Nellie Mae and Me
My Coconut Cake with Roses
Mother’s Day as I remember Them From my Youth
Cake, Ice Cream, Flowers, Handbag, Hat and Gloves
Vintage milk glass serving plates, vintage cups, gloves and pearls.
Roses and Rosemary from our Garden
Happy Vintage Mother’s Day
I have to put at least one photog/photo of me on every post. 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day Weekend
The Women in my Family Tree
This is to be my most favorite blog post. I have adored these women my entire life. I was lucky enough to be born at a time when they were all alive and I was able to know them. They are not strangers in photographs to me, they are women that I knew and loved and that loved me in return. I carry the memories of them throughout my life and I always will. They were good to me, they adored me and they made me feel as if I were the best person on Earth. After all, don’t we prefer to be around people that make us feel good?
This is the woman that I have been closest to in my life. She was more of a mother to me than a grandmother. She died 16 years ago and I miss her most everyday. She was a character. She would light up like a Christmas tree whenever she saw me. She was the one person that I could call night or day and she would answer the phone. There was no answering machine or voicemail, no screened calls, just her voice on the other end. Always happy to hear from me, no matter what time of day or night.
The woman did love to eat though. She did make the best Brunswick Stew. I base my recipe on her’s. Sometimes when I was with her she would have a craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken so we would have to swing by and get some. She would then run every stop sign and red light in Rome, Georgia on the way home because of the smell of that chicken in the backseat of the car. I would usually cling to the dashboard with my hands yelling at her to slow down, and chastise her for running those stop signs. She would then bark at me in something that sounded like a demonic voice,
She hated her name. She thought that it sounded like a cow so she would tell people that her real name was just Nell Mae.
The serving tray at left I decoupaged several years ago. It is of my grandmother and great-grandmothers. The photo in the center of the tray is of my grandmother’s mother, my great-grandmother Keith. That is also her to the left of that photo as an old woman. I loved her so much. She is the one that made the best cornbread in the south. She always had a big cast iron skillet of cornbread for me whenever I would come visit. I now own that cast iron skillet and make my own cornbread in it. She and I would sit out on her front porch, in the porch swing and fan ourselves on those hot summer Georgia nights. I also spent many a time climbing her magnificent Magnolia tree in her front yard. It had the prettiest blossoms and the nicest leaves. I miss that tree.
Her name was Emmaline
I think she was beautiful. I was very lucky to know her.
Lillian, a.k.a. Honnie
Honnie is my great-grandmother from Vincennes, Indiana. I had a southern great-grandmother and a northern great-grandmother. You could say that I had the best of both worlds. I remember her well. She would sew me the nicest clothes. She sewed me the cutest Chinese pajamas with the cute mandarin collars. She would always make me divinity. She was the best cook. Unfortunately all of her recipes were in her head and when she died she took them all with her. I was the one that coined the name “Honnie”. Her second husband was Coy Lone, my great-grandfather, everyone called her Miss Lone. When my mother was a little girl she couldn’t say Lone so she called her “Hone”. I then came along and called her “Honnie”. That is when everyone started calling her Honnie.
In the photos above you can see Honnie’s Victorian purses. I have always had them. Ever since I was a little girl. I loved them and still do. In the photo above Honnie is looking through the surveyor’s scope. Her first husband Gordon, and the love of her life, helped to build the railroad out west. Honnie was with him every step of the way. My mother has wonderful photos of how the railroad was built with my first great-grandfather in charge of it. Also with Honnie there as well. We never knew Gordon Haskin, he died of a heart attack in his 50’s in Vincennes and left Honnie a widow. That is when she married Coy, the great-grandfather that I did know. All I have are photos of Gordon Haskin. But in most every photo, he and Honnie are hamming it up. Laughing and being very silly. You can tell that they loved each other dearly and that they were probably the funniest couple to know.
Honnie in Vencinnes, Indiana
I love the Victorian attire and especially the lovely plumed hat. Honnie had a very voluptuous figure. She and Gordon were also very well off financially. It wasn’t until he died that she and her second husband migrated south looking for work on their way down to Macon, Georgia but finding work in Rome and settling there.
Candles to Remember
This is the tray that I made for my mother many years ago. Surrounding the tray are her dolls from when she was a child.
Mary Keith and Duddy
In the photo decoupaged on the tray above is of my mother in some school competition where she was crowned queen, and her boyfriend Duddy was crowned king. Duddy was killed when he was about 15 from a hunting accident. He went out hunting with his uncle and cousins and got shot accidentally and killed. My mother always resented that Duddy was killed. He was her first boyfriend. I can remember hearing of this story and thinking that I almost had a daddy name Duddy?
