Christy History

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I am running late today, but it is still morning, and I’m enjoying a second cup of my favorite brew.

I completely missed last week’s post. That holiday threw me off! My last post, I promised more family history. In searching through old photos, I discovered cowboys. You’ll find that post here. The Packnett family intrigued me with their good looks and interesting lineage.

In Family History, I talked about the Youngers and the Christys. Long before my grandmother, Audrie Packnett met and married my grandpa, Henry Earl Christy, Minnie Younger married William Henry Christy. Minnie and Willie Christy both came from pioneer stock. Their families had traveled west and ended up in Arkansas and Missouri.

William Henry Christy II was born Nov. 2, 1886, in Arkansas. He died at the young age of 54, in Amarillo, Texas, and was buried in the family’s hometown of Henryetta Oklahoma.

Minnie Lee Younger was born Oct. 2, 1889, also in Arkansas. She also died in Amarillo, in 1970. She was eighty years old.

The Christy Family, 1918

Willie and Minnie had four sons. Twins, Floyd & Lloyd, Henry Earl, and Elton. I think the twins look like double trouble. Kind of like Dennis the Menace times two. My grandpa, Henry Earl, is in the center of this photo. His younger brother Elton stands in front of him. My grownup Grandpa looked a lot like his daddy.

The first time I saw this photo, I was confused. I wondered what my younger brother was doing in such an old photograph. He looks an awful lot like Willie Christy.

The twins were born in 1909 in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Grandpa was born in 1912, and Elton was born in 1915. Elton was the only one to remain in Henryetta. He died in 1991 at the age of 75. Grandpa also died at 75.

The twins moved to Amarillo, where they spent their lives working for the railroad. They were seldom on the same train at the same time. But in 1968, they were. The train derailed, killing Uncle Lloyd. Uncle Floyd was injured but survived. He died in 1996 at the age of 85.

Great-Grandma Christy was a widow at 51. Eight years later, she married Parker George White, the widower of her sister, Lissie, in California. My Grandpa (Henry), would later move to California. I assume he didn’t like the weather in Seattle, Washington, where he’d been living with my Grandma and his two daughters, my Aunt Earlene and Mom. Grandma had no intention of ever going south again, where there was any possibility of dust storms. She remained in Seattle with her daughters.

I think he resembles Walt Disney in this photo. I wonder how he felt, starting over without his family. Whatever the reasons, his daughters forgave him and had a very good relationship with him.

 

I found this little card among his old photographs. I think he lived here at one time.

He and Audrie eventually divorced, and both remarried. Grandpa would live his last years in various trailer parks.

Grandpa & Viola.

 

 

The Christy brothers are in the first photo. Second photo: Lloyd and Floyd, all duded up for some occasion, then pictured with their wives in the third photo. The fourth photo is of their mother, my Great-Grandma, (right in the photo). I always knew her as Grandma Christy, though she was officially Minnie White.

I didn’t know my Grandpa Christy very well. He and Viola (we never called her anything else) lived in L.A., and we lived in West Tennessee, with the exception of a few years in San Diego. My fondest memories of him included things like visiting a “swap meet” at a drive-in movie theatre (during the daytime) and riding in the back of his VW. He was always smiling, and always had a dog. He loved baseball (Dodgers) and the roller derby, and he loved to cook.

Higher Learning

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! As I’m writing this, a squirrel is staring at me. I seem to be an object of great interest. This means the squirrels have gleaned what they like from the birdfeeder, leaving only what they don’t like. So, they sent this one to place an order for a refill. 🙂

We’re never too old to learn new things. In fact, it’s good for our mental stability to continue to pursue knowledge and build ourselves up. Today, I’d like to share a few things that may help “feed” and fortify you for the days ahead.

Just like you need to strengthen your core physically with exercise, you also need to strengthen your core spiritually. — Anne Graham Lotz

Number one on my list is the upcoming Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. We had to cancel the in-person conference usually held in beautiful Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It is now available—in its full length—as an online conference. Yes, that is the right price! Only $20.20, and if you can’t watch it live, you’ll have access to the conference later.

You’ll find all the information you need right here: Write the Vision 2020

Please note that there is also a Teen Track available (taught by my friend Crystal Caudill):

So You Want to Be An Author? A Workshop for the Next Generation | Fiction​

This 3-hour interactive workshop geared for teenagers will introduce the basics of writing for the publishing world. In the first session, participants will learn about guidelines for genres, common terminology, and the three rules which must never be broken. During the second session, participants will examine the three-act structure and develop a loose three-act outline. Participants will leave with a handful of resources to help them grow and the tools necessary to write a story fit for publishing.


