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WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: DAISY LUELLA BAIN ARMSTRONG

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Daisy BainDaisy Luella Bain was the fifth child of John Henry and Mamie Almedia Wynn Bain.  She grew up in Ida, Louisiana where she attended school and met her husband, another Ida resident, John Wesley Armstrong.  My mother, Mamie Martin Stanley and she were first cousins.  My father, Clyde Henry Stanley and Daisy’s husband, John Wesley Armstrong were also first cousins; therefore our families are double cousins!  Even though Daisy and John were actually cousins of my parents, my siblings and I always referred to them as our aunt and uncle (you know, it’s a Southern thing!  You cannot address someone your senior by their first name!).

Daisy and John had three children, Martha Ann, Jimmy and Johnny, who were raised in North Caddo Parish.  John worked at a gas plant in Myrtis; for a short time had a grocery store in Rodessa, but by the time my family moved back to North Louisiana he was working as a farm manager and was flying planes to dust cotton.  Daisy owned a beauty shop in Gilliam with Mozelle Doles.  The ad below appeared in the 1955 Eagle, the yearbook for the Belcher, Louisiana’s school.

Dazelle Beauty Shop 2

Daisy was a beautiful woman both physically and spiritually.  In the photo below with her mother, Mamie Almedia Wynn Bain you can see she was always well groomed and dressed nicely.

Mamie Wynn Bain and Daisy Bain Armstrong

She was eager to help others.  I remember when times were difficult for my family; she took my younger sisters shopping for school clothes.   When I was in high school she allowed me to work summers and sometimes after school at the beauty shop, shampooing or cleaning.  She kept me, my sisters and Mother’s hair cut and gave us permanents. I don’t know about the others but once my hair came out so tightly curled that I vowed to never have another permanent as long as I lived!  Ha!  But Mother probably told her to do it that way so the curl would last longer.

When Daisy went for a visit to Spain to see Martha Ann’s family, she brought Mother a beautiful fan and Italian Mosaic Cross and me a pair of lace gloves. But she was thoughtful that way; always doing for others expecting nothing in return.

 

My relationship grew with her grew stronger when she moved to Vivian where I lived.  My husband, Don, loved being with Daisy and many times he would tell me to call her to join us as he was frying fish.  She loved his fried fish and he loved her Peter Paul Mounds cake. On occasions when she knew he was having a difficult day with his illness, she would deliver one made especially for him.  If you haven’t made or eaten one, they are delicious.  Here’s Daisy’s recipe:

Peter Paul Mound Cake

She lived in the Central Park Apartments close enough to walk to Wal-Mart where she shopped for groceries and craft supplies. I had moved to South Louisiana and when I came back to Vivian to visit Mother, I discovered Daisy had begun making beautiful Christmas ornaments embellished with sequins and pearls.  They were just perfect for my Victorian Christmas tree and she made me more than a dozen along with two “kissing balls” that I still use today.

After Daisy moved to Atlanta, Georgia to live with Martha Ann we stayed in contact either by occasional telephone calls, emails or letters.  Once I called to see if she had my mother’s bread pudding recipe.  Before long I received a letter and a package from her that included a cookbook by local people in Ida.

Her letter is dated July 12, 2000:

Daisy, letter pg. 1

 

Daisy letter, pg. 2

In it she tells me about the cookbook telling me it doesn’t look good but has good things in there.  The cookbook had no cover and was well worn but I appreciate and use it. It has notations of things she has cooked and what the relationship of the person who submitted the recipe was to her.  She never found Mother’s recipe but the one below is from the cook book and is really close……. And very good!

Bread Pudding

Daisy spent the remaining years of her life with her children after she moved from Vivian.  In her letter she makes mention of going places she never dreamed of visiting after she moved to Atlanta.  Here she is pictured with daughter, Martha Ann Armstrong Hillman Cain McKinney, and son, Jimmy Armstrong:

Martha Ann, Daisy and Jimmy Armstrong

In this one she is pictured with son Johnny Armstrong:

Daisy and Johnny Armstrong

Despite having arthritis, Daisy said her prayers as she knelt by her bed.  While visiting Jimmy and wife, Anna Beth Lankford Armstrong, in Addis, Louisiana she went to her room to prepare for the night and her say her prayers.  When she didn’t rouse at the usual hour the next morning, they went into the room and found her kneeling by her bed.  She had passed away during the night while praying.  Daisy was born on June 15, 1915 and died November 18, 2003.  She is buried at Bethsaida Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Daisy Bain Armstrong

MILITARY MONDAY: RAY HOUSTON MARTIN, U. S. ARMY # 38173067

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In a span of 27 years my Martin hero, Ray Houston Martin, lived in a time of hardships most of us have never known.   This is his story:

Ray Martin

Ray Houston was born September 27, 1916 in Ida, Louisiana to Walter Houston Martin and Emma Pearl Bain. President Woodrow Wilson was elected to his second term of office in the fall of that year. The following year the United States declared war on Germany and became a participant in WW I. Ray’s father’s draft registration is dated September 1918 however, he never served. WW I lasted until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 when Ray was three years old.

