Here are five more photos from my genealogical research to keep you entertained.
5. Unce Jack, raconteur
This is my mom's brother, my Uncle Jack Brooks. I'm not sure about the circumstances in which this photo was taken. (Uncle Jack, if you see this and can recall, you can leave a comment below.) I believe it was taken in Ohio, shortly before Jack's father, my maternal grandmother's first husband, passed away from complications of a brain tumor. Little Jack looks large and in charge with his jacket and trilby tipped to the side. To me, he looks like that bridge's chief engineer, perhaps directing the construction crew during a site visit.
4. Oliver, outdoorsman
After Jack's father passed away, my grandmother remarried Oliver Wilson. He's shown here before their marriage, and his love of fishing survived matrimony. (It helped that Granny loved to fish, too.) Some of my fondest memories of Papaw are of the two of us walking to one of his farm ponds with a can of nightcrawlers to entice the bluegills. (Remind me to tell you the story about stepping barefoot into a pile of cow dung on one of those journeys.)
3. Me and Moby Catfish
Here's one of the fish Papaw helped me pluck from a farm pond. I remember this visit well. It rained most of the weekend, and I didn't get to fish until a few hours before we were to pile into the car and depart. So on a foggy, damp morning, Papaw, Dad and I walked down to the pond below the house, which was stocked with bass, bluegill and this lone, stout channel cat. I can still remember the electric thump on my rod tip, followed by the whining drag of the Zebco when he smacked my nightcrawler. Papaw and my Dad had to help me reel it in. He wasn't a monster, but as you can see, he was more than half my height.
That's me at far right, sporting the checkered pants. I was happy to pose with my cousin Wayne Harper, also rocking the checks. That's my sister in the middle, wearing ... just what exactly is that Little House on the Prairie thing she has on? ... with an expression like the hook had just been removed from her mouth.
2. A good place to park it
All of my wife's grandparents passed away before I got a chance to meet them, but I don't need to know Clarence and Ruth Brinson Ray to apreciate this photo. I believe it was taken in a park in Charleston, S.C., where Ruth was born and where she and Clarence met. They both look sharp and happy, and I love the kids swinging in the background.
1. A family outing
My mom grew up on a remote farm in a three-generation household. There were daily chores for everyone. But on Sunday, there was respite — usually a trip to church, then a family picnic. This was taken on one of those Sunday trips.
That's my Uncle Kenny in the middle and Mom kneeling at the creek's edge on the left. I think that's my Aunt Ina just behind them, rock in hand, arm swining forward. I think she is about to throw the stone in the creek, not bash my mom in the head. I think.
Anyway, I was told that this spot on the Licking River is no longer accessible. It is now under the surface of Cave Run Lake, a reservoir built from 1965 to 1974. All sorts of towns and hamlets were submerged as part of federal programs in the mid-20th century, many of them to provide electricty and reliable supplies of drinking water. It's sort of sad to think about those places that are no more.
But Cave Run Lake serves a pretty important purpose, controlling floods on the Licking River that sometimes proved deadly. In fact, a flash flood killed 25 people and nearly washed Morehead, Ky., away on the night of July 4-5, 1939, after torrential rain near the Rowan-Carter county line sent water shooting down mountainsides and into the valley below.