Do you like devotionals? Here are two brand new good ones, written by friends of mine—

Glimpses of God – a summer devotional for women, by Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and oceans on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features and attributes that are common.

As Christ-followers we experience spiritual seasons. Though these seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also.

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

Adventures in Fatherhood – A Devotional, by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb

Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.

Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.


See you next week for another chapter of my family history!

Family History

Last week, I wrote about a 1939 Packnett family reunion in New Mexico. My mother’s mother, Audrie Packnett Christy, was about twenty-six years old at the time.

My grandpa wasn’t with them but his family, the Christys, also have western roots.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Quarantine may have grounded us for a while, but it can’t keep us down. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my family during this time. I have pioneers and cowboys in my bloodline. They had to be tough and sometimes, well…it showed.

Grandpa Christy’s mother was a Younger. Her parents are pictured here. This is Alexander and Prilda Younger. I reckon they were farmers, or maybe ranchers from the looks of them. Great-great-grandpa Younger never went anywhere without that hat. Somewhere, I have a photo of a more youthful Alexander, in the same style hat.

This cute couple ended up living in a travel trailer, parked in their grandson’s yard in Amarillo, Texas. I wish I could’ve known them. Oh, what questions I’d ask them!

Alexander hailed from the Missouri Territory. His daddy was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War. I’ll bet he was a popular guy, huh? He looked a lot like one of the Duck Dynasty guys, with a long beard that hung to his belt.

Junior married and headed West to claim his own land. Maybe this is why I loved those Janette Oke books so much.

The Christy Family, 1937

Years later, their daughter, Minnie Younger, would marry Great-Grandpa Christy. Those two had four sons. Grandpa was the middle child because the eldest two were twins. The twins spent their lives working for the railroad in Amarillo, Texas. Grandpa married Audrie Packnett. They left Oklahoma during the dustbowl days, seeking greener pastures.

There are so many stories in these old photos. I’m sure much of their life was ordinary but we know ordinary lives include magical days. There’ll be hard days, too, when the wells of hope dry up like those dusty fields of the thirties.

Looking at these familiar faces gives me a profound sense of peace. I have a good, strong heritage. Folks who weren’t afraid to work hard. Mom is the youngest in these two photos. She’s 86 now. When I think of all the places she’s been, what she endured after these sweet days of her childhood—the breakup of her parents’ marriage, her mother’s death when Mom was only 22—my heart fills with gratitude.

Mom & Me

She raised me to ride the waves of hardship, knowing that difficulties come to everyone, but what you do during and after the tough times, that is what defines a person. Those hard times make the good times all the sweeter.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’re staying strong and healthy.

And if anyone out there knows what Great-great-grandma Prilda’s name means, I’d love to know. I couldn’t find any information. I’ve never heard of anyone else with that name.

Reunion in New Mexico

The week before the quarantine, I visited Mom’s new apartment. It’s smaller than her former one, so she wanted me to take her collection of photos. She was afraid something would happen and they would be accidentally thrown away.

I happily agreed, but that was before I knew there were four boxes of photos. Four large boxes. There are numerous albums, shoeboxes stuffed with photo envelopes, and letters from family all over the nation labeled, “photos enclosed.” There is even a sleeve of slides (try saying that aloud three times) and a reel of film from the fifties.

*Sigh*

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I am so happy you’re here. I hope you’ll join me for a cup of coffee, or your preferred morning beverage.

If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen some of the pictures I found in Mom’s collection.

My mom has a very interesting family who managed to spread out all over the American West. I feel very blessed to have known them, though I didn’t get to see them in person all that often. When I was a child, we tended to pass through on the way somewhere. We’d plan our trips with a night in Amarillo with the twin uncles, a night in El Paso at Aunt Goldie’s, a stopover in Blythe, California at Grandma Cain’s (my great grandmother), before arriving in L.A. to visit Grandpa.

Mom’s sister lived in Oregon and then Idaho. Their half-brother lives in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, and they have cousins in Seattle, Washington, Butte, Montana, East Texas, and who knows where else.

Carolyn (child in front) sent Mom these photos.

So, when I discovered the 1939 Packnett family reunion photos from the ranch they called “The Canyon” in New Mexico, well, I practically jumped up and down. These beautiful black-and-white photos document a rare (for them) family get-together long before I was born.

