Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time, including: community and family life, gardening, genealogy, people's stories, spirtiuality, and health.


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Family Feuds Or The Spice Of Genealogy, by Charles Moore, Jr. reblogged by Helen Y. Holshouser

Originally posted on Moore Genealogy:

From left to right. Back Row; Pauline Bonnett, Florence Bonnett and Claude Bonnett.  Front Row Harry Bonnett, Bessie Barney Bonnett, Verna Bonnett, and Mary Guyette Barney Douglas. Picture taken about 1913. From left to right. Back Row; Pauline Bonnett, Florence Bonnett and Claude Bonnett. Front Row Harry Bonnett, Bessie Barney Bonnett, Verna Bonnett, and Mary Guyette Barney Douglas. Picture taken about 1913.

The pictures in this post were an incredible find. I obtained them by contacting a person who had a family tree listed in ancestry.com. While it was not very complete, it held some information that caught my interest. I sent a request to the tree owner asking if we could exchange information. I believe this is something we all should do as it helps us all in our genealogy research. I cannot understand why some of us are so reluctant to share our information. This time however I hit the genealogy jackpot. I was soon put in touch with Julia, who was the keeper of the family records. She was to send me old family letters, pictures, property transfer…

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Life and Joy

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blog post on loving life media

Helen with grandchildren Liam 7, and Katy 3, being silly.

I love life! I am at such an interesting stage in my life right now, (retired, disabled, too dependant for my liking) that it’s fun to stand back and analyze a bit. As a teen and young adult college student I was busy achieving and playing…like most of us at that age. Fun was my middle name.

Then I married and became a responsible adult with children of my own and a profession. I taught community seminars on parenting for heaven’s sake, who does that who actually has children! LOL I lived in fear of my children throwing a temper tantrum at the grocery store! LOL  Not my kids, they were perfect! LOL My husband and I were active in church, PTA, Band Boosters…Scouts…you name it, we did it! LOL We lived through, and lived with dying parents, such a sad time for all of us.

Then we lived through Max and I turning 50 and falling apart, so young! His open heart surgery was a fix and he has remained the rock and engine of our family with his mechanical heart valve!  Mine however, was experimental because I couldn’t be fixed, and yet, although predicted to die in five years, here I am 17 years later–looking forward to more! Everyday, I am thankful that I married Max who cares for me and opens my world. Our kids are grown and add joy to our lives in different ways.

Cakes by Annie, EasterAnnie learned well from her Dad all about baking…but she went further as kids are wont to do…and is an amateur pastry chef now.

Ali, our musician, is a mother of three kids from 17 months to 7! Can you say BUSY?!  Ali at 40th birthday party with Welcome to the Zoo sign!

Balloon fest 2015, Ali, Liam , Katy, and Evie, with friend Michael enjoy experience of being in the basketAli and family with Pooh at Disney Wd may 2015, cropped

Still, with life and sickness…comes hobbies and interests that make our lives thrive. Max’s woodworking, my Red Hatters, genealogy and our gardening more often fill our days. Blog post loving life

But then there are the surprises…

Six weeks or so ago a good friend and I piled into her car and joined my sister on a garden tour in Virginia!  On this tour, I got to see the church my grandparents met in just after the Civil War! Can you believe it! Wheelchair dependant, there I was, having a fancy lunch at the premier Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia with my sister, friend, and reuniting with old highschool friends, an unexpected blessing. SAM_0464

Last week we were in the midst of a hot-air balloon festival! So beautiful, so majestic, so peaceful!Balloon Fest 2015, glow Balloon fest 2015, flag balloon in flight Balloon fest 2015, Katy in red hat and dress

Last night, I was at Falls Lake State Park here in Raleigh, NC with all of our immediate family and extended family from South Carolina. My grandkids, ages 7, 3, and 17 months, provide unbounded joy in their enthusiastic enjoyment of the moment!  Sticks become swords or magic wands, sand and water become a huge playground of exuberance! Showers of sand, splashes of water, running, jumping, tumbling…oh to be a child with this kind of freedom on a summer evening again!  Fireflies…lightening bugs…oh my gracious..they are magical for a child and adults!  Campfires, hamburgers and hot dogs, roasting marshmallows! We met other campers also, hiking/rolling trails, and just enjoying the weather….campers are generally friendly, helpful people with interesting lives of their own of course. How much fun to meet strangers who are living next door or across the way in that tent or RV.

Last week, my last beautiful Iris bloomed, this week the daylilies are opening their cheerful colors to our days! The morning glories are singing, and yesterday, my first magnolia blossom opened! Tonight it looks like I’ll get to watch the first moonflower of this season quiver its way open and perfume the night!

Life….it is….enjoy!  Thank you God.

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“Z” is for Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah with Grandchildren

As a child, and as an adult I’ve always loved this song! When you’re happy, nothing else expresses the mood quite so well in my book! You can whistle it, and you can sing it as if no one is watching or listening! LOL That’s what I do..or perhaps, I should say, that is what my grandchildren and I do, and have done over the years!  

Helen with Liam and Katy, Zip a Dee Doo Dah

Helen with grandchildren Liam and Katy

My oldest grandchild, Liam is  7 now, but when he was three, as his sister Katy is now, he would sit on the arm of my power wheelchair (can’t walk far due to severe heart disease) and we would ride all over the neighborhood! He loved it, and wanted to ride and ride! So, we’d talk, we’d notice things, and we’d sing! My favorite song to sing with him was Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, I bet you couldn’t have guessed that huh?  Can you imagine the sight we made, riding around on my wheelchair, grandma and grandchild, singing at the top of our lungs! I know that some of our good friends/neighbors used to tease and also let us know they loved it! I often wondered if others who didn’t know us wondered about that old lady wandering the neighborhood in her wheelchair, singing with abandon with that little boy! LOL However, the men in white coats, nor the police ever showed! My sidekick and I had a ball, and I’ll never forget it for sure! 

“Y” could only be for Youngblood!

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Afterall, that was my maiden name, Youngblood, I always thought it was an interesting name.  Just in case you never heard it–I just had to include the old song–“Youngblood” by the Coasters, recorded in 1957, when I was eight years old! However, my sister was 14, and just entering high school! Oh my gracious did she get teased about it all through high school!  Guys would sing it to her, tell her they couldn’t get her out of their minds, If she wore a yellow ribbon in her hair–well, she just couldn’t! LOL  Wow, how pop music can affect teens especially!

I was named for my paternal grandparents, shown above, Helen Spear Youngblood.  As a child, I was sure that Youngblood was an Indian name. Youngblood, and my middle name is Spear!  What’s a child to think? We lived in Richmond, Virginia amid the tales of Indian massacres at Jamestown, and right beside Cherokee Road and Comanche Drive! But the name Youngblood is actually German, originally Jungblut.  Who would have guessed?  As a college student, my name was easily remembered apparently, and I’d hear all the way across campus, “Youngblood! Hey, Youngblood, what ya doing?”

Now that I’m grown, and have been a Holshouser longer than a Youngblood, the meaning of family and heritage is more important to me.  Four years ago I started a family tree which now has almost 25,000 family members in it!  My brother and I have both done dna for genealogy studies, and we’ve learned that there are five distinct lines of Youngbloods in the US!

You can look in my blog catergories and see that I have written several stories about my ancestors, the Youngbloods of New Jersey and the carpetbagger great-great-grandfather who moved to Petersburg, Virginia just after the Civil War. Just last week I got to see and tour the church he belonged to after he moved South, I am looking forward to writing in more depth about that in a future blog post.

Today is meant to be a lighthearted and fun post, hope the song brought back memories, or was just fun for you to hear!

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“X” = Extraordinarily Excellent Xylophone Player, My Daughter Ali

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Ali Holshouser Orcutt, High School

I’ll never forget the high school orchestra concert when I first heard my daughter Ali play the xylophone in concert. We were used to seeing her play the marching bells in the Marching Band, and used to hearing her playing piano at home, while she played timpani and other percussion instruments in the orchestra. But this night was special, as they spotlighted her solo on the xylophone! She played the Flight of the Bumble Bees! If you have never heard this song, give a listen to the recording below. It is so fast, oh my gracious, you could hardly see the mallets moving they were flying so fast as she struck the keys!  As a mother, I’m pretty sure, my mouth fell open, LOL, and I sat up a bit straighter–why are we so often the least prepared to know how talented our children are? Perhaps because to us they are children, our children forever. When they excel, its like…”My child, when, how, what?” I have been extremely blessed in that I have two daughters, Ali and Annie, who play multiple instruments and both sing! Music has always been a large part of our lives and a joy for our family. (I’m sure you noticed, but just in case, this is not a video tape of our daughter playing the xylophone, but somone else from youtube. We do have a vhs recording, but we have yet to get it changed to a more usuable format, so sad! Hope you enjoy the above.)