Here she is above wearing the dress from that little pageant. I’ve surrounded her here with her dolls.
My favorite of my mother’s dolls.
It’s funny but she never used to be. It’s strange how our taste’s change and the things that we don’t like become the things that we do.
Mary Keith and her Doll
My mother was a very cute little girl thanks to my grandmother that was always fussing with her hair. My mother told me that my grandmother would make her sleep with rags in her hair to make it curly. She hated it! She was a tomboy that preferred to be outside playing with her dogs. Animals were her best friends.
I put this together a few years ago of my great-grandmother, center, and both her daughters on each side. My grandmother on the left, and Opal, on the right. Opal died when I was 6 so I don’t remember her. That always bothered my grandmother, that I did not remember her sister. She told me that Opal adored me.
The funny story that I’m told about me and Opal is when poor Opal was dying in the hospital of cancer and my grandparents couldn’t find a baby sitter for me so they took me to Opal’s hospital bedside, left me there, and she had to look out for me. Poor Opal.
Baby Mary Keith
My mother’s baby picture. She was a beautiful baby. My grandmother made sure that she took the best photos. She was also an only child so she got lots of attention.
I wanted to share with you these photos because I think it is important for us to know where we come from. I have never been close to my mother but I was close to the other women in my family and they instilled in me who I am. I know where I come from and that helps me to know where I am going. I adored these women and I always will. You know I’ve always been confused when someone dies and you hear it said, “I loved her.” Or “I loved him”. Past tense. As if just because the person is dead that their feelings for that person have died as well. I have not seen some of these women in decades but I still love them. Those feelings of love are still alive in me. They aren’t dead. To me Mother’s Day is about honoring those wonderful women that came before me.
Honnie, Day Dreams……
This is a photograph of my Great-Grandmother Honnie. Honnie was a nickname that I gave her when I was a small child. Her real name is Lillian Alice Miller Haskin Lone. In the photograph above, entitled, Day Dreams, (she must have written that in herself) she was married to her first husband, and the love of her life, Gordon Haskin. When he died of a heart attack she married her second husband, Coy Lone. They then migrated down to Georgia from Vincennes, Indiana to find work during the Great Depression and they settled in Rome, Georgia. My yankee Great-Grandmother settling in the deep south. That must have been very hard for her. When my mother was born she called my Great-Grandmother, Hone, because everyone was calling her Ms. Lone. I then came along and started calling her Honnie and then everyone started calling her that.
I miss this woman so much!! I adored my Honnie. She was perfect!
The photos above are my Great-Grandmother Honnie out west when she was married to Gordon Haskin and they were surveying for the railroad. I love the photo of her on the rock. Gordon must have carried her out there and placed her on it.
They traveled by horse and buggy.
My adventurous Great-Grandparents. I would do anything to have known them at this time. I’ll bet Honnie was a spitfire then! She died when I was 8.
I have that railroad spike, by the way!
Surveying the railroad out west. The photo album is of my Great-Grandparents account of their trip. The big tent that says, ‘The Bar’.
My Great-Grandmother is the second from the left.
The flattened coins above, are the ones that my little brothers placed on the rails of the railroad tracks so that a train going by would flatten them.
Honnie is in the photo top right standing beside her friend with the coolest old camera! Gordon is in the photo bottom left acting silly. When I look at all their photos from when they were married and living in Vincennes they obviously had money. Their lives were comfortable. Because their lives were comfortable they were happier than those who’s were not. A lot of their photos are of them with their friends laughing and goofing around.
The north had money. When you look at census records at the time they had jobs that were like secretary’s, surveyors, shop keepers, seamstresses, bankers, etc.
The south was poor, most of their jobs were farmers and housewives.
Ahh, family history. There is nothing like it!
Mother’s Day Cards
The dice and the one jack in the photo above belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. I found them in one of my Grandmother’s junk drawers when I was younger and kept them all these years thinking that I would do something with them. I think they look nice as an accent to my cards here. Items that once belonged to my family members scattered about. I think they look playful here beside the photos of my mother as a child.
Someone wrote me and asked me to display my Mother’s Day cards a bit more pronounced. So here they are. I simply bought some card stock and added some old photographs of family members, some paper flowers, vintage ribbon, lace doilies, and vintage buttons. Also lots of different papers and textures to create these cards. My mother was a very cute girl.
Here are two photographs of my Great-Grandmother Keith. The photo above is her as an old woman. I sewed an antique locket to the card in addition to the antique buttons and ribbon. She was a young girl in that card. Her name was Emma and she was quite a simple beauty. Nothing fancy about her. But she was lovely!
Vintage buttons and vintage and antique keys added to delicate paper and doilies.
