|Charlie Webb, Joseph, Ellis, Claude, Frank and Berlie Webb|
My grandmother was born 120 years ago today. Oh how the world has changed in those years. Grandmother had 10 brothers and 1 sister. Her mother died when she was just a toddler. This picture of my grandmother, her father and some of her brothers is always a stark reminder of where I came from. Tennessee mountain people. Poor. Motherless. Some prone to drink. Others to meanness. But with hard work and determination each made something of themselves. Today many Webb descendants still live in the Smokey Mountains, the place where my youngest sister now lives - sinking her feet back into the soil my ancestors tilled. As you can imagine, with 12 kids in one family, that makes for a lot of grands, great grands, etc. We're kind of all spread out now.
Grandmother was partially raised by one of her brothers in Washington, D.C. She went to teacher's college and taught a few years of school before getting married. Her husband died when he was fairly young from complications after that Flu epidemic back in the 1920's. My daddy was only 10 years old, his brother 8. Grandmother wasn't one to sit around and cry about her lot in life. She had sons to raise. She taught school for most of the year, then continued college during the summer. She never remarried. The Methodist Church, her sons and teaching were enough for her.
When I think of my grandmother I think of love, red birds, dogwood trees, quilts, the 3rd grade, writing letters, reading out loud, making chocolate chip cookies, Vespers, Sepulveda Blvd., false teeth, pillowy soft bosoms, the Bible, Newport, TN, white polyester pants, the way she said my father's name, and the feel of her hand when she patted my cheek. I don't think there are many cheek patters left in this world which is kind of a shame.
Happy Birthday, Grandmother.
Wishing for you roots and wings,