Monday, December 30, 2013


Nearing New Year's Eve of 2012, I received some very interesting news about a member of my family tree,  an ancestor, from my cousin in Memphis who is very DEEP into genealogy and is FOREVER researching the family history.  Her latest update for us was about my great- great grandmother, Lucinda Westbrook (my grandfather Neely's grandmother) .
While researching at the courthouse in West Point (both of my parents are from West Point) , my cousin found a deed from 1881, which showed that Lucinda purchased 4 acres of land for $30 (Thirty dollars) . Although she was married to Henry Westbrook at the time, he is not listed on the deed.

Dang, Y'all ..... a BLACK WOMAN with barely a foot out of slavery ..purchased some land on HER OWN in West Point , 1881 !!!! 
Did I say..BLACK??!!! Did I say WOMAN???!!! Did I say MISSISSIPPI ??!!!
Yes, I think I did !   AMAZING!!!

Don't tell we those Westbrook/Neely women ain't got it GOING ON!!!!!! 
Oh yes we do !!!!!   Woo Hoo!!!!

Going into the New Year , I have just one more reason to add to the list of many of why  I am SO PROUD of being me!

My advise to each and everyone out
there is, as always : 

Be You ! Do You ! SHINE !

Watch Night and New Year’s Eve 

in Honor of Emancipation Day

With such interesting news about a relative so close out of slavery, thoughts about our traditional New Year's Eve celebrations bring feelings of a deeper emotional connection to Watch Night services that African Americans traditionally observe on New Years Eve. 
Watch Night dates back to the end of the Civil War, with gatherings across the South on December 31, 1862, known at that time as "Freedom's Eve." In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared his famous Emancipation Proclamation, which set slaves in Confederate territories free as of January 1, 1863. As a result, African Americans across much of the South held religious services, in which they praised and worshiped God as they watched the New Year and freedom arrive at midnight. At the stroke of midnight, it became January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy throughout the South as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Since 1863, African Americans began observing Watch Night and New Year’s Eve in honor of Emancipation Day.

William Tolman Carlton’s painting is variously called “Watch Night — Waiting for the Hour” or ” Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st, 1862.” It was sent to President Lincoln by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.
The makeshift pulpit is made of boards salvaged from crates. The minister’s timepiece reads 11:55.
Carlton’s painting is variously called “Watch Night — Waiting for the Hour” or ” Watch Meeting–Dec. 31st, 1862.” In 1864 and also circulated widely as an engraving (below).
The painting now hangs at the White House in Washington D.C.  in what is called the Lincoln Bedroom, really that president’s study and Cabinet Room, over the desk upon which he signed the Emancipation Proclamation on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, 1862

Title: Watch meeting, Dec. 31, 1862--Waiting for the hour / Heard & Moseley, Cartes de Visite, 10 Tremont Row, Boston. Creator(s): Heard & Moseley, photographer Date Created/Published: c1863. Medium: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount: Albumen. Summary: African American men, women, and children gathered around a man with a watch, waiting for the Emancipation Proclamation. Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Copyright 1863 by W.T. Carlton.

* THIS NEW YEAR'S EVE AND NEW YEAR IS THE 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ringing In The New Year...With Greens and Black-eyed Peas !


According to tradition, this New Year’s Day tradition, southern style, dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder.
In the North, Black-eyed Peas were known as “cowpeas” or “field peas”. Cattle ate cowpeas and humans ate only English Peas. Since the North believed that only cattle ate Black-eyed Peas and they had already either taken or eaten all of the cattle, they saw no need to destroy this crop.

At first planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman's troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby making the black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates.
As one of the few food sources left to sustain the people and the southern soldiers, those black-eyed peas came to represent good fortune.
Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has many variations and embellishments. Served with greens, the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.

Other traditions include:

Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.

For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.

Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.

Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year, unless of course, the recipient swallows the coin.

Greens and black-eyed peas remain favorites in the southern diet, as reflected in the poem " Soul Food Restaurant" from my book
Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia -a Life In Poems.
(Reflections Mississippi Magnolia - A Life in Poems -|
 Amazon link to purchase)

Also, some form of pork is to be included. (pork roast, ham hocks, hog jowls ect. )

Many, simply, just add fat back in the greens.
The pork represents health and wealth, and continued prosperity.
If a family had a hog, that hog (usually killed, dressed and stored between Thanksgiving and Christmas) could provide meat for a family for much of the entire upcoming year.
Some say that the pork also represents progress since pigs/hogs, generally, are not able to look backward without completely turning around.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Is Santa Black Or White ??? Does It REALLY Matter???



