Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Book of Me, Written By You ... The 102nd Day of the Year (Prompt 2)

Prompt 2:  The prompt for week 2 is "Your Birth" and these are the questions.
  • Do you have any baby photos?
  • Where were you born?
  • Who was present at your birth?
  • Dimensions?
  • What day was it? Time?
  • Did you have hair? Eye color
  • Are you a twin?
Tina Marie Starks, August 1960
I was born on a Monday, April 11, 1960, at 12:45 p.m. in Chicago, Illinois.  It was the 102nd day of the year.  My father is Black and my mother is white.  They moved north to Chicago from Chattanooga, Tennessee to have me. The 1960's was a very volatile time and Chattanooga was one of the cities where students were having sit-ins at the local five and dime lunch counters. 

My mother came to Chicago two months before I was born and my father arrived a few months before my mother.  She gave birth to me at Cook County Hospital and there were no complications.  I was a single birth and I am the only child that they have together.  As far as I know, other than the medical staff, she was alone during delivery.  I weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz.  when I was born.  The little hair that I had was dark brown and my eyes were medium brown.  The doctor stamped her discharge papers "live child" and we went home together on April 14th.

My dad told me that he named me.  He said he liked the name Tina it was short and sweet. He felt it would be easy to spell and easy to pronounce - one less thing for me to worry about.  My middle name Marie was taken from his sister's name, Doris Marie. As he repeated my names he smiled and said they have a ring to them.  I could tell that he felt proud, and for a few seconds he returned to the moment when he was in charge of  naming me.

The baby picture above was taken of me in August 1960 by my father.  He took most of our family pictures.  He gave me this picture several years ago and I cherish it, not because it is a picture of me, because it reminds me of a tender moment when my father shared my story with me.

A Blast from My Past

Storyline:  A photograph can trigger a sentiment that can take you right back to that moment. 

In 1969, our stereo resided in the living room on the wall under the stairs.  It was 4' x 3½', shaped like a rectangle, and stood about 3 feet from the ground.  It was lifted off the floor by four 3 inch wooden legs.  The stereo cabinet was completely wood.  It was maple-wood, except for where the speakers were enclosed.

The speakers sat in the front panel on the right and left side of the cabinet.  There was brown and tan netted material covering them.  Looking down at the right side where the turntable sat was a wooden panel and if you slid it to the left the cabinet would open.  You had to reach down into the cabinet to play an album on the turntable.

Next to the stereo was a shelf with about 100 vinyl records.  There were a few 45's but most of the records were 33 albums.  The 45's had these colorful plastic inserts that you would place in the center of the record so that it could play on the turntable.  Those inserts were in a blue art deco bowl that sat on the shelf near the records.  Each album rested in a cardboard sleeve with photographs or art on the front of the album cover.

My parents listened to all types of music but their favorite genre was jazz.  There were albums from Cannonball Adderly to Lester Young.  Each person in the house had a favorite album that was worn down from repeat playing.  My favorite album was the Jackson 5's ABC.  It had scratches on the vinyl that would cause it to skip or repeat a note when played.  The album cover had secretly disappeared to my bedroom under the mattress because I often daydreamed over their photos.

The stereo was played often in our home but never on Sundays.  It was a source of regular entertainment that became a tradition at family functions.  Each album had its spotlight.  Some albums lasted for the duration of the hit and others were classic repeat defenders.  The chronic repeaters were Nate King Cole, Nancy Wilson, anything Motown, and the Fifth Dimension.  Anytime I hear one of those songs today, it takes me right back to the past.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - A Blast From My Past

A language we all understand


Please visit GeneaBloggers to learn more about Wordless Wednesday.

Tombstone Tuesday - Two Mothers

Faithie Lyons Wheeler and Gladys Wheeler Starks ~

Over the summer of 2012, I went on a genealogy research trip to the region of Tennessee where most of my family originated.  It was not my first trip to Tennessee, but it was my first research trip.  My itinerary started with a very personal visit to Highland Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Highland is one of the first "colored cemeteries" in Chattanooga. 

I made contact with the cemetery staff in advance and had gotten the burial sites to coordinate someone showing me the locations.  I met with the grave diggers, as they called themselves, at the cemetery gates at 10 a.m.  They guided me to six family graves.  Only two, my grandmother and great-grandmother had tombstones to mark their burial site.  I later asked my dad why were my grandmothers the only ones with tombstones and he said, "Because they were the Mothers".  I didn't have to ask him what he meant, I knew.  I had only brought flowers to place on the graves of the two Mothers.

Highland Memorial Garden Cemetery - mapped

                                                        Faithie wife of Dave Wheeler
                                                        Sept 13, 1884 - June 10, 1936

My paternal great-grandmother is Fathie Lyons Wheeler.  She was born 13 Sep 1884 in Tennessee.  Her mother died when she was very young so she was raised by her aunt Mary Lyons.  She married David Isaac Wheeler on 13 Dec 1903 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  They had three daughters Lovie, Gladys and Daisy Wheeler.  Lovie preceded her mother in death.  Fathie died 10 Jun 1936 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

My paternal grandmother is Gladys Wheeler Starks.  She was born 20 May 1908 (not 8 May) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Her parents were David Isaac and Faithie Lyons Wheeler.  She married LaGrant Starks on 23 Jun 1930 in Rossville, Walker, Georgia.  They had nine children.  Two children preceded her in death.  Gladys died 22 Sep 1988 (not 24 Sep) in Chattanooga on her husband's 83rd birthday.

Please visit GeneaBloggers to learn more about Tombstone Tuesday.

See Fathie Lyons Wheeler's tombstone on Pinterest.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Book of Me, Written By You ... Beginnings (Prompt 1)

I am new to blogging and just recently learned about Julie Goucher's project, The Book of Me, Written By You.  I learned about the project on GeneaBloggers where they were announcing the writing prompt for week 21.  The project is 15 months, although you can complete it at your own pace and start at any point.  Obviously, I have some catching up to do.  

I decided to participate on the spot even though I know life is pretty busy these days.  I thought to myself when will life be less busy, and if I didn't start now I would only be procrastinating until a later date.  I have reviewed each weekly prompt and some will be much easier to write about than others.

Prompt 1:  The prompt for week 1 is a recognized psychology test.  Ask yourself 20 times “Who are you?”  Each time you should give yourself a different answer, and if you can easily go beyond 20 then that is fine too.           

Storyline:  I have never had a hard time making it to the finish line, but those starter blocks have always made me anxious.

So here I go with Prompt 1, "Who are you?"

1.  I am a child of God
2.  uniquely me
3.  feminine = mother, daughter, sister, nana, aunt
4.  spiritual
5.  great friend
6.  passionate
7.  creative
8.  artist
9.  worldly
10. smart
11. wise
12. storyteller
13. family historian
14. funny
15. resilient
16. counselor
17. foodie
18. writer
19. extrovert
20. friendly
21. tenacious
22. breast cancer survivor

The first five responses are ordered, but the last 17 are random and could fall anywhere on the list.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

January 2014, Photo of the Month

Sunday's Best 1941, Chicago Boys
Photographer Unknown