Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Aunt Ruby & Annie

Down home in Louisville. This is a departure from food blogging - a family resemblance and stories post after a great visit with my Aunt Ruby and cousins. I visited my 87-year old Aunt Ruby, who could be my mother's twin other than my mother's hair never turned that pretty snowy white. Aunt Ruby is pictured above with her daughter, and my cousin Annie. My mother and aunt used to think it great fun to fool people by switching places when younger. Not only did they look alike, they also sounded alike.

Annie &  Michael

My first cousin, once removed, Michael, pictured above with his mom, aka my cousin Annie, is very close in looks to my grandfather, Ollie.

Jim & Kyle

This next resemblance was startling. My aunt had just given me some photos of my brother, Jim when he was younger, and I noticed a photo of my cousin Mac's grandson Kyle on the refrigerator and did a double take! I had to take a shot of the photos side-by-side. Even that far apart in the family tree, the resemblance was striking.


Although I don't have a photo handy to put up of Collette at the same age, little 8-month old Reece looks just like my great-niece Collette at that age.

Meanwhile, I had some wonderful talks with all my relatives, including my other cousin Ruby (named after her mother), and of course with my aunt. My aunt confirmed old family tales, and told me some new things too.

Such as confirming the tale about how one of my great-great (don't know how many) grandmothers smoked a corn cob pipe. She came out with my great-great (??) grandfather in a covered wagon from Pennsylvania to settle in Kentucky. Apparently, the group who traveled together in the covered wagons, build some temporary housing (my aunt called them shacks), to stay in while the men explored to stake their claim on some acreage. These 'shacks' were built around in a circle to help position them better to protect from Indian attacks (this was new info from my aunt). Well, the story goes that my great-great grandmother leaned down in the fireplace to light her corn cob pipe, and when she did an Indian who was standing on the roof shot an arrow down the chimney, and into her back, killing her. And not a single woman in our family has smoked since (until my mother's generation). My great-great grandfather went on to choose 1,000 acres of land in Grayson county, and eventually each of his kids received a 100-acre inheritance.

Since my cousin Ruby had just bought a new mattress, it reminded my aunt about mattress making when she was a girl. She said that each year you made a new mattress out of a lot of straw stuffed in 'bed ticking', and then you plucked your own down off a number of geese to make the topping for the straw mattress, which also kept you quite warm. She also said there was nothing like scrubbing your sheets on a rock, then boiling them to achieve the whitest whites for your linens!

It was nice to spend time with relatives, eating southern fried chicken and biscuits and keeping these old bits of our family history alive.

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