Tag Archives: Parents

They’re all Princesses. Didn’t Your Father Tell You That?, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“ I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father tell you that? Didn’t he?” ~ Sara Crewe, A Little Princess, 1995 ~

Every Little Girl is a Princess

What little girl hasn’t dreamed of being a princess? It is the quintessential day dream of most little girls.

I really love today’s quote, because I think it encapsulates the true meaning of “being a princess”. So many time when we hear the word princess we cringe because it brings to mind horrible images. Tiny “mean girls” pitching tyrannical fits just to get their way or get what they want. Little “Snookies” in the making…

But, that’s not what is really means…

For me, it’s about love…and confidence…

There are so many “pearls of wisdom” about children and child raising, but I have a few favorite ones and few observations I’ve made of my own. Years ago I read about the “coins of worth”. How some children seem to be valued in society more than others because of “certain coins of worth”.

Those “coins” could be beauty, intelligence, talent, personality or any other shining quality we tend to try and cultivate in kids. But, the plain simple truth is: each child…each little girl is a rare coin of tremendous value…no matter what…period…

Another thing I read one time is this: One of the most precious gifts a father can give his children is to love their mother…

…I would extend that to say: “One of the most precious gifts a dad can give his daughter is to be a demonstratively loving father.”

I have been blessed on all those accounts. I have seen my mentally and physically challenged sister loved as if she was a coin of the rarest quality and beauty. My daddy has loved my momma for 60+ years giving the three of us girls a fine example of a good man. As a result, I am not “male cynical” even after going through a divorce that felt like I was being dragged through a pine knot backwards. I like guys, probably because I like my daddy. My daddy has been a loving, involved dad. We even jokingly call him our Jewish momma because of his tendency to worry over us. In my daddy’s eyes, we could do anything we wanted to do if we set our minds to it.

That, my friends, is giving you kids “coinage”…

I became an aunt for the first time a few years ago. And, when I did I discovered what my two loving aunts had known for years…there’s nothing like a niece. She is a princess in you eyes…And, like my aunts did for me, I hope to show them they have all the coins in the world to be the best princesses ever…no matter when, no matter where, no matter what, no matter how old…

Because, it’s true, no matter how old you are, you can still be a princess…I am a grown woman with a grown child, but to this day my Daddy still calls me his “little Texas girl”.

That’s close enough to being a princess for me…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

6 Comments

Filed under Children, Coins of Worth, Little Girls, Photography, Picture of the Day, Princesses, Quote of the Day

But the Greatest of these is Love…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ I Cor. 13:13  NIV ~

This month marks the 60th wedding anniversary of my parents. That’s a milestone in and of itself, but it’s also a rarity these days. I often wonder about the future and how many 50th and 60th anniversaries we’ll see celebrated.

My parents have raised three daughters, one a disabled child that has lived at home since birth…something that went against the tide in the days when children like her were institutionalized.

They’ve also seen a lot of changes in the world in those 60 years. We should honor the elders in our society and not push them aside…we will be them one day…sooner than we realize.

During those changes and trials I saw my parents persevere with faith, hope and love…and the greatest was love…

 

Oakley Hicks and Juanita McGee Early 1950's

Momma and Daddy ca 1950s

 

Mommma & Daddy 25th

Momma and Daddy’s 25th wedding anniversary picture

Mom & Daddy 5-12-02

Momma and Daddy just after their 50th anniversary

2 Comments

Filed under 60th Wedding Anniversary, Anniversaries, Family, Love, Parents, Photography, Picture of the Day

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6–“Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 6 – “Till Death Do Us Part…Well, Maybe” or The Wedding Ring Block

And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Mark 10:8 NASB

(*This post can also be seen at my quilt blog Around the Block with the BamaSteelMagnolia™ where I am blogging the whole project.)

