Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sentimental Sunday – Trips to Memaw’s House

Trips to Memaw’s (Edna Higginbotham) house for me were good and bad.  The bad – car sickness.  Two hour road trips were excruciating.  Especially since Mom and Dad both smoked and the window would only be cracked a 1/4 inch.  When we got there and opened up the car doors, you would have thought we were rolling with Cheech and Chong, the smoke would pour out of the car.  Only good thing about that was, I swore I would never smoke and I never have.  The good – running into my Memaw’s arms.  The banana pudding that she made for me every single time. (I have a picture of me eating a bowl of it somewhere, when I find it I will have to post that.)  Playing in her front lawn with rolly polly’s, I swear that grass was like carpet.  I spent hours out there.  Her neighbor Faye, wish I knew her last name, I visited her every time, she was such a sweet lady. 

Three things were certain about visiting my Memaw, banana pudding, trip to cemetery to visit Bepaw (Earl Higginbotham)), and Bryce’s cafeteria.  I loved doing them all.  She probably got me started on my love for walking the cemeteries.  This is Memaw beside Bepaw’s grave.  I don’t remember him except for what I see in pictures, I was three years old when he passed away.  I wish I would have talked to her about him.  I don’t know why I didn’t.  That brings to mind a great news article I saw on MSN today.  What Your Grandkids Won’t Tell You.  It’s a great article that gives sound advice on connecting with your Grandchildren.  It’s never to late to start talking about your childhood to your children or grandchildren.  Even if they don’t ask, slip a tidbit in there every once in a while and one day they will remember what you have told them.  I won’t ever get that opportunity with any of my grandparents as they are all gone, and their stories with them.  That’s ok, it just gives me incentive to dig for those stories, and I have met so many wonderful people along the way.

One time on a trip to see Memaw, I was a teenager at the time, she wasn’t driving much so her car would just sit in the car port.  She insisted that Dad start her car up and we take it to Bryce’s so that it could be driven a bit.  So she gets in the front with Dad, Mom and I are in the back and all across the top of the seats by the back glass, were what I remember as HUNDREDS, but it probably wasn’t, of DEAD BUGS!!  I poked Mom in the side, and she gave me the zip it signal.  Then as we are driving along, the lining on the ceiling started falling down, so we all drove with our hands on the ceiling holding it up!  Dad said, “Mama, it’s time to retire this car.”  and she said, “Just drive Ru.”  So we moseyed on over to Bryce’s and went back home the same way we got there.  With our hands on the ceiling and Mom and I sitting in the bug graveyard.  Dad got the lining fixed, and we vacuumed the bugs.  They weren’t rolly polly’s though.

Got a story you would like for me to post on Sentimental Sunday?  Send it to me, and I will be happy to do so!

~Susie Higginbotham Reynolds~

Find Me Friday – Unidentified Photos

I’ll be showcasing two photo’s from my collection this week that are unidentified.  If you recognize either of the people in these photos, please contact us and let us know.

Isn’t this a handsome fella?  Too bad we don’t know who he is!

This pretty lady is impatiently waiting for us to figure out who she is!

Wednesday’s Child – Sherri Lea Harris


SEP 22, 1964 – MAY 20, 1971

When Sherri entered the first grade at Vera Kilpatrick Elementary in the fall of 1970, she was your average, toe-headed little girl whose whole family adored her.

Sherri was the third of three children born to James and Barbara (Bobbie) Harris.  Her mother was thirty-five when she was born and we were all soon to know that we had ourselves a “rotten” little girl.  This was just fine as would testify any member of the family including her big sister Trudie and big brother Mike as well as half-sister Pat.

You could not keep from loving her!

She had a little mischievous grin and a twinkle in her eye and loved to have fun.  She loved to get hugs and return them!

On a weekend in May 1971, while playing with some neighborhood children – one of the boys kicked Sherri in her side as they fell while playing on a tractor inner tube.   To this day, her older sister, Trudie, can tell you the kid’s name.

Later, Sherri complained to her mother that her side was hurting.  While giving her a bath, Bobbie noticed that her side seemed swollen.  She called the doctor and he said to bring her on to the emergency room now or I’ll be hearing from you at 2 a.m. with a stomach ache.

That trip to the hospital would prove to be the worst news that anyone could imagine.  After tests, it was determined that Sherri had a growth in her side and arrangements were made to travel to Houston, Texas and enter the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Minds went back to the boy kicking Sherri and questions of how and why?  No, the kick did not cause the growth – which was later identified as a Wilms’ tumor, it just caused enough pain that the bad tumor was noticed.

Her daddy, James had total support of his employer as did Bobbie.  This was only the beginning of such support from family and friends that it is still unbelievable.

Her grandmother, Mrs. Julia Pittman, sisters, brother and aunts, cousins, neighbors, teachers and folks they really didn’t know too well made trips to Houston numerous times.  Monetary gifts, clothes for this precious six year old and gifts, gifts, gifts!

During the next six weeks, time flew and also was too slow.  James sat vigil there at the hospital making craft items, such as key chains, billfolds and other things.  Most of the family received some of these that made you know –  the making of these had possibly helped him hold his sanity.

Even though the team of doctors worked night and day to help, the end came for Sherri Lea Harris on the morning of May 20, 1971.

The world seemed to stop!

Memories are treasured and live in our hearts!


Tombstone Tuesday – James Ed and Martha Alice Harris

James Ed Harris and Martha Alice Herring Harris

Ed and Alice Harris, parents to Major Harris, Doc Harris and Birdie Harris Williams.  They are buried in Harmony Grove Cemetery in Texarkana, Arkansas next to Major and Mollie Harris and Doc and Rhodean HarrisBirdie and Eugene Williams are buried not far away in the same cemetery.

Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks

Born –  10 Aug 1890

Died – 10 Sep 1915

It seemed only fitting I pick my great-grandmother Helen Roleke Parks for Sympathy Saturday this week.  She died 96 years ago today, just a week after giving birth to my grandfather, William (Bill) John Parks.  As you will read in the following article, she died from complications of a cesarean section.  Her death certificate in fact states that she died from paralysis of the bowels following cesarean section.

I don’t know who to have more sympathy for, my great-grandmother for her sacrifice, my great-grandfather for losing his wife and faced with raising a son alone, my grandfather for having never known his mother, or for Helen’s father William Roleke, and the trials he suffered at the time.  His wife and Helen’s mother, Anna Schultze Roleke passed away in March of the same year that Helen died.  His mother died just a few weeks after his wife.  Imagine losing your wife, mother and daughter, all in a six month period.  He must have been a very strong man to have survived all the sorrow he must have felt.

I dream of finding more obituaries like this.  This is the first obituary that I found when I started researching my family tree, and it’s the only one I have ever seen written quite like this.  The detail is unbelievable, and gave such an insight into their lives.  I have two whole newspapers that this obituary was in, and one of them is stamped with my great-grandfather’s name, JT Parks.  All of which were in the stack my grandmother was going to throw away, luckily I was there and she let me keep them.  Otherwise, I would have never known what this family went through, when my grandfather came into the world.

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