By 1929 the stock market had crashed and Ray’s father, Walter, who had worked for Gulf Oil, now had diabetes and lost one of his legs. Unable to provide for his family, Walter became despondent and by the 1930 U. S. Census he was listed as a patient at the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. His wife, Pearl and their four unmarried children lived with her father. Walter remained at the mental hospital until his death in 1937.

Ray, being the eldest son in the family, worked, wherever he could trying to support his mother and siblings. He worked in the timber industry, the petroleum industry as well as for the CCC.

The United States declared war on Japan with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Times were difficult for all American families and sacrifices had to be made. Gas was rationed, auto makers stopped making autos for private use, scrap metal and rubber were collected for the war effort and jobs were almost impossible to find. However Ray managed to find happiness with his fiancée Mary Craft of Leesville, Louisiana.

Ray Martin and fiance Mary Craft_1

On June 4, 1942 Ray enlisted in the Army. His records show he was single with dependents, namely his mother and siblings. In a letter to his mother on July 19, 1942, he speaks of money for her and saving good tires.

 

Ray Martin letter to Pearl Martin dated July 19,1942 pg. 1

 

Ray Martin Letter to Pearl Martin, dated July 19, 1942 pg. 2_1

Ray Martin letter to Pearl Martin dated July 19, 1942 pg. 3_1

In this letter he says that he’s “fit as a fiddle” but that it is hot there. Apparently he received a check from his mother that he says he returned to her by air mail. He encourages her to get out more and possibly go to Leesville for a visit. Then he tells her that she should start getting $22.00 about the first. He had applied for her as a dependent of his; however the government denied it, so he was having that amount withheld from his check and sent to her monthly. He states that he has had more money since he had been in service because he doesn’t go any place to spend it.

Then he goes into receiving a letter from the finance company regarding car past due car payments. He needs to make payments or they will repossess it. He says will tell them that he is but he isn’t. Then he suggests they take the tires off and put on some old “rags” if she doesn’t use it. He signs off by telling her to tell all hello; to take care of herself and that he will write more next time.

In a later letter he again wants the tires changed out (remember rubber/tires were difficult to come by during the war) and to sell them for $10.00 each and keep the money.

On March 29, 1943 Ray was killed while serving in North Africa.

Ray Martin's Notice of Death

I have tried to obtain his war records from the National Personnel Records only to be told the repository they were stored in had burned and that I should write again requesting a Final Pay Voucher. I did and the final payment voucher stated he was in Tunisia, North Africa.

In Ray’s short life he had lived through some historic events that occurred in our country that had had five Presidents: namely Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. It was not until May 10, 1948, when Harry Truman was President, that his body was being shipped home by rail to Vivian, Louisiana for burial on July 9, 1948 at Bethsaida Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana. His body was accompanied by S/Sgt. William H. Nance.

Ray H Martin tombstone

Thanks for Ray and so many other young men who have served, who gave their lives or are presently serving in order that you and I may live in a free America.

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MILITARY MONDAY: CLAUDE NORRIS GINGLES

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Harvey Samuel Gingles married Ella Mae Daniel in 1910.  Of this marriage there were twelve children. Seven of their sons served in the military along with one daughter; however one son, Claude Norris, is the subject of today’s Military Monday.  Claude Norris, or Buster as he was called, was born October 22, 1911 in Elberton, Georgia.

 

Claude Norris (Buster) Gingles

 

Buster served both in the U. S. Army and the U. S. Air Force. In the Army Infantry in World War II he served in Germany.  In the Air Force he was a fireman.  Between the two branches of the military  he spent twenty-one years in service retiring as a Staff Sergeant.  Other locations he was station at included Camp Stewart, Georgia, Panama, the Philippine Islands, Reese AFB Texas,  Columbus AFB in Mississippi, Roswell AFB in New Mexico Gary AFB in Texas and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

On December 8, 1939 Buster married Buena Gladys Martin Hanson, a young widow with three children; James Kenneth Hanson, Myrtle Virginia Hanson and Billy Noel Hanson.  Three Gingles children, Roy Claude, Ella Pearl and Robert Dale were born to Buster and Gladys.  As often happens while in the military, Buster was on away duty when Claude and Ella were born.  Robert Dale died at birth.

