This week, I have had a lot of friends reach out to me. Great. Because it is rather bleak in this small apartment in Paris. I have my favorite songs playing on Spotify; Missy is close by; and a lot of projects in the works, so I stay busy. AND, I have WiFi (FINALLY) and favorite programs on the television (BBC and CNN). So, I am NOT bored. Quite the contrary. But, no matter how you look at it, this is not my idea of the way to see Paris during my birthday 2020. Haha. But this surreal event will begin to move on at some point, so I have to “gut up” while I am going through the days. As do all of us.
I have spent a lot of time upgrading my WordPress “Jayspeak” site, so that I now have a link to a “Voluntary Contributions” and “Donations” for readers to help me fund this project. It is hard to be creative when you’re worried about money. And, I am worried about money (along with my health). So, I am considering this creative project “Jayspeak” a business and plan to develop it for my readers and followers. Let’s face it, it is not every day that a woman, 83 and alone, ups and moves to Paris, France, to live and learn. Haha. It even sounds crazy to me!! Well, actually, there have been a lot of problems, and EVERYTHING is expensive. Duh. …which takes me to my birthday, happening on Monday. March 30, 1937. Ugh. I am going to spend some time with Lillie. Who? Lillie Westmoreland, my grandmother. Hang in there! I will try to make it interesting. Jay (also known as “Janet Tallulah Jewell”) speaks…..
One of my friends this week told me this, and I have thought about it a lot.
“… we all carry the blood of our ancestors, and they survived through much more.”
Thus, I thought about “Lillie”. And, I have been thinking about her ever since. WHO? What? Lillie Westmoreland. WHY? What did she survive? I don’t know. This is what I know, sorta. This is her picture. I don’t know how old she was when this was taken. My niece, Deb Prince Kroll, colorized it. She looks to be around 60 to me.
She was born into a family with 11 (COUNT THEM) – eleven!!!!!! children. I don’t know where she was in the line-up. Not oldest; not youngest. I don’t know. I cannot imagine 10 brothers and sisters in the house. Help!!!!! They were not rich. They were not poor. I don’t know. They lived in Royston, Georgia. VERY SMALL TOWN. Ugh. She was born on September 12, 1880. OK, let’s pause for a minute to find out what was happening in the world in 1880. This is her father’s obituary (Seaborn Westmoreland – “Seab”) that was in the Royston, Georgia papers at the time of his death. He was a Baptist preacher off and on. “Hallulah! I’m a preacher!” (no comment) Here is a picture of Lillie’s mother – the bearer of 11 healthy children? Yikes! Look at those gorgeous brown eyes. So perceptive.
Hello, Wikipedia!!! Help.
It was a Sunday. Lillie was born (probably at home) on a Sunday, in Royston, Georgia. The United States had five Presidents during the decade, the most since the 1840s. They were Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. On that day, James A. Garfield was president. This is what I found interesting about him.
“At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman. Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the “dark horse” nominee. By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.
Major power political disputes back then – same as now. As President, Garfield strengthened Federal authority over the New York Customs House, stronghold of Senator Roscoe Conkling, who was leader of the Stalwart Republicans and dispenser of patronage in New York. When Garfield submitted to the Senate a list of appointments including many of Conkling’s friends, he named Conkling’s arch-rival William H. Robertson to run the Customs House. Conkling contested the nomination, tried to persuade the Senate to block it, and appealed to the Republican caucus to compel its withdrawal. But Garfield would not submit: “This…will settle the question whether the President is registering clerk of the Senate or the Executive of the United States…. shall the principal port of entry … be under the control of the administration or under the local control of a factional senator.” Conkling maneuvered to have the Senate confirm Garfield’s uncontested nominations and adjourn without acting on Robertson. Garfield countered by withdrawing all nominations except Robertson’s; the Senators would have to confirm him or sacrifice all the appointments of Conkling’s friends. In a final desperate move, Conkling and his fellow-Senator from New York resigned, confident that their legislature would vindicate their stand and re-elect them. Instead, the legislature elected two other men; the Senate confirmed Robertson. Garfield’s victory was complete.
In foreign affairs, Garfield’s Secretary of State invited all American republics to a conference to meet in Washington in 1882. But the conference never took place. On July 2, 1881, in a Washington railroad station, an embittered attorney who had sought a consular post shot the President. Mortally wounded, Garfield lay in the White House for weeks. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, tried unsuccessfully to find the bullet with an induction-balance electrical device which he had designed. On September 6, Garfield was taken to the New Jersey seaside. For a few days he seemed to be recuperating, but on September 19, 1881, he died from an infection and internal hemorrhage.
