Tag Archives: Texarkana

Military Monday – Mom Remembers WWII

As I have mentioned here before, my Mother is fighting Alzheimer’s. I try not to say too much on here about it because I want to respect her privacy. But, this is so hard. Everything you have heard about Alzheimer’s is all that and more. I wish there was a way I could make this easier for my Mom, and my Dad but there is no magical pill or a cure and boy does that scare me. Will I be next?  Will it skip me, but hit my children? Grandchildren? We need a cure people!!  I don’t want a single other person to have to go through this.  My family, currently has three people fighting Alzheimer’s.  Can you believe that?  Please pray for all of them!

I usually cook supper every night for them as she can no longer cook. My brother helps by cooking sometimes, but we all eat together every night at my house and while I get frustrated and tired of doing the dishes, I also know that time is slipping away and so are my mother’s memories, so when she is having a good day and she starts telling stories, like what I am about to share with you, I know the dishes won’t matter in a few years. In fact, when I think about it, they don’t even matter now.  I’m very glad to have this time with my Momma and thankful for a steadfast husband that supports me in taking care of them. I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything.  Well, except a cure.

One night after dinner Mom, when Mom was having one of her good days, she started talking about the war and I asked her to stop and let me get my recorder and record her, and this is what I got. I put a few photos with it, and some music and I hope you will enjoy listening to her talk about her memories of life during WWII.

After I put the video together, I decided I would make another Project Life page for my Family History scrapbook. This seemed like the perfect thing to do a page about. I was also thinking about this wonderful video, and how could I possibly incorporate it into my scrapbook.  I didn’t want this wonderful video lost in the depths of my computer!

Then it hit me! A QR Code! If you don’t know about QR Codes, you might consider hitting up Google and learning a little bit.  They are on everything these days.   I have a FREE app on my phone called QRReader, and you can go to this website, Unitag and generate a code for FREE!  It cost me nothing to add this to my scrapbook page, and now anytime someone looks through the book, they can scan the QR code, and watch the video on their phone or tablet.  In fact, if you have a QR reader on your phone already you can actually put it up to the computer screen, scan the bar code in the photo below and it will take you right to the video.

So, here is my page.

Mom Remembers WWII

Mom Remembers WWII Project Life Page

I won’t completely depend on the QR Code to work forever though.  I will always include a flash drive in every album with the photos and videos on it, so if anyone wants a copy of anything in it, no digging around in the depths of my computer, all I have to do is get the flash drive from the album and copy them on whatever they want.

I may at some point make a transcript of the conversation to put in the scrapbook, just in case future technology doesn’t recognize our current technology anymore. I wouldn’t want that wonderful story lost forever if the video can no longer be played.

I also made a DVD of the video above for Mom and Dad, and brother John.  I hope they will enjoy it as much as I did making it.

What a great treasure from Momma, in just a whim of a five minute conversation.  Which is the reason my goofy dog Ringo was barking throughout the video, I really didn’t have plans to do much with the video which is why I didn’t shush him, but it turned out great anyway and I’m thankful to have this history to pass down to future generations.

Thanks, Momma!

Travel Tuesday – Trip Down Home

Where is Down Home you say?  Well, down (south) in Texarkana, and while I have never actually lived in Texarkana, I consider it down home because your home is where your heart is, or family is right? Considering this is where all the family is for both my maternal and paternal side, I just call it down home.

As soon as Knucklehead got off the bus on Friday afternoon, a week or so ago, we headed down home.

Knucklehead's Bus

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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I took this picture of my Momma last year, but I love it.

Mary Helen Parks Higginbotham

She is a wonderful, wonderful woman and words can’t even begin to express how much I love her.  I see her daily struggle with Alzheimer’s and it saddens me to no end.  If I could have one wish granted it would be to take this horrible disease away from my mother.  She has never expressed one worry about her herself throughout this whole ordeal.  She worries about being a burden and what she is doing to us.  I tell her and I mean it, she will never be a burden.  EVER.  We love her and we will see this through with her, together as a family.

These two boys, are the apple of my eye.  I love them to the moon and back and I am so thankful God chose me to be their mother.

Justin Cole and Michael Cunningham

Yesterday I called my Dad and asked him to think about a special memory of his mother and to ask my mother to do the same.  When I called back later in the day, they had some stories for me to share with you.

