Digging Up Bones
I spent this past weekend with three cousins that I haven’t seen in years. It was an experience that I will remember forever.
My cousin and I have precious memories of a beloved great-grandmother. Miss Lottie was a soft-spoken lady who was loved by all who knew her.
We jokingly nicknamed our adventure as "digging up bones," but the time that we shared was more like a pursuit of forgotten family history. After we talked to my brother David, and called on my daddy, we paid a surprise visit to Aunt Inez. Once she overcame the astonishment of seeing Dorothy’s daughters after so many years, she showed us countless family photos and recalled some wonderful anecdotes that we never heard.
Later, we found an antique trunk, being stored by my nephew Michael, and realized that he sorted the items, and protected them for future generations. Lugging the trunk to the motel, and sorting through the contents was quite a journey. From a paid invoice dated 1910, to photos of unidentified relatives, we wandered through the remnants of decades.
Their mother, my daddy, and his brother, were biological first cousins, but they grew up like siblings. Dorothy’s mother passed away when she was a child, so she grew up living with Miss Lottie and the Scott family.
There were three little pecan trees in the backyard in Terrell County where they played as youngsters; a tree for each child. As the story is told, they each carved their initials in a tree trunk, and claimed it as their own. The trees, that were just big enough for them to climb, are now massive in size.
The boys called Dorothy their sister, and since she was older and taller, she became their protector. One amusing story is about the time she threatening to whip several male schoolmates who were teasing Forrest and Billy. We understand that the only thing that deterred a serious incident was the intervention of a teacher.
We explored a storm pit that was constructed in 1934, and what is left of the country store that has been standing on that corner for over a century. When we located and lay a hand on the final resting place of great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Scott, we were silenced by the magnitude of the event.
We wandered in the old cemetery and began recalling the celebrations that we shared as children. We remembered those special people who sometimes traveled hundreds of miles just to spend time with family. We are thankful for those wonderful kinfolks.
My cousins have never seen but one picture of Johnie May, their late maternal grandmother, and they continue the quest to find the missing photos. So for my cousins Ruby, Trish, and Rita; their search will continue.
As we agreed at the end of our adventure, we are grateful to be reunited and will continue digging up bones.
Our porch photo is of Wallow Lodge on Sapelo Island, Georgia.
Brenda S. Brown, a native of Richland, Georgia, has resided in Baldwin County for the past twenty years. Her column “Looking Back” is published bi-weekly in the Union Recorder newspaper. Many short stories and informative columns have been featured in area publications.
Her first manuscript, “Precious Gems from Ruby” is a detailed anecdote about her family, and growing up in southwest Georgia. The memoir is now complete, and she is actively seeking a publisher. Brenda is a member of Rosemary Daniell’s “Zona Rosa Writing Group” in Savannah.
She and husband Otto have two grown sons and four grandchildren.
© 2005, Brenda S. Brown, All Rights Reserved