in Tennessee, on the Natchez Trace, as we were traveling from Dallas to Tacoma. (I know, you’re thinking how on earth is the Natchez Trace on the way from Dallas to Tacoma? Just believe me. We took a few detours to see family along the way, like Chicago, Nashville, Metarie, LA, etc., before we really got started.)











This photo is part of the Lenten Photo-A-Day Challenge.

The 1st Presbyterian Church of Texarkana, AR, is where the ROOTS of my faith were planted. My grandparents were members there, my mother grew up there. There I was first taken to the nursery. I attended Vacation Bible School there in the summers when we would visit my grandparents. I sang in the choir when I was in college. One of the bells in the bell tower is dedicated to my grandparents. I took one of my children there to be baptized by my uncle. I worked there as a Director of Christian Education. My sister and her family are still members there. My parents’ funerals were held there. My ROOTS are deep in the foundations of the church and I make it a point to go back occasionally and water them.

The lectionary passage that spoke especially to me today was from Job 19:25-27

25  For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
26  and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
27  whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.


2017 Laurel

This photo is part of the Lenten Photo-A-Day Challenge.

This is the house my mother grew up in and my grandparents lived in all my childhood. Although they moved from there after a fire in 1964, it’s the first place I think of when someone says HOME.

The lectionary passage that spoke especially to me today was from Psalm 27:4

4   One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.


1924 Laurel

This photo is part of the Lenten Photo-A-Day Challenge.

We had been to visit my parents who were living in the house my grandparents had lived in. It was time to LEAVE, and Mama was waving good-bye to us. She had Alzheimer’s and she was LEAVING us even more than we were LEAVING her.

The lectionary passage that spoke especially to me today was from Psalm 43:3-5

3   O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
4   Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.

5   Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

More About Parents

Who was more strict:  your mother or your father? – They were both pretty equal in discipline.

Do you have a vivid memory of something you did that you were disciplined for? – I’ve already told about things I did wrong before the age of 5. Basically I was totally a typical first child. I had the “good girl” business all wrapped up. I was probably really obnoxious about not getting into trouble.

Did your parents have a good marriage? – I think they had a very good marriage. At least I hope so, because they were married for 55 years and it only ended when Mama died of Alzheimer’s. They were married June 24, 1943.

This picture is from Mama and Papa’s Engagement party. That’s Margaret and David Newbold on the left, Nannie and Gankie in the middle, and Mama and Papa on the right.

These were the men in Mama’s life – Uncle Stuart Oglesby (my grandfather’s twin brother), Uncle Bill Oglesby (my mother’s brother), Gankie (my grandfather), and Papa. They were standing outside the church before the wedding rehearsal. Uncle Stuart and Uncle Bill were both ministers and presided at the event.

In June of 1993 we had a big party for their 50th wedding anniversary in the fellowship hall of the same church they were married in – 1st Presbyterian Church of Texarkana, Arkansas.

Here they are before the party started. You can see Mama was in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s then.

Here they are with the four of us – I’m on the left, then Harriet, then Mama, then Betty, then Papa, and then Bill.

Mama and Papa with my family.

Mama and Papa with Harriet and her husband.

Mama and Papa with Betty’s family.

Mama and Papa with Bill’s family.

Many of the people who were in the wedding were also at the 50th Anniversary party.

I was sitting in church with Papa several years after Mama’s death, and I looked over at his bulletin. He had underlined the date – June 24, 2003 – and had written “60 years ago” under it.

I wept.


Childhood House(s)/Neighborhood(s)

What was the apartment or house like that you grew up in? How many bedrooms did it have? Bathrooms? What was your bedroom like? Can you describe the neighborhood you grew up in?

You’ll understand when I say I’m at a bit of a loss how to answer these questions when I tell you that by the time I went to first grade, I had lived in 7 different houses.

Mama brought me home from the hospital to her parents’ house – 2017 Laurel St. in Texarkana, Ark. It was a big, two-story red brick house that Mama had grown up in from the time she was 9 years old. This is the house I considered my home. I used to tell people that I really lived in Texarkana with my grandparents, but Mama and Papa made me stay with them wherever they were.

Here I am with Mama in the front yard of 2017 Laurel, at about age 1 month.

With my maternal grandmother – Nannie – in the back yard at 2017.

With my maternal (and only) grandfather – Gankie – in the back yard at 2017. Mama and Nannie captioned this picture the two most unhappy people in the whole world. He was terrified he would drop me, and I was terrified he would too.

With my paternal grandmother – Gaga – inside at 2017 Laurel. She had travelled from her home in California to see the new granddaughter.

