About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fun Monday - Grandma's Mr. Thornton

Welcome to October Fun Mondays! I'm your host for the entire month--you're very welcome. :-) Your assignment for October 4 is to share a favorite family photo(s)and tell us why this particular photo means so much to you. The photo can be one from the past that's perhaps not in the greatest shape, like my choice. Or, it can be a modern day digital wonder. Your choice. What's important is that you love it.

Meet my maternal grandparents, Rainey and Myrtle Hamilton. Rainey was born in 1887, Myrtle in 1890 in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. They were married in 1907 when Grandma was only 17 and Grandpa a very young 21 years old. They had five children in quick succession--two boys, three girls. In 1922 Grandpa Rainey died at 35 years old of appendicitis. I have heard stories of him being put on a horse drawn sled and carried to the doctor, but that did not save him.

Grandma Myrtle must have been devastated by his untimely death for, by all accounts, my grandpa was much respected in their mountain community. He was an itinerant teacher and magistrate even at such a young age. And, even in this poor photo, a proud and handsome Scotsman. Looking closely at my grandma you would probably guess that she was made of stern stuff. For sure, that's how I remember her from my childhood. I never knew my grandpa except by others' accounts. When Grandpa Rainey died, the four older children were sent to orphanages in Ohio and my grandma only kept the youngest boy at home with her. I've always thought that was hard of her to do, but perhaps that was the only choice. Grandma Myrtle never remarried, even though she was widowed at such an early age. She must have loved her young husband very much.

I call my grandpa "grandma's Mr. Thornton" because he reminds me so much of John Thornton, the proud cotton manufacturer and magistrate in Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, North and South, set in industrial England of the mid-1800s. Richard Armitage plays him in the dramatic adaptation. Here he is with his love Margaret Hale. According to the novel, Margaret was as stern as my grandma!


I have only two photos of my Grandpa Rainey. I look at them and regret that I never knew him. I hope that it was from him that I got my love for learning. Wouldn't have minded inheriting his looks as well--he, like John Thornton, was "remarkably handsome"!

Here are the players for Fun Monday. If you missed the earlier signup, just let me know and I'll quickly add your name to the list so you can get visitors.

1. Sayre - Sayre Smiles
2. Church Lady - Living Life in PA
3. Janis - Life According to Jan and Jer
4. Julie - Another Chance Ranch
5. Molly Return of the White Robin
6. Ari - Beyond My Slab
7. Grace - Mama Rehema
8. Joangee - musings n waffle
9. Pamela - The Dust Will Wait
10. Jan - Prytz Family
11. Sandy - Myanderings
12. Jill - Life is Not Bubble Wrapped

We have volunteers! Julie at Another Chance Ranch will host for November and Jill at Life is Not Bubble Wrapped will do December. Thanks.

Topic for October 11: Fridge Blogs - in most homes the refrigerator door is not only decorated, it's also the family communication center with calendars, photos, announcements, reminders, art work, etc. Share a photo of your refrigerator door. What do you have posted on it? Why? Come back on Thursday to sign up if you want to play. Lets keep Fun Monday going by keeping the "fun" in it.

14 comments:

Jan n Jer said...

OMG Faye, this story of your grandparents sounds like my own parents. My Dad also died of appendecitis at the age of 34 and left my Mom with 5 young children. We were lucky though, my grandparents took us all in and helped my Mom raise us. I have a few photos of my dad, but wish I had more. I was seven when he passed! Thanks for hosting

Jan said...

Faye, I managed a FM post: http://prytzfamily.blogspot.com/2010/10/fun-monday.html

I love the story about your grandparents.

Pamela said...

Things were odd back then..
I don't know why the children were sent to orphanages. It just makes me sick with sadness.


Hey/// I'm up -- I'm on task this week with a favorite photo.!!!

Lane said...

What a hard young life Grandma Myrtle had. Did she live to a good age?

Super photo Faye. Grandpa had a wonderful strong face.

Julie said...

Love the photo & the story! Times sure have changed haven't they.

My FM post is up, but not nearly as good as yours.

http://www.anotherchanceranch.com

The Google link will send you to my old blog I think. Sorry

Sayre said...

What an amazing woman your Grandma Myrtle must have been... Five children is a lot (heck, sometimes ONE is a lot), so you know she must have had her heart broken all over again when she found she couldn't raise all of them by herself.

And your grandfather must have been just as amazing, as he obviously had her heart for her entire life.

My post will hopefully be up shortly... Blogger isn't being very cooperative with me and won't let me get to my posting page yet.

Marion said...

Faye,
Ive emailed you re: Pike/Floyd County
Not as Marion but Glenda B.

Debs said...

What a sad story. Your poor grandmother must have been devastated to lose her husband at such a young age, then have to send her four children away.

I love though that you've managed to tie this in with Richard Armitage, you're truly a woman after my own heart!

Jill said...

I posted!

Sayre said...

I got it to work - I'm UP!

The Church Lady said...

I LOVE that old photo of your grandparents, Faye. I never knew my grandfather either. As my mom mentioned, he died very young. I wish my mom had a photo like this one!

Thanks for hosting Fun Monday!

Molly said...

Faye, thank for not only hosting Fun Monday this week, but thank you for committing to the entire month of October. I enjoyed reading about your grandparents and seeing their picture. I have noticed in many old photos the participants are hardly ever smiling? Was this because life was hard, or was this because photo sessions were considered a serious affair?

Although late my Fun Monday entry is posted.

KittyHawk said...

That photo is a treasure! 3 of my 4 grandparents died before I came along, so I know them only from stories and old pics. And the one grandfather who was living was on his third family so we didn't see much of them.

ari_1965 said...

I've read that one of the reason that children were so often sent to orphanages was that do-gooder ladies or actual town/city/state employees (always women) would show up at a person's house and push for the children to go to an orphanage.

Picture somebody looking like Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz showing up at your doorstep, turning her nose up at your situation, and saying that the children would be better off in care.

Btw, my blog address has changed. I'm at www.prawnoffate.blogspot.com