That said, I doubt that Lillie’s family was interested in politics or in the world at large, during those days. No radios or television. This was a large family, living in a small town in the Deep South. They were just trying to survive during the depression with a large family. (Today, with DNA testing, I have confirmed by Ancestry.com that I have LOTS of cousins and cousins of cousins – especially with 11 kids growing up and having kids – black and white. Hey, that was the South during those years. How? I don’t know how. Get over it!
“The 1890s was the ten-year period from the years 1890 to 1899. In the United States, the 1890s were marked by a severe economic depression sparked by the Panic of 1893, as well as several strikes in the industrial workforce. The decade saw much of the development of the automobile. The period was sometimes referred to as the “Mauve Decade” – because William Henry Perkin’s aniline dye allowed the widespread use of that colour in fashion – and also as the “Gay Nineties”, referring to the fact that it was full of merriment and optimism. The phrase, “The Gay Nineties,” was not coined until the 1920s. This decade was also part of the Gilded Age, a phrase coined by Mark Twain, alluding to the seemingly profitable era that was riddled with crime and poverty.” – Wikipedia
Here is another picture. I think she is 16.
She would have been 16 in 1896, and there were football teams at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. I know she played baseball with Ty Cobb in Royston. He was a friend of hers.
When she was 19, she married a handsome young guy who later called himself a lawyer, Glenn Dorough, who was also living in Royston. At some point, they moved to Gainesville. How? When? I don’t know. Debby told me he “read the law” with Joe Telford (Joe Telford was also Daddy’s lawyer), and Glenn later sold real estate in Athens. When? I don’t know! However he was very serious, and Lillie was a cut-up and liked to laugh! Interest Note that Debby found online: Glenn was one of the prosecuting attorneys in the murder case of Ty Cobb’s mother. Mrs. Cobb was charged with murdering her husband, but she was found not guilty as she convinced the jury she thought her husband was an intruder when he came in late one night. How about that!!!!! There is definitely a back-story there!!!! BUT NOBODY TALKED ABOUT IT!!!!!! Ugh.
I know she dreamed of being an actress and had “shows” in the family back yard and would present “pretend stories” to the neighbors in an afternoon presentation. She would string a sheet on a clothesline for a curtain. Check out the “chip off the old block”
Her father Seab was a cut-up, too. He liked to laugh and has been described as a “character” with a good personality. I don’t know much about her mother, Eliza Ann Jordan (eleven kids. I am impressed). I know she was beautiful and rather “mysterious”. They all had those gorgeous brown eyes. My sisters both had those beautiful brown eyes. I got the Jewell blue eyes. Check out the brown eyes on Barbara and Mother. :
I don’t know for sure how old Lillie was when she got married. Debby says 19. Young, I think. Very young. I do know that she and Glenn had six little girls. Mother was #2, I think. She was born on October 29, 1902. Her name was Anna Louise Dorough when she was in college. Quite a flirt with a good personality. Ruth was the oldest. Then, Mother (Anna Louise). Then, Lillian. Then, Edna (she died when she was 21, from peritonitis). Then Rose (the baby). Debby says there was another little girl born in 1908 (between Edna and Rose. She was named Rebekkah and died in 1908. I don’t know the story there. No one talked about ANYTHING. Talking about “family private matters” was private and off limits. STILL IS!!!!! Secrets. Lots of secrets. Ugh. (To me, it was always so hypocritical. STILL IS!!)
They were all in their 90’s when they died. (She was 22 when Mother was born) Papa Dorough (Glenn) died of cancer on November 19, 1940. He was 65. Lillie was 60. I still remember the funeral. Mother sent all of us to the movies so we would not be at the funeral. I was 3. At age three and before I went to the movies, I visited that living room and studied the casket. I can still remember that day in my mind’s eye. I can still see the flowers (Lots of coral gladiola’s and yellow chrysanthemums) surrounding the coffin in the living room of the Mama Dorough’s boarding house on Green Street in Gainesville, Georgia (my home town). I don’t know much about Glenn. Except that Mother would drop me off at Mama Dorough’s boarding house during the time Glenn was sick in bed with cancer. I was 2 and 3. I would sit beside him, facing him on a double four-poster bed, and he would read to me – the same story, over and over. Some children’s book that I loved at the time. I don’t remember what. I loved “The Little Engine that Could”. Maybe. We would shell and eat pecans together. (Made a mess). I can still see the wind-up alarm clock, sitting on the chest of drawers. Note: when Mama Dorough died, I got her silverware and that alarm clock and took it back to California. I still have the silverware they used. I am using it in Paris.!!! I had the alarm clock until I moved to France. I got rid of it then. I am still looking for a picture of Glenn. He had a mustache.
