Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving is full of many wonderful memories.  Yesterday we had our very traditional meal.  With us five of us, we have to be careful not to get carried away with the cooking.  We started our celebration with breakfast at my house: Judy's breakfast casserole, and Judy's curried fruit, and, champagne.  Dinner is always planned around the Cowboys' game, and  Dotsy HAS to make her dressing, and I have to make my sweet potato souffle. 
When we were little, Mom always used her silver,  crystal, and the  china that her Mother gave her, for our holiday meals.   I  learned early that the silver had to be counted before it was put up.  This way we were able to find any pieces that had gone astray.  Maybe into the garbage or in with the every day pieces. Grandmother's china was a set of Haviland she bought in New Orleans from an estate sale.  This was probably in the 30's??? 20's?  or possibly even earlier.
 In college, Mike started bringing some of his UGA football buddies to Thanksgiving dinner.   Mom and Dad would cook at least one turkey, a ham, and tons of food.  Pop made his famous punch, that had a motor.  One of the treats we always had for Thanksgiving, was oysters on toast points. Served with champagne.  If the football players were coming, we made sure to eat those early.  To this day, there are never enough oysters on toast points to go around when the Oakes' get together.  
This year, I did make a different sweet potato souffle: cousin Linnie's scrumptious recipe with the praline topping.  I'll never go back to mine.  The recipe I used came from Lunnie Broughton in Monroe.  It served us well for 30 years.   Catherine and Susie liked having Lunnie for a babysitter, and I certainly did.  She would iron, cook, and clean.  When the family would go off for a vacation or just to Hard Labor Creek,  Mom would have Lunnie make dozens and dozens of fried pies.  I think the apricot were the favorite.  Whenever I make sweet potato casserole, I think of  Lunnie.
I'm grateful for many things in my life.  Some are: that Catherine had friends in Maui to have dinner with, and, Susie had friends in Florence to have an American feast with, even if it was on a Saturday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The ducks have started coming in.  We're seeing mallards, grebes, and always herons.  This morning, when I looked out the kitchen window and saw the ducks, it reminded me of a time when we were on our way home, from Atlanta, and Mom  wanted to drive us through Piedmont Park. We were enjoying the park and trees and looking at the ducks on the lake, when she ran over a curb.  Not only did we get a flat tire, but, the rim was also ruined. After we limped to a gas station, maybe that is why the rim was ruined, and bought a new tire, we made our way back to Monroe.  The only thing we talked about on the way home was "don't tell Daddy".  Mom decided that it was best to blame this on wild teenagers driving us off of the road.  Papa never knew about this from my lips.  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Avondale Estates

The very first house I remember was our home in Avondale Estates.  I don't remember very much about our time in Avondale, but I do remember that I fell into the community pool and my grandfather, Paw, 'saved' me.  Our home had two bedrooms, and we were very crowded! Mom and Dad, older brother, sister Judy, me, brother Mike, sister Nell, and, Dad's father, Paw.  Mom said she had bunk beds everywhere.  Paw's wife, Nona Corry Oakes, died in 1947 and Dad and his brother Walter were going to take turns having him live with them.  That, of course, didn't happen.  Paw lived with us for twenty three years.  Sometimes he would visit other friends, and at one time Dad had  a place in Lawrenceville for him. 

Back to Avondale.  Avondale Estates, just outside of Atlanta, was a master planned community, founded by George Francis Willis in 1924.  Mr. Willis purchased the entire village of Ingleside and renamed it after Stratford-upon-Avon.  The downtown buildings were all designed in a Tudor style, and many of the houses also.  There were tennis courts, a lake, a community pool and clubhouse.  The first Waffle House opened in Avondale in 1955.
After the War, Dad had a hardware store, in East Atlanta, and was able to carry a line of  washing machines.  Washing machines were a rare commodity at that time.  The only one he had was a floor model, which he immediately brought home to Mom.  (This is not a picture of Peaches.)  Mom was very grateful for her new wringer machine, as the maid was probably doing the wash in a wash tub. Older brother was a very inquisitive young man, as Mom and Dad found out.  One day, he took her wringer washing machine apart.  I don't know if it ever worked the same again.  About the only other exciting thing that happened in Avondale was connected to older brother.  He tried out a hammer on Paw's head.  Paw didn't think it too exciting.  
There were lots and lots of children on our street; the war boom babies were just starting in 1946.   