Gladys died in the Barksdale Hospital at the age of fifty-one.  Four years later Buster married Phonelle Lynch Hanson, the ex-wife of his step-son, James Kenneth Hanson.

Buster Gingles 1990

Claude Norris Gingles passed away on March 31, 2006 and was buried with full military rites by the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard at Centuries Memorial Cemetery in Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

 

 

Military Monday: John Thomas (J. T.) Bain

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On this Monday I would like to honor J. T. Bain, Air Force # 6398048, my first cousin once removed.  J. T. was the first child of William Edward Bain and Buena Vista Martin.  He was born October 12, 1912. J. T. Bain J. T. first enlisted and reported to active duty on December 12, 1936 at the age of twenty-four. As you can see from the newspaper article listed below, William Edward and Buena had a very patriotic family as not only did J. T. serve, his brothers, Laurice, Marvin, James Houston and sister, Justine, did as well.

Buena Martin and Ed Bain's children in WW II

 

 

Following his first tour of duty J. T. reenlisted again on January 22, 1940, again on October 12, 1945 and lastly on October 12, 1948.  He had received an Honorable Discharge each time prior to his next reenlistment.  J. T. received his training at Barksdale Air Field as well as in Savannah, Georgia.  He served as a mechanic with a P-38 fighter squadron and served in India. While in service he attained the rank of Master Sergeant.

J T Bain Death Cerftificate

 

J. T.’s Death Certificate states that he passed away at the 3700 USAF Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in Bexar County, Texas of a tumor of the right temporal lobe.

My next step was to research his Headstone Application, which I discovered.  Page one is listed below:

J T Bain U S Headstone Applications for Military Veterans

From this I discover his place of birth, written in red, as Kiblah, Arkansas. The application is signed by his wife on April 15, 1954 and states the tombstone will be shipped via Railway Express and that his brother, L. E. (Laurice) has made arrangements to transport the stone to the cemetery.

For some reason, I decided I would check the next page in the tombstone applications as I have many Bain relatives that served in WW II.  Much to my surprise, the back side of the application listed all of his military history!  It also states that he was in the 3555 Maintenance and Supply Group.

 

J T Bain U S Headstone Application, pg.2

 

 

 

J. T. and his wife, Mary Belle Hinton share a tombstone at Bethsadia Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Mary and J. T. Bain

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WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: ANNA PEARL MARTIN DODD DODD

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Anna Pearl Martin, the second daughter of Walter Houston and Emma Pearl Bain Martin, was born September 10, 1910 in Ida, Louisiana.  Anna was named for her grandmother Anna Lyle Mangham Martin and her mother.  She was blonde with brown eyes and attended school in Ida.

 

Anna Martin Dodd

On March 10, 1928 Anna married Clell Dodd in Miller County, Arkansas and that same year their daughter Margaret Janice Dodd was born. The 1930 census for Madison Parish, Louisiana dated April 16, 1930 states that she was seventeen years of age when she married. According to a newspaper article from the Madison Journal dated July 4, 1930, Clell was killed by a freight train. The story states that he had been employed by Sondheimer Lumber Company however the saw mill had recently shut down. It is believed he was trying to board an Illinois Central train bound for Monroe, Louisiana where he was to look for a job. According to by-standers at the depot, he slipped and fell beneath the train and was badly mangled. Apparently the train crew did not realize the accident had happened as the train never stopped.

Anna Martin Dodd and daughter Margaret Dood Gray
Anna Pearl Martin Dodd Dodd and Margaret Dodd Gray

On March23, 1936 Anna married Clisto Dodd, a cousin to her first husband. Of this marriage she had a son, Bobby Ray Dodd. Bobby and Margaret were cousins and half brother and sister.
By the 1940 Census for Caddo Parish she is once again back in Ida, divorced and with two children to rear and educate. In need of an income, she worked for her grandfather, Benjamin Noel Bain after her grandmother, Margaret Price Bain died. She was his housekeeper and cook.

During the 1940s she moved to Doyline, Louisiana and became one of America’s Rosie the Riveters at the Army Ammunition Plant.

Daughter Margaret married very young and by the time Anna was 32, she was a grandmother. Margaret and her husband, Harry Gray and children, Harry Lynn, Janet and Clella Anna moved to California. Anna did not get to see them often however she did ride the bus to Vacaville a few times to visit.

