Of late, Daddy has been on my mind, especially this week. Two reasons, in particular. First, I must decide where to hang my picture of him and a water color by his mother, Mary Dickson. Everything must go on the walls somewhere. Second, I ventured out into the world this week. I was invited and went to a luncheon/art project event, called “The Wisdom Cafe”, in Valbonne.
Let me explain: Sara Randall and Cy Todd, two friends from the American Club of the Riviera, have formed a group that meets twice a month in Valbonne – usually a luncheon event held at a restaurant, Les Pierres Rouges, with program of some sort. However, this Thursday event was different. Sara and Cy invited their artist friend, Laura McCollough from San Diego, California, to share her story and give the group an art lesson! First, we had a fun luncheon – interesting women with interesting stories from everywhere. Then, Laura and her daughter Rebecca led the group in a hands-on art project. The assignment was to find a meaningful sentence or a phrase, choose a basic color (blue or grey acrylic / red and yellow water colors), and go with it.
I knew instantly my sentence “Rough Seas Make Good Sailors”. (Daddy’s BYLINE!! He drilled that into me ALL my life.) I chose blue acrylic and went for gold, making a rough sea for a good sailor. Haha. Here is my result. No comment.
After I got home, I put my “artwork” on the book shelf and thought about Daddy. He loved inspirational phrases and sentences and books and pamphlets and pictures. “Go to It!” “Be Kind to One Another”. “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going!” I had to read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (ugh) before he would let me to go to Camp Dixie in Clayton, Georgia (which I LOVED). People call him “gracious” and “a perfect gentlemen”. I thought of him as witty and a cut-up. Always telling a joke or three, laughing and having a good time. He loved people; people loved him. He could talk for hours to farmers, taking me with him to “visit”. He also loved his Jack Daniels Black Label (a bottle always under the sink in the kitchen) and his Elks Club – especially the downstairs for members only (men) with card games and slot machines.
I still have a picture of him that I have had for ages. It is going on the wall somewhere. Don’t remember how I got it. I just remember it hanging for years above the organ in the Music Room. Daddy loved organ music. One day I came home from school to find an organ, sitting in the Music Room with my piano. That is when I found out that Daddy like to pick out hymns on that organ. He didn’t know what he was doing, mind you, but that did not keep him from doing it. Here, you get two for one – picture of Daddy and picture of me taking the picture.
At that time, I was practicing the piano a lot, getting to be quite good. (Actually, I was competing with my sister Barbara and Janice Martin next door. I wanted to be as “technically proficient” as Mrs. Feldman said Barbara was. AND, Janice played by ear. Damn! HOW DID SHE DO THAT????? No, I had to practice and practice and practice. I wanted to show off in a private piano recital when I graduated from GHS (Gainesville High School). Plus, I had been accepted into the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin. My instrument was piano. I played Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude at my audition. I was also proud of my work with Martha Finger Stratton (my piano teacher), playing Mendelssohn Concerto for Two Pianos in E Major at my private recital. I still have the Steinway Daddy bought me when I was twelve. It is the elephant in the room. I love it. When I look at it and play it every day, I feel the pride he had for me and my accomplishments, constantly urging me to do more and be better.
I still have my grandmother’s painting. Daddy’s mother was Mary Tallulah Dickson – from Texas. I don’t know how she got to Gainesville. Just know she was an art teacher at Brenau College. Beautiful girl.
Mother and Daddy had a water color of hers (Mary Dickson aka Mary Dickson Jewell aka Mary Jewell Loudermilk aka “Mama Loudermilk”). They inherited it at some point. It had hung at Mama and Papa Loudermilk’s house for years. It then moved to Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe’s house, along with Mama Loudermilk, when Papa Loudermilk died. Then Uncle Joe, Aunt Mary, and Mama Loudermilk all died. As a result, Uncle Beamus (Edgar Herman Jewell, Jr. aka Daddy’s brother) inherited that house and its “stuff”. After Uncle Beamus died (he had married Edith Lilly), he left a widow and a will, leaving Mary Dickson’s artwork to Mother and Daddy. I just remember seeing that watercolor in the Music Room over the “whatnot shelf” (remember those) and loving it. (Are you following all of this? There will be a test, later.) All three of us (Patricia, Barbara, and I) wanted THAT watercolor. So, Mother made us draw straws. I WON! When Mother died, I shipped that watercolor to California and got it re-framed.
The more I see it, the more impressed I am with Mary Dickson. I would like to have known her better. Look at the detail in this piece. So beautiful.
I don’t have a lot of things. But, I still have Daddy’s Hamilton gold watch with Daddy’s initials on the back. He wore this wind-up watch for years. After he died, Mother gave it to me because she knew I coveted it. After I got to France, I had it repaired and wear it frequently. I love it.
Engraving on the back.
I still have Mary Dickson’s two spoons with her initials on them. “MTD”.
I was named Tallulah after Mary Tallulah Dickson (aka Mama Loudermilk) and Mary Tallulah Jewell (Aunt Mary). So, when Aunt Mary died, she left me all the things that had “Tallulah” name or initials on them. I got some engraved silver and her mink pieces with her name on the lining. The minks are long gone, but I still have some silverware. I love using a spoon that I know Mary Dickson used. Who gave it to her? What was her family of origin like? Why don’t we know more about her – where did she come from, who were her people. No one ever talked about her that I can remember. Yet, she was the matriarch of the family, a leader before her time.
I have Daddy’s cuff links and tie clip.
I have his chicken nutcracker. We always had a nut bowl in the kitchen for the pecans that fell off the tree in our side yard. (Daddy loved pecans, not walnuts.)
When I was growing up, Daddy would take me to the office (J. D. Jewell, Inc.) and ask his secretary, Mrs. Goforth, to teach me how to file things. Then, he would pay me for my work. I loved every minute of it. In his office behind his desk hung the painting in this photograph. Somewhere along the line, I acquired it. I still love it.
There have been a lot of articles about Daddy, but only one book that I know of, Homer Myers “Pass The Chicken Please, The Life and Times of Jesse Jewell”. It is quite good and accurate, as far as I know, regarding the Company and Barbara’s family and Patricia’s family. Not accurate about my family. I don’t like that part.
I have the book “Leaders in Georgia, In Education, In Business, and In the Arts”, published in 1955 by Curtis Printing Company, Inc. Daddy’s picture and profile are on page 57.
Maybe more books will be written about him. I have begged my niece Debby aka Deb Prince Kroll, a wonderful writer, to write it, using all the articles she has in a box in her attic. I may write one. Mine would be from a subjective point of view. I want someone to write an extensive history of his story and the difficult times facing North Georgia after the Great Depression. These people prevailed.
YES, these people prevailed. So will we. In the immortal words of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt that remain on my wall today: