Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Passing on Grandpa’s stories keeps generations connected

Who would have looked to see if this lackluster soldier’s ancestors were included? I looked and found interesting details that surprised us.

When William Switzler’s "History of Boone County" was published, documented in detail, who would have thought to see if his or her family is included in Switzler’s book?

But there it is: James Lawrence Henry and James Dysart bought and operated a mill near Hinton. Water power was used to grind grain and also to saw wood for home builders. We know that his partner owned and ran a store.

I now feel a closeness to James Lawrence Henry that I didn’t feel when I was a grade-school girl and it was my responsibility to watch the clock for time to take Grandpa his heart pill, plus water to swallow with it and a soda cracker to take the bitter taste out of his mouth.

We laughed at him for wearing his black derby hat in the house as well as outside, but there was very little hair on his balding head to help keep him warm! It was my job to put his feet on a second chair in front of him and to have a comfortable pillow under his legs, first one and then the other. He was a sweet-smelling person who hummed a lot, sometimes singing words of soldiers’ marching songs.

Of course he was lonely. His first wife died after their third child was born, and Susan, the older girl, was a caregiver. Years later, Grandpa married a much younger woman, my grandmother. She and Grandpa sang hymns on the front porch of their white frame home on Lease Street. My mother, Nancy Bruton Henry, was the first of three additional children; second was Emeline Oliva Henry; and then there was Uncle Lawrence Henry who was a great tease, teller of shady stories and a loyal soldier who saw World War I through digging his trenches in France, to the bitter end, married and had one daughter.

I don’t expect readers to profit by my personal remembrances. I hope it prods others to record incidents that might be lost when you’re in your 93rd year. Today, I have a new great-grandbaby, and she might be prompted, eventually, to tell her stories to her own children.

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