Kade photographing Dry Falls in Highlands, NC.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

headed for a headstone

I've had this video in a folder titled 'blog' and just didn't know when I would post it.  Now seems as good time as any.  My takeaway from this song:  You better be truly living.  Life is too grand.  And this is the only one you've got.

he said baby what’s the big deal
feel what you wanna feel
say what you’re gonna say
you’re gonna die one day

for example I could kiss you
just because I want to
what’s the difference if you turn away
I’m gonna die one day

why do you waste your time
thinkin bout your reputation
trying to meet an expectation
wonderin what they’re gonna say
when everyone you ever known
is headed for a headstone
I don’t wanna give the end away
but we’re gonna die one day

your body is an animal
doesn’t ask for much
a little music and a soft touch
why don’t you let it out to play
your heart is in a bird cage
singing in your chest

you wanna shut it up, but give it a rest
you’re gonna die one day

why do you waste your time
thinkin bout an obligation
runnin from a confrontation
wonderin what you oughtta say
when everyone you ever known
is headed for a headstone
I don’t wanna give the end away
but we’re gonna die one day

so baby what’s the big deal
if you wanna be free
say what you wanna feel
and spend the night with me

I’m gonna take you up in my arms
and if we must go down
we’ll go singin to the smoke alarms
we’ll dance into the ground

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Teen Center - Headland, Alabama

 Brenda Skinner Stroup's Memories

Hank and I talked about this today.  We can't remember the first movie we saw together.  In those days in Headland, a lot of "group" activities happened.  A group of us would go together to the movies and to Oscar's for a hotdog.   This was usually before we could drive.   We also went to Dothan after MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) to cruise around and get a coke, etc.  Of course, Mark was not in that group.  I don't know who or how many kids were in BTU.  We had a very good group for MYF and a wonderful youth director.  Also had a youth counselor who had the coolest Thunderbird.  We would always go in his car.  There didn't seem to be much interaction between the Baptist and Methodist  youth groups on the weekends.

As for the Teen Center, I think it started when I was in about the 9th grade-1959 or so.  It was started by the parents and the teenagers.  The parents agreed to alternate chaperoning each Friday and Saturday night.  It was upstairs in the old city hall, that 2 story building by the library on the square.  The jail was on the first floor!  We were charged 10 cents to enter (we used to money to buy 45 records)  Chester Cunningham served as our DJ-he was a couple of years older than I.  Occasionally someone would have a birthday party and serve refreshments, etc.  This is also where we would have dances after football games.  As I think back on this experience, it was just the best.  Most of us loved to dance and it was a great place to meet friends, especially boys.  There were several really good dancers in the group and we all wanted to dance like them.  I cannot remember Mark ever coming to the Teen Center.  I have a  fuzzy memory of Major and Edith chaperoning one time early on.  I just cannot recall Mark being there.  He did not have serious girl friends during this time.  As I have told you before, he was into sports, livestock, etc.  I think that he would come to birthday parties or parties at someone's home, but he just didn't hang out at the Teen Center on weekends.  I don't have any pictures ot the Teen Center.  I think it was active about 3 years, then just sort of died.  

Hank said that maybe the Baptists were not that much into dancing.  I do remember other Baptist kids being there, it wasn't just the heathen Methodists.  Mark was fun and personable, but I just don't remember his participating in our shenanigans.  Linda Oates and I talked about this when we were in Headland for the reunion.  Mark walked the straight and narrow when he was in high school.  No wild oats sown during that time. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

U.S. Navy Reserve Enlistment

This is Granddad Major's ID.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve shortly after graduating from Howard College (now Samford University), and before returning to his hometown to work at The Headland National Bank.  Circa 1925

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Return to Wiregrass

James Wesley Vann (Uncle Jim)


Mila, Mark & Marilyn

Edith & Mark

Old Espy House on East Church Street

Dot & Dinah

Major Watt Espy, Sr.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thomas Albert West

 Thomas Albert West, left.  John Jolly Espy, Sr., middle. (1923)
Their wives, Sallie Carroll (West) and Emma Carroll (Espy), were sisters.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Commemorative Presidential Coins

My dad surprised me with these coins in 1989.  
I don't know where he got them.  Maybe off an infomercial?  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Railroad Land Grantors for Henry County line

I see Thomas Franklin Espy and T.B. Espy.  Perhaps there are some more relatives.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

HHS Band, 1960-61


a couple of remarks off Facebook:

Penny Solomon is the Drum Majorette in the middle.

The 3 Tenor Drummers are Linda Oates, Nell Solomon and Joan Brantley.

