Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Reverend Daniel "Dan" and Rhoda Hibley Johnson

Photo credit: Susan Bourgoyne



Pine Burr Church of Christ Cemetery 
Lamar County, Mississippi

Memorials listed on Find A Grave
Contributed by Susan Bourgoyne
Click here for link

Daniel "Dan" Johnson was the son of Henry Johnson and Sarah Ellen Johnson and the grandson of Wilson "Babe" and Elizabeth G. "Betty" Fillingame Johnson and Samuel Alexander and Leona Ardell Lott Johnson.  His wife was the former Rhoda Hibley.  Their known children- Dimple, Violet, Dan Wilson, John Henry, Jimmy, Pam and Levon.  Dan Johnson was my first cousin 2x removed.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 39): Big Courage in a Small Package

Frank Dalton Powell Jr
Frank Jr. was about 7 years old in this photo. He was small in stature (my Uncle Elton called him "Peanut" back then) but BIG in courage. He wasn't afraid of anyone. Sometimes his courage got him into some rather precarious situations with bigger boys. Particularly two brothers who lived just two houses down from ours. They were Kevin and Darrel, the neighborhood "bullies". There were many disagreements between them and my younger brother. Time and again the bullies sought reasons to pursue a fight with Frank Jr., and he would not back down. He knew he might get beat up, but he would not back down. Time and again I would have to intervene because these bullies were not going to bring my brother down easily. There have been punches thrown between all of us and I have even suffered a bloody nose by one of the punks, but we still stood up for ourselves. Like most siblings, we may have fought each other like cats and dogs, but when someone else bullied one of us, the others were there to help out. Mom always taught us to defend ourselves and we were brought up that way. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall", she used to say. I probably spent more time defending my siblings than I did defending myself.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 38): 9 Years Old and Learning

This photo was taken when I was about nine years old.  I hated this picture of me.  I remember whining about my freckles and my hair bangs, how thin and short they had been cut.  Poor Mom, she did her best to curl my hair and fix it, but still I whined. 

At that time, I had become friends with a girl whom lived just a few streets down from me. I learned that her mother was a Girl Scout Leader, so I joined the group. I was officially "bridged" from the Brownies to the Junior Girl Scouts, a group consisting of girls ages nine through eleven. Mrs. Lana was our leader and she was wonderful. She was very involved with the troop and planned several great outings for us. I particularly enjoyed these two years with the troop because we explored so many different areas of interests and learned so much. We went to summer camps, backpacking, created leather goods and other fun activities. Mrs. Lana was very laid back and kind of zany, so she was a load of fun. It was a memorable experience for me. 

Although I still had a lot to learn, by the age of 9 years I had learned a few lessons:
1. I can not have everything that I want, when I want it.
2. Some things are worth waiting for.
3. When Mom says "NO", she usually means it.
4. It pays to know when to avoid crossing the line with Mom and Dad.
5. Sometimes it's easier to get Mom's approval when she's distracted, such as talking on the telephone or watching one of her favorite tv shows.
6. Sometimes those you think you can trust will deceive you.
7. The prettiest girls attract the most attention in social settings.
8. There are greater expectations from the oldest child of the family.
9. The youngest children in the family are usually spoiled the most.
10. Younger siblings can be a royal pain in the butt.
11. Cute boys can be total jerks sometimes.
12. Trying to be a daredevil can have tough consequences.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 37): Remembering Desegregation

The year was 1970. I was entering 6th grade and would be attending a different school. There had been a lot of turmoil concerning desegregation of the public school systems. I remember hearing adults speak of their concern about their children being forced to attend a different school in order to create racial balance within the school systems. Some threatened to remove their children from school entirely and keep them at home. Racial tensions had been escalating during the 1960's, especially in southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Riots and racial disturbances were often the main topics of televised news.

Fear and rebellion against new ideas played a role in the concerns among our white neighbors and family members. These were my first encounters with the concept of prejudice as I watched it reveal its ugly presence among those whom I knew. Until then, I paid no attention to racial differences. I was unconcerned with what was happening in the world outside of my own. Now I had become curious. I was watching and waiting to see how the unfolding events were going to affect our schools and community.

