Sunday, August 31, 2008

An interesting world

This is our new dog, Leila. Ferocious and totally hairless. I no longer have to lock my doors at night. No one would dare. By the way, you should hear my friend, Danielle, say "ferocious" with her French accent. Adorable. You should also hear her tell stories of when she and her 10 siblings were growing up on the family farm near Quebec. Apparently, the larger the family, the funnier the stories. Once, one of her sisters caught a feral cat in the woods and tied it to the front porch. Not an easy task. The cat shrieked and thrashed and eventually chewed through the rope. Danielle said, "Dat cat was soooo WUDE!! She told me that story about 18 years ago and I've laughed every time I've thought about it since. I didn't think to ask if that was the same sister that just rode a Harley down from Canada and slept in a hammock in Danielle's back yard for her whole visit! That makes me feel pretty wimpy. Oh, btw, this isn't a picture of Leila. This is a dog Micah and Carlos saw strolling around at a street market in Peru.
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This is Micah's picture from Facebook. Not that I ever get to see it. Before she went to college, I got to look at Facebook, all the time, with her. When she left for school, I asked for her password and she wouldn't give it to me. Can you believe that? I was shocked! Oh, well, I have my ways. Mothers always do :) Carlos took this picture of her at Machu Picchu last winter.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Bill!

Insightful, precious, gentle soul, heart of gold... those are the words Katherine used to describe Bill in a phone call with me today. The two of them had been birthday shopping for him, and to lunch afterwards, and she was even more happy than usual after a trip to Kohl's! Bill returned to Jerry's and Mona's today and I know this will be a great birthday for him. He has surely enjoyed the love and hospitality of Jerry and Mona, Don and Mary, and Katherine and Mike and they are glad to be close, to be able to be there for him. Katherine was right. He is all of those things and I love him and wish him a very happy birthday!
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Bill and Mary

... one summer afternoon
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God's Star

Little star, little one
The others say that you're not done
But save your strength and you'll see
Just how bright you can be.

See the earth come and go,
Such a distance, going slow.
How long the night for such a star,
And no one knows who you are.

For you're the weakest of them all.
You get so tired you start to fall.
You're such a brave little light,
That fights so hard to stay so bright.

For as you're marching to a different drum,
You know where your light is coming from.
And, as you turn over a new leaf,
We see your star though all so brief.

- Bill Denton
For years, it's bothered me to have, maybe, thousands of family pictures (mostly my immediate family, for those of you that think I've made off with the family archives!), letters, articles, poems jammed in boxes, drawers, cubbyholes, willy-nilly, with no semblance of order. This summer, the one thing I accomplished (besides painting some of the interior of my house,) was that I went through and organized those treasures. I re-read letters, many letters, from Katherine and Mona back when I barely knew them, Mom, Dad, Branwen, Jessica, Marilyn, Jerry, Don, funny birthday cards from Jim and Mike, sister-to-sister cards from Mary, everyone, pretty much. Letters from Katie to David and Micah, thank you notes from Fontaine. A virtual treasure trove. I love to organize, so the process, in itself, was satisfying! And, it made me feel so good to relive the memories in the letters, to feel the love and time it took for those people to write me. I was inspired and went out and bought note cards and pretty postage stamps. Can you believe I went to two stores that sell stationery and cards and couldn't find any sheets of stationery, only note cards? What is this world coming to? Billy is a diligent, a devoted, letter-writer and I have all the letters he's sent me over the years. I appreciate the love he mailed from Alabama to Texas, in this pretty card.
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David and Micah with Uncle Billy

David and Micah appreciate Billy's quiet, gentle demeanor and tried to find some time to sit and talk whenever we were visiting. Micah says that the day this was taken, she threw a big, huge tantrum. She was in Billy's room, maybe put there by me, screaming and kicking her feet, angry and frustrated that we could go on laughing and talking, in the other room. (Laughter and talking aside, my stomach was probably in knots. I never could take the sound of a screaming child, especially my own.) The door opened slowly and Billy came in with M & M's on his open palm, offering them to her to try to cheer her up. I don't remember the event but Micah speaks of it often.
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On the porch at the River

Mom was so happy to have Bill living at home. They "zoomed" to the bookstore, the coffee shop, shopping... talked, washed dishes... whatever the day presented, they did it. He was her beloved companion and she his champion.
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All of us

Front: Mary, Don and Michael Back: Bill, me, Jerry and Jim. This picture was taken in the living room at Fowl River on Dad's 80th birthday weekend. A rare occasion because we were all there sans children, husbands and wives.
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Mom, Jim and Bill

Someone's birthday... Jim's, Bill's? It was around this time period that Kim and I used to sit up, until what we thought was late at night, but was probably until 11:00 or something, knowing Mom's curfews, looking out my bedroom window, waiting for Billy to come home :)
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Happy Birthday!

