Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Brown Clan

My wife and I made a speed run to Denver and back this weekend. Driving. The family had a reunion in the Denver area and we drove over to see the family. My uncle is sick and lives in Denver so the reunion was there this year. Ten hours each way. The scenery was green because of all the rain and storms of late.

My grandmother on my mother's side was named Lola Harris Brown. I have a handful of amazing pictures from long ago of my mother's family and bear with me as a share a handful.

These are my great-grandparents named James Harvey Harris and Lavina Virginia Craft Harris. Three of the older children are shown. The picture was taken in 1901 based on the ages of the kids. The kids were named Mae, Willie and Frank. My grandmother was not yet born.

They lived in rural Oklahoma and were very poor. We are amazed that we have these pictures. I might add that the originals were not in good shape a quite a few years ago so I spent a lot of time in Photoshop cleaning them up.  I have these two pictures framed in my home.
A few years later another picture was taken and the time is likely 1905, again given the ages of the kids. My grandmother is the little girl sitting on my great-grandfather's lap. Her name was Lola Harris and she became Lola Harris Brown when married. The other little girl was named Belle.

There is a fascinating aspect of these two pictures. My great grandmother died of TB about 3 years after the last group picture. She was beautiful in the 1901 picture but you can see the effect of the TB and the hard life they lived in the 1905 picture.

My grandmother (Lola) married Homer Brown and they are seen in this picture from their wedding.

They ended up running a small general store in Blue, Oklahoma which I can remember visiting when I was a child. We'd get a free snack or pop or something. The train ran out front. Lots of dirt and no air conditioning. And we went fishing. My grandfather loved to fish. We fished every time we went that way. Funny memories.

Ultimately they had 6 children including my mother. One of the children died as an infant. The doctor refused to treat the child because they hadn't paid for the birth care yet. The doctor then sued my grandparents for payment. The judge threw his case out of court and rebuked the doctor. My missing aunt was buried in an unmarked grave in Chandler, Oklahoma. To this day we don't know where she was buried.

Anyway, I tell all this to get to the reunion. The other five children and other cousins, friends, cousins children, passers-by and still others gather every year. In most of the prior years, all 5 children have gathered but this year we were missing two for health reasons. Here is the picture of those kids, my mom and her brothers and sisters from two years ago.

I have been blessed beyond words by these people and the legacy that my grandmother and grandfather have left behind. All five of the kids are good people. They are all good christians. They all have good kids and those kids have good kids.

We were talking about generations this morning in church class and how what we do and who we are ripples through time.

There is a song by Twila Paris from a while back that tells of the effect of family through the years. The song was called Seventy Years Ago and it has this final verse:

Sometimes I feel like a pale reflection
Living in the blessing they passed down
Some of whom have held me
Some never knew my name
But the secret has been found
And I want to give this to my children
And when I am very old
I hope there still will be a story worth the telling
Of seventy years ago

1 comment:

  1. Sweet stories! Glad they are written down to continue sharing. BTW, I love Mae's curls!