Time for a history lesson: Grandpa (James Gentry Perry) and Grandma (Elzina Senatta Miller) Perry, Ada Emogene’s (my grandmother’s) parents, were farmers. He was also a Primitive Baptist Preacher and often preached in the area of Grayson, Smyth, and Washington counties, Virginia.(Odd note: He had bad eczema on his hands.) They came from Ashe County, NC, between White Top Gap and Lansing, near Big Horse Creek. He would haul produce from their farm to Bristol, Abingdon, and Chilhowie to sell. He usually had a route staked out. Elzina died of high blood pressure on Christmas Day in 1940. She used garlic for medicine – not sure what else they may have had back them to take care of this.
My daddy (nicknamed Billy) remembered another Christmas (he was the one that got scared over the big teddy bear). His daddy came home and pulled the car into the barn for the night. It was Christmas Eve. Billy saw his daddy carrying a bag over his shoulder like Santa. He ran to the kitchen thinking his dad would come through that door, but he came through the front door. For Christmas, Billy got a coconut, a pair of socks, a harmonica, and a little bag of peanuts. What a difference in the presents our children get today.
I once “interviewed” Grandma Ada (my sister is named after her) Walton and asked her some questions. So here are a couple of facts about her. She met Granddaddy Booker Walton on the second Sunday in March 1920. Later, Ada had gone with her granddaddy to Troutdale, Virginia, where Booker lived. They spent the night with Booker’s family and he asked her to walk to Church with him on Sunday morning. When they had to leave and return home, she thought she would never see or hear from him. The next week she got a letter, and the second week she got another and he asked her to marry him. In total, they exchanged 9 letters. The third time she met him was when they were married. They were married the second Sunday of June at her Granddaddy’s, Harrison Baker Miller, house above Riverside, Virginia. Riverside was very close to the St. Clair Primitive Baptist Church that the Waltons attended for Church. It was the first Primitive Baptist Church built in that area (in the late 1770s), and it may have been the first in Virginia. Harrison was also a Primitive Baptist Preacher, and he married them. They were married for 43 years, and she said that we should not ever say that there isn’t love at first sight. (Another odd note: Riverside High School was were I went to the 4th grade, Anita to the 6th, James to the 3rd , and Ada Jo to the 1st.
When Ada first met Booker, she thought he was the best looking man she’d ever met, but he didn’t talk. When he did, whatever he said he meant. Grandma thought my daddy was like him. After they were married, Booker’s mother told Grandma that the Saturday night or Saturday evening after Church that they stayed with the family, Booker followed his mother to the spring house and said, “Ma, I’ve met my wife. I’ve waited 25 years for her, and I hope she will have me.” Grandma said she and Booker never had any harsh words with each other, he was so good to her and was crazy about his children.
|Ada Emogene Perry and Wilborn (spelling wrong on picture) Booker Walton before they were married.|
Booker passed away in 1963. I still remember how they came to tell mom that he had been sitting on the porch and had a heart attack at home. I believe Uncle Wallace and his family was there and took him to the hospital in Abingdon where he died. We were at our home, just down the road from where they lived, when someone came to tell us he was at the hospital. He had passed away before my parents could get there. Later, they brought his body back to the house where people came to visit before the funeral. He was laid out in the front room, where several years before Anita and I sat and watched the Wizard of Oz when it came on for the first time on TV. All of the cousins where there, and we would go around talking about what had happened, death, and how we would miss him. There was a bird’s nest in a tree on the side of the house, and we got up to see the little baby birds. We breathed on the babies, and someone told us they would die because of it and the ants would eat them. I was so worried about those little birds dying also.
Booker was my granddaddy, and he was a good man. Once, he and Grandma were taking me and Anita to a Church member’s house for singing (they did that in their Church). As we drove there, I must have said a word (not a cuss word), but something that was like “gosh” or “darn”. Granddaddy quietly corrected me and said that I should never use words like that to express myself. I wanted to please him, and I thought I never would. (Sure forgot that when I grew up.) Grandpa and Grandma Walton also took Anita and I to see “Old Yeller,” and we cried buckets at that movie. It was in a drive in, and we sat in our car. It is funny what memories come to us when we are reminded of little things from the past.
Grandma married Leonard Davis several years after granddaddy died. He was the father of their daughter’s (Sybil) husband (Melvin). She said that she still missed granddaddy, and although she had married Leonard, she could never love him like she did Daddy (what she called Booker). Leonard was a wonderful man too and was good to her.
Enough about the past! Let’s get to the present. Please share this with my grandbabies. As I work, I want them to know about their family.