In 1946 she is listed in the Shreveport City Directory as living at 1516 Jordan Street and was employed by Shreveport Garment Manufactures. Sometime thereafter she moved back to Ida where she worked as a cook in the local café. Bobby attended school there and was constantly into mischief however he and some other boys from Ida formed a band and thus began his love for music. Bobby served in both the Army and Air Force and later was a studio recording musician in Nashville, Tennessee.

1957 found “Aunt Nan” (as my siblings and I called her) back in Shreveport working at St. Vincent Convent where she cooked. The nuns loved her and were very kind and supportive.

Aunt Nan made it on her own through all the hardships life had dealt her. She never complained nor said an unkind word against anyone. For years she either rode the city bus or walked to work. She never owned a car until she was about sixty-five years old when she bought a little black Ford. Bobby taught her how to drive and she was off and running!

Anna Pearl Martin Dodd

This photo was made at the 1984 Martin Reunion held on Caddo Lake when we honored her as the oldest surviving child of Walter and Pearl with our version of This Is Your Life! She was humbled and embarrassed but enjoyed each person recanting their memories of her and what she had meant to them through the years.

She had the best hugs and always had time for all her nieces and nephews. She was a wonderful cook and in the kitchen something delicious was always ready for whoever might drop in. She had a large collection of frogs of all kinds; in what-not shelves, on the porch and other places around the house. She had a warming smile, a big heart and loved her family dearly.

With aging came failing health and Bobby moved her to his home in Conroe, Texas where she lived with him, his wife Jean and their children Michael, Tammy and Matthew. Anna passed away on July 20, 1992. She is buried at Bethsaida Baptist Church Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Anna Martin Dodd

MONDAY’S MAN: CLYDE HENRY STANLEY

My dad, Hector Clyde Stanley was born November 18, 1911 in Mira, Louisiana, the second of six children born to Wesley Birdwell and Beulah Thompson Stanley.  Granny and Pop Paw had some unusual given names for their children and so at an early age, Daddy changed his to Henry.  Later in his life when a bank in the small town in which we lived confused his bank account with another H. C. Stanley, he changed it again to Clyde Henry.  Imagine the night mare of researching his name in genealogy!  Luckily on most documents he is listed as Clyde.

I’m not sure how old he was in this photo but I’m thinking less than two years old.

Clyde Stanley's baby photo

When Daddy was very small, Pop Paw was a farmer in North Caddo Parish but at about four years of age, Pop Paw began making a living in the timber industry. They first moved to Fostoria, Texas, and they, along with other families working in the timber industry, lived in railroad cars. When logging was complete in a particular area, the train and its inhabitants would move to another location. Daddy told me they moved thirty four (34) times within an eighteen month period.

My grandparents were both musically talented and could play almost any instrument. Luckily they passed this on to their children. Daddy played the mandolin, however in the photo below with his brother, Audrion, he is shown with a fiddle.

Clyde and Audrion Stanley

In 1919 they moved to Ida, Louisiana where my grandfather farmed on shares. Apparently they did well as by 1924 they bought a brand new Ford Car. Daddy drove a tractor and worked on equipment on the farm. In fact, he told me he was the first person to hook up electric lights on a tractor. This would enable farmers to work at night when the weather was cooler. He wanted to patent his idea, which would cost $75.00, however Granny wouldn’t give him the fees.

Clyde with Farmall Tractor

Although I did not find out until I was eighteen years old, my Dad had been married prior to his marriage to my Mother. That marriage which was never spoken of in our family by any one at any time, lasted less than three years and there were no children. In 1933 my dad married my mother, Mamie Louise Martin and of this union, there were six children.

Tommy, Jim, Clyde and Mamie Martin Stanley
Tommy, Jim, Clyde and Mamie Martin Stanley

My grandfather left farming and went to work for several different sawmills in East Texas. Dad soon followed, although he had owned and operated a service station in Ida. At sawmills in Bivins and Atlanta, Texas he worked as a mechanic. I remember when we lived in Bivins bathing on Saturday nights in a washtub. It was not until the early 1950s that we got indoor plumbing.

In the mid 1950s we moved to Jefferson, Texas where he ran an ice plant and by my freshman year, we could be found in Ganado, Texas. Daddy worked for an oilfield service company as a mechanic. By midterm of my sophomore year we had left Ganado, went to Dayton and Liberty, Texas and finally back to North Caddo Parish where he worked for a tractor dealership and Mother owned a small café in Belcher. Mother had a new red and white Ford Falcon and Daddy drove one of those God awful green Studebaker cars that looked the same coming or going! After I married they returned to South Texas where he worked in Pearland, Humble and finally retired in Conroe, Texas. I think Daddy’s vagabond ways began as a child when his father followed the job regardless of where it took them.