Wedding Ring block

I started this chapter in February some time ago and it seemed a fitting month to start writing the latest chapter of The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries. The block for this chapter is called Wedding Ring. It is a single wedding ring and not the double wedding ring we know so well. The block is a simple 6 inch pieced block and it represents the fact that I don’t know many in life who have not been affected by a marriage in some way or another…including me.

Being a genealogist I can see how all the “begats” or unions/marriages in our ancestry make us who we are. When you stop and think about the numbers in the equation of “you” it becomes pretty staggering.

For instance, for each generation you go back the number doubles to how many sets of ancestors, or marriages if you will, it took to trickle down to create the final individual you. Look at it this way…you are the starting point on the road backwards into time and your ancestry. Take those sets and multiply them by two and you have how many people it took to create the one special individual called you.

It works this way; you had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents and 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandparents and so on. As mind boggling as 128 may seem, your heritage and ancestry doesn’t stop there and it continues to double for each generation back. There are so many life lessons just in the formula of who you are and how you were made, but that is for another story. One missing link in that chain and you would not have been you…as a matter of fact you probably wouldn’t have been, well, here on Earth at all.

I would ask you to reflect on the marriages in your life, including your own that have affected you and what they mean to you. I’m sure everyone has different recollections and feelings and experiences.

The most immediate marriage that has affected me all of my life and is actually responsible for me even being here is of course the marriage of my parents. My parents have something that is rare to find in this day and age. That’s a long lasting marriage. For you see, on Feb. 28, 2012 they celebrated 59 years of marriage.

Oakley Hicks and Juanita McGee Early 1950's

Daddy and Momma early 1950s

Momma and Daddy were high school sweethearts. They were 15 and 16 when they met at a church function being conducted by my Momma’s daddy. Yes, Mom was a PK…a Preacher’s Kid. She was the shy quite one with big brown “doe eyes” as Daddy calls them. Momma and Daddy were a couple all through high school, for four years, so for all practical purposes you could say they’ve been together for 63 years and that is the biggest portion of their life. When they laid eyes on each other, there was no one else as far as they were concerned…that was it.

Daddy started the University of Tennessee with intentions on becoming a mechanical engineer. But, Momma and Daddy also had secret plans…yes, in their own quiet non-conforming conforming way they were rebels with a cause. They had plans to get married and I don’t mean a big church wedding with the wedding party, flowers, music and weeping mother of the bride (and in this case weeping mother of the groom, too). Nope, no way, no how. Momma and Daddy were going to make Hicks history…or at least stuff that would go down in family history. For you see, the shy lovely quite preacher’s daughter and the tall good looking guy from the foothills of the Smokies eloped…all the way to Ringgold, GA!

Now, the plan was to get hitched and drive back home. Mom would go back and keep quiet and live at home and Daddy would go back home and live with his parents and continue going to college. The slight hiccup in their little plan happened when Mom told her next oldest sister, Korinne, what she had done and swore her to secrecy…which of course was the very last thing that actually happened. Before you knew it the cat was out of the bag, the cow was out of the barn and the camel’s nose was under the tent or in other words, it was like telling Western Union and everyone found out. As Ricky use to say to Lucy, “There was some `splaining to do.”

Well, of course everyone knows you can’t keep true love apart very long anyway and by the time the parents (my grandparents) had time to wrap their heads around the events Momma let it be known in no uncertain terms she was living where Daddy was. And that was that.

Everything went along pretty good in newlywed life until about three months later. At that time Mom came down with a raging case of flu. Made her sick as a dog. She just could not get well. That was the “Beverly” flu. Yep, eleven months after they married I was born…and Mom’s flu was cured.

Cominghome Day 1-7-1954

Daddy, Momma and Bev – Coming home day

I was an only child for about three and a half years. During that time we moved for a brief time to Texas where Daddy worked as an engineer in the aircraft industry for Chance-Vought Aircraft. I celebrated my second birthday in Fort Worth, Texas which has always left me with a soft spot for Texas and branded me Daddy’s “little Texas girl”. And, as I have always said, some of the most famous and infamous Texans were Tennesseans.

