1950's Christmas, and Other Dates

December 25, 1950 Back row: Rollo, Tommy Gene, Marie, Morris, Barbara, Harold.
Front row: Maola, Grandaddy, Grandmother, Merlin, Gladys.

We could not be present at this family gathering, so they included our picture: Me with our cat (Smuckers) in my lap, Vernon and Margie.

From left: Maola, Grandaddy, Grandmother, and Uncle Merlin.

You will notice that I don't call Maola 'Aunt'. I did for a while as a child, but when I became older I realized that she was more like a sister. There is only eight years difference in our ages, and she took the place of a sister that I never had. When she was a young adult I admired her and tried to imitate her in matters such as makeup, clothing, etc., but more importantly character. I couldn't have had a better role model.

Christmas Day, 1957

This family gathering around Grandmother and Grandaddy Garret’s table took place just three days before his death, December 28. Little did we know what a blessing it would prove to be that we could all be together at this happy time.

Standing left to right: Maola, Janice, Harold, Morris, Uncle Merlin, and Jess Swinney & Rollo (with their heads cut off).

Seated left to right: Brad, me, Margie, Grandmother, Grandaddy, Marie, Barbara and Aunt Gladys. I think Vernon took the picture.

May, 1955

Margie (almost 6 years old), Brad (almost 1 year), Grandaddy and Grandmother in the “Front Room” (this is what they called the living room, which was only used for special occasions). Note the larger painting on the wall. This is a painting of the front of Grandmother and Grandaddy’s house. It was done by Violet Taylor, the mother of my best high school friend (Fern) who lived across the street. It is bequeathed to Margie because she was old enough to have some memory of the home as it is shown in this painting. The small round flower paintings were done by Mrs. Tunnel, a friend of Aunt Gladys who shared her love of painting. Brad will have these.

’38 – Aunt Gladys, Barbara and Harold.

Aunt Gladys was very kind and sensitive to my needs during the high school years that I lived with Grandaddy and Grandmother. She and Uncle Merlin lived about a half a block away and I spent a lot of time in their home. I remember those years with a good bit of sadness. I still missed Mother – and Daddy was away in Veteran’s Hospitals a good bit of that period. I felt lost and lonely. Aunt Gladys sensed that and reached out to me. Years later I came to realize that it must have been a trying time for Grandmother and Grandaddy as well – sharing their home with an adolescent girl. They were in their mid-60’s at the time – but in a typical teen-age manner I thought they were OLD and didn’t understand my problems. In a way I think I was right, but they had good intentions and I’m sure found it just as hard to understand me as I did them. So I escaped to pour out my frustrations to Aunt Gladys. Maola also played that role in my life but she lived far away and Aunt Gladys was there.

Aunt Gladys was an artist. I treasure the magnolia painting she gave me when we lived in Mississippi, as well as the painted china dish and cup. She showed me how to look for beauty in God’s world and to value people more than material possessions.

Harold and Grandmother's Flowers

Home of Aunt Gladys, Uncle Merlin, Barbara and Harold. 1929.
Grandaddy in the pasture tending to his cattle.
Sunday afternoons Grandaddy and Grandmother usually took a drive in the countryside, and especially to his pasture land to look at the cattle. When I lived there during high school they always wanted me to go with them. Unfortunately during that teenage time of life it was not my favorite way to spend the afternoon.
Harold and I