A Bit of History

My Aunt Jewel LaVerne Boatright died on June 5th 2012. She was always a sweet person. I had always assumed my mother and daddy got married then moved in with dad’s family. Jewel said “No, after your mother’s mother kicked her out she moved in with the Rhoades family.” My great grandmother Cora Smith had lived with a Union soldier during the Civil war (she wasn’t the only one) because soldiers drew a regular paycheck and there were no other men around. When his unit went back north, Cora was left pregnant. She wrote the Department Of The Army trying to find him but they said they couldn’t locate him. The Army offered to pay a stipend for the child until she reached the age of 18. When the baby girl was born she was named Nora but it didn’t look good in society for an unwed mother to have a child. So, Cora went to a lawyer and had papers drawn up where she adopted her own child. My older cousin Frank showed me both of the documents: The letter from the Army and the adoption papers. I guess that makes me 1/8th yankee. Nothing I can do about that. There’s worse news than that in our family but I’m not ready to talk about it. Aunt Jewel was my daddy’s youngest sister and there are less and less of the Rhoades family surviving. My uncle Jack is still around. He’s had so many stents put in he has lost count. He doesn’t smoke or drink and he is not the least bit overweight. When I got out of the Army in 1961 I worked in printing with my dad in Utah for 3 months. Then we came back to Georgia – home at last. I signed up for unemployment which was $25 per week. It wasn’t much but it was more like an allowance. Then my daddy got me a job working in printing with his brother Jack at Hall Printing Company in Marietta.

I learned quite a lot while I was there. Not so much that I wanted to be in printing for the rest of my life Although my daddy was a printer and his daddy was too. You can imagine what most of the conversations centered around.

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