“Oh, really?!” I know you Texans are saying… yep. For instance: remember Davy Crockett…♪born on a mountain top in Tennessee…♪ and also famous for the Alamo. Then there’s Benjamin and Henry McCulloch who both fought in the Texas Revolution and became Texas Rangers; Mack Brown head coach at the University of Texas and oh, yeah some fellow named Sam Houston. I think you might have heard of him, too. Sam’s time in Tennessee included time as a governor of that great state and time spent teaching in the town of my birth…a long time before I was born or course Smile

Being the true East Tennessee mountain boy that Daddy is, the Plains of Texas didn’t do much to lift the Tennessee boy’s spirits and heart. In other words, he got sorely and mightily homesick, especially when those Nor’easters barreled into the Plains faster than a New York minute without any warning. It wasn’t too long before we were packed up and headed back to the lush green climes of Tennessee.

Over the next eight or nine years Momma had two more cases of “flu”. And, two more baby girls followed those cases of “flu”. Pamella was next in line, followed by Yvonne. For a little Hicks trivia here: Mom named her girls Faith, Hope and Charity…in that order. I always teased her and said if we had been born boys we would have been named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…

Momma and Daddy’s marriage has mirrored life in general…a road with ups and downs and bumps in the road. Almost every young couple starts out with the bare necessities and grows from there. Daddy was smart and savvy and his engineer career grew. We also moved several times following that career. We landed in Birmingham, AL (for the second and final time I might add) when I was 12 years old and the rest of that is history. That is why I proudly say, ♪…my home is in Alabama…♪ and one of my ringtones on my cell is Sweet Home Alabama…

My baby sister Yvonne, really Charity Yvonne, was born in Greeneville, TN when I was in the third grade. Mom’s delivery with her was fast. Like greased lightening…about 20 minutes. She barely had time to step off the elevator at the hospital before Yvon was born. When Momma & Daddy brought the baby home, they brought home another beautiful baby girl (Momma and Daddy had the reputation of popping out beautiful baby girls with long dark eyelashes and heads of thick dark hair. The nurses in the baby nurseries used us as baby dolls and hated to send us home. Back in those days they had about seven days to get attached to a baby before it went home.)

It seems like from the recollection of my child’s mind that it wasn’t too long after she was born that Yvon seemed to get sick and stay sick. So sick in fact that Mom had to take her all the way to Chattanooga for medical care and stay with family that lived down there. Papaw and Mamaw came to Greeneville to help Daddy take care of Pam and me.

I remember it as a tumultuous time. Yvonnie was sick. We didn’t quite know what was wrong and in the world at large, the Cuban missile was going on.

Over time Yvonne was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and for the last 50 years has lived at home. Do you know what the statistics are for marriages surviving for couples who have disabled children? They’re not very good. The divorce rate is very high and it’s usually the husband who takes his walking papers and goes on to create another worry-free life for himself.

It is a testament to my Daddy’s character that he is right where is started out 59 years ago, disabled child and all, and that is with my Momma and our family. As a matter of fact Daddy is pretty much the rock of the family and the three of us girls are Daddy’s girls. It is also like having a Jewish momma having him around, which is our way of saying he worries over us like a Jewish mom would…he just never learned to cook that chicken soup. Daddy’s remedy is to always take it to prayer…

I heard some place one time that marriage is a marathon not a sprint. My parents’ marriage would certainly qualify for the marathon…

Unfortunately, the first time around, I married a sprinter…

There is a lot I could write about my first marriage. My child is the issue of that marriage. And, sometimes I feel really badly because I feel I provided a poor example…a sprinter if you will as a role model for my child. I do not adhere to the current feel-good philosophy that divorce does not affect children. It does…no matter what their age. I think our society today reflects the side effects and ravages of decades of divorce. On the other hand I also believe that some parents can be toxic and I do not adhere to the theory that having a toxic parent around is better than having no parent around.