Penny and Nell's grandfather (Ligon) and my great-grandmother (Kate) were first cousins.  Ligon's father and Kate's father were brothers.  That makes Penny and Nell my third cousins twice removed. Our common ancestors are John Solomon and Rebecca Sturdivant.  

Linda's father (Wyatt) and Hank Stroup's mother (Lib) were siblings.  Their grandmother (Mamie) and my great-grandmother (Kate) were sisters.  That makes Linda and me second cousins once removed.  Our common ancestors would be Thomas Solomon and Laura Emma Price.   

A big thanks to Brenda Stroup for explaining these connections!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dorothy Moore Barnette (Grace) Interviews

The first interview was done for my high school freshman history class.  I was using an outline of biographical questions we got for the assignment.  My accent is so funny!

This recording was part of a longer tape I made, and I was planning to send it in a care package to my former students in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  At the time, I was working in Headland, Alabama.  For some reason this tape never got sent.  Now happy it wasn't!  Dot was 85 years old. She had been living with her daughter for four years.  Topics:  most remarkable event of her life, thoughts on segregation era, black help in the family, fishing with Victor, Victor's death, her move to Headland, pluses of moving in with her daughter, portraits of her and Victor, relationship advice for grandkids, everyday activities, 'thank you' to Uzbek family for gift

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Six Years Ago

“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own.  There's no bond so strong in the entire world.  No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” Gail Tsukiyama, Dreaming Water

Friday, August 5, 2016

Bangkok Wedding Party

This is when I was living in Thailand (circa 2004).  Kade and I had been married about a year, and now we were attending a friend's wedding party.  Kade has that magical Thai smile!  Thailand, in fact, is dubbed "The Land of Smiles."  Click here for two more photos from the party.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Marjorie Whitley, Time After Time

Atlanta cousin Marjorie Whitley 

Our common relative is Eva Solomon (Carroll), Marjorie's great-grandmother and sister of my great-grandmother, Kate Solomon (Vann).  To learn more about Eva (Sid Eva), go here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


My dad kept this for some reason.  My guess is that it was part of the decorations on one of his earliest birthday cakes.  He certainly loved football!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

1934 Abbeville (AL) Football Team

Two relatives of mine:  Robert Vann and Dewitt Barnette

Robert's father was Jimmy Vann, who played for Coach John Hesiman at Auburn and later became a doctor. Dewitt was Dorothy Grace's brother.  He went on to play football at Howard College (Samford University).

from cousin Sid Brannon:

Judge Beasley's son is my age and a friend.  Judge fished with Oscar Ezzell and Daddy and ran a farm supply store in Abbeville.

Coach Comer Sims went on to become Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture.  70's I think.
Durwood Norton had a turf farm in Abbeville.  Art Solomon married his daughter.  He was the Henry County historian before T. Larry Smith.

Marlin Ezzell was Uncle Oscar's brother.  Died young.  His wife was buried last week.

Leonard Blaylock's son was about Mark's age.  I think that he hit the winning shot in a basketball game that Mark played in.  All of our players but 4 had fouled out and we played 4 on 5 and almost won.  Please ask someone else for more accuracy and verification.

Correct on Robert Vann. Felix called him "cow Vann" and offered to pay him to whip Uncle Sam's ass when they were young.

from cousin Dale Ezzell:

Marlin Ezzell was my uncle, Oscar's brother.  He was married to Allene Capps Ezzell (her funeral was 7-21-16).  He died young - before daughter Claudia was born in 1949. 

Judge Beasley owned local fertilizer business and was Oscar's fishing buddy.  Several prominent citizens of Abbeville in that photo. 

 Dewitt Barnette, my great-uncle
and a pivotal piece of Abbeville's 1934 team

Monday, August 1, 2016

Major Watt Espy, Sr., USA Passport (1959)

This is the passport my grandfather used for his trip to the Soviet Union in 1959.  
Click here to learn about that journey.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scout Espy Attends World Rally

Found on Newspapers.com

Found on Newspapers.com
For more of Watt Espy in the Boy Scouts and at the 1947 Jamboree, click here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Watt Espy, "a living encyclopedia"

Found on Newspapers.com

Espy is a living encyclopedia on his subject.  During an interview, he may refer to his files to confirm a date or the spelling of a name, but he can talk for hours without referring to a note. - excerpt from above article

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Abandoned Country Home

This rundown place on the Victor Grace property in Shorterville, Alabama was once the home of John and Eddie Mae Knight.  As I get more information about them, will add it here.