Dad told me that when he was about 5 or 6 years old, his momma played on the women’s Independence Basketball Team as a guard and they always played at the North Heights Gym in Texarkana. He loved to go and watch her play. This is one of his favorite memories of her. This is a picture of my Dad with his Mother, Edna Harris Higginbotham at an anniversary party for my Mom and Dad. It was their 25th anniversary. This year will be their 49th anniversary.

Rufus Higginbotham and Edna Harris Higginbotham

Here is a picture of Dad and Memaw from the way back files.

Edna Harris Higginbotham and Rufus Higginbotham

Mom told me that one day when she was a little girl she and her mother were walking down the street in downtown Texarkana and as they got closer and closer they could hear the radio playing over the loud-speaker at Hawkins Feed Store, and they heard the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. My grandmother grabbed my mother’s hand and they ran all the way home. Not long after that, my grandfather volunteered for the Army and ended up in Japan fighting. They lived with my great-grandfather Parks at the time in what my mother calls “The Big House”, on Walnut Street in downtown Texarkana. Granddad Parks took in women to live in the house whose men were away at ar, and my mother remembers all the good times she had with all the women in the house. After the war was over she and my grandmother went to Fort Chaffee to pick up my grandfather, and he was so skinny and worn down they walked right by him and didn’t even recognize him until he called out to them.

Here is a picture of my grandmother and grandfather Parks.

Bill and Mary Parks

This is the house they lived in during the war, and until my Granddad Parks died in 1966.  My mother always lived here until she went to college.  She had a room in the big house with her grandparents, and my grandparents lived in the little apartment house to the side of the big house.  This house is at 406 Walnut.  A group of lawyers have it now and they have restored it beautifully.  They gave my mom and I tour of it one time.

The Big House, 406 Walnut, Texarkana Arkansas

This is a picture of my mom and grandmother, probably at about the time of the war.

Mary and Mary Helen Parks

One of my favorite memories of my mother and I (I have many though) is the time she, Addie and I went to Bethany, Missouri and found out all about her maternal grandmother’s family that she had never met.  Her grandmother died giving birth to her father so she had never known her.  Her name was Helen Roleke Parks and her father was the mayor of Bethany for 32 years!  Addie took this picture of Mom and I standing by a street sign for a road they named for him.

My Mom and I in Bethany Missouri by a street named after my 2nd great grandfather

Well, that’s our walk down Mother Memory Lane, I hope you will take the time out today to think of your favorite memories and preserve them for future generations.  Had I not asked my father and mother for their memories to do this post, I would never have known my grandmother Higginbotham played basketball!

Susie

Treasure Chest Thursday – Meeting Ross Perot

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Remember a while back when I told you I had some great things coming up in April?  Well, I did and I just now have time to tell you all about it.

Back when Ross Perot ran for president, I was laying on the floor in my grandmother’s (Mary Ball Parks) room and we were watching coverage on the elections.  My grandmother pointed to him on the television and said “That is my cousin.”  Well, lets just say I didn’t believe her at first.  She had never mentioned him before. At any rate, it turned out to be true.

Sort of.

Let me explain.

When my grandmother died and I got interested in all this genealogy, I always had this information in the back of my mind but I never really acted on it.  Then one day, Nedra told me about this news article that ran in the Texarkana Gazette about a barn that burnt down in Texarkana out on hwy 82, and this article mentioned Ross Perot.

Newsarticle about old Parks Barn

Just so happens this barn was built by my-great grandfather, Granddad Parks (John Triggs Parks).  This barn was magnificent .  Here is a picture of it back in the day, when Granddad Parks would show his trotting horses.

JT Parks Barn at his Farm on Hwy 82 Texarkana

Here is Granddad Parks, showing one of his horses.

JT Parks

When Granddad Parks sold the farm, he sold it AC Smith, a very good friend of his and now AC’s son, Lynn Smith owns the farm.  Anyway, the Perot’s came here to this farm and rode horses, and I’m not sure if it was the connection to my grandmother that brought them there, or if it was just the place to be.  My grandmother, Mary Ball Parks was married to J.T. Parks’ son, William Parks.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about my connection with Ross Perot, so Nedra got me the contact information for his secretary.  Rather than call, I printed up quite a selection of charts and genealogy and wrote a nice letter and sent it off to the attention of his secretary.