My daddy was a superstitious man. He didn’t like gardenias because they reminded him of cemeteries. He wouldn’t have a cedar tree on the place because if they grew large enough to shade a grave you would die. He wouldn’t start a job on Friday that he couldn’t finish on Friday.

It was bad luck to sweep after dark or under someone’s feet. If we left home and something was left behind (mostly Mother’s purse) he would not go back for it. Bad luck!!

But the one superstition he branded me with was that of the black cat. Of course that one has been around for ages, but his obsession involved seeing one crossing the road in front of you. We either had to turn around, find another route so as not to cross the cat’s tracks or roll down your window and spit to wash out the tracks! Many years after his death I had my sophisticated Uptown New Orleans grandchildren in the car with me and a black cat crossed the road in front of us. My mouth began to salivate! Then I screamed, “Roll down your window and SPIT!” Of course they thought I had totally lost my mind, but soon realized when I pulled over and would not move until everyone in the car had hacked up enough saliva to wash out the cat’s tracks, that they had better SPIT! And for you information, I still do it today.

Daddy and I had a special relationship and he taught me much, such as one wrench from another, how to read a road map and much more. We loved to watch baseball games on TV together, sometimes rooting for the same team, sometimes not, but our cheers (or rants) were always as loud as if we were in the stands. When I was in my teens I made the comment that I wish we could see a Major League game in person. At that time it seemed only an impossible dream however it did come to pass when my brother Jim took the family to see the Astros play at the Astro Dome in Houston. I looked at him and said, “Did you ever think we’d do this in person?” only to be interrupted with wild cheering from the “Clyde Section”.

My dad was an intelligent man and a hard worker. He believed you gave a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. He was honest and never lied and stressed honesty at all costs. Perhaps I get my outspoken ways from him for in his words, “Say what you mean and mean what you say” or my favorite Clyde-ism, “Keep two things clean that are uniquely yours; your word and your name.”

The last time Mother and Daddy moved to South Texas he told me he would return to North Louisiana one day but he when never say when that day would be. Many times I asked and he never gave an answer so I turned to Mother as to when she thought that day would come. She told me Daddy thought you only go home to die. Weird I thought.

During the last year of his life Daddy was in and out of the hospital many times. It was then they decided to purchase a small house in Vivian and return to Louisiana. Don and I moved them back and two weeks later he passed away on January 1, 1980. Maybe there was something to his superstitions.

Clyde  Stanley 1976
Clyde Stanley, 1976

MONDAY’S MAN: REV. JAMES H. HANSON

My how the twigs of a tree do tangle and such is the case of James H. Hanson’s family which winds itself through my Hemperley, Stanley and Martin trees.    James H. Hanson was born in Georgia on October 22, 1853 to Jesse and Matilda Wade Hanson.  On October 10, 1867 he married Mary Jane Leonard in Cherokee County, Georgia.

James H Hanson and Mary Jane Leonard Marriage
In the 1880 Census he lived in Little River, Cherokee, Georgia and listed his profession as a furniture maker. By 1900 he and his family had moved to Cass County, Texas where he was listed as a manufacturer. During the next ten years, he had become a Baptist preacher and in the 1920 Census he was listed as an evangelist.

During an interview in the late 1960s with Beatrice Hemperley Tollison Crane Eason (granddaughter of James H. Hanson), she recanted the following story. “By 1901 James H. Hanson and wanted to be a preacher and so he went into the woods near his home and lived six months by himself. His family would bring food to him and during this time he learned to read, write and studied the Bible. Soon thereafter he became a circuit preacher and would ride his horse from church to church on the weekends where he would preach. He preached at Mt. Gilead Baptist near Vivian, Louisiana, Bethsaida in Ida, Louisiana and was also at Salem Baptist in Bloomburg, Texas.”

She also told me Rev. Hanson attended a Baptist convention with a Rev. Oliver in Washington, D. C. While he was strictly self-taught and had no formal education, he was chosen to be a speaker. He came home with a blue ribbon for the sermon he delivered.

Rev. James Hanson

James and Mary Jane raised twelve children in Cass County, Texas namely: Victoria, Dora, John R., Jim, Laura, Alice, Alfred, Robert Benjamin, Minnie Belle, Henry, Willie and Beulah.

Laura married John Daniel Luther Hemperley, the grandfather of my late husband.

Dora first married Basil Tollison; Beatrice Hemperley, daughter of Laura and John D. L. Hemperley, married Basil Tollison, her mother’s sister’s ex- husband!

