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Unlocking Family Stories

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      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?

Junie, the young lady in the center front, listened.

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 this 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 the joy of His love.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.

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Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

Happy Birthday, Nannie!

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. Without a doubt, she is celebrating at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ with her precious “Mama,” Papa, her sisters, brothers, three children and one grandchild

Nannie lived most of her life in Roanoke, Virginia and lived a few years in Richmond, Virginia working at Johnston-Willis Hospital. She was a hard worker and loved children!

Isabel Riley & Baby Ronald Lee Riley (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

Why celebrate someone’s birthday after they are no longer with us? Because she made life special for many people most of her life. She cared for her younger siblings after her mother died and made a home for her grandchildren as well as her children.  It is just a way to remember and in that remembrance, to give God the glory. (This is also why I believe God placed her story on my heart to write. The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is about my grandmother, Isabel.)

Birthday tea with the pin and handkerchief I bought for “Isabel” when I was a child. She returned them to me when I got married.

Isabel surrounded by four of her children, Barbara, Ron, Betty and Sandra on her birthday, August 28, 1996.Cakes by AshleyHappy Birthday, Nannie. We miss you.

 

If you would like to read about Isabel’s eleventh birthday, I will be posting excerpts from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart this week. You may read parts of the chapter each day at The Vision of a Mother’s Heart by Katherine Hinchee Purdy

The Vision of a Mother's Heart (2013_12_29 01_50_28 UTC)

The Vision of a Mother's Heart back of book

Changing Styles: From Fluffy to Traditional/Vintage.

Traditionally, Monday is laundry day which means clean sheets! Who doesn’t love clean sheets? The only thing better is line dried sheets but we don’t have a yard so it must be the dryer for this gal!

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I like the new way of making beds. You know, the inviting look. The big fluffy comforter, pillow shams and lots of pillows which give the bed so much appeal. However, with cats in the house, I like to keep the pillows we sleep on covered. No kitty-smelling pillow for this gal! Besides, as much as I love fluffy, warm comforters, my husband is just the opposite.

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This was our seventeen-year-old Patch. He earned the priviledge of napping on the pillows. Besides, at night he slept on the pillow between us and sometimes on my head but that was a long time ago. 

The cozy comforter ended up folded at the end of the bed because it was too hot. Uncomfortable. And so, for Christmas one year, John picked out a bedspread. When it is folded to be carried to the dry cleaners, it’s heavy but it is surprisingly lightweight on the bed.

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Skippy taking possession of the new bedspread

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I moved out heavy comforter and pillow shams to the guest room and pulled this bedspread out of the closet. I was surprised how lightweight it was but it is slippery!

Every morning, one of us has a majority of the cover. (I keep a folded quilt on my side of the bed. I would freeze with just a sheet and bedspread.) So I tried tucking in the bedspread at the foot of the bed. Since we have a footboard, it wasn’t seen.

It didn’t work. I bought a roll of non-skid rug liner. (Also great for drawers and shelves.)

I put the liner between the top sheet and the bedspread. It didn’t work either.

Today is Monday so when I changed the sheets, I had a brilliant idea. (We’ll see!)

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This is the foot of the bedspread.

I pinned the rubber backing to the foot of the spread and tucked it in. Hopefully, the weight of the mattress will hold spread in place.

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“Tucking it in.”

And now I am reverting back to the traditional way of making the bed. The way Granny taught me when I was six-years-old. (I love nostalgia!)

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Add throw pillows so that it won’t look too plain.

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Just like John’s grandmother made her bed. 

Footnote. Ruby just came to get me and led me to the bedroom. She walked straight to the bed which is usually her way of saying, “lets nap!” I usually stand up the pillow so that she has room but this time I just moved the throw pillows and she jumped up, looked around and headed to the covered quilt at the foot of the bed.

I might have to find another quilt to cover up with tonight. Ruby is in for the night. At least until kitty snack time.

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 6

 

“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”

“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.

“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.

“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”

“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”

Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked in to the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”

“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him.  Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”

“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”

“Yes child.” Mama said softly.

“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”

Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.

“You’re right, Isabel.” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”

Isabel shook her head from side to side.

“He’s coming again!”

“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”

“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”

“We will see Him?”

“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”

Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!

“Mama,” she whispered, before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”

“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

~*~

What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?

Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the  Carols, or even the gifts.

It is about God’s love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us.”

I John 4:19

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. 

He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:16-18

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 3:36

Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.

God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:

Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23-24

One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!

“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Home for Christmas ~ Looking Back

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I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas, my heart returns to my loved ones in my hometown, Roanoke, Virginia. Christmas Eve was so special because it was spent with family. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s home. Mom and I lived with them until I was seven so this was a very special Christmas. My Aunt Sandra tried to get me to dance to Christmas music on video. We were so silly! Later, we would go to the Hinchee house for dinner, to my new “Uncle J.H. and Barbara’s” house and opened gifts with their three daughters, to our house for snacks and gifts and then to “Great Aunt Louise (Hinchee)  and Uncle Carl Kelly’s house for more gifts and refreshments. Wow! That was a lot of memories in one short paragraph!

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I know John has a lot of Christmas memories of Roanoke as well. I think Christmas Day was their day with family. They have some great pics of “Little Johnny” through the years.

John Purdy's Cowboy Shoot

After John and I were married we lived in Lynchburg We often had family come for dinner and to join us at the Candlelight Service at Church and we drove to Roanoke on Christmas Day to be with our parents and siblings.

Special memories!

Tommy Holcomb posted a song and picture of what Roanoke looked like in the good old days and has given me permission to share it with you! Step back in time. Enjoy Good ol’ Roanoke with us.

Looking Back by Tommy Holcomb

A song about growing up in Roanoke, VA.

There are a few things in the video I don’t remember and would have coke-cola in my glass but he mentions S&W Cafeteria where Mom worked as a line supervisor. Loved Lakeside Amusement Park and Lendys where we got to eat in the car!  My memories of the drive-in-movie was going in my pajamas and taking a blanket as I fell asleep in the back seat while Mom and Dad Hinchee watched the movie.

Thank you, Tommy for reminding us of “Home”!

There is a lot going on in Roanoke this Christmas. If you are looking for something interesting to do this year, check out the link below.

Dickens of a Christmas

 

 

What’s This? ~ Nostalgia Time

In the last post, I asked you to identify this item.

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You guessed it!

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This old-fashioned doorbell is the first I have seen. Instead of pushing a button, one walked up to the door and twisted the doorbell. Notice the beautiful woodwork and of course, that beautiful stained glass window. I understand it is original to the wonderful old Victorian House in Clifton Forge, VA. locally referred to as the Hawkins House.

I have read it took Mr. Robert P. Hawkins three years to painstakingly build this beautiful home in the late 1880’s. Isn’t it lovely? Gorgeous workmanship! This was a home that was built to last.

~*~

This reminds me that through the Lord Jesus Christ, I have a home that will last forever and can have sweet fellowship with Him. And you can too!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door,

I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

 

What’s This? ~ Nostalgia Time

Can you solve the mystery of this antique item?  I will give you a hint. Your great-grandparents would be very familiar with this and would know just what to do.

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Please leave a comment if you know what this is. 

One more hint: It could lead to a friendly welcome.  I can’t wait to see your responses!

Kathy