Friday, November 18, 2011

BEHOLD! The Power of the Internet

On a website devoted to old photos of my home town, I happened to mention in a comment to an entry a few weeks ago that I had lived in a certain area, behind the building that they were featuring.

This week, I got a comment from a guy who said he lived on a street parallel to mine, that backed up to our house (and the others in the row). As we corresponded, I mentioned that my grandmother lived on his street too, and that we could go out our back door and with a slight jog to the right, we could enter her back door. 

He replied "Your grandmother wasn't Mrs. Burdette?!" and of course, she was. It turns out that he lived next door to her (he was age 7 + at the time) and he was very impressed to find out that she was near 80 then, and so active and cheerful. He recalled that his mom (a nurse) and his dad (a policeman) had told him that if he ever came home and they were not there, he should go to Mrs. Burdette's, and she would look after him till they returned. Knowing her, it was something that she relished. I am sorry that I didn't know him at that time, but I was already 12-13, and little boys held no fascination for me... (but big ones were beginning to....LOL)

My grandmother was a favorite of mine in the family, and it is so nice to know that someone else has fond memories of her. She has been gone 40 years now; she died when my last baby daughter was six weeks old.

Mammaw, as I called her, is rather a legend in the family. Back in the days when it was nearly unthinkable to do so, she divorced my grandfather (for cruelty) and moved 100 miles away (with five children) to the "big city" of Charleston, WV and opened a rooming house for young working women. I have no idea where she got the money to buy the large house; she was able to live comfortably on the first floor and the upper floor housed anywhere from 2 to 4 girls, each in their own room.

Most of those girls, who ranged in age from late teens to late 20's, became my "aunts" and when I would stay overnight at my grandmother's house, I always slept with "Aunt Tillie", and plied her with questions about my birth and infancy. Tillie was a spinster (by the standards of those days) and one summer, while I was away at camp, I learned in a letter that Tillie was going to be married. I think she was in her early 30's at the time.  I was very upset, since that meant she would be moving out of my grandmother's house and I thought I wouldn't be able to see her again. I cried and cried. They assured me that she and Alfred would not be moving far away, and I could visit her whenever possible, which I did. Later, Tillie and Alfred had a daughter - one of the prettiest babies I've ever seen. I lost track of her after her parents died.

So, Eddie, with your short comment, you have unleashed a torrent of memories, for which I am thankful. I'm going to search out some good photos of my grandmother and post them when I can, although with the holidays coming up, it may be a while. 

20 comments:

sage said...

What a neat story--and connections made! I once posted about a guy I knew 30 years ago, using only his first name but he was from a small town and I had a photo of him, and his nephew contacted me letting me know he'd died and wanting to know if I had more photos!

Celia said...

It truly is amazing the connections that we make online. Such a beautiful story.

Arkansas Patti said...

That is truly impressive an makes us realize how the Internet shrinks our world.
He unleashed a bunch of really nice memories for you.

MissDazey said...

This is the sweetest story, thanks for sharing. Your grandmother sounds like a special person.

Jennifer said...

It is SUCH a small world! I love that about our little universe. :-)

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow that is amazing and she sounds like a really special woman too!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful thing to have happened, Judy....The Internet certainly is amazing!!! I look forward to seeing pictures of your Grandmother---she sounds like she was quite a fantasticly strong woman, and yet, retained her heart...! We called my Grandmother MaMaw....Close to MawMaw.....I never knew how to spell it but this is phonetic...:)

Grannymar said...

How wonderful to catch up with the past in this way. I look forward to the photos, they are family, social and fashion history.

Colleen said...

Nifty story!
Your grandmother sounds like a great lady.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Wonderful story, Judy. Six degrees of separation.

Mar said...

I love stories like this one. Your grandmother sure was a strong yet sweet lady!

Abe Lincoln said...

Very interesting post.

Imaginography said...

A very interesting post Judy and what an amazing coincidence that prompted it!

Bobkat

Anonymous said...

Judy--How wonderful for you, and what a fascinating tale you have told us. Thanks!
Cop Car

Ginnie said...

I'm so happy for you. I love it when memories are jogged into the present and look forward to hearing more about mammaw !

Gilly said...

Great story! I love it when things like that happen!

Granny Annie said...

For those who say the internet is "evil" take that! You have proven it is a unique, magical key to the past as well as the future. I love what you have found and envy the serendipity in it.

robin andrea said...

This is such a great story. Yes, the internet really has connected people in a way that has utterly enriched our lives. I am looking forward to seeing the photos of your grandmother. She sounds like quite a remarkable woman.

Eddie said...

Thank you Judy, what a bunch of nice comments, from your MawMaw`s next door neighbor TWICE!

Pat said...

Isn't it great when something like that happens and the cherry on the cake is we get a lovely post.