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Things To Remember – A Poem by Alta Permelia (Taylor) Bostic
May 23rd, 2015 by Jessica

Knapp Family Reunion (1898)

Knapp Family Reunion (1898)

Alta “Ba Ba” Permelia Taylor (1889-1981) was born and raised in Osgood, Ripley County, Indiana. She was the daughter of John Randolph Taylor (1847-1892) and Lavina Isadora “Dora” Knapp (1856-1915). Alta had one sibling, a sister named Lulu Maybel (Taylor) Daugherty.

In the photo above, taken at the Knapp Family Reunion in 1898, Alta and her sister Lulu are sitting indian-style in the front on the far left wearing matching light colored dresses.  The photo was taken at the home of Alta’s grandfather Adin Williams Knapp, the father of Dora.  Seated behind Alta on the far left is the girls’ stepfather, James A. Bridges (1831-1909).  To his right seated behind Lulu is their mother, Dora, wearing a black dress.

Class of 1908, Otter Creek Township Public Schools

Class of 1908, Otter Creek Township Public Schools

Alta graduated from Otter Creek Township Public Schools in Ripley County, Indiana in 1908.  She is third from the left in this photo, next to the boy.

Archie “Arch” Leland Bostic married Alta on November 22, 1914 in Ripley, Indiana. Together, the two had one daughter named Velma Isadora (Bostic) Green. Velma was my husband’s grandmother, therefore Alta was his great-grandmother.  Velma’s children referred to their grandmother Alta as “Ba Ba” throughout her later years.

Arch and Alta Bostic with their daughter Velma (1924)

Arch and Alta Bostic with their daughter Velma (1924)

Alta was a lovely, patient woman whose family and friends remember her as a beautiful social butterfly. References to her activities can be found in the Indiana newspapers weekly for decades as a prominent social host and an avid card and Bunco player.

This beautiful poem called “Things to remember” was written and typed by Alta herself. It takes the reader straight to a relaxing summer’s day in rural Indiana, evoking strong images of far simpler times. It is undated, so we do not know exactly when she wrote it. She signed it “Alta B.” which leads me to believe it must have been written before she was married in 1914.

Things to Remember p1 Things to Remember p2

Things to remember

I have walked beside clear pools
When the sun’s first golden rays shine
Upon the blue for-get-me-nots
At the wood’s edge of darkest pine
I have listened to the wild birds caroling
Welcoming a magic new day
Watched the pussy willows unfurl in glory
And on the hill the spring lambs play
I know where the moss grows greener
And ferns tall and slender in the forest shade
Where yellow cow-slips bloom in beauty
All too soon to wilt and fade
While down in the creek’s meadow
A field of daisies, all yellow and white
Where huge butterflies on gossamer wings
Flit to and fro in the bright sunlight
Silently, in the noonday heat
Dust devils whirl and play under a brazen sky
And to hear the sweet trill of a meadow lark
As he wings his way on high
Plump grasshoppers whirl in the field
Of wheat stubble, busy and gay
And honeysuckle on the trellis vie with
The tantalizing smell of new mown hay.
But all too soon the day is gone
The sun is sinking, it is almost night
Sunflowers turn golden heads and iron weeds
Glow soft purple, in the evening light
From the nearby pond, frogs croak melodiously
As the sun sinks in the flaming west
And the whip-poor-will calls long and plaintively
To his mate as he goes to rest
Fireflies flit above the fragrant flowers
Giving a mysterious charm to the evenings dark
A cow’s soft low moo from the barn yard
And in the distance, a dogs shrill bark
And the moon comes up slowly, majestically
A big, bright shining ball
We welcome the night and the silence
Knowing God watches over all!

Author Alta B.

Although I never had an opportunity to meet Alta, I am grateful for her beautiful words and her unending resolve in preserving the past. She has left many traces of her memories through her writings that continue to surface in the family’s closets to this day. She even typed an autobiography and hand-colored the covers and title pages. It is currently in the possession of her granddaughter, Barbara Joan (Green) Hilland in Gilbert, Arizona.

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Mystery Monday: The Gatewood Portrait
Nov 24th, 2014 by Jessica

Every once in a while, I wander through an antique shop or flea market.  Sometimes, I sift through stacks of old photographs or documents to see if I might get some clues as to their history.  Often I will find a name scribbled on the back, or a location or studio name on the front.  With enough information, I know I have a reasonable shot at figuring out who is in the photo.  That means I have a reasonable shot at returning it to a family member who might be very grateful.

Such was the case on November 8, 2014 when I was taking photographs at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona during their Antique Tractor show.  I stumbled upon this very scene and took a picture for a class assignment.

The photo as I found it

The photo as I found it

As I was standing there, the photo on the top spoke to me.  What a lovely image!  A young couple, dressed very nicely, with striking features.  I turned the photo over to find very light pencil marks with “John & Cecelia Gatewood” inscribed.  You really had to shift the photo back and forth in the light to see the pencil.  I almost didn’t see it at all.  On the front of the photo, I could see clearly the photo was taken in Hays, Kansas.