Mom and Dad talked about sending us to a private school across the river. They were greatly concerned about how the desegregation was going to affect us. Mom was driven by fear, partly because of her own misconceptions because of the way she was raised. She worried that her children might be injured because of racial tensions within the schools. She worried about how her children might be influenced by the racial blending. She hated the whole concept of desegregation and felt angry because she could do little to change the course of events. After realizing that the costs of a private school was beyond their means, Mom and Dad decided against it. They would just have to deal with the changes, whether they liked it or not.

Before desegregation, Lincoln Middle School had been an all-black school for grades 6-8. This was a new experience for me... attending a racially mixed school.

At first I was nervous because I didn't know what to expect. I only knew what I had heard up to that point... and it wasn't very good at all. However, my fear over the situation dissipated within a few days. After all, even though the school was now racially blended, we were still separated by our different cultures. The white students continued to stay amongst themselves as did the black students. There was little social mingling among the two groups.

Like the majority of students at Lincoln Middle, I was more concerned with "fitting in" with my peers and less concerned with racial issues. We were at an impressive age when it was important for us to feel accepted by our friends. We were still a little young to understand the concepts of racial equality and desegregation in its entirety. Therefore, our parents were more affected by the changes occuring in society than we were.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 36): Man's First Step on the Moon

The date was July 20, 1969.  This day made history in the world of space exploration.  The people of America and the rest of the world tuned in to watch... 

At 4:18 P.M. EDT, Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 crew made history by becoming the first man to set foot onto the moon's surface.  His words were captioned in newspapers and magazines nationwide: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind".  

I was about ten years old then and remember watching the details of their moon landing on television. I remember thinking of how awesome the event was... how these men must feel, walking on the moon's surface, so far away from home. I imagined what it was like... the thrill and excitement of exploring the unknown, the fame, the fear.

That event occured over 40 years ago. Since then many advances have been made in space exploration. However, as I look back at those very first steps that were made in 1969, I feel proud to be able to say "I remember that"...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deja Vu: Isaac Stirring Up Memories of Katrina

Mention "Hurricane Katrina" and most people shudder at the memories left by one of the most devastating storms to ever hit land in the southern United States.  Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southern Plaquemines Parish, just south of Buras, Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane at 6:10 a.m. central time on the morning of August 29, 2005.  At the time of landfall, Katrina was packing winds of near 125 mph east of its center.  While in the open gulf waters, Katrina had at one time been a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of near 175 mph.  As a huge and strong Cat 3 hurricane, Katrina brought widespread destruction and devastation to areas in several southern states, particularly Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  It forever changed the lives of many people in the New Orleans and Mississippi gulf coast regions.  

Now, seven years later, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall, another tropical system is wrecking havoc across Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as portions of Alabama and Florida. Hurricane Isaac made its first landfall at 6:45 p.m. CDT on August 28, 2012 over a small section of land in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 mph.  After re-emerging over gulf waters and creeping along the borders of Louisiana coastline, it made a second landfall at 2:15 a.m. CDT August 29 just west of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.  

As Isaac approached the Louisiana coast, the minds of many residents turned back to the memories of widespread devastation and personal loss experienced from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.   Feelings of anxiety stirred hurried preparations for those in the forecast track of approaching Isaac.  My husband and I are among those who vividly remember Katrina.  The days following landfall of Hurricane Katrina include some of the worst moments of our lives.  It is not an experience that we would chose to reclaim.  This past Sunday, when it became likely that Isaac was heading toward us, my husband and I made our final preparations for the storm- we fueled our vehicles, stocked up on canned goods and bottled water, checked our supply of flashlights and batteries, caught up the laundry and more.  We continually watched the news as updates came in regarding the strengthening of the gulf storm.  We hoped and prayed that Isaac would not become another Katrina.  

Though Isaac doesn't compare to the ferocious blow that Katrina dealt, it has still left behind widespread destruction and flooding in its path.  Here, in southern Mississippi, residents have been feeling the effects of Isaac since Wednesday morning, getting worse through Wednesday night, and expecting the severe weather to linger through late today (Thursday) and into tonight.  Since Isaac is such a broad, slow moving storm (moving between five to eight mph), it is  continually dumping sheets of rain upon us.  It is predicted that some counties in southern Mississippi will receive up to 18 inches of rain before the system moves out of our area.  Naturally, local schools and several businesses are closed and residents have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible.  There have already been several tornado warnings posted throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  Closer to home, tornado warnings have been previously posted in  Pearl River, Wayne, and Hancock counties.  Wind gusts here, in Marion County, have been reported at about 35-40 mph.  Several reports of power outages have been posted while power companies are working overtime to restore electricity to local residents.  (Fortunately, we have not lost power yet).  There have been reports of downed trees and power lines and light structural damage throughout the area.  Additionally, Marion County is under a flash flood warning.  Pearl River, which runs through the county, is said to be already at 16.5 feet, while minor flood stage is 17 feet.  

Most recent radar image, 6:05 AM, Thurs, Aug 30, 2012

The above image shows the heavy rain slowly passing through the Columbia area where I reside.  Areas to the east including Waynesboro, Leakesville and Wiggins are getting even heavier rain at present.  A friend of mine just posted on facebook that the downtown area of Columbia, including Main Street, is presently flooding.  That is bad news for several businesses located there.  

Downed trees across a vehicle in Columbia- one of the reasons
people are encouraged to avoid driving during the storm
(fortunately, the driver escaped shaken but unharmed)

Downed tree across a house in Columbia yesterday

Structural damage to a local business on South High School
Avenue in Columbia yesterday evening

Like most others, I will be glad to see the final remnants of Isaac fade away, becoming only a memory in the hurricane history records of the south.  Realistically, I know that in the future there will eventually be another  hurricane as deadly as Katrina, but I hope and pray that I nor my loved ones will have to bear witness to such an intense, powerfully gruesome storm again in our life time.  One Katrina was enough.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 35): Ice Cream, the Old-Fashioned Way

Just one example of an old-fashioned
manual ice cream churn
One of my favorite childhood memories is the making of old-fashioned vanilla ice cream.  The making of ice cream was a summertime family affair, one in which my siblings and I could participate in together along with our parents.  I recall Mom getting the ingredients all together and spreading them out on the kitchen counter- eggs, vanilla flavoring, condensed milk, pet milk or whole milk and sugar (maybe additional ingredients but I'm uncertain).  She had to first beat all the ingredients together before pouring them into the bowl of the ice cream machine.  Often, my siblings and I would gather around in the kitchen and watch her while asking a thousand and one questions.  Dad would next pour ice and rock salt into the tub, surrounding the center bowl which held the ice cream mixture.  He then laid a large heavy towel across the top of the machine.  Then the churning began.  We each took turns manually turning the crank, forcing the center bowl to spin, while listening to the grinding of the rock salt and ice mixture in the outer tub.  As the mixture began to freeze, it seems the manual churning became harder, and that's when Dad would take over until the ice cream was ready.  
There's nothing quite like the taste
of good, old-fashioned homemade
ice cream- delicious!!!
I don't remember how long preparation time was- perhaps a couple of hours in all, but it seemed to take forever to us kids.  The best part of the project was gathering around together and devouring our bowl of delicious, homemade vanilla ice cream.  What a tasty treat to have on a hot, summer day!  Mom and Dad later purchased an electric ice cream maker which took the hard labor of hand churning away and Mom even became creative with ice cream recipes- I remember she once did some peach ice cream and blueberry ice cream, and from time to time we would have some extras for topping such as chocolate syrup or cookie bits.  I also remember a few ice cream socials with my Stogner family.   Not only was homemade ice cream a cold, delicious way to celebrate summer, it was also a way to celebrate family time and togetherness.  It has been many years since I've had a bowl of the old-fashioned home-churned ice cream but the dessert remains one of my favorites to this day.  I am particularly fond of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream because it at least comes close to the old-fashioned taste I loved as a child ;)