Perspectives

Epictetus once said, “Man is not disturbed by events, but by the view he takes of them.”

This is true in genealogy as well. It is interesting how people of the same family or attending the same event have such different perspectives of things. My father has two siblings, both older than he is. Viv was born in 1927, Annette in 1935 and my father in 1936. My Aunt Viv had 8 years as the only child. Therefore, her perspective of things is different. She was a “Daddy’s girl,” although she recognizes the deficits that Fred had as a drinker. She was still his girl. My father on the other hand, did not see it the same way. He had a father that drank and probably caused his mother stress as a result. Fred died in 1950; my father was not yet 14 years old. So, he had an entirely different perspective.

Over the years, I have heard some stories about my grandfather. I know he was a gregarious outgoing man. He was probably the black sheep of his family growing up. He did not come home after the war. He landed in Chicago. There are documents to suggest that he was court-marshaled for an infraction. (I have sought his military records for verification of this. So I will post an update once the documents are received.) He was the third of four children born to his parents. His eldest sibling, George was a genius, attending Balliol University as a Rhodes Scholar. His other brother, Walter Joe, was more like his father; he stayed home after the war and went to work in the family business. His younger sister, Martha Ann, was the sole baby girl of the family. Their father, Walter Everett, was a very strict man, held his patriotism in high regard. Papa was a Georgia State Senator, Mason, Reserve Corps Major, Mayor of Carlton.

Fred seemed to be a bit of a cut up. Viv wrote that Fred always “remained docile to his strong father, although he had a way with Papa (Walter) that none of the other children had.” Martha Mae Whitehead Snelling wrote in the little book of Whitehead Family history that Fred’s “outgoing personality endeared him to all who knew him.”

There is another story about Fred that his sister wrote and included it in her booklet she gave her granddaughters. I wish to share it in her voice.

Fred gets double punishment

Fred was about 12 years old and in the 8th Grade at Carlton. They only had 10 grades, and all 3 High School grades, 8-9-10, sat in the same room.

Mr. Smith was the teacher.

He was having trouble with a 10th Grade math problem.

Fred, who was watching, held up his hand and said,”Mr. Smith, I believe I can work it.” Come right up,” said Prof. Smith.

Fred went to the black board and quickly solved the problem. But he didn’t stop there. He wiped the chalk dust off his hands and said “Aw shucks, twasn’t nothin’. All us Whitehead’s are good ‘rithmetickers”. (Not very good English.)

Prof. Smith pulled off his belt and gave Fred a good licking right there before everyone.

When Fred got home and told Papa about it, Papa gave him another good whipping.

PS Papa was chairman of the School Board.

PS2 Whipping was a very common form of punishment. Not abuse.

 

Aldous Huxley wrote, “What we perceive and understand depends upon what we are.”

I will end here with some great photos of Fred. So, the next time you think you are right and the other person is wrong, just think you are coming at things from a different perspective.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Fred with sombrero

 

Whitehead’s on the beach

 

Fred Whitehead acting silly 001

Fred acting silly

 

Fred and Margaret

Fred and Margaret

Fred with his children

Fred with his children

 

The wallet

I have been somewhat neglectful on my blog and genealogy lately and I was sitting here looking for some inspiration. When I opened the drawer that contained some keepsakes, I knew exactly what I would do.

A few years ago, my Aunt Carol gave me a few wallets and a coin purse of our departed loved ones. I still consider them among my most treasured keepsakes. They are a time capsule to the past. The things they hold are a clue into what was important to them at the time of their passing.

Today I picked up my grandfather’s wallet. He died in 1983, I was 14 years old.

The image on the leather wallet is of a hunting dog. He did not own dogs, so I am not sure the significance. My guess is that it was a gift. The pictures inside were somewhat predictable, school pictures of all my siblings and I, as well as my cousins. However, Lacy had multiple years worth. There was a studio portrait of my cousins together, as well as the one my family did. Additionally, there were two portrait pictures of him and his wife Odelle. A portrait of Odelle by herself. There was a small image of Jesus; this is interesting to me as I did not recall him being a religious man. In fact, I recall my grandmother going to church without him. However, since Pete Seeger’s quote about church is dear to my heart, I figured the same could be true of my grandfather. We do not have to go to church to be believe in God.

pete seeger church quote

Another image that was in the wallet is a photograph of a much younger Odelle. If I would guess, it was probably taken about the time they were courting. From my research, I know my grandfather was married before Odelle, but I do not believe he ever loved anyone as much as he loved her. I see it in his eyes. There are countless photos of them together, he always looked so in love.

3-lacy-odelle 001

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Today I spent a few minutes thinking about my grandfather. He was the only one I met. I believe I know him better because I have been able to reminisce with his wallet.

Grandpa's wallet

Grandpa’s wallet

Virginia Odelle Moss Sublett

Virginia Odelle Moss Sublett

What is in your wallet? That is an advertisement about credit cards these days, and with the advent of mobile phones, most people do not carry images in their wallet. I do carry one. It is from a photo booth with Cheryl and my sister. We are being silly. I think after today though, I am going to find a few more to put in there. I hope you do too.

 

girls being silly

girls being silly

Until we meet again, I will be exploring backwards