Mother at 18 months, in 1915, between her paternal grandparents, Willam and Hattie Creel. Hattie's mother was part Cherokee. There were generous strains of Irish and Dutch in their backgrounds, as well. I sometimes think I am in a direct line of descent from the mule. On her mother's somewhat tonier side, Mother is a great-great-great grandniece of President Franklin Pierce, but she and I are happy to be a fine old American blend, as in blood, not cigarettes and whiskey.

The separate 1912 wedding portraits, when they were both 22, show Mother's mother, Lydia Elizabeth Yowell, as the Baltimore society belle she had been, and Mother's father, Hubert McKinley Creel, as the earnest, young, cute-as-a-button, devil-take-the-hindmost, love-smitten suitor he would remain all the rest of his life. After her funeral in 1959, when I had just come back from around the world hoping to see my funny, loving grandmother once more, but missed the chance, I remember him sitting in a daze amid the whirl of friends and family, slumped over, and suddenly sitting up and crying in a loud voice, "Beth, oh, my Beth!" But she was gone. They had come so far together from the day in 1914 when they posed with their darling first baby, Mildred Frances Wilkins Creel.

My Grandmother Creel was a dark-eyed beauty with a saucy sense of humor that she passed on to her daughter, Mildred, also known as "Midge" and "Boots," along with a taste for pretty clothes. The 1919 family portrait shows the addition of a first son, Irvin. There would a second girl, Flora, and two boys, Edwin and Albert.

The flock looked rough and ready around the time of the Wall Street Crash in 1929. They would need all the stamina they had to keep afloat, but what kept them above water was lots of love and laughter. My grandmother and my mother had the ability to see a joke in anything. Mother dropped out of school and went to work as a waitress to help feed the sibling brood. Many years later, a prophecy made about me by her beloved and tragic sister, Flora, would come to pass in the most extraordinary manner.

Timeline Pictorial 1932-1934

Back to Table of Contents

2000 Brockman Morris