Archive for April, 2011

on the trail of James

April 27, 2011
James Agnew, my great grandpa married Carrie, my great grandma in 1879. There was an age difference between them. I had an earlier record of a James Agnew in the same place, New Albany, married to “Mary C” in 1870, & they had 2 children, ANNIE age 5 and CLITH age 3. I never knew if they were an earlier family? Did something happen to them between 1870 & 1879?
We  just found an obituary for the eldest child of James and Carrie, (William Robert). In the surviving relatives, it lists a SISTER, ANNIE. This means that was the same James in both marriages.
so what happened to his 1st wife and son, Clith? Interesting. The mystery deepens.

new family history

April 26, 2011

John Wesley on L, Alfred Edward, Frederick Louis, brothers.

status in your home neighborhood

April 26, 2011

In my sociology of poverty class, we have done a reading on status within a trailer park. We have also read sections of “Code of the Street” about inner city Philadelphia, where the people themselves call each other either “decent” or “street”. Then I asked the students how stratification existed in their home neighborhood where they grew up.

In my home neighborhood, status was evident in a number of ways. First, there was the one family on the block, a Catholic family, who bought 2 neighboring houses & then built a mid-section to unite them. They had THE BIGGEST house on the block, and 11 kids. Not only that, they had money. When you went into their house, they had a stereo speaker system where music played from room to room, and the parents could talk into it from the kitchen or living room, and reach any one of the many bedrooms and carry on a conversation with whoever was there. Now that was status in the late 50s to early 60s.

There was a division between the lower part of the street and the upper. The upper part, my family’s area, had larger houses, 2-3 stories, and sometimes a screened-in porch. The yards were kept up and trimmed, with nice green grass, although not quite up to the bright green yards people have today through a lawncare company. Our house was 3 stories. We also had a full basement we roller-skated in, on rainy days, it was so large. My dad had an “office” down there, and my mother had a washer & dryer. My older brother also carried out science experiments down there and later made films.

Down the street, the houses became smaller and the families were working class. We knew the difference, even as kids. When we walked to school, which we did every day, we saw the change occur. Poverty showed up a little farther on, just a few streets away. The kids there never had anything, and their hair was unkept, the girls’ hair may have been matted or wildly natural curl, not neatly bobby-pin curled. They didn’t have their own bedrooms either. If you went inside their houses, they felt “dirty”. They didn’t have the giant dining room with mahogany or cherry-wood table sitting there like a trophy you could never touch.

Our mothers were home. We came home for lunch. Working class kids had to go home w/ someone else for lunch, as their mothers were working.

As a kid, if you had a COOL BIKE, you had status. For us, it was a stingray-seated bike. If you had roller skates with a key, you were cool. We created our own private, membership by invitation only clubs of kids. If you were “cool” you could join our club. We rode our bikes around the neighborhood and climbed trees, sometimes finding a little nook or cranny we called our “hideaway”. This is where our club would gather and meet, like a secret society.

As a kid, I always played w/ the poor kids at school, but my mother would never let me go to their houses much after school. Unless their mom happened to be the Girl Scout leader, and I would go there for a weekly GS meeting, but then come home.

I never fought much. I was never a fighter, in any way. Occasionally, someone attacked me, as I vaguely recall. In those instances, I would throw a punch & then duck out. I can remember being really angry with some close friends. We would VERY rarely physically fight, but would yell and send them home, not allow them to come in our house, gang up with other kids to exclude them, those kinds of games. More than likely, I was the one being excluded. I tended to be really close with just a few girlfriends. When they turned against me, I was crushed, & then my parents would go to bat for me & tell me how they weren’t anything. I was a fairly lonely kid. 🙂

the road much travelled

April 21, 2011

My husband and I soon leave for Indiana over Easter weekend. I hate the drive and especially hate driving all night. But we have no choice this time. A 3-day weekend with a 10-11 hr. drive isn’t that long of a time.

The Road Much Travelled

Soon, we leave,

after a full day’s work,

put suitcases in trunk,

laptops in car,

and hit the road much travelled.

I will grade papers

as you drive,

for when we return,

Finals begin,

the end to another semester.

We leave the warmth of the Carolina sun,

where Spring begins in February,

flowered trees now have diminished blooms,

and Summer is in the air,

We ride the road much travelled,

back to the north,

where corn will be sprouting,

but not yet high,

where the land is all wide open spaces,

and huge expanse of sky,

where the roundness of the earth

is seen and felt

in the sky’s arching down

to kiss the horizon,

where my heart still quivers

for 2 grandsons and a daughter,

and a son’s love beckons us,

come back to our roots,

on the road much travelled,

to the place we call home,

not the land of cotton, forest and swamp,

but the land of cornfields and soybean crops,

where cities have more than a million folks,

and people know Chicago,

where ancestors fought on the side of the north,

and no Confederate flags 

grace the statehouse lawn.