Lillie was 45 when her father Seab died, November 7, 1935. I was born in 1937, so Lillie was still rather young when I was born. Mother was 35 when I was born. So she was 33 when her grandfather Seab died. I think I have all of these ages wrong. I keep trying to figure out how young Lillie was when she married Glenn, but I am confused. My brain needs more exercise. But, if Lillie was born in 1880 and her father died in 1935 and I was born in 1937…… That is where I get confused. I think ALL of everyone is too young for ALL of this. And, they all died VERY OLD. Amazing. I want that blood of my ancestors in my veins, especially now that I want time to LIVE and explore Paris at the age of 83. Haha.
At some point, Lillie started running a “boarding house” and helped with income, taking in “boarders”. Like an AirBnb – sorta. But, she provided three meals a day. I think they were more into survival mode than what was going in the world. Maybe Glenn was having difficulty with income. And, Lillie had to help out. What with a large family to feed. Newspapers? College? Marriages? I don’t know. NOBODY EVER TALKED ABOUT IT!!! UGH. The flu? Plagues? “When 138 soldiers at Camp Gordon in Atlanta were hit with it this day in 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic had spread across Georgia. The flu hit just as World War I ended. … The flu killed 20 million people in just 18 months. It was worse than the Black Death of the Middle Ages.” – Wikipedia.
World War I and World War II. The Depression. Polio. Ebola. SARS. And, more. Doctors? Medicine? I don’t know. SEE. That is what will happen to me. My children and grandchildren will know that I existed, but they won’t know much else. They all think they know me and know who I am, but they don’t have a clue. I believe everyone has a “story”. And children are not usually interested in their mother or father’s story. Sometimes. Not mine. I have a lot of trouble with that part – the disinterest. But, enough about me, back to Lillie…
After Glenn died, she moved to Atlanta, still making money by taking in “boarders”, cleaning rooms and preparing all meals. Quite industrious and entrepreneurial, especially when the South was going through a terrible depression.
I loved Mama Dorough. She was witty and loved jokes. She would “chuckle”. Remember “chuckles”. Do people still chuckle? She loved all of my kids, especially Craig and Blake. She loved me. She loved ALL of us. Full of lots of love. She loved her boarders. They loved her. How blessed I was to have her as my role model. At some point, I got concerned because the family did not know a lot about Lillie’s life, so I got some tapes and recorded my conversations with her. I asked her about her life growing up. She was reticent to talk about it. But I got a lot from her. I need to have help transcribing those tapes. It is on my long list of projects for “someday”. I seemed to be the only one who cared. Debby (my niece) knows a lot more than I do. She is interested in all of it.
Lillie died March 6, 1992 at the age of 111. She would have been 112 on September 12, 1992. All of her daughters (except for Edna) lived to be in their 90’s.
So, my hope is that I have Lillie’s blood in my veins and God knows what all she survived! No one seemed to ask during those days. “It was not discussed”. Life was hard, in general. I remember air raids at home during World War II. I remember Mother shopping with rations at Piggly Wiggly (supermarket) and being very excited when Daddy brought home sick stockings for her. Why? I did not ask. Doing without was a way of life.
Same as today. No one is asking about me. What I have survived. Or that my kids have survived. Or that my grandkids have survived at their young ages. I KNOW that they all have survived a LOT. And, they are still young.
Wellllllllll, IF I do have Lillie’s thrust for life, I have 28 more years to go!! Haha! Who knows?
For now, we are ALL ALIVE. Let’s stay that way. This is a long article that I think is very good about the virus. I read it while reading a friend’s blog here in Paris. I have learned a lot about the city Paris, from her and her informative blog –Sara Somers.
So, on Monday, I shall celebrate Lillie Westmoreland, her life and her times. And, all she survived. And her wonderful spirit! May it continue to live in me, in my blood, in my veins.
(without hair and make-up. Sorry, but it is recent and in lockdown. So, you get the picture of a current selfie!! Take note of the “support Jayspeak” button. To all I offend with my “support” button, I apologize in advance. But, you move to Paris by yourself when you turn 83 and survive a pandemic!!! This is not a requirement. It is a voluntary simple support button. You can also do any multiple of 50, like 25 (I think), or 100 or 150 or ….. i hope it works. Let me know if anyone has problems with it. It should link with my PayPal account. But, you also have to have a PayPal account, (I think). So, this is a work in process. Haha. Sorry.
ALSO, a vintage Birthday rendition done by a friend, Jonathan Pfeiffer, a lot of years ago and a closing shot of my beginnings…….