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"...