Robert Benjamin married Roxie Lee Stanley, my grandfather Wesley Birdwell Stanley’s sister.

Jim Hanson, grandson of James and Mary Jane, married my mother’s sister, Gladys Martin.

Whew! I’m beginning to feel like there’s a monkey’s uncle in the tangled twigs of these trees. James and Mary Jane both lived to eighty-seven years of age and are buried in the Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, Bloomburg, Texas.

WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: MAMIE LOUISE MARTIN STANLEY

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My mother, Mamie Louise Martin, was born October 21, 1914 in Ida, Louisiana to
Walter Houston and Emma Pearl Bain Martin.

Mamie Martin Stanley

Mamie Louise Martin

She lived in Ida all of her childhood years; attended school there; played basketball on the school team; and along with other siblings, hoed cotton during the depression.

At the age of nineteen she and Clyde Henry Stanley married and remained so for forty-seven years until he passed away.  Of this union there were six children, namely Jimmy Clyde (also known as Coot), Thomas Neil (better known as Winkie), Charles Edwin (referred to as Ed), me (and you know I go by Kookie), Judy Faye (JuJu) and lastly Linda Kaye (who we affectionately call Kitty).  We all knew her as loving and kind but also a strict disciplinarian.  Let one of us act up and we promptly felt a keen peach tree switch across our behinds.  She lived by “spare the rod and spoil the child” so it is safe to say none of us were spoiled!

Mother was a fun loving, quick to laugh person.  She was a great cook and at one time owned the Belcher Café in Belcher, Louisiana.  She loved her family, to fish, and to play games.  Rook was one of her favorites and she took it seriously!  This photo has Jim Stanley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Johnny Hemperley and Steve Hemperley playing Rook with Sybol Hemperley watching.

 

Rook party (2)

On her 75th birthday all six of her children and many of her grandchildren and a great grandchild spent the entire weekend celebrating at Kitty’s house in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of the highlights was playing Pictionary with her. She also liked playing Trivial Pursuit with her grandchildren and often would surprise them with her knowledge of events.

Mamie's 75th Birthday Party

Today, I don’t want to tell you about what records I have located on Mom, but rather another side of that we, the children, knew and loved. You see, Mother had a different way of expressing herself while getting her point across. She could tell you how the cow at the cabbage or to kiss my grits and you would like it. I’m not sure what language it was but I’m sure it was not the Queen’s English. It wasn’t Redneck or Southern style filled with “dawlins’, sugar, or sweetie pies.

At one time, I thought she had made it up but came to the realization that it was the jargon she grew up with and most probably had been handed down from one generation to another and so I dub it Martin-ese. An example would be if any one of us children was wasting time she might tell us we were burning daylight by lolligagin’ around and that we better get it done before quick got ready.

The weather could be hotter than a fox in a forest fire or a depot stove, or colder than a well diggers’ grave. When it rained she would say it was coming down like a cow peeing on a flat rock. And if the roads were icy, they were slicker than goose hockey or snot!

If someone was putting on airs or living beyond their means she would say they were living high on the hog, or that you couldn’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. To her, some were just plain highfalutin’ or howling at the moon. Many looked like they had been rode hard and put up wet. Sometimes she would say a person was older than dirt, crazier than a road lizard or Betsy bug, not worth a hill of beans or they might be a whippersnapper.
When times were hard her remarks would be that something needed was scarcer than hen’s teeth, harder than pulling teeth, higher than a cat’s back or that she felt like a pup sucking hind tit. And of course in a household of two adults and six kids, she never had room to cuss a cat.

She always taught us that anything worth doing was worth doing right or not at all. How many times have I heard can’t never could or that can’t killed himself chasing couldn’t?

That old adage about if Momma ain’t happy nobody’s happy applied in our household because if she got her bowels in an uproar, you had better hide and watch! Of course there were many times she had reason to be unhappy because one of us kids was always having a hissy or conniption fit. We never really knew if one was worse than the other but we always knew the cure was a peach tree switch!

As to her health some days she felt bright eyed and bushy tailed, hush mouthed, nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers or had just run out of gas because she was all stove up. Some nights she would have the big eye and not sleep much. Most days she was happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

Visitors were always as welcome as the flowers in May and it didn’t make no never mind who dropped in, you were always invited to sit a spell and have supper (you know, the meal that’s served at night). One of her favorite sayings was whatever melts your butter, meaning whatever makes you happy.

