When in doubt, expand parameters beyond expectations.

     Eliza Manus Dover. Nothing. Nowhere an obituary.   Her tombstone clearly states  she died Sept 27 1939. For years, almost a decade,  I’ve looked without success in and around September and October 1939 for a death certificate, obituary, bible reference, something.    This year, by happenstance, looking for an obituary for someone else, a headline grabs my attention.  Take a look and, bingo, there she is. Mrs. D. H. Dover (David Harvey).  Another female ancestor relegated to Mrs. so and so.  Definitely her.

     The article is dated March 7, 1939.  She died the day before on Mar 6; not Sept 27.

     Lesson learned.



Dover, Eliza Manus Dover obituary

Don’t forget to label.

Whatever the impetus for our conversations, whether it was Granny or me bringing up the past, we pulled out boxes of photos and labeled them.  That was 1984. Decades later  my parents and I pulled out their boxes of photos which included Granny’s (now deceased) photos. It took me by surprise, having forgotten,  to realize  on the back of many photos the cursive handwriting  was mine. We labeled  more and returned them  to  the old photo trunk. Recently, I came across an envelope in the trunk.  Inside, wrapped in tissue,  was a tiny coated glass  image of a young man in uniform (from the south, Civil War no doubt). No name. Fortunately, my Dad remembered. The young man was his great grandfather, Robert Randolf Adams. I took a HDR  photo with my iPhone and uploaded it at home.The tiny glass is back in its tissue and envelope, labeled and the digital image archived. Now, if only I can do the same with the thousands of images across my family’s digital devices!


Saying goodbye




The last day I spent with my mother, we held hands. I sat in Dad’s recliner and she in hers.  We watched Tom and Jerry cartoons and Too Cute! She struggled to breathe but didn’t complain and marveled at the beautiful colors.

There were long  stretches she seemed comfortable. It was easy to forget  Dad needed to  run errands and Mom could pass away any moment.

I wasn’t afraid (although it crossed my mind) of  what would happen if she did.   Nothing was going to happen. Not then. Maybe not ever. Forget the reality of the situation. I was watching cartoons and cute puppies on television with my mother.  Reality didn’t stand a chance.

Dad stayed home. No errands today. Instead, we  sat quietly together,  brushing aside as best we could the drone of oxygen machines.

Touching Mom gave me comfort.  I  wondered if the same was true for her.

When she felt smothered, we looked each other in the eye and waited.

“Breath in the roses, blow out the candles…breath in the roses, blow out the candles.”

Didn’t work. She  resorted to batting at her mouth, pulling off the mask.   Check the tubing.  Where is the second  tube?  Need a smaller mask.  Check the pulse oximeter. Wait. Wait. You aren’t dying today.

Dad was tender, attentive and on the verge of tears but held it together as oxygen levels  returned to manageable levels. We returned to our places, settled back into television and conversation. Made time.

After a little flan (her favorite) and a few sips of water, Mom raised a fading arm  and joked, “Do you believe this? I can’t even get up  and get my own drink!”

She knew it was a silly  thing to say.   A show of faith holding up that cup;  defying the odds.  Mom was precocious that way.

“I loved my life.” She squeezed my hand before I left to make the long drive home in the dark. “I would do it all over again.”

As if she knew what I was thinking, how reluctant I was to leave, Mama  smiled  and told me how much she loves me,  kissed me and said go home, be safe.

She sent me on my way with love to  family, adding (like it was my birthday),   “Remember, you made me a mother.”

(Mom, two years later and I feel your hand on mine. The look in your eyes, the sound of your voice and the kiss we shared envelops all that I am.)

Martha Mill Village

4th of July Picnic circa 1940

4th of July Picnic circa 1940  John and Mildred “Hazel” Keen with son Benjamin at a 4th of July Picnic 1940 with other members of the Martha Mill Village community in Thomaston, Upson Co., GA

Benjamin Franklin Welch, only son of John Harvey and Hazel Keen Welch, was born in Thomaston. His parents lived and work at Martha Mill (better wages, moving from Glenwood farm) until WWII when they moved to Savannah where John worked at the shipyard along with Hazel’s brother George L Keen.

http://home.windstream.net/tuarch/tmhistory.htm “Martha Mill Brief History”

4th of July Picnic

4th of July Picnic