But, with that said, there are just times when divorce is unavoidable. Marrying that “marriage sprinter” is certainly one instance. Infidelity usually ends a marriage fairly fast or ends the chance for that marriage marathon partner. Another unavoidable instance is when you marry the type of person who ends up creating the “tragic love” scenario or as I wrote about a few years ago, the type of guy (or gal) that causes love to hurt.

If that is the case, I would beseech you to go back and read a blog I wrote a few years ago that addresses just that subject. Called When Love Hurts I address the rash of tragic stories in which women have chosen to stay and in the end unfortunately paid dearly for that relationship…sometimes with their lives.

The most recent example would be Susan Powell and her precious boys. Susan disappeared one cold December day in 2009 while her husband supposedly had taken their two very young sons camping in a blizzard. On Feb. 5th of this year her

husband blew up himself and those two precious boys as the police drew closer to lowering the hammer on him and his pedophile father. The coward and those poor children died in a burning inferno that should have never happened.

My love hurt story wasn’t like that, but it was traumatic just the same. Had I just opened my eyes and looked at the warning signs early on I could have saved myself sorrow and devastation years later. After 27 years of marriage my ex walked out because he was unfaithful. The summer he left I read my diary from the summer we started dating and as I did it was a real eye opener…he was the same back then…had cheated then and had not changed in 27 years. Leopards as they say do not change their spots. I just could not love him enough for him to change.

Bev & Momma on the Regrettable Day Nov. 1974

Bev & Mom – me as a young bride not paying attention to warning signs

And, unfortunately staying in a bad relationship hoping to make it functional only teaches children dysfunction. What did Susan Powell’s children learn in the end by her hanging on to a bad marriage? It cost her kids their lives. What a tragic shame… There is a saying…”The sins of a father (parent) are visited upon the children…” In other word the kids will learn from the father…from the parents. And, if you close your eyes to alcoholism, addiction, incest, abuse, violence and plunge ahead into that and choose that as a family center for your children…it will trickle down to them and affect them in one way or the other

For me realizing I could not love the ex enough to change who the core of him was, it was, well, the beginning of a new future, hope and moving forward…

So, even though I was scared to death when Gomez the Underwhelming abandoned me I began to have hope. Yes, I was disabled. Yes, he had wiped out the bank accounts. Yes, I had not worked outside the home full time in over 21 year. Yes, at one point he left me without health insurance. Yes, he assaulted me before he left and injured my back. Yes, I had hoped with everything in me that that he would have a change of heart and come home and things would go back to normal.

But, to have normal and a marriage that’s going in the same direction, you have to have two people who want the same thing. Without that, it’s just not going to happen and the only resulting by-product is going to be pain, sorrow, poor health, a bad example for the kids and low self esteem.

In the end the veil was lifted from my eyes and I was able to see there just might be someone out there who not only would help heal my broken heart, but became my marathon runner.

As the Rascal Flats song goes…God blessed the broken road that lead me straight to you…and that you is my Tall & Handsome…my southwestern cowboy.

Our story is unconventional at best. A sign of the times and a sign of what happens when a geek (me) comes into her geekdom and starts to revel in her life and gain self esteem once again. And a lonely, broken hearted southwestern cowboy who had given up on the hope of a loving nurturing relationship begins to hope again. You see we met playing an online MMORPG game. We emailed, talked and instant messaged for almost a year before we met face to face.

When I first laid eyes on my Tall & Handsome he was walking out of the Birmingham Airport. He had on tight blue jeans, a Western cut jacket and a Stetson. I got out of the Lead Sled (what I “affectionately” called my Park Avenue) and walked towards him. He walked toward me, smiled and said, “Hello, darling” and then kissed me under that cowboy hat in front of the Birmingham airport.

I felt 18 again! Wow! It was like living in a movie…a real chick flick. He really had me at “Hello, darling” and that kiss.