I get SOOO tired with some of these ridiculous race " issues" ...that are not real issues at all!  Are people STILL talking about, arguing about, debating and tripping over whether Santa Claus is black or white and the news anchor's, recent comment, about Santa being white??!!! Seriously??!!! Really??!!! GROWN PEOPLE ...Arguing /Debating over an imaginary /made up/fictional "character"???!!! The next thing you know ... We're gonna be having knock down drag outs about the race/color of the Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny...

Oh...My bad...You thought they were real , too ???!!!..Not Laughing!!!

Seriously, there are people dying every day from cancer, AIDS, senseless wars. starvation (Yes there are people dying of starvation).

There are rapists, murders, thieves..running rampant among us ...

There are people out there making bombs ..just waiting to inflict harm on some unknown target ..that might just end up being me or you... kids bringing guns to school kill other kids.. that could end up being one of mine or yours!!!

There are people in hospitals, nursing homes, ect. at this very moment taking their last breath or struggling to take a next one... Someone out there is burying a child.....a baby

There are military mothers, wives, families who are getting THAT call..and THAT visit ...that will let them know that their loved one won't be making it back home for Christmas ..or EVER!   

Do you think that any of those people give a flying flip about whether a "Santa Claus" is white or black...or Technicolor??!!!!

I mean...really, If you are the one or one of the ones who has all the answers to the mysteries of the universe.. I beg and plead of you to put all of the knowledge to use and help us solve some things that matter!!!!

In the mean time .. If you want YOUR Santa to be white...then your Santa is white.

If you want YOUR Santa to be black..then your Santa is black.

If you want your child to sit on a white Santa's knee..then go take him/her to sit on a white Santa's knee.

If you want your child to sit on a black Santa's knee..then do that. I did.

Of course, there are some people that do not believe in the Bible, so this might , also ,offend some people...

But, I I offer a scripture which I believe in.

2 Timothy 2:23

New International Version: Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

Kings James Version

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

A few more words of wisdom from one of my favorite writers, "shade tree philosopher" and humorist Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens ) :

"Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience."


PRAYER: Dear Lord, during this holiday season, and always, help us to remember, be thankful for, enjoy, appreciate and concern ourselves with the things that REALLY matter.

 * We lost 6 U.S. military members on December 17th in Afghanistan, of injuries suffered as a result of a helicopter crash. 

Killed were:

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.,

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and

Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.

Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, Ga., assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, Ind., assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Regimental Support Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, Miss., assigned to 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.


Friday, December 13, 2013

My Southern Christmas Memories

The holiday season is upon us and celebrations have begun! Though many people still have large family gatherings for the holidays, they are, by no means, like the ones of yesteryear. Times are rapidly changing and the type of Christmas celebrations that most older people (over 40) remember are almost, entirely, a thing of the past. The changes in our lifestyles have very much changed the way we celebrate during the holidays.
"Back in the day", Christmas was a much anticipated time because, for most families ,it meant that ALL of the relatives came together in one place. Everyone looked forward to seeing loved ones that they might not have seen in a long while. Car loads of "kinfolk " would pour in from out of town and "from up north".

These days, we live in a much more fast paced, hustle and bustle society.  Many people are working during the holidays.  Many have started taking destination vacations or cruises during the holiday season, which keep them from extended family gatherings. Many stores are, now, opening on Thanksgiving Day and even Christmas Day, which was unheard of years ago. Some have become more interested in scheduling their time around catching all of the bargains offered on those days . So, for many reasons, it is not always expected for everyone to be all together, at the same time, for the holidays.

Another thing that everyone looked forward to during the holidays was the unbelievable "spread" of food that was always a given during this time.  All types of homemade baked good and old family recipes were laid out for all to enjoy.   There was always a wide assortment and magnificent array of food !  At all of the family Christmas gatherings from my childhood, I can remember having NO LESS than three or four meats to choose from.  The selections would vary, but almost always, there was ham AND turkey....and very often chitterlings (chittlins' ).  Family dinners could include duck, goose, hen, and all types of wild game. The possibilities were endless. One Christmas dinner cooked by my uncle Jim included all of the traditional favorites along with almost every seafood item known to man ! On Christmas Day 1968 ,at our house, the meal included a whole roasted pig all dressed with a red bow on the neck and an apple in his mouth.

