Meet Junie. June Ratcliffe McReynolds to be more specific. The grandmother I never had the privilege of meeting. Wasn’t she an adorable baby? I think so. I love this picture of her. I am especially curious about the little girl hiding behind her. She must have been playing hide and seek from the camera.
I never met “Junie” (the name she chose for her grandchildren to call her) but I did get to read a book about her family’s heritage in 1975. When I open the covers of Our Radcliffe Heritage, I can almost hear her voice as she tells stories of old. Memories and travels she made in order to complete her work. She even added photographs and sketches of old family homes. She didn’t just list names, birth and death dates but stories about her family and what their homes looked like. How did she remember everything in such detail? Her ancestors came to life as she put pen to paper. This personality makes all the difference! How did she do it?
She listened and took notes. Somewhere, there is a box containing small sheets of paper with notes Junie began taking as she listened to her “elders” tell about the good old days. She collected notes for years and put them in her memory box to be used later as a reference for her book.
I wish I had taken notes! For as long as I can remember, I listened to Mom’s family and visualized the events until I thought I knew the mannerisms and how “Mama” and “Papa” reacted to each other and to the children. This was the basis for The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. I wrote my story as fiction inspired by a true story because I didn’t have the foresight to take notes.
Her son, my Daddy, Charles McReynolds remembers her telling him and his older sister, Bobby stories about their heritage and it ingrained a love of history in my Dad too. He put his memories in a book called Memories of an Old Geezer. If you love stories of the good old days and especially if you like cars, you’ll love his book! (It is available on Amazon.com)
So, listen carefully, ask questions and take notes!
Many thanks to Daddy and my sister, Judi for providing a copy of Junie’s book and some of her belongings. A big thank you to my grandmother June Ratcliffe McReynolds for her foresight and hard work. She made this granddaughter feel right at home!
Sharpen those pencils and get out your notebook. Your family memories could be a book in the making. Listen to their testimony and how the Lord led the family through difficult times and filled them with joy of His love.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7