Okay, it was actually quite ordinary. My parents are visiting and I let my dad stop milking Clover long enough to take us on a drive around Stringtown. He pointed out the boundaries of my great-grandfather’s farm. My great-grandfather owned hundreds of acres across the river from our farm. I’ve been here many times with my dad. It’s SO hard for me to remember everything. And the information is so fragile. My dad is one of the last of his generation. He’s 83. No one else in the family is much interested, at least not enough to come out here, to document it, to make a record. I always remember bits and pieces but not everything. This time, we tape recorded him as we drove around. This is Princess here, holding the tape recorder as we drove and my dad talked and pointed things out.
This little drive, in which we were only going within a few miles of our farm, was focused on getting down the boundaries of my great-grandfather’s farm. As well as recording him, I took photos. He also pointed out this ridge, where a small house once stood in which he was born.
More of those stories are for another trip. My parents will be here for a couple of weeks and I’ll be taking my dad out on a series of occasions to record specific places and the stories that go with them. It’s an effort that’s about more than just my own family stories. Stringtown is a town that isn’t a town anymore. My father was part of that generation that got up and left after World War II, looking for jobs, looking for adventure, looking for anything that wasn’t a backwoods holler. But he grew up here and he knows what few do–what a town that no longer exists was once like. Photographs of old Stringtown are few and far between, and it’s hard to come by anyone who lived here in its boom town heyday anymore. My dad is one of the last, and I’m determined to get as much information down as I can–where was the store, where was the ballfield, who lived here, what happened there, before it was all grown over by trees and vines and time.
After we got home, the cousins came over and we had a huge dinner with ham and fresh garden veggies and bread and shoo-fly pie on the porch!
52 is on the porch in this picture, but you can’t see him. My cousin’s son, walking on the porch, is miraculously positioned so that he blocks the view of him. I know, it’s so mean!
But look! Here’s Georgia. As I took this picture, I reminded her that she was a very popular figure on my blog. She said, as always, “I am? Why?” She cracks me up.
She was really more interested in my zucchini. Believe it or not, she was perusing MY vegetables from MY garden and she asked to take some home with her!! You think I must be making that up, don’t you? I SWEAR IT’S TRUE!!
How was your fabulous, ordinary day yesterday? Aren’t ordinary days the best?
P.S. See updates to yesterday’s post below.
Kim A. says:
What a terrific idea, to record your dad’s stories and memories. My paternal family’s history is pretty much lost, now that Dad’s mom is gone.
My fabulous, ordinary day involved 7 straight hours of hard labour in the house, doing reno/decor stuff. I was pleased with my efforts, in spite of bruises and scrapes and sore muscles, until my neighbour, a size 0 30-something told me she has just redone her bathroom herself. Took the tub out HERSELF. Replaced the toilet HERSELF. Demolished the walls HERSELF. Drywalled and tiled by HERSELF. Have I mentioned she removed the tub and got it down the stairs and out into the garage HERSELF???? Have I mentioned one of my thighs weighs more than she does???
Man, my efforts were measly in comparison to SuperWoman next door.
Oops, sorry, got carried away ranting here. 😆
On August 17, 2008 at 5:27 am
Kool Aid says:
That is fabulous that you are documenting history like that. I wish I had done better when my grandfather was still alive. After reading Tim Russert’s book “Our Fathers,” I asked my dad to write/record as many stories as he could remember from Granddaddy. My dad is a very wordy man, so it’s not often a family member asks him to tell stories so I’m sure he’s enjoying this.
On August 17, 2008 at 7:22 am
That’s great you are taping your family history!
Your porch is wonderful for a family get together
Have a good time with your family. Enjoy !!
On August 17, 2008 at 7:45 am
Carolyn A. says:
This was a fabulous post! Learning more about your history and spending time with your folks. Please take many pictures while they are there so you can preserve that part of your life for your children and their children.
And thank you for posting a picture of Georgia. Yes, Georgia, we love reading about you too. I think that was a nice compliment to your farming skills that she wanted to take your vegetables home. I know she’s going to make something great with them. xxoo
On August 17, 2008 at 8:32 am
Kathy R says:
Yesterday wasn’t an ordinary day. Most days I don’t make the long drive into Ripley. But the really extraordinary part? Driving through the beautiful WV countryside with blue skies and puffy clouds, and realizing that I could have missed this beauty if I hadn’t come home to WV. I think that if this isn’t heaven, it’s close enough for me.
On August 17, 2008 at 8:38 am
Glad you are taking pictures and recording your family history. It is so important – something we dont do much of these days. I have some letters my grandparents wrote to each other from 1900 to 1910 when they were courting. they are fabulous, rich with history and are priceless. My mother wanted to throw them out because they were personal but I said no way.