I love to hear the stories of my parents' childhood Christmases.

My father says that during Christmas, when he was growing up, his mother would cook at least seven or eight cakes.  One of those would always be a Jelly Cake. He added that there would always be a lot of meat from the hog killing that his father would perform right before Christmas.  My mother remembers that her mother would prepare lots of food and always had a Pound Cake and Ambrosia for every Christmas meal.  She remembers the children being very excited about getting lots of fruits and nuts, which they didn't get, regularly, throughout the year.  Times have certainly changed and are still rapidly, changing, so have our Christmas celebrations.  

Dear Lord, help us to remember, be thankful for, enjoy and appreciate the things that matter most.


Christmastime at our house 
Was such a joyous thing; 
There was much anticipation 
Of what the day would bring.

For many months prior, 
The list making would begin; 
There were so many things I wanted, 
On pure memory I couldn't depend.

I carried handy 'round with me 
A trusty little list. 
There was not one single thing, 
I wanted my parents to miss.

And every year, without a doubt, 
I couldn't ask for any better, 
For I 'd get everything on my list, 
Down to the very letter.

The night before, my brother and I, 
Would always try our best; 
To catch ole Santa in his tracks, 
So we'd get little rest.

We'd try to keep ourselves alert, 
With a flashlight by our side; 
But, every year ole St. Nick 
Would cleverly by us slide.

We must have fallen fast asleep, 
Before the morning's light; 
Because our toys appeared miraculously, 
Sometime through the night.

In our den, the floor was covered, 
With toys of every kind; 
The sheer volume of them all, 
Would surely blow your mind.

We'd jump around from here to there, 
And squeal with pure delight; 
We couldn't have concealed our excitement, 
If we tried with all our might.

Later on in the day, 
The relatives would pour in; 
For the traditional Christmas dinner, 
With us and all our kin.

We'd have such an array of food, 
Usually, specialties of the South; 
One year, we even had a whole roasted pig, 
With an apple in his mouth.

We'd exchange gifts and laughter, 
And each other's company enjoy ; 
The men would often help assemble, 
Some child's complicated toy.

Our festivities usually lasted, 
Way into the night; 
And after all was said and done, 
We felt that everything went just right.

from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems 
by Patricia Neely-Dorsey, Copyright © 2008



~*~  Angel of Protection   ~*~

My friend, graphic artist and Military Mom, Debra Estep, drew this Angel
drawing.   Her son, Vincent, served in the U.S. Air Force.   After his deployment
to Iraq, she created this drawing.   Debra shares it freely, encouraging anyone
to use it in any way that honors our U.S. military. 
Debra is the artist responsible for illustrating most of my poetry. 

Military Angel - CafePress 

(Items at this site are priced at no profit)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy 196th Birthday Mississippi !!!

TODAY is Mississippi's 196th Birthday as a state.

I have always considered myself a Goodwill Ambassador for Mississippi.

There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south, in general. Through my poems, I attempt to convey more positive images rather than all of the negative ones usually portrayed.

Mississippi was admitted into the Union on Dec. 10, 1817, and became the 20th state of the United States of America.

Mississippi is named for the Mississippi river which forms its western boundary and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The name roughly translated from Native American folklore means “Father of Waters.” The translation comes from the Chippewa words “mici zibi” meaning “great river” or “gathering in of all the waters” and the Algonquin word “Messipi”.

The first settlers in the region (1699) were French, and the area became part of Louisiana. It passed to the British (1763-1779) and then to the Spanish before being ceded to the United States in 1783. The Mississippi Territory, organized in 1798 and enlarged in 1804 and 1813, also included the present state of Alabama.  Jackson is the capital city and the largest metropolitan area.

To celebrate Mississippi's 196th birthday, there will be an unveiling of the plans to celebrate the state's bicentennial in 2017. 

Tuesday, December 10, noon Old Capitol Museum located at 100 State Street in Jackson.  A reception will follow.  The event is Free.


