Shortoff Mountain at Linville Gorge. Behind Kade are Table Rock Mountain and Hawksbill Mountain, places we also have hiked.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dinah Jen Grace, a portrait montage

You gotta wonder how long it took at the studio to get these precious poses?!?!

I'm winding down my blog for the rest of the year, and will very likely put it aside - at least new posts anyway - until next Spring or Summer.  I started Tomfoolery in 2007, my very first post being Lake Espy on December 13 of that year.  But as with a lot of my posts, it was a work in progress, and was always going to be.  I revised the layout, rewrote some things, added more content, encouraged family to contribute and then I introduced YouTube videos.  Officially, my blog has 1167 posts (now 1168!), but that was even after pruning it down by a couple of hundred or so.  I had started realizing that I had a number of posts with similar content.  I then got on a mission to merge and consolidate them the best I could, all in an effort to streamline everything and make the blog more organized and easy to read.  I can't rest easy till that happens.  Just my nature.  And that's what I will likely do during this extended break.  I will be away, yet here.  My YouTube channel, Major Allen Espy, was started the summer of 2008.  My very first video was simply titled Dad with Horses.  And back then, I simply used whatever digital camera I had - low pixels and pretty shaky. Now I use a camcorder for a lot of my work.  Both the blog and YouTube channel have been fun, but to get them where they are now, it just took doing it over and over and being willing to learn and be creative. There's nothing really magical.  The ingredient, though, that stirs all this is passion.  I hope that's evident.  And, too, almost every blog post I've created has been touched or influenced by someone else.  Maybe they simply gave me the inspiration.  In some cases, they collaborated with me by supplying facts and history or agreeing to edit what I put together.  Sometimes I even got bigger participation - showing me homes, agreeing to an interview or video project, handing over family photos for me to scan, or like with the image above, just getting a text today from my sister, after she discovered this portrait and other treasures in a trunk that belonged to my grandmother.  It appeared, and I posted it!  Simple as that.  I bid you all adieu until 2017.  If you want to get up with me before then, see my email address in the right sidebar. Ta ta!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jeanette Grace Hayes

 Jeanette Grace Hayes is with her brother Paul Grace (right), and her son Charles Thomas Hayes, Jr. (left).
Jeanette and Paul are two of my grandfather's (Victor Grace) siblings.  As I gather more info and photos on Aunt Jeanette, I will add it to this blog post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

John Espy To Wed Ozark Belle

The Wiregrass Sifting
Dec. 17, 1901

Thanks to Judy Fay West for finding and sharing this!

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Big One

Today marks (Mark's) a half century!  
And a nice little play on words!

Kade hugging Mark after an amazing party in Asheville!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

On Fear

I have been reading a book titled On Fear and it explains how, through years of conditioning, human beings, even and especially ones closest to us, can be very unwilling to be open and vulnerable.  I think a lot of it has to do with insecurity, which likely lies in our subconscious minds.  This insecurity leads to attempts to escape reality by keeping the uncomfortable reasons for the insecurity at a distance.  How do people escape?  This book lists drugs, excessive consumerism, religious fanaticism, overeating, hostility, etc. But you can add so much more.  In my family, you could add overindulgence on sports and the deployment of artful passive aggression.  Life is a bit less complicated, at least in the short-term, when things are pushed away.   - from a 2004 email I sent to a relative

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Headland's Early History

Found this clipping inside one of my grandmother's old cookbooks.  Like a fortune inside a cookie!

Friday, August 26, 2016

In Loving Memory

Clay Brannon, my cousin

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
From an Irish headstone”
Richard Puz, The Carolinian

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!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Cave

I went through school, did all my studies and made it to now without having heard of this allegory. This should be taught in all homes, educational environments and religious institutions.  The question is:  How quickly would your illusions begin to fade?

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, and a 'thank you' to Uzbek family for gift.