The kiss 12-30-03

The Kiss – my favorite of our wedding pictures

I have also learned words are cheap, but actions speak volumes and they do so loudly! Some of Gomez’ parting words were (referring to my illnesses and disabilities), “I didn’t want to take care of you, I hated taking care of you, but I did. So, there!”God help him when his karma comes rolling around.

I have never wanted to be a burden…to anyone. So, I was very up front from the beginning with T & H about the status of my health. The man did not tuck tail and run. He called me his wounded dove…

He knew I saw in him a heart that was larger than large…and he appreciated that.

I never felt secured and truly loved with a man I was married to for 27 years. I never felt “good enough”. I poured myself into him, body and soul. But my self confidence and self esteem was non-existent. There were episodes of suspect cheating from the beginning. He had developed hepatitis before we were married five years and I was so naïve back then I didn’t realize how hepatitis is contracted. Deep down inside though I knew something wasn’t right…

By the time T & H and I married, I felt loved, appreciated, confident and secure. I had found my muse. I wanted to create again. That is a huge gift any man can give to the woman he loves. My T & H does it effortlessly…

It has been the little things that some people would never notice. The time I lay dying in the back of an ambulance in Knoxville, TN my feet were bare. T & H dashed quickly into the house and grabbed a pair of sock and gently put them on my feet before the ambulance doors were closed. At the hospital ER, he refused to be separated from me and was by my side until I stabilized and was released.

When we moved from Alabama to Tennessee I was so sick I had to go through the ER first. When we got to Knoxville I was exhausted and slept quite a bit. I woke up one weekend afternoon to discover T & H had set up the deck furniture like a side walk café, bought flowers and grilled a luscious dinner. All I had to do was eat and enjoy him and the outdoors.

Another time when I was deathly sick and my stomach would hold absolutely nothing down, he cut up corn tortillas and made home-made lime-pepper tortillas chips and they were the only thing I could eat and not get sick.

Life may try to batter us, but we fight back together as a team.

We’ve taken care of a couple of bucket list items together. But, our greatest strength is being there for each other, understanding each other and appreciating each other. I love to see life through my T & H’s eyes. It is seeing life anew sometimes.

In the end, my greatest regret…our greatest regret? That we won’t have more years together and didn’t meet years earlier. If only fate had intervened when we were young…how many times have we had that conversation?

But, in the end, it is what it is…as much as we both hate that saying. We are thankful for what we have and for finding each other. It would have been awful to have never found each other. Neither of us can imagine a life without the other. I cannot imagine a day without his voice and his blue eyes and his sense of humor.

My Tall & Handsome and me at the Survivors Dinner in Savannah, GA (2011) celebrating 29 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (right lung) and 16 years cancer free non-smoking lung cancer (left lung)

And, in the end we resolve…`til death do us part…with the wedding ring block…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

**The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries is a writing and textile art project I started a few years ago. It’s based on a concept started by Mimi Dietrich and a book she wrote about diary quilts. I was so inspired by the book I started my own and decided to accompany each block with a chapter. Everyone has always said, “Bev, you need to write a book!” Well, here it is…at least part of it!”

If you’re interested in catching up, here are the beginning installments:

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries Begin

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 1 – Cupcake Block or Happy Birthday to Me

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 2: Southern Belle and Yankee Puzzle or A House Divide Will Fall…

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 3 – Compass or Where in the World is Bev?

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 4 – Paw Print or To All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries: Chapter 5 – How Green is My Thumb? or Grandmother’s Flower Garden Block

Leave a comment

Filed under Around the Block with The BamaSteelMagnolia(TM), Daddy, Divorce, East Tennessee Heritage, Family, genealogy, Gomez, Life, Marriage, Photography, Quilt Block, Quilts, Susan Powell, Tall & Handsome, The BamaSteelmagnolia(TM) Diaries, Wedding Ring Quilt block

Looking Back, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Lookin Back

My Tall & Handsome’s mother passed away on March 16th. She was living in Rochester, MN at the time and unfortunately we were locked away in the extreme Southeastern US at the time, bound by duties and circumstances that kept us in place.