State Symbols: 

Flower or bloom of the magnolia or evergreen magnolia (1952) 
Wildflower coreopsis (1991)
Tree magnolia (1938) 
Bird mockingbird (1944) 
Song “Go, Mississippi” (1962) 
Stone petrified wood (1976) 
Fish largemouth or black bass (1974) 
Insect honeybee (1980) 
Shell oyster shell (1974) 
Water mammal bottle-nosed dolphin or porpoise (1974) 
Fossil prehistoric whale (1981) 
Land mammal white-tailed deer (1974)
Red fox (1997) 
Waterfowl wood duck (1974) 
Beverage milk (1984) 
Butterfly spicebush swallowtail (1991) 

Nickname: Magnolia State

Interesting fact: Stickball is the oldest game to be found in America. Originally, it was played by the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi.




“Go, Mississippi”

 Mississippi Magic  
(by Don Quinn, Patricia Neely-Dorsey, and Ron Ryan) (vocal Johnny Holland)

Link to Audio of song...   Mississippi Magic


Monday, December 2, 2013

I Have Written A Love Letter to Mississippi and the South

Did you know that December is Write a Friend Month? 

In this day of instant, electronic communication, the art of letter writing is all but dead.
But, there is much to be gained by writing letters.
So many people, still appreciate the personal touch of a personal note.
Embrace the fact that your unique handwriting style, choice of paper, ink, envelope and stamp come together to reveal something special about you and offer something special to the receiver
This could be an opportunity to not only surprise a loved one with old-fashioned snail mail, but it is also your chance to help revive a dying art form.

These days the mailbox is full of bills, scams, pre-approved credit card offers and advertisements. We receive most correspondences via email, social media and text message. The United States Postal Service Has seen so much lost revenue that suspending Saturday service is a serious consideration. The mindset of the general population seems to be: Why buy a stamp or wait a week to tell someone something that I can tell them instantly for free? With today’s technology, people think it’s perfectly acceptable for a text message to serve as a thank you note.

December is a great time of year for children to practice letter writing. They can write to grandparents, wishing them a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, or a Happy New Year.  And since kids tend to be home from school for winter break, it's a great time for them to find a pen pal. 

Using computers, faxes, texts, phones, ect. for communication has become such a way of life that some schools have even stopped teaching cursive handwriting, altogether.  This is something that is really disturbing to me.  In the third grade, my son, Henry was actually penalized for writing cursive on a spelling test.  He had started learning cursive when he was in the second grade, while we lived in Memphis. We moved to Tupelo in his third grade year.

December 7th has been designated as Letter Writing Day.

Some suggestions for the day:

Write letters to friends and family: Family and friends, especially those with whom you’ve fallen out of touch, will love receiving a handwritten note. 

Write letters to those who need them most: The holidays can be a difficult time for those who are away from their families or who have lost loved ones.  Let a stranger know you care by sending a letter to a soldier in the military, or an elderly person who’s away from their family to brighten their holiday season. 

Overall, December is a great time of year to take a few moments to let the people you love and care about know that you’re thinking of them.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of holiday celebrations, shopping, and end-of-year deadlines, receiving a handwritten note is sure to be a welcome surprise.

Write a letter showing your love and concern today ! 

I am the author of two books of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings.  In one of the first reviews that I received of Reflections, the reviewer called it, "a love letter to the south". 
After some thought, I totally agreed !  I call both books "a celebration of the south and things southern" .  The poems are filled with the wonderful things that I love and appreciate about Mississippi and the south.  When you put them all together, they certainly do form a beautiful " love letter to the South " .


Monday, November 25, 2013

Southern Thanksgivings (In Times Past) Often Also Meant "Hog Killing Time" !

In most southern rural communities, in days gone by, the first cold snap signaled the annual hog killing season. Thanksgiving Day was one of the most popular days chosen for this event.  By then, the weather had fully changed and the meat would "keep " and not spoil in the heat.  It, also was a perfect time for friends and family to gather.

Hog Killings were a neighborhood affair with several families participating and reaping the benefits.  Because many families were very poor, the meat and other products that came from the hog killings were what got them through the long winters, without going hungry.  Every piece of the hog was prepared for consumption, including the head (hog head cheese or souse ) the snout, the tail, the feet, the brain, the intestines (chitterlings/chittlins) and the skin (cracklins). 
Lard ( used for cooking grease) was made from the fat of the hog. 
Often, lye soap was made using lard, water, and lye.

