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Old Liberty Decoration Day - 2005

at the cemetery

Nell Miller's Family

Guitar Player

I got up early Sunday morning and put the ham in the oven to heat then went back to bed. We pulled out for Cleveland a little after 9:00. Several of the sisters, sister-in-law, and niece were standing in the yard when we got there. It was about time to go on to the cemetery and they were doing the final bit of organizing things. We drove on and got to the cemetery in time to greet most of the family before the program was scheduled to start. They had a big program planned so they wanted to start promptly at 10:00. Ann and I sang "In the Garden" with my sisters. There were congregational hymns and a welcome by Terrie, several other singing groups including children, and several of Terrie's grandchildren "signed" a hymn. Then the pastor of the Cleveland Missionary Baptist Chruch preached a sermon.

The woman in the upper photo is part of my step-family and a friend from first grade. She has a beautiful alto voice and sings with various groups in the area. She has also made some very good solo recordings. She was postmaster of the Cleveland Post Office for several years after my step-dad retired from the office, but she has also retired. Her husband is on her right, one of her sons is playing the piano, his daughter is in the pink shirt and his granddaughter is sitting beside him. My closest step-cousin's oldest son is playing the bass. He and his dad and brother also play and sing as a group.

The woman playing the guitar in the other photo seems to be a recent participant in the Decoration Day programs. Her singing reminds me of June Carter or Loretta Lynn. She grew up way back in the woods in a hillbilly family if there ever was one. Her maiden name was Maxwell, but they were no relation to us as for as we know. She's a lovely woman and I hope to have her sing on the program next year. Her father died the Sunday after Decoration Day at the age of 90. Our family is in charge of the program next time.

Jeanne's Family

I visited some with friends and family before leaving the building. By the time I got to the area where the tables had been set up, the food had already been served and groups had gathered to eat. My sister, Jeanne, and her son and daughter and daughter-in-law and the grandkids were gathered in a group. I see that Nell Miller's great granddaughter is with them. (She was sitting by her grandfather at the piano.) Jeanne is nearest the camera, Nell is in purple, Josh is hidden behind Nell, Josh's wife, Sara, is wearing a black top and handing a glass to their son Aiden. Three of Nell and Tony's children are in the photo. Ky was somewhere else. Josie is sitting on the left in the red, white, and orange stripped dress, Chloe is looking at Aiden, and Quincy is standing by his mother. Little Brianna, Josh and Sarah's daughter, looks so tiny between Josie and Chloe.

The woman who played guitar is walking past the far end of the tables.


At the food table.

The food was unusually good this year, but the tables weren't filled. I think that attendance has dropped off the last couple of years. Although some distant relatives and a few community members participate in Decoration Day here, the majority are descendents of two families, the Halbrooks and Rhodeses. These two families are related by marriage and there are now many inlaws. The Halbrooks had six children, two of whom are still living. There were many grandchildren and one of the oldest and one of the youngest are in this photo. The woman in black with her back to the camera is Clydean, the oldest daughter of the oldest son of Andrew and Hettie (Rhodes) Halbrook. The young, bald man in the back is the youngest child of the youngest child, Hettie Mae. A friend is standing beside him and a daughter is standing in front. Another daughter, Charlie, is standing beside Clydean. His sister, the woman in lime green, is the same age as my oldest son. She and her brother and Clydean are just some of my many step-cousins.

Clydean's husband, Clarence Zimmerman, is the distinguished looking grey headed fellow in the white shirt just beyond her. He recently told me that he remembers how beautifully my mother and father sang back in the mid-forties before my father went off to war. He could hear them from his family farm which ajoined my grandparents' farm. Behind him, just barely visible, is my childhood friend. His mother was a Rhodes and was my step-father's maternal cousin. She is 30 years to the day older than I am. She is still doing fine at 94 and I hope to be at her 95th birthday celebration next February.


At the food table.

The woman in blue is married to one of my step-cousins. My step-cousin Suzanne is across the table from her. In the background between them is the wife of the oldest son of my closest step-cousin. He is the tall guy in the blue and brown plaid shirt at left center of the photo. He was playing the bass in an earlier picture. He is the same age as our oldest son. His mother is bending over the table at his right. His younger brother is in the red and white striped shirt.Ann is behind the table at the far left. The older brother of my closest step-cousin is in the shirt with the checkered pattern on this side of the table. At the far right in the chair by the pickup is Jerry Roberson. He and his wife were close friends of my mother and step-dad. He alone is left of the four. His oldest daughter was my grade school girlfriend.


The Young Aunts

Here are the oldest remaining members of the Andrew and Hettie Halbook family. The youngest daughter is Hettie Mae in the light blue dress. On her left are Reva Dale and her husband, Othell. Hettie Mae and Reva Dale were just young women when my mother married their older brother, Lyonell, in 1947. They seemed so young and pretty to me, but I wasn't sure which name went with which aunt. Reva Dale was my first grade teacher. She was only 22 at the time. Clydean is their oldest niece, the oldest daughter of their oldest brother, Clyde. The young man is Hettie Mae's son-in-law. He is reaching toward his son, Drew, named for Grandpa Andrew. The girl in pink is one of Hettie Mae's granddaughters and I'm not sure about the other one. Hettie Mae's husband died a couple of years ago. For some interesting family stories and other community events of years ago, read my Halbrook Stories.


Jeanne's Kids

It's nice to see some of the younger generation at Decoration Day. My sister's son and his family have just moved back to St. Louis from New Jersey, so it was easier for them to attend. Since their children aren't in school yet, they don't have that to contend with. Their son is standing over in the corner by my grandnieces, Chloe and Josie. The cute little gril in the white shirt is the great, great granddaughter of my step-dad's cousin, Elmas. She seemed to be fascinated with all the other little children.

End of school activities in May make attendance at May events difficult for teachers and families with school-age children if they live very far away. My sister's daughter home-schools her children, so she can choose her own travel time.


Others

My little sister is holding the red plastic cups. Amelia, the little red-headed girl - now a red-headed young woman, is looking toward the camera. Amelia is one of Aunt Reva Dale's granddaughter's. Amelia is my step-first-cousin once removed. The woman in light green is Patricia, Hettie Mae's first child born when our oldest son was born. The woman in black is now dating Patricia's brother, Buddy. The little fellow just past my sister's shoulder is my full sister's oldest grandchild, Ky. The man behind him is the father of the cute little girls who are in a later photo with their mother and grandmother. In the light green retro 70s outfit is my niece, Sarah, the daughter of my brother. Her mother is behind Amelia. They are in later photos also.


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Posted: 5/15/05