A week or so ago, I wrote about finding a surprise in my mailbox: a copy of Joy Neal Kidney's book Leora's Dexter Stories, for which I was a beta reader. Well, this past week brought yet another pleasant surprise to my mailbox.
A distant relative and blog follower, Mildred Bledsoe Norris, had sent a 9 x 12 envelope filled with photocopies of family photos. A few of them I already possessed or had seen before. Many of them, however, I had never seen. And some of them were of people I had no idea who they were. Thankfully, Mildred had written two full pages of explanation and identification for some and had taped captions for others. For one group photo, she had even written in names and drawn arrows to some of the people shown. Otherwise, I would never have known who they were.
Among the photos was one of the school where my father had attended during his elementary years. I had heard much from Daddy about that school, which had been located across the road from the country store above which he and his parents had lived, but I had never seen a photo of it.
Another special photo shows the school's student body in 1938. Thirty-six students in eight grades and two teachers, one of whom was also the principal. My father, by then a sort of chunky little fellow with mischief in his eyes, is on the middle row, the second boy from the left. (I can't help wondering if he was purposely positioned within arm's length of the teacher!) Only a couple of the boys but many of the girls are smiling. A large number of the boys, no doubt from farm families, are wearing overalls. One (probably the school's "city slicker") is wearing knickers.
But the photo that most attracted my attention was of my paternal grandmother's uncle, William Graybeal. He served in Co. B of the Tennessee Cavalry. Union.
My first thought upon seeing this photo and the accompanying explanation was, "What a row that must have caused in the family!"
Because my paternal grandfather's grandfather, Joshua Peterson, had served in the Confederate forces from North Carolina! The War Between the States truly was a war that divided families!
Yet, my grandparents, Omega Graybeal and Blaine Peterson, ended up marrying each other, proving the truth of the scriptural adage that "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8)!
Thank you, Mildred Bledsoe Norris, for expanding my understanding of our family history with those photos and your explanations of the people and places in them.