What brings you and your family joy?  

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“W” is for Walt Disney World

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Goggle Earth view of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World, 2015

Goggle Earth view of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, 2015

Walt Disney World in Florida, USA–is there a more magical place on earth?!  We don’t think so, and our family has had some very special adventures there over the last 45 years!  Yes! I said 45 years, Max and I got to go to Disney World for a preview in December, 1970, a full ten months before they officially opened in October, 1971! We had gone down to visit his cousin Ronnie Kennerly who was a police officer in Jacksonville, Florida. Disney had invited the law enforcement  officers to come visit, and Max and I got to go also! We had no idea the magnitude of what we were seeing, nor of how privileged we were to see it before it opened to the public! All we knew was that our 21 year-old selves loved it and thought it was magical for sure! 

1970 pictures of trip to Disney World

By 1989, Max and I realized our first child, Ali was 15 and our second child Annie was 7, and we had not taken them to Disney World yet! How had we let this happen! Off we went for our great adventure! Then in 2005, our daughter Annie did an internship at Disney World for her Hospitality and Tourism Degree at Appalachian State University. While she lived at Disney for eight months, we went down to visit her during the Christmas holidays that year. The family now included Greg Orcutt as Ali had gotten married in 2001. Max and I have not been to Disney World since that 2005 trip, but in nine days, our daughter Ali and her family, Greg and three kids 7, 3, and 15 months are taking the plunge and touring the wonderful world of Disney, I can hardly wait to see pictures! 

Look at the difference in tickets alone between when we went in 1989, and for Ali and her family to go now in 2015! While we used paper tickets, treasures in our family scrap books, Ali and her family will wear electronic bracelets, called Magic Bands, which they will scan to get in, proving they have previously bought their admission tickets.  The bands not only replace the tickets to the parks, but also room keys, charges to the room, and fast passes for rides. How cool is that! 

 In 1989, Max and I stayed off campus in a condominium. It was lovely, but we decided it would be easier to stay in a Disney Resort  if you had kids.  When our children and grandchildren go next week, they will be staying on Disney. To this day, I remember how lovely it was to visit Disney World.  From the moment we parked and entered Disney, we were met and catered to by Disney cast members who saw to our every whim–with a smile! If that alone didn’t put a smile on your face, surely the parades, the Castle, the riverboat where we had breakfast with Mickey, Minnie and all the characters–to the Broadway play we saw in the Contemporary Resort, every moment was awesome, for us adults and the kids!  We rode rides, and visited backstage at Disney MGM Studios to see how movies were made.  Back at Magic Kingdom, we actually had lunch with Cinderella in the Castle, an event we had signed up for six months ahead of time! To this day, Annie remembers seeing her favorite Princess and that when lunch was over, Cinderella said, “I have to go now, because I have to go feed the Prince!” That amazed 7-year-old Annie! The days and nights were filled with parades, fireworks, oh my, and we shopped ’til we dropped! We left Disney thinking what a fabulous trip we had.

1989 trip to Disney World in pictures: 

In May 2005 through January 2006, our daughter Annie completed the Disney College Program (an internship) at Walt Disney World! During that time she took classes at Disney College, became a cast member and worked at Pop Century Resort in retail and in the food court. She also had the opportunity to work special events like the Food and Wine Festival and Star Wars Weekends. She even joined the cast choir which allowed us to hear her sing along with celebrities on Christmas Eve in Epcot Center! We had never been to Disney at Christmas time, and the sight took my breath away! Luxurious greenery and decorations covered every door, arch, and window! By then, I was sick and using a wheelchair. Getting on and off the monorail, getting in and out of plays, restaurants, stores–always, ALWAYS there was someone to lend a hand and see that my needs were met! My life might have been stressful for me and my family at home, but at Disney World, being handicapped brought support beyond belief, so that only joy remained! Annie learned the ins and outs of Disney, including the underground, cast only, tunnels to get them from one place to another. With all the normal trials of working at a place that large and busy, Annie finished still loving Disney, and having made a lifelong friend.  A sick Mom, and the eminent birth of her nephew, persuaded Annie to come home, but she has always considered returning for a career at Disney. She is a family person, true, but she is a Disney girl as well. One of our cousins calls her “Disney Girl” in fact–a nickname she loves!