The beginning of the week (for me) was on Tuesday. We began our day by driving north to a place near Port Washington called Grafton. Another small clean town but not much there. It was so very peaceful and a nice drive to get there. We went there to inspect missionary apartments. What a hoot! They had done a pretty good job. We enjoy getting to do this. I usually do the looking and writing of the report, Craig keeps them talking so they stay away from me. I go through all the cabinets, closets, rooms, etc. Man, they are really just boys in so many ways. It is amazing to me that some have been on a mission for 18 months or more and never had their apartments inspected. We are trying to do a better job about getting them to keep it conducive to the Spirit.
That night we attended the PAF genealogy group. It is such a well oiled machine, and it gets the information to the members. These people are so into their family work, they are professionals. We love going to their meetings, and we learn something every time we go.
On Thursday, we went to the gym, and for a lot of the day prepared for Pathway. There aren’t many weeks left in the program, and I am going to miss the math; however, I will also be glad to free up the hours I’ve spent trying to keep up with the students and their work.
Friday came around, and I felt a sorry for the passing of Aunt Peggy. She was buried on Friday the 13th. They buried her next to Uncle Blaine in the Dowell Cemetery off Fall Branch Road. She was a good lady, and so much like mom in so many ways and yet, not like her at all. I shall miss talking with her and asking her endless questions.
That morning we went with the missionaries to talk with a new member, Dave Meltun. He is in a program to become a chef and has had a hard time coming to Church. He is a black man, but I think he looks Italian. He has three children, and I can’t tell if they live with him or not. There are several people who live in the house, and the woman (maybe his sister) who owns the house does not like the Elders coming around. So we went with them. He had asked me several questions regarding the need for baptism for the dead. He is very smart, and we do not want to lose him.
Later that evening, Craig had to go with the missionaries to talk with someone about employment opportunities. He was gone for several hours, and I spent my time as usual working on family history. I’ve been working for a nonmember on scanning in all her documents so she can get rid of her paper trail. She and her husband have been in Florida for the winter and should be back soon. They were unable to sell their home before they left, so they can’t move to Florida for good until they get rid of the house. I had one notebook left when they went to Florida, and I’ve been working on it forever. It takes a lot of time to scan in dozens of documents. When I finish, I’m going to get back into scanning our pictures. I have so many to do, and I’m constantly finding more. At the same time, we found out earlier in the day that Dave Armstrong had pneumonia. I spent several hours getting the Priesthood on the phone to get someone over to their home to give him a blessing. I don’t think they had even thought of it. I wasn’t sure how she would react, but she was all for it.
Saturday found us hunting out some new sights in Milwaukee. We had an appointment that afternoon that was cancelled at the last minute. That night we went to Waukasau to attend a meeting with an author who had written a book about the Blacks and the Church. Can’t remember his name now, but it was very interesting, very positive. He is working on a doctorate and has done extensive research on the subject. He had some access to many resources in SLC. We learned from his presentation.
Sunday found us at Parkway. It is a nice building, but small in some ways. We usually have a full Sacrament, such a difference from City Branch. This group is much more well-to-do also. There is a different feeling here, and we find ourselves missing the City Branch. They are good people, but there isn’t the closeness we felt before. It is practically a new Ward, so it will take a while to come together. The Bishop, his counselors, RS leaders are top notch. We don’t know the Primary workers or youth leaders yet. It will take a while to get to know them. After Church, someone in the Ward brings all these bread and goodies for members to take as they need. I picked up some cinnamon rolls, and we took some by the Armstrongs to check on him. He did not look good. We didn’t stay because when we got there someone (a man) was leaving their house. He quickly went back inside and disappeared. We figured it was their son who doesn’t like the Church. So we left after checking with them.
On Monday, after going to the gym, we got cleaned up and went by the home of a Sister who has been sick a lot and we haven’t seen her in a while. She was not home when we got there so we headed out to Costco. We had our refund check with us and so got several things to put in storage. We also picked up a rotissori chicken for the Armstrongs (and one for us) to take by their house that night. We are worried about Dave. When we took it by, Dave looked like he was so tired that it was all he could do to stand up. Again, we didn’t stay long because he didn’t look like he needed visitors.
Tuesday brought around the regular oil change. While there, Craig ended up getting two new back tires (ouch!) and the information that the front tires will need changing soon. We also inspected two missionary apartments, and one of them was a mess. Only one of the missionaries assigned to the apartment was there. The other was on exchanges. We then met him when we went to the Mission Office. He asked if they passed. I wanted to laugh. So silly!
We didn’t have a District Meeting on Tuesday because we would have transfers the next week so we had math practice all afternoon. Craig has to entertain himself when I’m tutoring. He is very good about doing things that need to be done. Again, I’m ready for these hours to be finished.
Our Scripture for March is from Doctrine and Covenants 68:4 -
And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture,
shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord,
shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
Elder and Sister Lenhard