We last saw Hazel in November 2009 when we went up for Thanksgiving with T & H’s family and to also spend what we thought was Hazel’s 90th birthday. (We now think it was probably her 89th, but what’s a year among friends and family, especially at that age?) Her short term memory wasn’t too good, but her long term memory was holding in there. We had a great visit and I was so glad T & H had that time with his Mom.

In the time since then, her health started to decline, especially fast the last couple of weeks. T & H had just tried to talk to her the Sunday before her final decline. The conversation didn’t go well. He kept loosing her after the phone was passed to her. I think I knew then that things weren’t good. His sister called a few days later with the news that Hazel was in really bad shape. She hadn’t eaten in five days and was coughing up blood. As someone who had been through this before (with my sweet dear Mrs. (Lola) Lovelady) I recognized immediately what was before T & H and us.

I knew Hazel for the last eight years of her life. She was a sweet, soft spoken Southern (Texan) lady. She was devoted to her children and she adored animals…a trait she passed along to both of her big hearted children. When she spoke of my T & H she always talked about what a sweet “boy” he was…which just goes to show you age is relative and all a state of mind.

I don’t know if Hazel every remembered my name. I know she knew I was Reggie’s wife. And, she knew I was Southern. I think we bonded over that. She missed her South and when I was around her I tried to honor her “southerness” because I knew, as a steel magnolia myself, how important our southern roots are to us. They are roots you just can’t extract…no matter where our short term memory may take us. I also wanted her to have the place of honor she deserved as T & H’s mother when she was around, so I always offered her the place by him in the car or at the table. It seemed just the right thing to do.

Before Hazel moved to Rochester she had lived in Flagler Beach, FL. In her little mind, for years she held on to hopes of moving back there. She had been active there and had friends there. She was President of the women’s group at her church, had been active in the Junior League, played bridge and was, of course, a member of the Daughter of the Confederacy.

This past weekend we drove down to Flagler for a bittersweet visit. It was T & H’s way of paying respect to his Mom. We drove by her former home, took her obituary to her former place of worship and just visited some of the places she would have visited.

Even though T & H had been born in New Mexico, he spent many of his formative years in the South. His Dad had worked at Mission Control at Cape Canaveral during the early years of the space program. So many of those years were in Florida. He graduated from high school in Florida and attended Florida State University. T & H was on the swim team in high school, was a surfer and was a lifeguard. He still, to this day, loves to visit Ron Jon’s.

Somewhere in the background, there should be a Beach Boys song playing…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beach Pictures, Family, Flagler Beach, Florida, Florida, Florida State University, Hazel Allison Burch Wilson, Parents, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, Travel

The BamaSteelMagnolia(TM) Diaries – Chapter 1: Cupcake…or Happy Birthday to Me…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries – Chapter 1

Cupcake…or Happy Birthday to Me…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

del.icio.us Tags: ,,

On an early January morning, I entered this world as the first born daughter of a young East Tennessee couple. I had been, at first, what Momma thought was a bad case of flu. (That probably should have been Momma and Daddy’s first inclination I was going to be their “why” child…)

My arrival was on the second day of the New Year. Now, in the little East Tennessee town where I was born, back then being born the first baby of the New Year was a big deal. It came with a certain “15 minutes of fame” mantle which included a package of goodies. I missed Day One by a few scant hours…

Of course being the baby born on the second day meant you got to lay in the crib next to the winner…and that’s about as good as it got. As a result, the course for my personal motto was set at that tender age. That motto is, “A day late and a dollar short…” Kinda been the story of my life many times. The fact I was also born on a Saturday just reinforces my plight because we all know “Saturday’s child works hard for his living…”

Momma and Daddy were childhood and high school sweethearts. She was 15 and he was 16 when they first laid eyes on each other…at a church meeting as they were called back then. She was the pastor’s daughter…a PK…a shy and quiet one. Once they laid eyes on each other, that was pretty much it…it was over for other contenders…male or female.

