Monday, February 28, 2011

Madness Monday
Alzheimer Disease - Generational

Debilitating memory loss is a part of my maternal family tree. We don’t talk about it much, it is what it is. Genealogy research revealed at least four generations have suffered with dementia. The earliest known ancestor of this line documented to have a form of dementia was my great granduncle Grant Markham.

Generation One - Uncle Grant was born in 1868 in rural Lincoln County, Mississippi. He was a younger brother to my great grandfather Monroe Markham. Uncle Grant died of heart failure due to senility in 1947.

Generation Two - Great grandparents Monroe and his wife Mary had three daughters to die from complications of senility. My grandmother Alice died of a stroke due to senility, Aunt Beatrice of malnutrition due to senility and Aunt Polly complications due to senility. Aunt Beatrice, the youngest of the sisters took care of both sisters during the 1960s.

Generation Three - My mother, Monroe’s granddaughter, has Alzheimer’s Disease. First cousins to my mother died of the disease or recently diagnosed.

Generation Four – My mother’s first cousin once removed, Monroe’s great granddaughter, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Learning as much as I can about dementia has been helpful in caring for my mother, and making plans for my own life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day

Two of my three children sitting on the steps of President Lincoln's Springfield home.

Growing up during the sixties in a working class African American community, almost every household had on the wall a combination, if not all, of a calendar, an art print of Jesus, photographs of Martin Luther King and President John Kennedy. Neatly arranged in a group or randomly placed on the wall, framed or taped to cardboard, they were our heroes.

In school, we memorized the presidents names in the order they served. A poster of all the presidents was on a wall with silhouettes of Washington and Lincoln. I remember one year we wrote essays. We all wanted Lincoln or Washington. I choose James Garfield because I knew he was assassinated, always interested in the morbid.

Thank you to all the men who served.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Forever and Always

Forever and Always
by Chris Engle

When I'm with you,
eternity is a step away,
My love continues to grow
with each passing day.

This treasure of love,
I cherish within my soul,
How much I love you...
you'll never really know.

You bring a joy to my heart
I've never felt before,
With each touch of your hand
I love you more and more.

Whenever we say good-bye,
whenever we part,
Know I hold you dearly
deep inside my heart.

So these seven words
I pray you hold true,
"Forever And Always
I Will Love You"

When I first saw this picture, I thought to myself that this is what love looks like...serene, peaceful, contentment, restful, thankful. Ada Markham, my grandmother's sister, married Ernest Spencer in 1914. The marriage lasted for 57 years, until Ernest's death in 1971.
Photograph courtesy of Anita Smith Christopher, granddaughter of Ernest and Ada.

Friday, February 11, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History
Radio and Television

Week #6 – Radio & Television Week 6: Radio & Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

My favorite television program when I was a child was Dark Shadows, a soap opera type show about vampire Barnabas Collins and his mortal Collins family.

The neighborhood children and my siblings loved this show. We would rush home from school and during the summer months of outdoor playing, we would make sure our mothers or an older sibling would notify us the show was on. Someone would call out, Dark Shadows is on. Balls, bats, dolls, teacup parties, tree climbing, hopscotch, all would come to a halt. Off we would go to spend thirty minutes in front of the TV.

There were other shows that were favorites but I believe this was the first one I can remember discussing with my pals.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Ada Markham Spencer

Ada born 1892, died 1985
Photograph Courtesy of Anita Smith Christopher

Ada was the daughter of Monroe Markham and Mary Byrd. She was my maternal grandmother's sister.