Once the rain stopped and the clouds parted slightly, the trip to St. Paul was very nice. Cousin Bertie, whom I have never met, was a most wonderful host. She is very kind and you can tell right away that she loves family. I loved her smile when she spoke of my dad’s visits to her house when he was working on the railroad. He and Uncle Robert stopped by to see her often when they were working runs to Norton. She remembers visiting at Aunt Mary Jane’s (my Grandmother Buckland)when she was small. She has slowed a bit since her fall around Thanksgiving, but she was eager to identify some pictures that I brought from home and to share glimpes of other family pictures she had. Notice her in the picture below and then her father with the white beard and pipe. Isn’t that a great shot! Charles Lewis Davidson was a brother to Mary Jane (Davidson) Buckland. Climbing the mountain (maybe the Clinch?) up out of St. Paul to Lebanon, we stopped briefly to visit Mom’s Aunt Kathleen and her daughter Kathy. This was a real treat. AT 90, I think Kathleen could probably run circles around me with her enormous energy. She most willingly shared stories of her family (and my Grandmother’s family Altha Davis Brooks) while Kathy drove us to Spring City. She showed us where her father, my great grandfather William Brooks, was buried, along with her mother Orpha Catherine (Jessee) Brooks. Unfortunately, there is no fence or markers, but the grassy location is exactly where Grandpa Brooks had requested, right on the nole above where his last white home still stands. She also tried to show us her birthplace up Long Hollow and Lost Valley Roads, but the weather and rough roads prohibited that. Maybe next visit, we can walk to the old Brooks homeplace.My middle-aged forgetfulness came into play once again when I totally forgot to take a picture with both Bertie, her daughter Barbara and son Bud and again with Aunt Kathleen and her daughter Kathy. Forgive me, we’ll have to put that on our list for next time as well.
I visited the Mercer County library searching Bluefield Daily Telegraph issues on microfilm (fisch). You folks who have never tried this, don’t know how good we have it with the age of computers. I looked and looked but may need a few more clues before I return to that tedious task.This afternoon I hope to drop in on Bob Dishman, Audra Dishman’s son, in search of a picture of her. She was also my grandmother’s half sister, my great aunt, and Aunt Kathleen’s sister. She is buried very near her last home in Grandview Memory Gardens. Maybe I’ll get a photo to record her burial, as well.If time permits, I’ll venture to Clearfork and Tazewell, in search of a couple more old family cemeteries. Then tomorrow, I’ll head home. This has been a wonderful time with my mother and brothers, but THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. I’m home sick and ready for some Florida sunshine.