Mamie  Martin Stanley 1980

It will be twenty years this October since Mamie Louise Martin Stanley passed away. There is only my brother, two sisters and I left of the six children. Sometimes when talking, one of us will unconsciously use one of her phrases. Realizing what just happened laughter breaks out. She would be proud that we have managed to keep Martin-ese alive. She would be happy to know that we were melting butter.

Road Trips: After the Estate Sale with Sissy Hanson Burge

Leaving the Estate Sale of Billy and Dixie Hanson, I was now headed to the home of his sister, Virginia “Sissy” Hanson Burge, which was a short distance down the road.  My friend Cheri was still with me as we followed Tommy and Kathy to his mother’s home.   My relationship with this family is so closely related that they appear in three of my family’s trees.  On my paternal Stanley side, my grandfather, Wes Stanley’s sister, Roxie Lee had married Robert Benjamin Hanson.  Roxie and Robert were parents these kids father, James Hanson, therefore their grandparents. On the maternal Martin side of the family, my mother Mamie Martin’s sister, Gladys, married Roxie and Robert’s son, James also known as Jim.  And on my husband’s side, Laura Hanson Hemperley, his grandmother was the sister of Robert Hanson!!!  Okay, this is getting very confusing and I’m afraid one of us is married to a monkey’s uncle!
But allow me to introduce you to Sissy:

Sissy Hanson Burge

Sissy was only two years old when her father, “Jim” Hanson died during a yellow fever epidemic in 1932; her brothers James and Billy were only four and one. Aunt Gladys had a hard life providing for these children and Sissy says they often wondered where their next meal would come from. She was in the second grade in Ida, Louisiana before she saw her first white cake. Brother James sold his dad’s saddle to buy a wooden bicycle to deliver ice to the residents of Ida. That cause quite a stir in the family, but it did help provide for them.

Children of Gladys Martin Hanson

By 1939 Gladys was remarried to Claude Norris Gingles, better known as “Buster” and was working as assistant post mistress in Ida. Buster was in the Army and in 1946 they moved to Doyline and lived in Green Tree Village which was the housing for those associated with the shell plant located there. Leaving Ida in her senior year of school was the hardest thing Sissy said she ever had to do but Aunt Gladys offered her encouragement and told her she was going to like it.
The neighboring family, the Greesons, had six girls and so Sissy made friends quickly. There was a handsome young man named Wilburn Thomas Burge on the basketball team and Sissy asked the Greeson girls about him. They approved and within a week Wilburn “Kink” had asked her for a date to a ballgame. In her last year of school Sissy played the cymbals and baritone tuba while her brother James played the bass tuba.

W T and Virginia (Sissy) Hanson Burge

Sissy and Kink were married on October 10, 1947 in the parsonage of the First Baptist Church in Doyline. Kink worked as a Pepsi delivery man covering a large part of North Louisiana before he became employed at the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant where he worked for over thirty years. Sissy worked at a general store in Ida before moving to Doyline and afterwards at the Dixie Cream, the LAAP as an ordinance inspector, at the hospital in Minden as the central supply clerk and later in the thrift store at Hope Youth Ranch. Their family includes sons Wilburn Thomas, Jr. also known as Tommy, Kenneth Noel and two daughters, Barbara and Kathy. For many years they lived in downtown Doyline but for the past thirty years have resided at the dead-end of Point Road in the former home of Kink’s parents which was also a fishing camp and boat launch.

Burge's Camp on Bistineau

It wasn’t long before we arrived at Sissy’s house located on beautiful Lake Bistineau. Cheri was anxious to wet a hook and see how many fish she could catch before our visit ended but we were not here to fish.  I was her to visit with Sissy……. period!  I had not seen her in a very long time and she was much frailer than in younger years. She now has the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer live alone therefore Kenny and Barbara live with her.

At first she didn’t recognize me but when told who I was, we hugged for a long time; her smile was welcoming and that bear hug felt good. She had Barbara bring out her photo albums to share with me and when prompted could tell me of things that happened long ago but had difficulty with her short-term memory. There were two photos that she dearly cherished, those being of her father, Jim Hanson. The one below is of him on the top right, brother Doris Hanson on the left, and sisters, Myrtle Hanson in the middle and bottom Retter and Woodie.

Jim Hanson and brothers and sisters

My visit was short as Sissy was tiring and needed rest. As she turned to retire to bed I told her I wanted a good-bye hug. As we stood face to face she looked at me quizzically and asked, “Did your Momma die?” to which I replied, “Yes a long time ago”. She and I both held back tears and held each other tight.

Kookie Hemperley and Virginia Hanson Burge

She never looked back nor did I. At least we had that precious moment together and hopefully it meant as much to her as it did to me.

