Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Mexico Years: Missing West Virginia

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When I was almost six, my father decided we needed some adventure, so he accepted a job teaching a college biology class in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Top photo is of me and my mom and sister taking a break from driving out there. It was a huge trip then (1950) with no interstates and took us three or four days. The school picture is of me in first grade in the same shirt. Let's hope I had another shirt.

The move was a big shock for me because I had grown up with the green of West Virginia and where we lived was flat desert - dry cracked earth, spikey plants like yukka and cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. There were mountains but they weren't the rolling and tree-covered rain forests of WV. I missed the green lushness. I missed my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I missed the farm in Nicholas County with its farm animals. 

But there were bright spots because I was a kid and kids are always ready to have a good time. Some of my classmates were American Indians and Mexicans and that was a revelation. My dad took me to White Sands and we collected various rare rocks, minerals and gems just lying around in the sand. We camped in the Rockies and had a horse that roamed the desert but came to our door each night during dinner to beg for handouts. We took a family trip to Indian pueblos and saw a woman baking bread in a large, outdoor adobe oven. I had horned toads for pets and ate chili for the first time. We bought Indian rugs by the side of the road, two of which I still have.

But at the end of two years, my dad had had enough and we began the long trek home. And he never left again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Creasy family from Nicholas County

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This picture, taken in 1927, shows John "Bunny" William Creasy and his wife Rose Zanna Brown Creasy at the far left. All of the rest are their 10 children - six boys and four girls - except for the little girl being held in the middle who is their first grandchild. Imagine raising 10 children!

Some of these Creasys figured prominently in my first book Mountain Girl: Grandma and Grandpa, of course, but also the little girl standing in the front who is my Aunt Lorena. Also important in the book is my dad William at the far right and last but not least, my uncle John Roy hunkered down in the front.

A grand group. Dear to my heart.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aunt Lorena

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Happy Birthday to my lovely Aunt Lorena. Here she is as a young girl but she just turned 91 at the end of February (hope she doesn't mind my telling). She was a character in my novel Mountain Girl and has always been a favorite person in my life. One of her best qualities is her sense of humor - no matter what was going on when I was a girl on my grandparents' farm, she got a laugh out of it.

She was born on the last day of February in a leap year and so only has a birthday every four years. (How sad...I used to think when I was young.) She really looks like an Irish lass in this picture. The Creasys were Irish descendants and my grandpa "Bunny" Creasy had black curly hair and light eyes, which was called "black Irish" as opposed to those who had red in their hair. A grand lady!