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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

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

 

 

Roanoke Today Through the Lens of Award Winning Photographer Terry Aldhizer!