Friday, November 21, 2008

Book Club

Today, book club meets at Barbara's home, which made me remember one of the first times Mom went to book club.  We were discussing Cane River,  at Barbara's, when Mom made a comment that set the ladies to  gasping and  laughing.  Now, I always sit next to her so that I can pinch and squeeze her arm when I have any indications something is getting ready to happen.   Dotsy  also helps;  or, does she encourage Peaches?  The ladies in the club love to hear Mom, hoping for a new bombshell.  Barbara always serves great pies.  
  Reading was a big part of our growing up.  Mom and Dad always had lots of books in the house; all six of us have enough of their books to fill our homes.  Mom loved Galsworthy, and Dad was partial to Dickens.  Dad had a set of Mark Twain that was autographed, by Twain.  It was addressed to Cory, only one r, not like Dad's two.  In the auction trade it is known as ANS, autograph note  signed.  For the longest time, it confused me.  How could Dad have known Mark Twain in the 1800's?  Papa spent a great deal of  time reading, and always encouraged us to read.  The only book he told me that I could not read was J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.  Which I of course I immediately read, and did not understand some of the words.  If I had only waited a few years, then, I would have understood why he did not want me to read it.
Barbara served a delicious pumpkin and caramel pie, along with many other delicacies. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Red Letter Day

Red Letter Day!  Happy Birthday Peaches! 
Today is Peaches' Birthday!  She is 89, and looks much younger and dances like she is 20.  Happy Birthday, Mom!  Peaches was born in Oakdale, LA November 20, 1919.  She was born at home, and weighed only about 4 pounds, as she was very early.  Her grandmother stayed up all night keeping her warm, rocking her by the stove.  Some of the great memories we have of times past are the stories Mom used to make up to tell the grandchildren.  Lara remembers spending the night with Peaches and Pop, getting her bath, and Peaches would put lotion all over her little legs and arms and back and tummy!  The favorite story Lara remembers is about a fairy that lived in a pool.  Mom used to always tell about the little blue bird that fell out of a nest and how  (insert name)  picked it up and saved it.
From Mom's cooking beginnings with Spam, she became one of the best cooks I've ever known.  All of the brothers, sisters, grandchildren and friends will agree.  But, don't ask her for  a favorite recipe, it will have an ingredient left out.  Dad was always bringing home exotic groceries, and getting Mom to try something new.  He subscribed to Gourmet from the late forties until, well always, and seemed to have a new recipe for Mom every week.  Elaine, my sister-in-law, remembers Mom going to Clout's grocery store in Atlanta and bringing home all kinds of delicious things. Clout's was fabulous long before Central Market.  Carpeting and chandeliers.  Elaine also remembers how Mom would tell everyone that she couldn't give out her secret salad dressing. Mom finally confessed to her good friend, Myrtle Hanson, that it was Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.  Aunt Dottie had given Mom some of the packets, and Peaches was able to keep her secret for about a year. In the early '60's Hidden Valley was just becoming popular in our part of the world.   Elaine also remembers Sundays were  family cookouts.  Dad loved his huge Texas size Weber grill.  One  of the things Elaine remembers that Dad loved to cook, was a leg of lamb, served with mint jelly, and pilaf,  and always a delicious salad.  Dad would buy bulgar  when he was in Atlanta, and Mom would make her pilaf with it.  Saute some onions in butter, add garlic,  stir in the bulgar, add broth, cover and simmer until done.  Test for seasonings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Update on the Limoncello!

Well, I was very surprised, but the limoncello was a hit!  Very Tasty!  Yes, with a capital T.  Dotsy and I made a lot pizzas for Peaches and Troy.  The Peach Pits and Sub-Pits were there, and Troy's golfing buds.  The Pits are playing bridge again this Wednesday! And, the golfers are out now as I type!!!  When we were growing up, there were always a lot of birthday parties.  My sister Judy and Older Brother shared a party for many years because they were born one day and one year apart.   Mom does like to say that she had 6 children in 8 years and Dad was away in WWII for 2 years.  She also likes to say that they all had the same Mother.  
Oldest Brother was born in Oakdale, LA, in 1943.  Dad was in the army and  training in Oklahoma.  So, Mom was staying with her parents when O. B. was born.  At about 6 weeks old, he had to have surgery for pyloric stenosis.  Mom said the doctor couldn't use an anesthetic because O.B. was so young, and, there may not have been any available during the War.  Back in Atlanta, Mom was saving grease for the War effort.  Nannie came to visit and  wanted to know how she was going to get the grease out of all of the Coca Cola bottles.  
  Peaches and Papa were married secretly for about a year, in 1940, but had an 'official' marriage in 1941 in her parents living room.  All the relatives were there and Mom had on a beautiful pink suit.   After the wedding, when Mom and Dad were getting ready to  leave on the train for Atlanta, Mom asked her sister Dottie how to cook.  Dottie told her to get a can of Spam, and open the can, stud the Spam with cloves, and bake it.  Dad would tell us that Peaches cooked Spam for him when he came home from the War.  He said that was all he had eaten for two years.  They didn't have Spam after that.
Papaw and Nannie weren't too pleased with the match, but came around when Dad had a vasectomy after the sixth child, little Dotsy, was born in 1951.  Nannie came to Atlanta to help Mom with the latest edition, and while she was there,  Dad had his 'procedure', and for the first time Nannie hugged his neck.  She also didn't mind if he had a drink in front of her, even though she hated drinking more than the Devil hates Holy Water. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family History