Thanks for sharing. So sorry about the FishCreek House – really smells doesnt it. Dead fish always smell – I hope she gets sanctioned in some way or people stop going to her B and B. maybe post an article in her local news paper or call the state about her stealing. pretty low really and such a shame.
we love your blog – so hang in there for us. I can see 52s pant leg and boot on the porch – it is just a matter of time you know!!
On August 17, 2008 at 8:50 am
PS – LOVE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN THE WINDOW – CANT WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU ALL DO FOR THE HOLIDAYS –
On August 17, 2008 at 8:52 am
Shari C says:
Thanks for the family pictures and what a wonderful idea to record your family history for you and your children to have.
On August 17, 2008 at 9:03 am
That Princess – is she not a ham, like her mother, or what! She is PRECIOUS! You need to get her some Dr. Pepper lipgloss. LOL My friend is a Dr. Pepper aholic (now diet ones) and she wears that lipgloss.
What a GREAT idea, having your father tell the story of Strongtown for recording/documenting! It sort of reminds me of the movie I love “Fried Green Tomatoes” where they tell the story of the Whistlestop cafe – and they show what it used to be like – bustling, and at the end, show the old boarded up cafe! It’ll be great for Princess and the cousins and family to have and who knows maybe that area will come back and YOU’ll have the history! I would copyright it or something so no one can Plagarize it! LOL
On August 17, 2008 at 9:14 am
Recording his accounts is a brilliant idea. And what a great thing you’re doing not only for your family, but WV too. This is such a wonderful adventure as Stringtown is reborn.
On August 17, 2008 at 9:15 am
Sarah S. says:
What a good idea to tape your Dad. I am going to do that with my Dad. He is 82.
On the update from yesterday, you rock :clap: I read several of the blogs she has ripped off. It makes me really mad that people can do that and get away with it! Thanks for posting all that info. :sheepjump:
On August 17, 2008 at 9:23 am
I wish I had listened more and recorded much of our history. Now either everyone is gone or has alzheimers.
I love ordinary days too, they always seem to turn out the best!
On August 17, 2008 at 9:26 am
What a wonderful idea of preserving all of your father’s memory of the town he grew up in. Great idea. Love the family sitting around the porch and how funny 52 is covered once more. :yes:
Our day and weekend involved taking the three kids school clothes shopping. but we all loved every moment of it. Also eating out at a favorite restaurant. Now today it clean house day for me. :whip:
On August 17, 2008 at 9:35 am
Smart, smart, smart. I bet there’s a novel there?
On August 17, 2008 at 9:57 am
:wave: I would love to hear more about Stringtown. Those little vanished towns have always fascinated me.
Georgia is so cute I could eat her with a spoon!!
On August 17, 2008 at 10:16 am
Back to school shopping with my 11-year old middle school princess. Sitting in a restaurant actually talking to her. About her best friend whose family just adopted a child from Honduras. About The Boy she has known since kinder whose family suddenly left town, apparently for good. With only a “bye, take care” text message from him. About her summer reading which included a series about a vegetarian teenage vampire romance.
And her admission that Miley Cyrus needs to get real.
On August 17, 2008 at 10:30 am
There you go, making me jealous again. I’m jealous of your porch (jealous of your whole dang house in the woods, truth be told) and jealous of your big family sitting on it.
My ordinary day? It was really ordinary, and that’s great. I have two more days left on my vacation, and I’m being very slug-like. I napped. Took my granddog home (I was babysitting)and ate a hot dog at the mini-mart on the way home(I do that once a decade). I worked on my hobbies, but not too hard. The luxury of two more full days ahead of me – with nothing much required from me during that time period – is almost more than I can comprehend.
On August 17, 2008 at 10:42 am
I’m like JillyBean… Alzheimers has taken most of mom’s memories and death has claimed so many of the others that could have told more.
I admire what you are doing. Don’t put it off. I came from a little community in Kentucky that has dwindled and is almost gone. There’s very little left of the buildings or people that I knew. I’m 53 and my family moved from there the summer I turned 11. This family filled community with active businesses and farms has almost been absorbed back into the woods and river banks that it was carved out of.
Sorry for running on and on.
Hopefully there will be a time that I can put down some of my memories as you are doing. The way our families and those communities were is nearly extinct. Even with so many trying to get back to that way of live it will never be the lifestyle that was handed down thru blood and breathed into them as easily as they drew breath.
As you can tell I get very passionate about this. I think that is why I luv your blog so much. I see your passion and your reaching out to learn and live your life in this way.
On August 17, 2008 at 10:51 am
Teresa H. says:
Good idea Suzanne! I need to do that with my parents!
