I called my grandmother a couple weeks ago to tell her I would be in Tennessee and Kentucky in the near future because I knew she had lived in both places. She asked me if I could try to find her grandparents' graves in Kentucky, AND her parents' gravesite in Tennessee. Her grandmother was never able to have a tombstone and she wanted to find out where they were buried so she could get one placed before she passes. She's 83.
Just 3 days ago, (thanks to Ancestory.com) I visited both gravesites...and took lots of photos for my grandma!
I often see old graves and wonder what their lives were like and why they died so young. Seeing my own family and knowing the stories, makes me feel that much more connected with history and that time period. The headstone below is of my great, great grandfather in Kentucky. He died young, leaving his wife to care for several young children (my great grandma and siblings). His wife died less than 10 years later – both of things that are curable through vaccine or hospitalization today.
When I was young, I'd visit my great grandparents in Tennessee. I remember my great grandpa and great uncles grabbing their guns everyday around 3pm and telling us they were going to find dinner. A couple hours later they would return with rabbits and squirrels. My twin sister and I would get so excited about keeping the rabbits feet and squirrels tails. I wouldn't even want to touch one now!
My great grandma (Anna Mae Willoughby) loved Jesus more than anyone I knew. She'd often say, "Oh baby girl - Jesus don't like it when we ______" There was something about her presence that brought respect - probably the way she corrected us with such love. I look forward to the day we meet in heaven. I know she will be waiting for me, ready to tell me even more stories, but this time of heaven.
Here are some pictures of the gravesite very near their old property in Robbins, Tennessee. I truly never thought I'd see the day I would be back to visit, let alone take my kids and husband. I never dreamed this dream because it was too big - but it happened.
Later, we drove to their old property. The creek I played in for hours seems larger now, maybe because so much vegetation seems to have been removed. There is an open field that once held corn stocks tall enough to hide in (till the age of 12 anyway). And of course their trailer has been removed or torn down, along with the outhouse that we had to use. I would have taken pictures of the outhouse, had it still been there!
From the looks of the property, a hoarder owns it now and to be honest, I was a little scared to ask permission to be on the property, or to take photos because I didn't know what kind of person would live in that situation. We were a bit hurried due to our
un-announced and un-invited visit but I do hope these pictures show a glimpse of what it was like to spend a summer in TN and have the blessings of a creek in the front yard - especially as a child who took full opportunity of such things.
I have so many happy memories of this place. I still can't believe I was able to go back and show my husband and kids where some of the stories I tell took place. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and to my husband who drove all over trying to find the gravesites and the property.
We also visited two state capitals this week, Tennessee and Kentucky. The first set of pictures is Tennessee and the second is Kentucky.
Our favorite room in the Tennessee State Capital was the library with a spiral staircase to reach the books on the second story. I dream of having something like this in my own home someday - magnificent!
WOWOWOWOW! The Kentucky State Capital took our breath away! They knew how to focus on elegance and leave out distractions. Have you ever seen anything so grand?!
It's been pretty chilly here, but it has not stopped us from going outside! Here are a few favorite photos of our outdoor time. (ok...the birds were taken from the other/warm side of a window) Brrrr!
Oh! And the girls finally got the snow they had been longing for...just a small patch, but enough to make tiny snowmen and snowballs.
We are heading to Alabama and Georgia this week. Stay tuned, folks!