I decided to take a chance and buy the photo.  The dealer was asking for $5.00.  I didn’t even haggle with him.  After paying for the photo, I asked him if had other photos from the same family.  He didn’t know.  I asked him if he knew where the photo may have been acquired.  He didn’t know.  The only thing he could offer was that he got photos from “all over the place.”  That was all I could find out about it.

How did this photo of this lovely couple from Kansas end up in Arizona?  We still don’t know.  We probably never will.

After some funny looks from my friends, who surely thought I was nuts, I packed my photo away in my camera bag and continued on with my assignment.  Once I returned home, I started my hunt for the Gatewood family.

John and Cecelia Gatewood circa 1925

John and Cecelia Gatewood circa 1925

Ancestry.com made my search easy.  All I did was put in “John Gatewood” from “Hays, Kansas” with a wife of “Cecelia” and I quickly discovered their 1930 and 1940 US Census records.  I knew right away that the family moved to California from Kansas, and that they had their first son in California in 1926.  That dated this photo circa 1925, which seemed correct to me based on the style of the frame and their clothing.

From the 1940 Census, I knew the couple had two children named Howard and Ronald.  With the new information that they had lived in California, I used FindaGrave.com to locate the only John Gatewood buried in California.  Find a Grave confirmed that he had a child named Howard, and his wife Cecelia was buried in the same cemetery.

After less than 5 minutes of searching, I was confident that I had a photo of this couple:

John Howard Gatewood
Birth: Mar. 19, 1897 Kansas, USA
Death: Jan. 9, 1970 Bell, California, USA

Cecilia Groff Gatewood
Birth: Apr. 19, 1899 Kansas, USA
Death: Oct. 10, 1977 Los Angeles County, California, USA

Now, it was time to find somebody who cared.  I used what I had learned about the couple to search in Ancestry’s member family trees.  I easily found two members, Cynthia and Robin, who both had accurate details about this couple in their trees.  I wrote to both of them and sat back to await a response.

Cynthia wrote me back the same day. She was Howard’s daughter, so John and Cecelia were her grandparents!  I sent her a scan of the portrait and asked if she wanted it.  She confirmed that this was in fact her grandparents, and she had never seen the photo before.  I think she was a little hesitant at first.  Who gives something for nothing nowadays?  I assured her I didn’t want anything from her in return.  After receiving her address, I mailed her the portrait.  She was delighted!  She said she plans to bring the portrait to Thanksgiving dinner this year and tell her family the whole story.

Robin responded a few days later.  Cecelia was her great aunt!  I was able to explain the whole story and put her in touch with Cynthia.  I also sent her a high resolution scan of the portrait for her research.  It was the first time she had ever seen a photo of Cecelia before.

Success!  I am thrilled that I was able to reunite this beautiful portrait with its original family.  I hope this story inspires you to do something special to help someone today.  You never know what kind of impact your kindness may have on others.

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Wordless Wednesday – Santa Nail Art
Dec 26th, 2012 by Jessica

Santa Nail Art (2011)

Santa Nail Art (2011)

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Wordless Wednesday – Happy Birthday, Andrew!
Dec 19th, 2012 by Jessica

Andrew and his mother (1977)

Andrew and his Mother (1977)

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Wordless Wednesday – Freeport-McMoran Building, Downtown Phoenix
Dec 12th, 2012 by Jessica

Freeport-McMoran Building, Downtown Phoenix (May 25, 2012)

Freeport-McMoran Building, Downtown Phoenix (May 25, 2012)

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Wordless Wednesday – Cactus at the Desert Botanical Gardens
Nov 28th, 2012 by Jessica

Cactus at the Desert Botanical Gardens (May 8, 2012)

Cactus at the Desert Botanical Gardens (May 8, 2012)

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Wordless Wednesday – Inside My Dream Car
Nov 21st, 2012 by Jessica

Inside My Dream Car - 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 at the Phoenix International Auto Show (Thanksgiving 2011)

Inside My Dream Car - 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 at the Phoenix International Auto Show (Thanksgiving 2011)

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Wordless Wednesday – Mill Avenue Bridge at Night
Nov 14th, 2012 by Jessica

Mill Avenue Bridge at Night, shot with a Heart Bokeh Filter (May 25, 2012)

Mill Avenue Bridge with a Heart Bokeh Filter (May 25, 2012)

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Wordless Wednesday – My Pottermore Sorting (November 2011)
Nov 7th, 2012 by Jessica

My Sorting Hat Results on Pottermore.com

My Sorting Hat Results on Pottermore.com

I was sorted into Slytherin House

I was sorted into Slytherin House

My Wand Selection Criteria on Pottermore.com

My Wand Selection Criteria on Pottermore.com

My very own wand - Redwood with a Dragon Core

My very own wand - Redwood with a Dragon Core

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Wordless Wednesday – Honey Bee & My Bee Keeper
Oct 31st, 2012 by Jessica

Honey Bee & My Bee Keeper (Halloween 2011)

Honey Bee & My Bee Keeper (Halloween 2011)

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© 2013 Jessica M. Green