To the right I’ve sewn an antique doilie to this card with a lovely antique rhinestone button in the center. I also used several different textures of paper to create the cards. Some velvet and some very delicate tissue like paper.
To the right above, is my other Great-Grandmother Honnie. Here I’ve put her image on a card with velvet surrounding her, some vintage emblems, an old tassel and a small vintage key, probably once belonging to a jewelry box or something. They were my two Great-Grandmothers. One poor and one well off. I loved them both equally!
Here I am when I was a baby. I’ve added an antique button and an antique hat pin to this card.
This was my Lord of the Rings phase.
Lovely fantasy paper and ribbon. Very “fairy tale” like. I sewed on to the cards vintage and antique buttons, silk flowers and pretty ribbon.
I think the antique buttons make these cards.
Although hard to see, I sewed an owl antique button to the card at right. It looks like it is in the tree.
April 12, 2016
Happy Birthday Grammaw
Nellie Mae and Me, 1962
April 12, is my grandmother’s birthday. She is deceased now as of 2000. Today she would have been 103. Hey, it’s been known to happen!
She died from a second heart attack while she was in the hospital in Rome, Georgia. Right before she died the nurse said she was sitting on the side of her bed, dangling her bare feet, and talking with the nurse. My grandmother was a social butterfly. She just couldn’t lie there and be still. She had to get up and talk to find out what was going on. The doctor said that her heart exploded and that it was a very nice way to go. I remember thinking at the time that the doctor can’t be serious? Having your heart explode is a nice way to go? But as the years progressed I realized exactly what he meant. She died quickly and in an instant, it was over. No lingering illness, no deterioration, she went out as sharp as a tack. Her mind was intact. My mother thinks that the reason my grandmother stayed so sharp is because she played cards all the time. Whether playing bridge or canasta with her friends, or if she had no one to play with then she played solitaire by herself. She always seemed to have a deck of cards in her hand. (The brain is a muscle and if you don’t use it, you lose it.)
Her mother, my Great-Grandmother Keith, died at age 96 from breast cancer. Grandmother Keith lived alone and was able to take care of herself up until the day she died. Same with my grandmother, same with Honnie, same with my Great-Aunt Margie. None of us in my family ever grew up seeing any of our loved ones health deteriorate. We never witnessed any pain and suffering of our loved ones. So I am realizing that having a heart explode really is a nice way to go. But I don’t want to spend this time talking about her death, I wanted to tell you a few things about her life and my close relationship that I had with her.
Nellie Mae and Me
Bent Tree, Georgia
She owned a lot here and we would go every summer to spend the day and picnic and swim.
Young Brodie and Veronica
Nellie Mae Keith Haskin was the closest person to me in the entire world up until the day she died when I was less than one month shy of my 40th. birthday. She even bought my birthday gift for me that arrived right after she died. The last gift that I received and it was a vintage Hawaiian quilt. Just what I needed to wrap around me and make me feel comforted, and that’s exactly what I did when it arrived in the mail.
Young Nellie Mae
My grandmother was a character. She was very funny, but she didn’t know it. She was just being herself. She was one of 4 children born to Emma and Lucius Keith in Gaylesville, Alabama. Nellie Mae, Opal Lucille, Raymond Joseph, and Brodie Rondo. Baby Brodie died of diphtheria when he was 11 months old. My grandmother also had diphtheria when she was 2 but she survived. They thought she would die, but she didn’t. They say she survived out of sheer stubbornness. I believe them. I visited Gaylesville, Alabama several years ago and if you blinked you missed the town as you drove through it. I think there were just 2 stop lights.
From left to right: My grandmother Nellie Mae, her sister Opal Lucille, and their brother that died at 11 months, Brodie Rondo.
I don’t have a baby picture of their brother Joseph Raymond. I named my own son after baby Brodie above.
My grandmother is the only one that is smiling in their baby photos. She was always very friendly and a social butterfly.
That is me and my grandmother to the right of the photo. She gave me a cruise for my graduation from high school. I am 18 in the photo. We are aboard the Norwegian ship, The Song of Norway. Wonderful cruise! Dominican Republic, San Juan, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands! Had a blast with the most important person in my life, my grandmother.
My grandmother made herself out to be such a lady that you couldn’t imagine her having to do anything the least bit laborious. But I’ve been told that in her youth that she could strangle a chicken, pluck it, cut it up, and then cook it for dinner. That woman did love to eat! If I were to compare myself to her and I had to do those things back in her day, I probably would have been the first vegetarian in the south.
I found out in my 30’s that my grandmother could drive a stick shift car. I was surprised to learn that. I started out at 17 with a stick shift and those are the only cars I owned up until I was about 46, then I owned my first automatic car. That was a hard adjustment for me. But in her day all they had to drive were sticks.