A great deal of arduous work was involved in the hog killing process.  From start to finish, it usually lasted all day.  Activities would start at the "crack of dawn" and sometimes, even before daylight.  People would come from all around and everyone played a part in the grand production. 

I grew up in the country and attended MANY hog killings, as a child.  Because one of the main people in the area who held the hog killings lived directly behind my house, every year, from very early on in my childhood, I had a front row seat to one of the most exciting events of the year.
The "festivities" would begin around the crack of dawn and continue well into the night.  Most of the night time activities were more socializing than anything. That's when the cracklins were made in the big black pot and sweet potatoes were roasted in the open fire.  Some people even popped popcorn.   I remember lots of stories ..lots of jokes ..lots of laughter ...and lots of FUN.  As Thanksgiving draws near, many fond memories of those days dance in my head.  They are memories that I will always carry with me and cherish dearly.

Crackling Cornbread (Cracklin' Bread)

Crackling Cornbread (Cracklin' Bread) 
1 c. cracklings 
1 1/2 c. cornmeal 
4 tbsp. flour 
1 tsp. salt... 
1 tsp. soda 
1 beaten egg 
 1 1/2 c. thick buttermilk 
1 tbsp. bacon fat 

Sift the dry ingredients together and then stir in the cracklings. 
Beat the egg in the buttermilk and add. 
Have melted fat in hot skillet and pour in batter. 
Bake at 450 degrees until brown.

 LISTEN to poem "Hog Killing Time"  ...........

Friday, November 15, 2013

BLOG HOP: Thanks for Love

November 15-18:
Title: Thanks for Love.
Topic: What is the most thoughtful thing a loved one has done for you?

BLOG HOP: Thanks For Love

I grew up with the most loving, caring and thoughtful parents, for whom I am very thankful and grateful.  One of the most thoughtful, loving things that my father did for me, among so many other things, was taking the time out of his very busy schedule of being a doctor to share with me, as a young child , in a very extensive, personal and individual way the things that he loved. He was especially enthusiastic about sharing with me about great literature, nature and poetry. 

In the Foreword of my book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems, I write, When I think about how this book came to be and how it finally arrived to you the reader, I think of the words of the song "The Long and Winding Road". 
Though most of the poems in this book were written within a span of six months (Feb 2007-Aug 2007), they've all been in the making from very early in my life.  My mother gave me a passionate love for reading and writing, and my father gave me an appreciation for poetry and great literature, especially that of African-American origin. As a pre-teen and teenager, he would often assign me certain books that he thought I needed to read, then quiz me on them.  One of our favorites to discuss was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens I was so proud to be able to answer all of his questions.  And, he seemed very pleased that I could do so.  I was very familiar with most of the classics long before I had them as required reading in school.

When I was very young, my father would recite poetry to me as he was shaving and getting ready for work.  I would sit on the side of the sink,  completely fascinated with the rhythm and flow of the words.  As I got older, I was also very much in awe of the fact that he had memorized such long pieces of poetry, because my own memorization skills were/are sorely lacking !!! 

My father also loved/loves nature.  He would regularly take out the time to give me "lessons" on all of the wildlife, trees, flowers and plants that surrounded our home. 
I , especially, loved looking out of the large pane glass window in our den as he would point and describe all of the array of birds that would gather on our front lawn. One of my fondest memories with my Dad, out of SO many, is collecting leaves together for a leaf project in high school. He lovingly
and patiently took the time to explain to me all kinds of different facts about the trees and leaves.  We spent hours just walking around and taking in the wonders of nature. Of course, I got a 100 on the project and was so pleased to bring it back to let my Dad see.!   We were ,both, very pleased.  It is a memory that I hold dear and will never forget.  To this day, I have a very special appreciation for the beautiful world around us, that so many take for granted.  I am so thankful to my father for this ! 

November has been designated as "I'm So Thankful" Month ! I am SO thankful for having two wonderful, loving parents.. and an especially extraordinary Dad !



These poems and many more can be found in my book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia - A Life In Poems

Both books available on Amazon :


****   ATTENTION - GIVE-A-WAY  ****

PLEASE COMMENT for a chance to WIN !!!!
ONE lucky recipient will receive.....