Growing up in the South, we always knew that family was very important, not just brothers and sisters, but family, way back to the beginning.  At least to the War of Northern Aggression.  We still believed that no matter what your bank account said, your family was the  important thing.  My Aunt Dotty has provided the research for her mother's side of the family.  It seems the first person we can find in our family goes back to the 10th generation, and is a man by the name of the Hon. Paul Grimball, born in England, prior to 1682, and died on Edisto Island  in South Carolina, 1696.  His wife Mary was born in England and died before 1720.  Paul Grimball was a Proprietor's Deputy, 1683; Secretary of the Province of S.C. 1686;  Member of the Grand Council, 1685-1686;  Receiver General & Escheator, 1687-88(Escheat goes back to English common law: a doctrine that operates to ensure that property is not left in limbo and owner less), Surveyor General, 1696.  His son, Thomas, born in England prior to 1682, died between 1722 and 1724, married Elizabeth Adams in South Carolina, before 1707.  Elizabeth was born before 1690, and died before 1722.  Their son,  Paul Grimball born about 1700, died about 1750. Paul and his second wife, Mary, were married on Edisto Island about 1740.  Mary died  sometime after 1780. 
    Paul and Mary's daughter, Anne Grimball, now our 7th generation back, was born about 1749 and died before 1825.  She married Peter Robert, born 1738 and died before 1825.  Peter and Anne were married  Beaufort District, SC about 1765.
    On August 30, 1774 their daughter Providence Robert was born. She died January 14, 1856.  Her husband Robert Tanner was born February 14, 1769, and died September 28, 1839. They, also, were married in Beaufort District, SC on February 14, 1793.
  Paul Jabez Tanner was born to Providence and Robert  on April 22, 1810.  He died December 26, 1863.  Paul married Esther Providence Bettison, who was born September 30, 1815, and died April 7, 1871.  Paul and Esther were married in Cheneyville, Louisiana on June 6, 1833.  Because of the date of Paul's death, I wonder if he died in the War between the States.
  Linn Tanner was the son of Paul and Esther Tanner.  He was born December 31, 1838 and died July 21, 1910.  On August 11, 1859, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, he married Fannie P. Pollard.  Fannie was born January 30, 1840, and died July 14, 1916.
  Their daughter, Lura Tanner, was born June 4, 1866 and died October 30, 1935.  She married Joseph Morrison Rutledge in Cheneyville, LA on February 8, 1887.  More than likely at her father's plantation.  Joseph was born on January 4, 1862 and died October 27, 1940.
   Mother's mother, Linnie Rutledge, was born at her father Joseph's plantation, on June 6, 1893, and died of cancer in 1958, Oakdale, LA.  She married Dr. Blanchard Iles in Cheneyville, LA on February 8, 1916.  Dr. B. was born on December 20, 1891 and died in 1969, also in Oakdale.
  Mother's mother,Linnie, was one of ten children.   If we were still counting generations, the Hon. Grimball would be the 11th generation, or is it 12 or 13, now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baking for Bridge

Tomorrow, Wednesday, it's Mom's turn to have our bridge club to her house.  I've made for the lunch tomorrow: white bean chicken chili!! and a cheesecake.  This is the best cheesecake ever, and it comes from a cookbook that Dotsy gave me: Great Cakes by Carole Walter.  Since I'm doing the cooking, I picked the menu!  Usually I serve Peaches' Texas Cornbread with the chili, but we're having french bread instead.  Fortunately, the cheesecake is extremely light.  Mom has played bridge as long as I can remember.  She played with the same group of ladies for about 40 years.  Now, she is in two bridge clubs out here, and substitutes in more.  She is an excellent bridge player.  We also have a 'club' that meets whenever we can.  We call it the Peach Pits, or Peaches and her Pits.  We also have some sub-pits!  Mom, Dotsy, LarryAnn, Barbara, and sometimes Karen, and I'm always there!  We start about 1 at Mom's, the Club House, and finish when the wine runs out.    Mom's ladies in Monroe played every Thursday. They all took a sandwich, and played until school got out.  PS If you want the recipe, click on the right hand picture..