Mom was smitten by the tall, handsome kid with shiny black hair, dove gray eyes, velvety long eye lashes, the brain of a whiz kid, hands and feet of a giant (my son would later inherit those) and a smooth baritone voice he would use to serenade her under her bedroom window.

Daddy was Momma’s rock star. I have to admit he was a hunky young thing…I can’t tell you what it’s like to be in the third grade and all you friends have giddy crushes on you Dad! Many of my schoolgirl friends thought Daddy looked like Elvis.

Oakley Hicks ROTC Picture

Daddy’s ROTC Picture

That perception of Daddy pretty much followed me all my life…sometimes even to my place of employment. Back about 1977 or 1978 I happened to work for one of the largest banks in Birmingham, AL. One day they floated me for a day to the branch just a few blocks from Daddy’s office.

Around lunch time I happened to look up and see Daddy loping across the lobby in those big long strides of his (I needed to take two or three to his one). He had that look of determined, focused concentration he has when he’s got a task on his mind…it’s like tunnel vision…”I’m going from point A to point B in a direct straight line”…it’s an engineer thing…

I couldn’t help but grin when I looked up and saw Daddy…and that’s who I saw…Daddy. (I will always see Daddy just like no matter how old I am he will always see his little girl, or as he calls me “his little Texas girl because I had my second birthday in Fort Worth”.)

Beverly Faith Hicks  2 Jan 1956

The Little Texas Girl – I still have that table

Ok…back to the bank and the 1970’s…Daddy looked over, saw me, grinned, threw up his hand and waved and kept going in that direct straight line to a teller in an adjacent teller station, took care of his banking, turned to walk out, grinned, waved at me and left.

The minute he was gone some young thing (a fellow teller) came running over to me all giddy and flushed and asked, “Who was that man that was flirting with you?!” I thought she was going to swoon…

My eyes had to have popped out of my head at the speed of light and were about the size of half dollars. I reared back, puffed my chest out like a puffer fish, looked at the giddy little “gold digger” and stated surely and firmly, “That was no MAN, that was my Daddy…and he was a wife at home…my Momma.” Yep, us Southern gals watch out for our own…

Oakley Christmas 1975

The Daddy that came to the bank…

Her mouth flung open and I could have sworn I saw teeth falling out of her gaping mouth. As she was picking them up off the floor she mumbled something like, “Your father?! That can’t be! He doesn’t look old enough to have a daughter you age.” (I was barely past the age of “majority” myself! Give me a break sister bimbo!)

Of course Momma was easy on Daddy’s eyes. Momma was a dark haired beauty. To hear Daddy tell the story her big ol’ doe eyes (that’s big brown eyes in Daddy-speak) caught his attention and heart real fast. Momma was a tiny little thing and smart as a whip even though she was quiet. Like all steel magnolias Momma has a hidden iron will and strength that has seen her through difficult times and her man admires and loves that…and she can be feisty, too.

Juanita Ima-jean McGee (Hicks)

The Girl with the Big Ol’ Doe Eyes…

So, Momma and Daddy were an item all through high school…till both of them graduated…a little over four years. Yes, I said four years.

The fact that Momma’s two sisters adored Daddy like a brother and her pastor father was very fond of and approved of Daddy were all certainly in Daddy’s favor. Even if they hadn’t, I don’t think it would have matter…Daddy was the one for Momma. Momma exhibited the perfect example of the song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” a long time before the Supreme’s even thought about singing it…

When you look at my parents you probably think totally down the line traditional, but they would surprise you! There has been a time or two when Momma and Daddy have bucked the system and done things their way as Frank would say.

