Sunday, May 15, 2005

Happy 97th Birthday, Weavie (UPDATED)

Helen at 5

Today my grandmother, Helen "Weavie" Johnson is 97 years old. She has been living with my parents the last couple of years just to be safe, but she is doing quite well for her age. In fact, she is doing well for for people twenty years younger. I talk to her on the phone now and then, and she still remembers everything we talked about from prior conversations, and she also has her very extensive family history committed to memory.

Laura and Weavie

A few years ago, my wife Laura and I traveled to her former home in Marshalltown, Iowa and spent the day video taping an interview with her about her family stories. My Laura is a genealogy buff and was amazed at how much Weavie knows about her parents, grandparents and more. She also had hundreds of photographs going back to her great grandmother. In fact, the University of Iowa has used my grandmother as a resource for a book on the history of Iowa.

But more on that another time. First things first.

To my grandmother, who from the first day I joined the Johnson family treated me as her own, I wish a very Happy Birthday!

(I better get on the "horn.")

UPDATE: I thought you might be interested in seeing this photo of our children's great, great, great, great, grandmother.

Aly and GT's great, great, great,great grandmother

Eliza Jane Ward Sutor (center) is Weavie's great-grandmother. She is pictured with her grandson- George (front, left), her daughter-in-law and Weavie's grandmother- Margaret Caroline Brown Sutor (back left) , and her granddaughters- Lillian (back, center), Sara Jane (Weavie's mother, back right), and Alice (front, right).

Eliza Jane Ward was born a slave in Kentucky, but, through a twist of fate, was taken away as a young girl to live with "free negroes" near Cincinati, Ohio. It's a great story that will have to wait until another time. (Sorry.)

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