When Papa came home from the war, he went back to his job working for Shell Chemical Co., in California. We lived in two places out there, both in the east Bay Area of San Francisco – Rodeo and Los Madanas. Both of these places were, according to Mama, just awful! They were hastily put together Wherry housing or leftover barracks from the war. While we lived there, Mama’s cousin Margaret and her daughter Genie came to visit. Margaret’s husband had died during the war, so she was a grieving widow, travelling around to visit relatives and recover.

You can just make out the housing in the background.

I think we were about 18 months old in this picture (judging from the time of year). Genie is two months older than I am. We both had Snoopys, wooden dogs that you pulled around by a string. They made a wonderful skrownking noise. Both of my children also had Snoopys.

In late 1946 or early 1947, Papa was transferred to Houston, and we moved into a real slum on Dunlevy Street. We didn’t live there long, but I definitely remember that it was two-story because there was a little boy about my age who lived upstairs and he had a Chutes and Ladders game that we were allowed to play occasionally.

In early 1948 we moved to Myrtle Street in Houston. That was the house right across the street from the railroad tracks where Harriet was terrified by the train and I was terrified by electricity.

It snowed that winter – a real blue Norther – in Houston. That was a VERY rare occurance!

Harriet was born in June, 1948, (in Texarkana because one of Mama’s cousins was married to a doctor, and Uncle Perry delivered all of us).

All this time we were spending summers, Christmases, and any other time Mama could figure out a reason in Texarkana. We also spent several weeks every summer at Little River Country Club. Although Nannie and Gankie didn’t own a cabin there, one of Nannie’s best friends did, so we were able to go for weeks at a time.

My cousins, Anne and Mimi, were often there with us during the summers.

Here’s Harriet and me in the back yard at 2017 Laurel, arriving for Christmas in 1948, I think.

Before school started in 1949 we moved from Myrtle Street to our first house in Pasadena, Texas. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the street we lived on, but we didn’t live there very long. That’s the house we were living in when Harriet got the tips of two of her fingers cut off. She learned to walk when she was 8 months old and she thought she was my age. She was about 22-months-old and following me out the back door, and put her hand in the hinge. The wind caught the door and blew it shut and cut the tips off the middle two fingers of her left hand. Blood everywhere. Mama wrapped up her hand and the bloody tips in a clean diaper and called Papa. She was crying so hard all she could say was “The baby – the baby!” Papa broke all speed limits and records racing home, and got us to the hospital where the doctors sewed her fingertips back on. Today you would never know it to look at her hands unless you were looking for it. I realize now that Mama was newly pregnant with Betty, who was born in December of 1950, and Papa probably thought she was having another miscarriage when she called.

I’m searching my brain to remember the name of the second street we lived on in Pasadena. I remember it was on the corner, and sideways across the street was where Priscilla Puffer lived. She was about three years older than I and I thought she was wonderful. That’s where we lived when I went to first, second and third grade. I went to Garden Elementary School in Pasadena. I’ve often thought I’d try to find it again some time, but I’ve never been back to the area even though I have been in Houston several times since I’ve been grown.

While we lived there, Betty was born, although we returned to Texarkana to stay again. I went to school at Fairview Elementary for a couple of months while we waited for the baby to be born, and for Mama to be ready to go back to Houston.

In the spring of 1953, Papa was transferred to the Shell plant in Martinez, California. Mama, Harriet, Betty, and I spent the last two months of the school year in Texarkana while I finished up third grade. We lived in Concord, California from fourth grade through sixth grade, in a nice little tract house with three bedrooms.

Here I am in the back yard on North 6th Street. I tried to find the house once in 1994 when Al and I were out there for a seminar, but I never was able to. I went to Wren Ave. Elementary School. That’s where we were living when we had the earthquake in 1955 on the Concord Fault. The family on one side of us was the Vnucks, and on the other side were the Padrazzis. My best friend was Frances Fisher who lived on the other side of the Vnucks.

We lived in Concord for three years, but we only spent one summer there – the summer my brother Bill was born. The other two years we went back to Texarkana.  While we were there in 1956 (one of the hottest on record until that time), Papa was transferred to New Jersey.

When we moved up there Mama and Papa bought a house – it was the first one they had ever owned. It was a big old two-story Victorian with a full attic and a full basement. It was a four-bedroom house and I had my own room for the first time.

The family lived there until after I had left for college, and gotten married. You can see it had a wonderful wrap-around front porch, and was a great place for a family.

You can understand now, I think, why I don’t have any trouble moving. I was born to it.