Yep, they surprised everyone when they eloped! They had planned on keeping it a secret for a while and Momma was going to continue to live with her folks while Daddy continued his studies at the University of Tennessee in engineering. But some how one of Mom’s younger sisters found out the big secret and being the typical little sister couldn’t keep a secret. The cat was out of the bag and once it was there was no keeping the newlyweds apart.

Oakley Hicks and Juanita McGee Early 1950's

The Way They Were…

Well, you guessed it…about three months later Momma came down with that really bad case of the flu. It just wouldn’t go away and she finally went to the doctor. The doctor let her know pretty fast the flu was going to last about another nine months…you got it…it was me…poor Momma was pretty sick.

Cominghome Day 1-7-1954

Coming Home Day – Yep, that little head is me

I look back over the years and realize some things were set from the beginning. The fact that his girls would be Daddy’s girls was a given. Momma always told me how Daddy was when I was an infant.

When I came home from the hospital my bassinette had to sit by his side of the bed. Momma said if I sneezed, coughed or grunted Daddy was Johnny on the spot to make sure all was right. There would be no choking to death, smothering or SIDS on his watch. He would even take late night and early morning feeding shifts to give Mom time for rest. Over the years we have kidded Daddy about being our “Jewish mother”…our six foot “Jewish mother” worrying over us and protecting us…

Oakley & girls

Daddy and his girls…guess who’s wearing braids?

I thought of all of this recently as I celebrated yet another birthday and marveled at the time passed. Momma and Daddy had called and wished me a Happy Birthday and sung Happy Birthday long distance. Of course Daddy’s special lyric is “Happy birthday little Texas girl…”

It just can’t be possible that so many years have passed since those very first birthdays, yet they have. That point was made plainly clear New Year’s Day. Tall & Handsome and I had gone out to run a few errands and pick up some ingredients for the Chinese dishes for my birthday dinner the next day.

I also needed to pick up some hair spray and other items so I ran into a beauty supply store. As I started to pay I noticed my discount card needed to be renewed. During the renewal process the clerk asked me if I was a certain age or older (keep in mind this age is a loooong way from 60 or any of those other ages people label as “senior”). What?! Me?! I thought… I looked at her slyly and pondered my answer.

Ok, now’s the time to decided whether I will be in denial or take advantage of saving money. Humm…let’s weigh this…vanity…saving money… Logic won. I looked at her and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but tomorrow is my birthday and I will be that exact age.”

She looked back at me and said, “That’s good enough.”

Darn. Did I just get my first senior discount?

Veritas Vos Liberabit – the truth shall set you free

So, in honor of that liberating moment, my birthday and the beginning of my journey I picked the Cupcake block as my first dairy block for The BamaSteelMagnolia™ Diaries.

Cupcake

The Cupcake Block – BamaSteelMagnolia(TM) Style

This block is a six inch appliqué block. I used the freezer paper appliqué method. It really went together quickly and I’m excited about future blocks. The challenge to myself was to see how much of my stash I could use. I’ve already fudged…I bought some fabric on my recent trip to Arizona to use in the diary blocks…it is a journey, right? That’s called justification…

Some fabrics in this block did come from my stash. The “icing” fabric was used in a project for my beloved Aunt LaRue, one of Momma’s sisters. (I had made her napkins with the fabric.) The “cupcake” and candle are fabric I had and have long forgotten their place of origin, but I remember the flame fabric was purchased at Connecting Threads.

It appears this quilt is developing in a red, white and blue color scheme (with accent colors thrown in)…one of my favorites. Blue is one of my favorite colors, and red is the color of garnet my birthstone…which I just happen to love.

Check in to see what Chapter two brings…

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under Applique Blocks, Birmingham AL, Birth, Birthday, Diary Quilt, East Tennessee Heritage, Fabric, Family, Fathers, Humor, Life, Parents, Photography, Quilt Blocks, Tall & Handsome, University of Tennessee