Three days later, (yes, only three days) my phone rings as I’m walking through Wal-mart of all places and I didn’t recognize the number but decided to answer anyway, and I hear, “Is this Susie Reynolds?” to which I reply, “Yes, it is.” and then I hear “Ross Perot, here.”

What, What???

You could have knocked me over with a feather, and I was very glad to have the cart to lean on.

I’m not sure what I really expected, but it wasn’t for him to call me up directly.  I figured that package of paper would go straight to the trash bin or junk pile, or I would get some kind of a form letter back.  That was not the case.  He called me personally three times that day and we finally figured out that our connection was through his grandmother, Maggie Anderson Perot Ball, aka Mama Ball.  Here she is.

Maggie Anderson Perot Ball aka Mama Ball

Turns out Maggie was married to Gabriel Elias Perot, with whom she had Ross Perot’s father, Gabriel Ross Perot, Sr.  After her husband died, she remarried my great-great uncle Wade Ball.  I do not have a picture of him.  Maggie and Wade did not have any children together, but my grandmother grew up playing with Ross’ father as cousins, even though there was no blood relation.

At any rate, Ross Perot had a wonderful lady in his office, Libby Craft call me.  She had been working on Ross’ genealogy for quite some time and she and I have traded information and she sent me the photo of Maggie above.  She graciously extended me an invitation to meet Ross Perot and I jumped at the offer.

So, Nedra Harris Turney and I, along with my cousins, Sam Ball III, and Karen Ball Cowan headed to Dallas and we met Mr. Perot, and Libby on April 15th.

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and  Karen Ball Cowan

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and Karen Ball Cowan

I don’t know why I didn’t get a good picture of Nedra with us, that was really goofy of me.  I guess I was just caught up in the moment but I did snap this picture of Nedra chatting with him while they were giving us a grand tour of his offices.

Nedra Harris Turney with Ross Perot

Here I am with Libby Craft.  I’m so glad that I got to meet her!

Susie Reynolds and Libby Craft

One of the things that struck me so about Mr. Perot is his obvious love for family which is why I’m so sure he was so gracious to us.  When I asked him about his father he smiled really big and he said, “He was my best friend!”

His father bought and sold cotton, and a long time ago he gave Ross a list of his thoughts on what it takes to be successful.  Ross had these printed up and gives each of his employees a copy of this.  Yes, he gave me one too!  Maybe now I can make something of myself! Ha!

All kidding aside, Mr. Perot has so many accomplishments that I couldn’t even begin to list them all here which is why Wikipedia is out there if you really want to know.  Also, he’s written some books, one of which he gave to me with his autograph, and it’s a great story of his life! Check amazon for that.

I have to say though, I have never met a more gracious, generous, or kind man.  As I walked the hallways of his office and looked at all the milestones and achievements of his life on the walls I was so amazed.  I’m a big supporter of our Veteran’s, but Mr. Perot is a man of action!  He gives freely his time, his money and his service to our Veteran’s and is instrumental in helping so many of them receive the care they need.

I’m so proud to have met him and that is why he is my Treasure Chest Thursday.

Here are a few pictures from around his office.  There were many hallways and we were there for two hours and only managed to see a few of them.

Hallway of Perot's Office

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Oh, yeah!  He has his own Starbucks!

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Maybe on another post I’ll share with you some of the military things that were hanging about, but for today these pertain to family.

His love of his wife Margo is obvious every where you go and this is just one of the many spots he has portraits of them hanging.

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Here are some pictures about his sister Bette.

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One of several family portraits he has hanging about of his family.

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And my favorite wall pertaining to family:

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Mr. Perot is a huge supporter of Texarkana College.  My cousin Karen Ball Cowan works there and years ago my father was a student there on a basketball scholarship.   Thanks to Mr. Perot and his generous heart, the college is still open.

I could go on and on about Mr. Perot and perhaps I will do another post in a day or two, but I thank Mr. Perot and Libby for so graciously welcoming us and sharing with us all things Perot.  It was such a great day and I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to meet a “sort of” cousin!

Susie

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