–Great, Great Grandfather & Grandmother on Cassie’s Porch 1876, copy shot June 5th, 2007, Augusta, Georgia, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
–Cassie’s House 1876, copy shot June 5, 2007, Augusta, Georgia, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
We spent the day driving around Augusta, looking for landmarks, visiting cemeteries and churches. The synchronicities continue to happen, right down to the prime parking spaces on Broad Street. When we arrived at the 150-year-old St. James church where my mother had gone as a child, there just happened to be a woman there who had attended Sunday School with my Aunt Evelyn. She knew the whole history of St. James church and gave us a long tour.
Then we travelled out to a cemetery where my great grandmother Elizabeth is buried. Three of us scoured nearly every row on foot in the heat and humidity and could not find the gravestone. We were sweaty and tired and about to give up. But not until after one more pass. The last time was the winner. My step-dad stopped the truck on a hunch, stepped out and walked over to the exact spot where my great grandmother is buried, then pointed down, and smiled. It was one of those Kodak moments.
I wonder if it was the blue moon last week or the stars aligning in Taurus? Wait, are we still in Taurus? Maybe the tide has turned.
But what I want to say is that in the photos above my great, great grandfather Moses is in the foreground and my great, great grandmother Martha stands behind him on the porch of their 1876 home. My great Aunt Cassie was probably one of the children in the photograph. We used to visit her when I was a child. I have memories of her there, greeting us at the door.
The photos below were taken of the house yesterday. I stepped along the same brick sidewalk my ancestors walked a century ago on hot and dusty summer days. Details like this urge me on down into the deeper family history.
I scoured the photos to see what had changed, what had stayed the same. I remember the gray picket fence was there when I was a child in the 60’s. It’s not there now. I imagine the post in front of the tree might have been for hitching a horse. It was gone but we did see quite few cement hitching posts as we drove around downtown Augusta. That’s got to be a different tree growing in front of the house. But I find the overall structure to be generally unchanged.
How all this will play out in the memoir, I don’t yet know. I’m in the thick of it now. Full scale gathering. I need time to sit with all the pieces. What about place makes it home? The history here in the South is rich and controversial. But it’s simplistic and naive to think history is anything but gray. You can’t lump everyone into broad, polarized categories. History is about individual people’s lives.
There was cactus growing on some of the cemetery plots, rooted deep in the sandy, dry soil. The thunderstorms of the last few days were greatly needed. Later, all of this will flow through me like rain and sink down on to the page. Living twice. Through writing I can experience everything twice. Each time I come here, I leave with more details. And a few more pieces of how place becomes home.
–Cassie’s House 2007, June 6, 2007, Augusta, Georgia, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-Cassie’s Porch 2007, June 6, 2007, Augusta, Georgia, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Thursday, June 7th, 2007