I had always heard about the ranch and Mom’s “cowboy cousins,” but I’d never seen these photos because we didn’t have them until they were sent to Mom by the little girl in this shot.

Marvin, Evelyn Brobak, & Ruford

I look at these faces, most of them so familiar to me, and I’m in a sort of awe. I haven’t seen them in years, yet I can almost hear their joyful voices.

Mom’s family kept in touch and visited when we lived in Southern California. The man on the left in this photo (my Great-Uncle Marvin) married the young woman next to him, and they later settled in Seattle.

My Great-Uncle Ruford on the right, moved around a lot. He used to write letters to my mom. She called him “Uncle Rufie.”

The Packnett Ladies

My grandmother is back left in this photo of all the Packnett women. She died when I was two, so I don’t remember her. But I feel as though I know her. She was one of the first to hold me when I was born. And somehow, I know I loved her.

Years later, I would stand beside her grave in Seattle, Washington, surprised by tears and the unexpected emotion of that moment. Seeing her beautiful face in these photos gives light to her existence and helps me know her better.

Great Grandma Packnett (back right in above photo) later became Grandma Cain when she remarried. We visited her house in Blythe (CA). I remember her house, and that they had grapevines in their backyard.

The lovely lady on the right was my Aunt Goldie. She and her husband lived in El Paso, Texas. Their daughter, Carolyn, is the one who later sent the pictures. We visited them often over the years.

The woman front left is Aunt Edris. I don’t really remember her.

The photos below are my grandmother. I think she must have had a lovely visit with her family before she returned to Seattle with her daughters (Grandpa stayed behind, probably working).

Is it odd or strange to love people you never really knew that well? There’s a strong bond within me to the folks in these photos, though I grew up thousands of miles away from most of them. Mom kept that alive through her lifelong communications with them. Communication she shared with her children so, when we came to this point, we’d know them and love them as she did.

That’s an important point to make in our present circumstances. Though distance and protective measures keep us parted, we need to keep the lines of communication open so that our children’s future will include their extended family. I can’t imagine my life being as rich if I hadn’t known or known of this wonderful family.

To be continued…

Life Renewed

Hello, Thursday Morning! I know it’s still cold out there for some of you, but here in Kentucky, it’s warm. Spring arrived early this year. The trees are all abloom, the tulips are full-blown, my roses are budding (not just leaves, but blossoms!).

We’re already seeing butterflies!

While we’re safely home, staying busy so we don’t worry, it’s nice to look out and see the sun shining.

This weekend, we will celebrate Easter. For those of us who celebrate it as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is our most holy season. This year will be unlike any other we’ve celebrated. But different doesn’t mean bad. I encourage you to put your imagination to work.

Decorate if you normally would and if you don’t usually, try it. Make a nice dinner. If you don’t have anything to decorate your table with, boil and color some eggs. Put them in a nice bowl in the center of the table. (Don’t leave them out too long, and you can make deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches, garnish a green salad or potato salad. Or just eat ’em.)

Put on your Easter outfits to watch your online service. Make it fun and special.

If you couldn’t get out to buy something for the kid’s baskets (if you do that), use your imagination. Check out Pinterest if you need help. Dress up a basket, or a bowl or box, fill it with homemade goodies. Hide treats or small toys around the house. You can even hide the Easter baskets!

This will be a year like no other, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad or disappointing. I hope I’ve given you a few good ways to stir up your imagination.

Also, I know some of you are alone and the thought of spending Easter on your own can be overwhelming. I encourage you to join in wherever you can. Find a service to watch, play worship music, call friends and family. Open the Bible to your favorite gospel and read the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Try reading it aloud.

Note: If someone in your family is alone on Easter, take a few minutes to check on them. Make it a video call if possible so they can see your face. Don’t forget to smile! 🙂 You can also send a pre-recorded video greeting via text messaging.

On Easter, my cousin Rick used to answer the phone, “Happy Easter Egg!” in a joyous tone of voice. It may seem silly, but he made us all laugh. He’s celebrating with Jesus this year, but the memory of that greeting remains. We’ll never forget it.

The point is, you have the power to make this holiday special for yourself and others. Let’s not allow our circumstances to keep us “in the grave.” Hope renews life and builds faith. These will all work together when you allow the great “I am” to have His way in your life.

Click to Tweet: You have the power to make this holiday special for yourself and others. Let’s not allow our circumstances to keep us “in the grave.”