Judging from the date on the picture, this is likely Dad's birthday balloon but today, it's Billy's birthday so I'm lending it to him! This picture is pure Fowl River. How many times did we see a similar scene and don't Mom and Dad look beautiful? Those were good times.
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King's Grant

Billy, in our backyard, on Watergate Lane.
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Jimmy and Billy

Easter in Pensacola. Two freshfaced, precious boys.
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Mike, Me and Bill

I've posted this before and someone told me where it was taken but I've already forgotten. I do that a lot. Regardless of the location, this is a wonderful picture.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our newest family member is having a birthday on Aug. 23!

No one has volunteered pictures of an adorable, gurgling baby Kyle so this handsome one will have to do. Katie can dig in the family archives and send me some for next year. In the meantime, I'm proud to present Kyle with his parents and his new bride. Happy Birthday, Kyle!
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Friday, August 8, 2008


My maternal grandfather, James Fontaine Maury, and his younger sister, Marnie. The handwriting is Mamie Clark Maury's, "Daddy Jim's" future wife.
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Marnie and Daddy Jim (J.F. Maury)

My maternal grandfather and his sister, Marnie, who grew up to be a very close to Mom. The handwriting on the picture is my grandmother's - the woman James Fontaine Maury married when he grew up.
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Aunt Madeleine and Mom

Looking particularly sassy. The back of the picture says it's Don's wedding but I'm pretty sure it's Jerry's. Mom wore a yellow dress to Don's.
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1961 or so - My first cousin, Janie McPhillips, and me (on right), in Beinville Square, Mobile, 1962

This was taken in Bienville Square in downtown Mobile. Mom said that Namama watched the saplings being planted from the window of her hotel room on her honeymoon. Those oaks are gargantuous now.
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Our cousin, Marion

Marion, a true belle and favorite of the boys, with her then-husband, and my father in about 1976 or so.
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Hunter Avenue, Mobile

Where my mother grew up with her sister and parents. Mom and I drove all around Mobile in the Spring of 2007, taking pictures of notable sites. A memory I treasure.
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Ville Nicole, Beaullieu, France, 1957

My first home, foreground, from the pages of my baby book.
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In Irene's kitchen

This breakfast nook will bring back memories. I took the picture when Terry, David, Micah and I visited my grandmother, Irene, in, maybe, 1991 or so, judging from my children's ages. Sweet Irene had served them orange juice. I hope Leo or one of his kids has this cute table and chairs. They must've spent a lot of time in that kitchen. Did it look the same when Dad was growing up there? I love the louvred shades, red salt and pepper shakers, tile on the wall and the, what is now, retro wallpaper. Bright and cheery. As noted previously, the back yard had a pretty garden and a fascinating fish pond. And a swing. And the bricked in front porch with it's hanging plants and swing. The living room had something visiting grandchildren really thought was amazing. An aquarium built into the wall. It must've been filled in sometime along the way because I don't remember seeing it when I went back as an adult. Irene had a toy poodle that she loved. Someone will have to remind me of his name, a male's name maybe? I do remember that he was a bit temperamental! Maybe a Napoleonic Complex. When I was about eight or nine, Irene mailed me a book by Jacqueline Susann, who was a romance writer, about her toy poodle and their life together in New York City. I was so flattered that she thought of me and went to the trouble to send it to me. I loved the book, too. Ms. Susann wrote about how the dog gave her a "shiv paw" whenever he wanted anything, which I guess meant he pawed her. I read a similar one, a true story, a few years ago about a newly widowed non-animal lover, a gossip columnist in NY, whose friend had unexpectedly sent her a tiny yorkie to keep her from being lonely. She fell in love with him, named him Jazzy and took him everywhere. I think Katherine who loves books and small dogs (and harmless gossip!) as much as I do, would enjoy them, too. The James Herriott series is great for animal lovers, too, by the way.
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Monday, August 4, 2008

A sweet night

Katie and Kyle got married July 19 and we were thrilled to be able to share in their happiness. Congratulations and so much love to them both.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Earnest


For what seem to me to be two fairly reserved people, Katie and Kyle are pretty expressive on the dance floor!

Welcome to the family, Kyle!

Marilyn, Caroline, Katie and Jim

Jim's toast

The bride and groom each have their own reaction to Jim's toast. Maury over Jim's shoulder.