As we drove away Cheri declared that we were coming back….. and next time she would bring her own fishing gear!

Back home I couldn’t wait to share the photo of Jim Hanson and his brothers and sisters with another Hanson cousin, Michelle Chamblee McBride and her family. Was she ever surprised! It was like a priceless treasure as none of her family had ever seen the picture before of their loved ones at such an early age.

So, so wherever you road trips lead you, be it down a dusty road, a visit to a library, a walk in a cemetery or an interview with one of the elders of your family, please share! And if you have a “road trip” planned anytime soon, please give me a call.
Kookie

Road Trips; Estate Sale

While driving down any given highway on weekends, one is likely to come upon signage for a yard sale, garage sale, transition sale or estate sale.  Estate sales are my favorite and I confess that on occasion, I will stop and browse.  On Saturday, November 9th, I found myself driving eastward on I-20, in a slight drizzle, with friend Cheri to a very special estate sale; that being of my cousin Billy Noel Hanson and his wife, Dixie in Doyline, Louisiana.

Billy N Hanson

Billy, the son of Gladys Martin and Jim Hanson, married Dixie Faye Carter in 1952. Of this marriage were born four children; Steve, David, Donna and Bobby. Billy served in the U. S. A. F. during the Korean Conflict and later worked in the parts department for the Ford dealership in Shreveport for forty-three years. Billy liked gardening, woodworking and being a member of the First Baptist Church in Doyline. He passed away in 2005.

Billy and Dixie Carter Hanson

Dixie began singing at an early age and sang on the local radio station, the Louisiana Hayride and church choir. She, too, was a member of the First Baptist Church where she served as choir director, church treasurer, G. A. leader and was a contributor to the church’s cookbook. Dixie spent over twenty years as an Associate Engineer for LAAP. Dixie died in the fall of 2013.

In Doyline we met cousin, Tommy Burge and wife Kathy and headed on to Billy and Dixie’s home. I was excited about seeing Tommy and Kathy but more hopeful that at the sale, some of Billy and Dixie’s children would be there. Unfortunately, since their children mostly live out of state they had hired an estate sale specialist to hold the event therefore I was unable to reconnect with any of them.

Upon arriving at the sale, we were forced to park a distance from the sprawling ranch style home. They crowd was huge and I wondered if they were there for bargains or like me; seeking a final remembrance of Billy and Dixie. It was difficult to move about inside much less take in all that was on display. Room upon room was filled with everything you could imagine, could ever want or could use.

The living room had become a Christmas showcase filled with decorations, china, what-nots, linens, reindeer, ornaments, wreaths and anything else one would need to celebrate the season. It was evident they loved Christmas.
Bedrooms were filled with furniture, bedding and lamps. Closet doors were open displaying clothing of everyday wear and some special occasion dresses and suits.

The sun room was a place of comfort and relaxation where you could clearly envision them spending time with children and grandchildren. Then there was the office and my favorite room in the house, Dixie’s craft room. She must have spent many hours in this bright airy space overlooking the back yard. Apparently her skills were varied as there were patterns, yarns, a sewing machine, beads, threads, and tools. Secretly, I was envious!

Her love for cooking was apparent in the kitchen as there was every kind of gadget, pot, pan, utensil, small appliance, dishes and serving pieces carefully displayed in and on the cabinets. People were grabbing them up quickly!

The double carport was filled with more craft items, cookbooks galore, and boxes and boxes of games. Looking at them, I could only imagine the hours this family had spent around a table playing, laughing and learning the real meaning of family. The driveway held many of Dixie’s beautiful handmade afghans, bedding and her jewelry.

Outback was Billy’s workshop filled with drills, lathes, saws, tools of every kind and wood making supplies. Wish I could have had a day with him to see just how each one was used.

I made another round through the house trying to find a memento of them to take home with me and discovered that was difficult to do. Some things were just too personal. Nothing seemed to fit.

Back outside I found one thing that exemplified both of them to me. It was a piece of glass I discovered in the flower bed. It had strength, inner and outer beauty, and simplicity. What a perfect reminder of them! It now rests in one of my flower beds where the morning sun shines brightly exposing all the facets within.

Dixie's garden

As I left it became evident me that each estate sale I attend tells the story of a family. It is an open book of that person’s life, loves and interest. And I wondered…… when my time comes, what will mine say?

Leaving there I followed Tommy and Kathy to his mother and my first cousin, Virginia “Sissy” Hanson Burge’s home for a visit. Tomorrow I will tell you the rest of the story as I collected photos of not only her family, but also of some Hansons and Martins.

Category: Road Trips | Tags: , , , ,
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