2005 Disney College Program with Annie and Family Christmas at Disney

I want to share with you some pictures and a video from the Candlelight Processional which they have at Epcot Center every Christmas season. If you are ever at Disney during the Christmas season, you might find this as awe-inspiring as I did. I will never forget the trumpets, the candlelight procession, and the beautiful voices raised in praise that night in 2005, including our daughter Annie’s voice. 

Being the amateur genealogist that I am , I cannot close this post without sharing with you that I discovered that my husband and children are actually related to Walt Disney himself!  The relationship chart, showing that they are 9th cousins, 3x removed  looks like this: 

Disney relationship to max, 9th cousin, 3x removed

Forty-five years of trips to Walt Disney World includes my daughter Ali and her family’s trip this coming week. I can hardly wait to hear about my grandchildren’s first trip to Disney and to add some of their pictures to our collection. 

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“V” — Virginia is for Lovers–Lovers of Mountains, Beaches, History, Gardens, and Family!

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I was born and reared in Richmond, Virginia. My Mom’s family lived in Virginia since the beginning of our country, literally, in Jamestown! I think I’ve identified at least twenty ancestors who were present in Jamestown. Through my genealogical work, I even discovered that one of my great-great grandfathers designed and helped build the Capital building of Colonial Williamsburg, and the Governors’s Palace! Fast forward to the 1950’s and ’60’s in Richmond, with my Mom working in downtown Richmond, I was often left at the capital building of Virginia to tour and wait for her to finish work. Sometimes I was left at the State library, or one of the many museums! Mom was sneaky that way…absorb a little history and education while you cool your heels! LOL One thing I absorbed, was the beauty of downtown Richmond–the old churches and all the public buildings, it is just lovely. When we went up this week to see some of the Historic Garden Week homes and gardens, seeing the city through the eyes of my friend, brought the pride back of growing up in Richmond, with its Monument Avenue, fan district, Museum of Fine Arts, and the Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Everywhere I looked there were stories, family stories, historic stories, and personal stories. Parades, celebrations, the department stores with their grand windows, all that came flooding back!

My Dad’s family was from Petersburg, where we toured the gardens, some of which I showed you in my T for Tour of Two Gardens post. There’s more I want to share, but today, I think I’ll concentrate on Richmond. I just want to share some of my favorite pictures, and show off some of my favorite sites in my home town.

We drove in from Midlothian and over the Huguenot Bridge into the city, just as my family did many, many days from our home on the South side of the bridge, to visit my Mom at her office on Cary Street when we were young, later downtown at 10th Street and Main Street, in the financial district.  Crossing the James River on the Huguenot Bridge brings you right up the hill past the lovely Country Club of Virginia where my sister had her wedding reception, and across from the stately old homes .

On the way to the lovely Virginia Museum of Art in downtown Richmond, we toured our friend from North Carolina around town. First step a drive down Monument Avenue with the accompanying stories of the statues facing north and south and their meaning. We had to drive her through Capital Square to show off our beautiful State Capital building designed by Thomas Jefferson. Then of course, the Jefferson Hotel itself with its grand staircase! We passed through the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Medical College of Virginia, admired the architecture of small and large city houses, and admired the numerous old churches of all faiths.

Historical information from richmondthenand now.com

Regarding the Virginia State Capital building: ”

Thomas Jefferson sent from France a plaster model he had prepared in collaboration with the French architect, Charles Louis Clarisseau, as a modified design of the Maison Carre, late Roman temple at Nimes. The capitol antedated by more than 20 years the Madeleine in Paris, first example in Europe of similar quasi-literal temple architecture.

The cornerstone was laid in 1785 but the capitol was not completed in time to house the ratification convention in June, 1788, although the general assembly met in the unfinished building in October. The original portion was finished in 1792 under the supervision of Samuel Dobie and the brick was covered with stucco in 1798.

The wings and the long flight of steps were built in 1904-05.Virginia State Capitol. “

” Washington Monument, Capitol Square, St. Pauls Episcopal Church in the background – Photo 1865. “

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