A Mississippi Magnolia calendar (12 months of poems)

and a set of hand painted magnolia print note-cards

A random number will be chosen and that comment/individual 
will receive the 2 items.

************* ************* ************* ************* *************

Please visit all of the other stops on the BLOG HOP: Thanks for Love !

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Love Celebrating Reading ... and the South !

National Young Readers Day is celebrated on the second Tuesday of November. According to the creators of this day, it is "a special day to recognize the joys and benefits of reading." 

Grade schools around the country take advantage of this day, to promote the importance of reading.

Young Readers Day was co-founded in 1989 by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. 

While this is referred to as a "National" day, there has not been a presidential proclamation or act of congress for it.

Use the time to encourage youth to read, and open the door to knowledge, information, success, and happiness. I try to take every opportunity that I can ! 

I appreciate so much my parents for fostering the love of reading in me ! 

In the foreword of my book, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia, I write:
My mother gave me a passionate love for reading and writing, and my father gave me an appreciation for poetry and great literature, especially that of African-American origin.

With it's simple language and relatable themes, the poems in my books can be read, enjoyed and understood by readers of all ages from 8 to 80 ... and beyond. 
There is definitely something in them for everyone.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Share Your Family Stories! I Share Mine In My Little Books Of Southern Poems !

November is Family Stories Month. It is a time to reflect on the silly, funny and serious stories that help define our families.

These stories help/helped make us who/what we are.

Some are small anecdotes that bring us happy memories of someone, or some moment in time. But they are all important. And they are all worth sharing.

Every family has thousands of stories. Most of us could write an epic novel based on a few family members' personal stories, alone ! 

So many of us grew up hearing stories of the things that our parents and grandparents did and how they lived when they were younger. Telling these stories will remind us of the things that have shaped our lives, and give younger listeners insight into their own family tree.  
Family History Month is a great time to explore and share our ancestry.

Collecting and sharing family stories is a wonderful activity for the whole family. It is a good time to encourage the kids to write down the many stories that you and other people in the family have to tell. They can collect pictures, interview family member, write stories, and even create a book compiled from the collected stories.

It is a great time to take the opportunity to sit down with older family members of the family and ask them about their stories. You will undoubtedly learn something about them that you didn’t know before.  When loved ones pass on, their stories will help to keep their memory alive. Sharing family stories is a great way to stay connected to your relatives, and creates a tradition of sharing and storytelling that can last for generations. 

I am so blessed that my family has always been a family of "storytellers" From the time that I was very young, I can remember that at every family gathering, after the traditional family meal, the storytelling would begin. It remains the same to this day. I have made many of my family stories and my own personal stories into poems, contained in my books Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories. 

I was recently up early, talking with my mother about something in the news...which led to something else ...which led to something else ( as it ALWAYS does) Then, she started telling me the story about when she and Daddy worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the summers of their college years..

Before she went fully into the story that we started with, she asked ...Have I told you about this yet?  My parents have been telling me family stories since I can remember ...So, Of course she had told this one many times ..... but every time I hear a story, there are always new details.  I cannot believe that after almost 50 years, every time they tell me a familiar story, there is more and more and more to it !  Anyway, this time, she was telling me the details about her working at a Girl's Home and Daddy working at an ice cream Company (Sealtest ) , She even remembered the name of one of the girls, Esther, and was telling me about how she was the only one who could really talk to her and get her to not act out. Of course, as I usually do I asked a million questions... what street did you live on ..what was the name of the ice cream company ect....She didn't remember some of those details so, as usual she said : ..."Ask your Daddy he remembers all those things."And he always does !!! He remembers everything!

They are very good a "tag-team " storytelling

I jumped up to ask him a few things ...wrote it down...then got back to my Mama's story . When we were on a whole new set of stories ...which stemmed from the first one, I kept hearing a lot of noise in the other room. After I finished my session with my mother, I went back to see Daddy again. He had pulled out a big briefcase with lots of old papers , including the check stubs and W2 forms their original envelopes from their jobs in Philadelphia (1958)..which led to me going through all of the other papers.. which led to more stories...

Explore Your Family Stories ! 
          Cherish Your Family Stories ! 
                     Share Your Family Stories !