On August 17, 2008 at 11:18 am
Can I be related to you? Really. I’ll pay for the privilege. 🙂 I’m glad you are recording your father’s memories/stories he has in hiding out in his memory. My father is 98 and he was a story teller and a long winded one. Everytime he did that someonw would mention later that we should’ve had a tape recorder. Course if he knew that, he wouldn’ve quit talking. No one ever knew when he would get started to keep one on the sly to record. They have so much to talk about.
On August 17, 2008 at 11:46 am
Debbie in Memphis says:
Yesterday wasn’t an ordinary day for me. My little ones were spending the day with my darling in-laws. I had time to myself, time to get my hair cut, time to go shopping. It was wonderful!!
Today will be our ordinary day. Doing laundry, kids having baths, watching NASCAR, talking to my honey…I love ordinary days, too.
We love you, Georgia! Suzanne, I envy your kitchen and shoo-fly pie. YUM!!!
On August 17, 2008 at 11:51 am
I love it that you’re spending time with your dad, recording his memories. My dad is also visiting with us now and we love having him here. We wait for these precious weeks all year long. Enjoy. 🙂
On August 17, 2008 at 11:52 am
My big news for the last two days hasn’t been great. Friday I saw a cardiologist for a possible problem. I got the news that I have to have a nuclear stress test (2 day). Saturday I went for a special blood test. But on the bright side, I got a haircut and had a terrific dinner.
Congrats on recording your family history. It’s absolutely the best thing you can do for your children. Hugs, Jodie
On August 17, 2008 at 12:48 pm
Gail L. says:
So good to see Georgia again, I’ve missed her. What a nice family gathering and that’s wonderful you are getting Stringtown’s history narrated by your Dad!
On August 17, 2008 at 1:19 pm
:elephant: absolutely great idea to tape your dad. Now I wanna tape mine. My mom told me I was born across the street where the car wash is now. At that time it was a clinic. I only remembered that when I saw your pics and read your blog. Thanks again for sharing your life. :clap:
On August 17, 2008 at 1:42 pm
I am glad you have your dad to tell you about Stringtown. So much history about small towns has been lost because no one can remember the details.
On August 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm
You do forget a lot of family history. I think part of the reason is that you don’t think that it’s very interesting. After all, it’s just ordinary people living ordinary lives but my daughter finds it fascinating so I have to rack my brains to remember some of the stories.
On August 17, 2008 at 5:09 pm
You will be so glad you are doing this! I was the only one who listened to my granddad’s stories and now when family members want to know something they come to me.
52 is very sly! :wave:
On August 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm
Georgia taking home your garden veggies, You have arrived! Thats a great idea documenting all the family history, My great aunt was in the daughters of the american revolution and she had our family history traced back and had so much extra information, like we had family in the civil war and she included info and facts about Roane county and the war, just a lot of nice stuff she and made really great 3 ring binders with all kinds of info. She made them for anyone who wanted it, I was the only grandchild who got one, Its sad a lot of people just do not have interest in their history. I think it’s great you are passing it all on to your kids as well so they can pass it on later!
On August 17, 2008 at 8:38 pm
I guess you never think you’re going to forget the stories (especially the ones you hear more than once) but eventually you do. I’m watching my friend’s two cats for a week and making sure everything in her garden is watered – I get to keep any ripe tomatoes
On August 17, 2008 at 9:40 pm
My grandfather wrote down stories like that. Of when my dad and uncle were growing up in a tiny town. I think that’s really cool that you’re going to preserve all those stories and memories.
On August 17, 2008 at 11:06 pm
We are taping conversations between our Grandgirlies and Miss Suzie, their great-grandmother. What a riot! The three of them have high old times, and love and laughter bring joy to our hearts!
On August 17, 2008 at 11:13 pm
Granny Sue says:
I heard about Stringtown’s amazing history when I moved to WV over 30 years ago, and even drove out there once just to see what there was to see–which was nothing much since everything was pretty much gone. What you’re doing with your Dad is important for you and for our state’s history. Consider writing an article for Goldenseal. It’s our state’s best history journal.
On August 17, 2008 at 11:26 pm
Granny Sue says:
PS my fabulous day was making homemade blueberry and streaberry syrups to go over made-from-scratch pancakes, a trip about 3 miles away to White Rose Ridge with a pickup full of grandchildren to check on a friend’s cabin out in the deep woods. Then to the place called Twin Rocks to let them explore, back home to cook out with a son, make s’mores over the campfire and tell ghost stories. A lovely, lovely day.
On August 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm
I wish I had taped my father before he died. He was ill, and would come to my house and talk about things when he was young, and about the places and things he did when he was in service during WWII.
I had such great opportunities, but didn’t take advantage of them.
I hate that people steal from other’s blogs. Fortunately, I don’t have anything worth stealing on mine.
On August 18, 2008 at 11:09 am