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Jeana, Venus and the Russians

November 24th, 2016 Comments off

russians-venus-and-jeana-2

On March 1, 1966 Jeana wrote in her appointment book:

“Horrors! The Russians landed on Venus, and planted the Russian coat of arms!”

Wikipedia Article: The Soviet Union becomes the first to land [crash] a probe on another planet.

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Jeana November 8th, 1965

October 30th, 2016 Comments off

Wilmer and I have just returned from Alpine. He had occasion to try a case in Marfa, Texas. The courthouse there throws one back into time. A huge, Victorian, spiraling staircase erect but swirling up – up and up. The courtroom commodious, last century with tall windows up in the trees: This was the fine business reason for my traveling westward. My reason was a new grand-daughter. Her brother Philo, a wonderful Italian angel image, jestful, unrestful and [as] square as a wedge. His new sister delicate as a fine teacup and as ladylike. Mother Barbara, a red-headed sweet, as untouched by pregnancy as though babies were air blown rather than animal birthed.

But poor Grainger -big beautiful, falcon riding on his wrist – His eyes steel blue and hurt. Asthma riding him like a cat on his back. And after none for four years. He caught a virus riding 400 miles and back from Padre Island to trap birds: He’s writing his master’s thesis for graduation.

Barbara’s dear, life-long friend Linda Paterson came all the way from California for the birth and has remained to take full charge of Philo and help cook. What beautiful kindness she has bestowed.

I tried to paint – no room – Wilmer and I went up the Fort Davis Canyon and I attempted to sketch the gold cotton woods marching up the dry, white peppered creek bed and rimming the rocky foothills. But nothing would work.

Sunday. Christened the sweet, girl in a tiny windowed room at the Catholic church. Grainger in a blue suit – was beautiful and I loved hm. Wilmer held the baby and looked beatific! All the young girls Barbara and Linda and Mary Kendall and some other your thing were darling.

Afterwards we had champagne at the Gate to Heaven and Tede Brown DeBarbarie came over, and she is an inspiring person. I must have time for her when I go back.

The pries was Italian, and he read the service in broken English – and Philo looked like those wonderful Florentine children I saw when I was 19 in Italy [1929] – 2one34rul, robust urchins!

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Jeana, Bobbe and Chris in 1974

October 16th, 2016 1 comment
Bobbe Springer holding her grandson Chris in 1974

Bobbe Springer holding her grandson Chris in 1974

In a journal entry dated June 21, 1974, Jeana wrote:

Sperry is living in Mill Valley [CA]. He and Spring have a baby Christopher Austin Sperry Hunt. He is walking and talking his own language with a happy cheery disposition. He laughs at his own jokes, which have many inflections understandable to himself alone.

 

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Jeana writes about Thanksgiving at The Farm

October 15th, 2016 Comments off
Judge Hunt, David Howard and Sperry watching the Texas/Texas A&M game.

Judge Hunt, David Howard and Sperry watching the Texas/Texas A&M game.

An account from Eugenia Howard Hunt about …

Thanksgiving – Nov. 22 ’62

There were too many covers and a bird was singing full notes. I knew it was warmer before I opened my eyes.

Wilmer was yet asleep as I put my coat on, after turning the fire on under the kettle for coffee, and went on. It was brisk, and no paper- I saw it half-way down the street. I slipped my coat sleeves on and went after it – wondering what a sight I was – but no one was out. The dog [Sam, a Boston] dashed through the crackling leaves for her early morning exercise through the tall trees.

Sperry cooked our breakfast. I made up the beds, bathed, gathered the wooden salad bowls and dressing, my specialty. Wilmer got the icebox. We all swished back and forth, gathering our things for the day. Putting out the dogs and etc.

Wilmer bought an arm rest for the car which is in reality a shaped box to hold the comforts, which usually float about the car.