April 20, 2011

My husband told me the city of Col. wants to work with him to do poetry in the parks.

poets in the park
create sparks, watch them fly up
into the night sky

poem for a student

April 16, 2011

A young 2009 graduate who I only knew from working with him at a housing project with children, died in a hit & run accident this week. He was riding his bike on a Florida small highway, was hit by a car whose driver didn’t take the time to stop and assist, parts of his bicycle strewn all across the road. This is written in his memory.

Memories of Bryan Wrigley at Grant Homes


Every day, you came,

to serve the children,

got them settled

to begin their work,


You wouldn’t take 

no for an answer,

sat them down,

Put pencil to paper,


Quietly calling them all by name,

Firmly, but gently,

You made their learning a game,


Elijah, Devonte, Craig, Kalim,

Jordan, Diamond, Dynasty, Akim,


You quieted voices

of children in need,

of 10-year-old children

who couldn’t read,


You gave them a father figure,

and a friend,

Some they knew cared deeply

just for them,


Inasmuch as ye have done to the least of My brethren,

So ye have done it unto Me, *

Of all the ways you are remembered by others,

This one is special to me.


How we affect the hearts of children

may be how our life is measured, 

To none is known the time we have,

how many years we are given,


What more could any parent ask,

than our child burn so brightly

as to light another’s path,


For we know, beyond a doubt,

we will meet again,

in His “World without end,

Amen, amen.”


*Matthew 25:40

we all work too hard

April 14, 2011

It occurs to me that we all work too dang hard. This is most people. This is America. Hard working people with strong beliefs and ethics. We work so hard just to pay our bills, have a little groceries and a tv set. Some of us busted our backs earning a PhD and it’s still that way. We LOVE our work, we are dedicated to what we do, but there’s no extra money, there’s no yacht, much vacation, luxuries, or even new clothes. I just think people in America are working too dang hard for very little return. Unions have become the bad guy, corporate America keeps raking in the profits, Congressmen serve themselves and live in some other world on the opposite side of the moon, and the world is crazy. Everyone’s running around working hard and trying to move up, and we all basically manage to just tread water. Today, 1 in 10 are even losing their HOMES. This just isn’t fair. Something is very wrong w/ this picture. It makes me very sad when I can’t even help my kids out because we can barely pay our own bills. There was a time in my long life that we lived without hot water. My mother lived in the same town and didn’t help us out. I can’t imagine watching my kids go through that and not paying their gas bill, especially when those were my grandkids in that house. But that’s just me. I think sometimes BECAUSE of what I’ve been through, I am even more sensitive to it. We all have to find our own way in life. But when you’re a mom, you just don’t want your kids to suffer. I think at my age, I pictured life a little different by this time. I am HAPPY, it’s just that you look around and realize, most of America is in this same spot, but those at the top of Banks, Insurance companies and Politics just keep on arguing about who else below them they can rip off somehow. They will cut it all before they TAKE a cut and show themselves worthy of anyone’s respect. But it doesn’t matter and they know it. They just keep doing it. Because they can.

poetry music & friends

April 14, 2011

Last night my husband’s poetry night had nearly 30 people and 18 of them did some poetry and/or music. The diversity was STUNNING. We had everything from Country music singing about Jesus, to a poem about who goes to jail for 25 to life (by me, thank u very much), to excellent musicians that could bring down any house, to a couple who sing together and harmonize on the spot….. it was a stunning night, that’s all I can say. Many good friends and expression of who they are. This morning all I can do is give thanx.

Agnew connections

April 9, 2011

Recently a relative from my dad’s side contacted me out of the blue. It is a new link to another side of the Agnew family I am extremely happy about. Brother to my grandpa Agnew was her great grandpa. When God closes a door, He always opens a window. Count on it.

Other than that, life threw me a curveball last week I am still getting over. Learn to always do your best, Know that it’s not good enough for some people and that is their problem. I know my best is good enough for God, and that’s good enough for me. The rest is piddle.

can’t say what I’m thinkin’

April 1, 2011

I have recently realized, the really important things that I am learning and thinking in life, I can’t really post on a blog because someone might see it who won’t understand it. I picture people in the future reading my blog or somehow gaining access to old e-mails and thinking, “Wow, she really didn’t think deeply at all!” when in reality, it is just that the truly important lessons in life are not for the world to see on a blog!

Tonight I am thankful for my husband’s listening ear and support,

I am thankful for the blessings of God in my life,

I am thankful that I’ve been around the block enough times, that the roadblocks people sometimes put in my way are something I’ve learned to walk around and avoid.

I am thankful that life has thrown me yet another curve ball that I had to get over, to know that I am a good person, I try my absolute best, I work my absolute hardest, and I am damn awesome!!

and I am so thankful that I live in the south, where the sun was warm on my face today. Thank you Sun.

and thankful for the awesome evening with friends at an art show, music and poetry night. It was fun and relaxing.