Tag Archive | Grandmother

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

The Vinton School

Vinton School (William Byrd first High School) (2014_02_18 18_15_37 UTC)

Photo provided by Angie Bell Chewning

In the story I posted for Memorial Day, “Isabel” (my grandmother) attended The Vinton School while living with relatives. She loved that school and since she spoke of it so often when I was a child, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to attend the same school. By then, the 4 classroom building sat at the bottom of the hill where the High School, William Byrd stood. Of course, it was just the little building when Granny was a student. I understand there was a common room in the middle of the building which was used as an auditorium, gym and cafeteria. The four classrooms opened into the larger, common room.

My grandparents lived close enough William Byrd that we could hear band practice. It was great! My cousin, Debbie taught me a couple of cheers and we would hop around to the beat of the drums.

My stepfather’s younger sister was a student at “the high school” and I loved looking at her yearbooks; dreaming of the day I would also be a “Terrier.” That day finally came the fall of 1970. Since the building on the hill was built in the early 1930’s, the steps were worn with age. Framed pictures of graduating classes lined the halls. (I was late for class once because I was looking for a familiar face on the wall.)

New William Byrd High School on the hill

Photo provided by Angie Bell Chewning

I was delighted to discover that my math class and I think an art class were located in the school my Grandmother had attended. The little building at the bottom of the hill which was once known as, “The Vinton School.” That “hill” was very steep. Not only did we get a lot of exercise getting to Math class but once or twice when it was snowing, I discovered sliding, rolling or tumbling down that hill was not fun. And now, that is part of my history too. My favorite teacher at William Byrd Intermediate (Middle School) was Tina Cook. She was a believer who wanted to serve the Lord too. She was an organist at her church and to my delight, a counselor at the same Bible Camp my friends from Church and I attended.

My class was in this location for one year only. There were so many sixth-graders moving up to William Byrd Intermediate (on the hill) there wasn’t enough room for us. So we got to go to the new, modern Wm. Byrd High School in the eighth grade. It was exciting, but I missed the history in the old building.

Imagine all of the stories within the walls of these old buildings! My grandmother was there only a short time but I’m so glad she told me about it! Just remember, when you tell your children and grandchildren stories about the “good old days” they are probably listening even when you think they aren’t.

Blessings,

Kathy