Off with our wonderful salad bowls ?? for lettuces then the highway, bright and golden all the way to the farm. A day, like a rose with every petal full out. The lawn around the old house was lush and deep. Everybody looked so happy. Mary Howard, Mary Mize, Frita (?), Philo, Georgia, Brother, Ryland, Robin, Rosa (?), Malcolm Jr., Mother, Daddy, Cousin Ike, Mary Lily and Dolly Ann, Jano and David Howard, Wilmer and myself ah – and Eric, the French boy living with Robin.

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Eugenia Hunt – A message to visitors in her own hand and a poem for peace

October 15th, 2016 Comments off

Jeana 1980s

 

Click here to download a note Jeana left to card playing visitors and a poem for peace.

The message reads:

Friends, Romans, etc.

Please replace the cover and ?? when the game is finished!

Please empty ash trays in non-flammable spot –

Please check all tables for wet spots so no rings will ensue! –

This house is my love –

I love you – love me accordingly

Madame Queen

 

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Happy Birthday to the judge

August 25th, 2016 Comments off

Judge 1903 Baptism Certificate 3

This is the judge’s Certificate of Baptism from September 6, 1903 at the tender age of twelve days. Below he is forty years later in his prime. He was every-inch a good man, father and judge. I miss him, as we all do. Happy Birthday, Dad.

JudgeSmiling1950s

 

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The Howards and Episcopal churches in Texas

May 28th, 2016 Comments off
The Howards and St James Episcopal Church in La Grange Texas

The Howards and St James Episcopal Church in La Grange Texas

Uncle Philo Howard sent me this card on 12-28-1989. He and Aunt Mary were living in La Grange then. Jeana lived in her condo overlooking Barton Creek in Austin. Uncle Philo wrote,

Dear Sperry,

The church on this card once had a rector named Horatio Howard and he was your great-great grandfather. We went to the 100th anniversary Celebration of the episcopal church in Eagle Lake and found out that he started the church and was the first rector.

Thanks for the Christmas card, give Spring our love.

You mother has had a lot of visitors since Thanksgiving and she seem to be doing better.

Love,
Philo and Mary

Here is Horatio’s house in Palestine, by the way. The map on the right is wrong. Palestine is in East Texas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_House_%28Palestine,_Texas%29

You can read about Horatio and the Columbus church here:

http://library.columbustexas.net/church%20records/colepis1.htm

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A sister takes a moment

September 14th, 2014 4 comments

Lalu Wedding

It must have been around ten forty-five in the morning or so on a mild, sunny Saturday as I recall. December 22th, 1955.  My oldest sister was getting married in a little over an hour, judging from the clock in the left picture above. I was seven years old.

Always last to be ready, my mother was still in her bedroom putting herself together, as she often said. My dad and I were in the high-ceiling, more glass than brick living room of our mid-century house in west Houston. Dad was almost certainly reading the paper in the wing-back chair. I was on the couch sulking.

I had two sisters in their twenties and a sixteen-year-old brother. I don’t know where my sister Robin was at that moment. Probably doing her makeup. (She was our blonde bombshell.) My brother Grainger was  probably feeding the snakes caged in his room. (A future biologist, he was allowed to keep non-poisonous snakes in the house, but that’s another story.)

My unhappiness on the couch was born of my disappointment at losing my sister Lalu, who took that name from me when I was two and couldn’t pronounce “Nancy Lou.” We were very close. Being sixteen when I was born, she evidently put me in her bed when I cried in infancy. She took me to movies, got me my first haircut, taught me to play chess and cards, etc. When I was six, she returned from Stanford, as promised, to teach science at a high school. I had started school late due to my mother’s misperceptions (a good story, that one). It was then that she discovered I could neither tell time nor read.  Lalu taught me these things in short order, which saved me further embarrassment at school.

Now, two years later, she was leaving again, and for good this time.  When, sitting on that very couch, I heard of her engagement, I tried to poison my future brother-in-law.

Sort of.

On hearing the news, my dad opened a bottle of champagne, an ounce of which was allotted to me as was the custom on such special occasions.  Something had to be done, I thought. Not waiting for my pour, I walked into the kitchen and retrieved a glass from on high. Into it I poured tomato juice, Worcestershire, my father’s beloved Mexican hot sauce, and carried the concoction to the couch where I handed it to the fiance saying, “Drink this. It’s poison.”