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Troy!

Today, November 10th, is Troy's birthday.  Troy is one of the most generous people I know, he is  always  doing for others.  He always keeps us laughing, and has a wonderful way of making everyone welcome.  My life is richer for knowing him.  And, he's an inventive cook!
Many happy returns!

Happiness is.......a cord of wood on a rainy Monday.

and, it's on the screen porch, nice and dry!  Cliff says that I start a fire if it gets below 70.  I remember growing up that Mom always had a fire going when there was the least bit of a chill.  Dad would come home from the hardware store to get it started.  They used big lumps of coal most of the time.  I think they stopped using coal about the same time the ice house in Monroe closed.  There was a coal bin under the house on Highland Avenue.  Also, in the house in Atlanta. If Dad wasn't at home building fires, or serving cocktails to the ladies, he was at the hardware store.  It was next to the Farmer's Bank.  We all had savings accounts there, and on Saturdays I loved to walk up to the store and get my savings book and withdraw a nickel.  For many years until the early 80's the bank would sent me statements about once a year. I know they were grateful when I finally closed that account.  It may have had $5.00 in it. The Farmers Bank changed names, moved into a new building, and Dad moved out of downtown also, to Davis Street.  He had a huge red building with a front stoop big enough to sit on and eat watermelons.  There was a refrigerator in the back of the store and always full of cold watermelons, on hand for customers and grandchildren. 

Ghosts and Goblins

Some of my favorite ghosts and goblins!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Making pizza dough

Today, I'm going to make my second batch of pizza dough and freeze it for Peaches' and Troy's birthday party next Saturday.  Dotsy and Peaches are coming over to help.  We all love to cook, and I know that is because our parents loved to cook.   Mom always, it seemed, served liver cooked with onions and bacon once a week, and fish once a week.  We actually loved the liver!  Fish would be a whole red snapper baked in the oven with bacon, or maybe a whole flounder.  We also had to have at least two vegetables.  When we had bread, it was always cornbread or rolls.  Mom did not learn to cook at home because they had someone who cooked for them, Stella.  Aunt Dottie gave Mom her first recipe as she was on the train leaving for Atlanta.
  We loved visiting our grandparents, Stella, Nannie's cook, always was cooking something good, and, the telephone was a mystery because when you picked up the receiver, the operator came on and placed the call.  I believe that if you said "I want to talk to Betty"  she would know exactly who you meant. When we lived in Atlanta, our phone number was EVergreen 9-3901, I think! This of course was before area codes and zip codes.  We lived at 1360 Fairview Road, NE.  My dog tag has name, address, birth date, and a P for Protestant.  This was at a time when we practiced 'duck and cover' in case of an atomic bomb attack.  When we lived here in the '50's, the house had a beautiful Italian tile roof.  There was a garage in the back, and a small two room house also. The porte-cochere led to a beautiful back yard with a rose garden and large spaces for all of our playground equipment.  We had monkey bars,  jungle gym, slide, swings, a climbing pole, and of course a sand box.  Dad was able to get the same equipment that schools had, so all of it was very sturdy.  I wonder if it is still there.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hair Day!

Thursday Mom's Hair Day.  Every Thursday, and that is also our day for the grocery store and other errands. For as long as I can remember she has gone to the beauty parlor once a week.   It usually is $10.00, but recently went up to $12.00.  Today, our friend Gloria was also having her hair done, and is going to show me how to do a yarn over next week! When we lived in Atlanta on Fairview Road, I can remember going with Mom to Kurt's.  I remember he was on a side street somewhere in Atlanta, and then moved to Peachtree St. across from Brookwood Station.  There was a wonderful deli next door.  the best pastrami sandwiches.  When we moved to Monroe in 1954, Mom still made the trek to Kurt's but not every week.  Hwy 78 was being widened into a 4 lane and it took forever to get to Atlanta.  Kurt eventually moved across Peachtree  and down a block, and Mom probably went to him until the late 80's.???  
Today my sister Judy is having eye surgery. All of us are wishing her well and a speedy recovery. She will have to be very careful for the next month, lie face down and not move around.  Maybe she will start a blog while she is recuperating! Someone told me that she had an 'immaculate hole', but it is really a macular hole.  Ah, the scrambler.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Family Pictures

This is a picture of Dad taken in Oklahoma about 1944.  The next one was taken 1951 when we lived in Atlanta.  Peaches and Pop about 1941, Atlanta.