I don’t know when the Keith’s migrated over from Alabama to Georgia but it was when my grandmother was still in school. She met and married my grandfather, Franklin Ellwood Haskin, and they had only one child, my mother, Mary Keith. There is of course, a long history of information but I am not writing a novel right now. I just wanted to honor my grandmother on her birthday.
So I present to you a few stories about her because this is the woman that I love and remember the most.
What you do at 16, they hold Against you at age 60
I am here to attest to you that the south is very slow to change. I know this from personal experience. I have heard all the stories of various men and women throughout the south that my grandmother either knew personally, or had heard about. She had passed those stories down to me, not that I particularly cared, but she did. And so did everyone that she knew.
One day back in the early 80’s, before Gordon and I had gotten married, we were having lunch with my grandmother at some restaurant that I cannot even remember the name of. My grandmother and I were sitting at a table. My grandmother always would sit in the chair that faced the entire restaurant, especially the door. She never wanted to miss anything. She had to see who was coming, and who was going. So as we were sitting there I saw her look up as she noticed someone enter the restaurant. She then said to me, “Look out. Here comes the boyfriend stealer. You better keep your eye on Gordon.” She had motioned with her head to the front door. I turned around and I saw a woman that must have been in her 60’s. I then exclaimed, “THAT OLD WOMAN? I’m hardly worried, Grammaw.”
She then replied. “Ohh, look at her. She’s already got her eye on Gordon.” stealer.”She motioned to Gordon who was piling food on his plate at the buffet. I told my grandmother that, “I’m pretty sure she’s just eyeing the salad bar, Grammaw.” But my grandmother insisted that I should be worried. When Gordon came over to our table I told him the story and pointed out my competition. Which he replied by bursting out laughing. Turns out the woman had stolen a couple of boyfriends in high school and therefor must pay the price of always being the eternal “boyfriend stealer.”
I myself am the “Christmas Present Peeker.”
Me with my little brother, Johnny.
So I know what it’s like for what you do at age 8, to be held against you at age 55. Yes, I did the unpardonable sin of peeking at my Christmas gifts when I was 8 when we were living in Dahlonega, Georgia. I tried to carefully remove the scotch tape on the Christmas wrappings that held my gifts. I thought I was successful, until my mother noticed the mess that I did. I then got a good scolding and a few threats of Santa Clause never visiting me again because he was so disappointed in my actions. Funny but I did notice that Santa Clause had the same handwriting as my mother. I also noticed that Santa also owned the same Christmas wrapping paper as we did. So I figured out it was all a fake when I was 7.
When I married Gordon and we were living in Florida in 1985, it was our first Christmas together, my mother called us at 8:00 a.m., waking us up, to ask how I liked my Christmas gift? I told her that we were still asleep and hadn’t opened any presents yet. To which my mother replied, “Yeah, but we know you peeked.”
I’m pretty sure that I will be accused of peeking at my Christmas gifts up until the day I die. Because I am, and will always be, the “Christmas Present Peeker”.
I love my grandmother and I miss her so much. Most everything I do is because of her. I found out in my 30’s that she was 4 years older than my grandfather. Funny, but I am 4 years older than Gordon. She made my happy, she made me laugh, she made me feel good about myself when there were so many people trying to make me feel bad about myself.
When my grandmother gave me advice on marriage she said,
“Sometimes you just need to be miserable, and be happy about it.”
With gems like that I see why ‘Advice Columnist’ was never in her future. Although in looking back, I do see the brilliance in that statement. She was on to something. Perhaps that is the key to staying married for so long. So many get divorced at the 10 year mark after all.
The woman owned 50 pairs of beige shoes. When you looked into the floor of her closet all you saw was a sea of beige. Whenever we left the house she was usually wearing two different beige shoes on her feet. To which we would burst out laughing when we noticed it later on in the day.
Whenever we were out doing some shopping together or running some errands she would always ask me, “Do you want me to buy you a ‘Happy Lunch’ from McDonald’s? I would then tell her that I was 23 and that I can buy my own “Happy Lunch” if I want to.
I will also never forget the time that she fixed me up with the ‘bug spray guy’. She arranged a date for me with her bug exterminator without telling me. I was so upset about it and I got mad at her for doing it, so we left the house for 24 hours so that he couldn’t find us. Nellie Mae and I were on the lam. Turns out he looked for us for days. When we got back I forced her to cancel his services.
Then there was that time that she accidentally drugged me with her prescription cold medication that knocked me out for an entire day. But we won’t go into that now.
Me and Veronica
Placing flowers on their grave.
Frank and Nell Haskin
Happy Birthday Grammaw,
p.s. It’s the characters that we miss the most when they are gone.
Happy Mother’s Day to All,