Silence.

After I disclosed the recipe, the others laughed – the fiance rather nervously. I did not.

What followed were months of preparation for what was to be a very large wedding. Everyone pitched in. A lot of money was spent. (My father offered the couple the same amount if they’d elope, which my sister declined, and my mother poo-pooed.) Hundreds of invitations were assembled in our living room. Licking stamps was my contribution, which I considered mildly heroic. (No one mentioned the use of a damp sponge until I began to gag.) And during the months that followed no one bothered to ask me how I felt about my hitherto doting sister’s impending disappearance from the house.

And so it was that I was brooding on our living room couch the morning of December 27, 1956.

Lalu walked into the room, looking beautiful in her white dress flowing all around her. My dad put down his paper and said as much, then talked breezily in his usual fashion about how boys are no damned good and offered to put the groom in jail if Lalu had changed her mind. (Dad was a humorist and a civil judge who very rarely put people in jail and then only for contempt.) My sister laughed heartily, as she still does. She kissed Dad, and declined both offers.

At this point Lulu looked down on her little brother and found him sulking once again. It was then that Mother entered the room. Seeing her daughter doing nothing but standing there staring at her brother, Mother suggested there must be something Lalu should be doing.

Indeed there was, Lalu said. She promptly opened the game cabinet and retrieved the carved wooden chess set and placed it on the coffee table before me. “I need to play chess with Sperry.”

And so she did. The game didn’t last too long, I’ sure. Lalu was very good at chess. But she was in no hurry. We spoke of things I can’t possibly recall. Only that we spoke only to each other for the little while she had separated out for me, her anxious little brother, a moment that stands out to me now as clearly as it did these many years ago.

A note about the images. The photos at the top of this post are of Lalu and Dad (left) and Mom and her brother, the beloved Uncle Philo. Below is a picture of Lalu and me a few years ago with Mt. Shasta in the background and, of course, the bride and groom with Lalu and Robin’s dear friend Jean Garwood.

Lalu and Sperry 2006Lalu and Roy

The passing of Juanita Needy Wren

September 8th, 2014 Comments off

JUANITA LEE WREN

Beloved wife and Mother

May 15, 1937 – September 5, 2014

Mrs. Juanita L. (Needy) Wren, 77, of Melbourne, FL and formerly of Waynesboro, PA, died Friday evening, September 5, 2014 in her home.

Born May 15, 1937 in Waynesboro, she was the daughter of the late Crawford E. and Leota B. (Strawderman) Needy.

Mrs. Wren received her G.E.D. and later attended Shippensburg State Teachers College, Shippensburg, PA.

She and her husband, Campbell C. Wren, were married in August 1978. They have lived in Florida for over 15 years.

Mrs. Wren managed The Village Book Store, Waynesboro and later was a clerk at Bon Ton, Chambersburg, PA.

She enjoyed reading, wine, and spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by four children, Jennifer C. Adelsberger and her husband, Joe of Frederick, MD, Timothy R. Berklite and his wife, Jean of Waynesboro, Tammy L. Carstensen and her husband, Mike of Huntsville, AL, and Mary G. Lowe of Cummings, GA; eight grandchildren, Andrew, Mark, Erica, Dustin, Daniel, Matthew, Makenzie, and Karissa; two great-grandchildren, Nicholas and Sophia; one sister, Sue Nitterhouse of Fayetteville; two brothers, Terry Needy of Waynesboro and Michael Needy of Lititz, PA; and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one brother, Robert Needy.

A note about Robin from Jennie Kiesling

September 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Yes, I feel cheated of the chance to make cakes!   That traditional started the year after Uncle Malcolm died.  I wanted to bring some light into Robin’s life, but over the years those parties at her house probably did even more for me.  When they ended, it seemed to me that Robin had become happy enough in her own life that she no longer needed the annual visitation.  Although I missed the parties, it was great to know that Robin was thriving–as she did right up to the end.  Indeed, Happy Birthday, Aunt Robin!