Peaches and Pop  Monroe, GA
Is this not the most beautiful picture you have ever seen?

Another Beautiful Day

It's another beautiful day in East Texas. I have the doors open to the screen porch and can smell the tea olive (osmanthus frangrans), which Dad grew in Georgia, along with hundreds of camellias, which always makes me smile.  My maternal grandmother, Linnie Rutledge,(1893-1958) grew up in Chaneyville where her mother's family, the Tanners, owned most of the land.  I remember Mom talking about her grandfather Rutledge's plantation and how each of the children had someone to take care of them while they were growing up; how at the end of the year, accounts would be settled, and his wife called into question the cases of bananas, which was a code he was using for something else!  My grandfather, Dr. B., (Blanchard Iles 1891-1969) was a dentist in Oakdale.  He grew up in the Sugartown-Dry Creek area.  His father raised goats, and my grandfather knew he didn't want to do that, so he borrowed a $100.00 and went to Atlanta and worked his way through dental school, handling cadavers.  Peaches said that all the bachelors in Oakdale would always meet the trains that came to check out ladies that might be arriving.  My grandmother got off the train and my grandfather picked her.  Nanny was a teacher before they married.  She taught Sunday School at the Baptist Church for many years, even though she belonged to the Christian Church.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here is a delicious recipe from my Cousin Linnie





Election Day!

  • Election Day!!  Cliff and I voted this morning at the South Franklin precinct.  Usually, we don't have a wait, but today it was about 15 minutes.  There was no grumbling about the wait.  We are very fortunate.   Peaches, Dotsy, and Troy will go to vote later this morning.  I was thinking about  Mom and Dad always  insisting we vote. From the time I was 18, I don't think I've missed any election.  My first Federal election was an absentee ballot.  I was in school in Gainesville, GA.  In order to vote, I had to take my ballot to a county office, post office? county clerk?, and vote while in the room with someone.  I do remember that he was reading  his newspaper while I sat across from him and voted.  1964.   I'm pretty sure all five of my brothers and sisters always vote, and all 10 grandchildren.  We'll see about the next generation, the 9 great-grandchildren.  Peaches and Papa believed in being good citizens.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Today Peaches, Dotsy and I zested lemons for the limoncello we are making. It was a beautiful fall day, so we sat on the screen porch with Buddy. When Mom was growing up, she says she learned to drive a Model T Ford when she was 12, and went to LSU when she was 15. There she pledged KD. In Louisiana, there were only 3 years of high school at the time. After her first year, she transferred to Lafayette to attend Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now known as University of Louisiana at Lafayette. That is where she met my Dad. At the time he was known as Curry Comb, because of his thick curly hair. Dad was on a football scholarship, when they met.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Evening

Peaches came over for a glass of wine and we talked about Huey Long. She remembered hearing about the Kingfish having dinner with a family in Oakdale and drinking his soup from his bowl instead of using his spoon.
Mom was the middle of three daughters, and, apparently always hiding under the crawl space of her home as she was quite the little trouble maker! Mom was born November 20, 1919. Her little sister was called Sunny because she was always happy, and happy to let Mom get her in trouble. One time Mom and Sunny cut off Aunt Dottie's doll's curly, beautiful hair  Dottie lives in Alexandria, near her daughter Linnie.  My other cousin Janie, lives in New Orleans.

Sunday morning

Daylight savings time is over again. Very confusing. time to get ready for Church. The coffee is made. Mittens is out and about, and the oven is heating up to bake some biscuits.... Back from Sunday School, Bo passed out doughnuts, Pat taught a very good lesson. Troy fixed hamburgers for us! oh so good. All I can do is post a picture of the clean plates!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happiness is.......

Happiness is 40 pounds of sweet potatoes from Golden, Texas! These are the best. Don't miss next year's Sweet Potato Festival in Golden.


Mother has been called Peaches since her first grandchild was born in 1966.  This year, she, my sister Dottie, and I went to visit my oldest daughter, Catherine, who lives in Maui.   Everywhere we went, people were amazed that Peaches will be 89 in November.  We especially love to tell everyone that Mom went snorkeling.