Archive for the ‘ Family ’ Category

My great-grandfather, John Alexander Brads was a private in the Confederate Army.  One of thousands of bounty soldiers, he was inducted for a $50 bounty into the Rebel band taking the place of a rich man.

Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.

John Alexander and Mary Elizabeth Campbell Brads

One of Jackson’s foot soldiers, he was wounded and captured at Harrisonburg, Virginia after the battle of Good’s Farm and during the Battle of Harrisonburg.

Wounded and captured in a battle his army won, he spent 18 months as a Union Prisoner of war, was released in a prisoner exchange and came home with a wounded and gangrenous shoulder.

His mother put maggots in the wound to eat the decaying flesh.

I doubt that Great-Grandpa cared a whit about states’ rights, agrarian v industrial societies, or slavery; the family wasn’t wealthy, owned little, and the only land deeded to anyone with our surname at the time was the property of distant relatives;  a mere 22 acres.

He was a working man, a subsistence farmer.

When my great-grandfather was a child his own dad died while they were living in Ohio.  His mother walked with her two children from the Buckeye State’s Greene County to Rockbridge County Virginia.  She came home with little more than her children.

There was a Bible of course.

She came home because war clouds were gathering and her family in Virginia was her main hope of survival.

Great-Grandpa died in 1913, some eight years before my father was born and nearly forty before I came along.

I didn’t know him, I only knew of him.

There were no great war stories to tell, there was no telling of the lost cause, there were no tales of bravery and courage.  He was just a poor man fighting because an army had invaded his homeland and he was called.

Like many before and millions after him, he went when called, true to his state and his nation.

The fact the cause was not as noble as we’ve been led to believe does not belie the fact that he was a patriot even though he was a rebel.

He fought because he had to; I can’t condemn him for that.

Great-Grandpa came home to Kerrs Creek, Virginia, took the oath, became a Republican, followed Lee’s advice and claimed the United States as his country.

There’s no statue, there’s no plaque to remind us, there’s no Confederate Battle Standard tucked away in a drawer.

But as my ancestor, his picture remains.  It reminds me that I came from a line of principled men who fought for what they believed, realized when they’d been defeated, and cherished the fact that they survived to tell the story.

His picture will remain, my Confederate Great-Grandfather; he is the Confederate Soldier on my wall.

Front row, 6th from the right, under the window. Reunion of Confederate Soldiers in Lexington, VA 1900 or 1901. They are standing in front of the Court House; the picture was taken from the steps of the Stonewall Jackson House.

Back Street

Susan Hayward would have turned 100 today.

She died at the age of 57 after developing brain cancer.  Most likely, Hayward was another victim of radioactive poisoning from the movie set of The Conqueror, which was filmed in St. George, Utah a former atomic test site.

There were 220 people on the set, 91 would develop cancer of one sort or another, and 46 had already died from the disease by 1980.

The deaths included Agnes Moorehead, John Wayne, and Dick Powell.

Hayward isn’t remembered for the way she died, she’s remembered for her films.

Moving to Hollywood in 1937 to land the role of Scarlett O’Hara (she didn’t), the girl who would eventually live on a large farm in Georgia, started her career as a model, and quickly found bit parts in films throughout WW II.

After the war, she was “discovered” by Walter Wagner and signed a seven year contract.

Wagner, apparently a visionary, paid her, a veritable unknown, $100,000 a year.

In 1947, she received the first of five Academy Award nominations when she played an alcoholic nightclub singer in Smash UP, the Story of a Woman.

She went on to become one of the public’s favorite leading ladies, delighting audiences by portraying Rachel Jackson in The President’s Lady,  another boozer in I’ll Cry Tomorrow, and a California murderer, Barbara Graham, in I Want To Live.

She won her only Oscar for that one.

But my favorite and one that gets little attention is Back Street, a lavish Ross Hunter re-make of an earlier film.

No one played the role of the “other woman” like Susan Hayward, and Rae of  Back Street was an “other woman” role like no other!

Back Street is one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite memories.  My sister, Zola, and I would stay UP late, lie in front of the black and white swivel bottom TV, get as close as we could get,  turn the sound low to keep from waking the house, and watch Back Street.

Mother of course, would come out and tell us to get to bed; quite frankly, I think I was an adult before I saw the end of the film.

Melodrama at its best, Back Street is the story of a wealthy department store heir’s love affair with a small town dress shop owner.  The dress shop owner dumps him when she finds out he’s married.

Of course, she runs to New York, becomes a fashion designer, moves to Rome and becomes the brains behind a salon and becomes an even more famous designer.

The heir pursues her, telling her his lush of a wife won’t give him a divorce, pledging his love yadda, yadda, yadda.

Of course, she caves, they become lovers, things happen, the wife shows UP, Chautauqua hits the fan…you know the drill.

I won’t spoil the end, but it’s one of Old Hollywood’s classiest.

Check it out, make a new memory.

Hey, it’s gonna be hot this weekend, and you need something to do.

A Man I Hardly Knew.

Today is the 149th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth.

William Alexander Higgins was born in Iron Gate, Virginia on May 22, 1868.

He was 51 when his last child, my mother, was born and 84 when I was born. I was 15 months old when he died, so I have virtually no memory of him.

I have seen few pictures of him, and only have one; a copy of a photograph taken when he was a  young man.

I’ve been told he was rather fond of me and remarked to my grandmother as to the fact I was “the prettiest baby,” but I assume he was partial to all 40 of his grandchildren/

I’ve never heard my mother or her sisters say a negative word about the man.

He was married twice.  His first wife left him for another man in 1912 and “saddled” him with three children – an act unheard of in the Appalachian holler where he spent most of his life.

He met and married my Grandmother, a widow with six children, in 1913.  They were married for 40 years before his arteriosclerosis got the best of him.

I say, met and married, but in reality, they must have known one another for quite some time as they were second cousins.

When he was born, Virginia had not been readmitted to the Union following the Civil War; he was a child of Reconstruction – three of my grandparents were.

The year he was born, the typewriter was “perfected” by Christopher Sholes and Edison applied for a patent on the first electronic voting machine.

George Westinghouse came UP with the air-brake, and the Brits used traffic lights for the first time.

Multiple Sclerosis was discovered and named, and an element later called helium was first detected in the Sun’s chromospheres during a total eclipse in India.  The Frenchman who discovered it thought he was looking at sodium, so it went unnamed for a decade or so more.

Grandpa would not have cared; he was glad the sun came UP every day and thankful for what the wonders of the earth gave him.

He was too old to go to battle during the Great War, and far too old with far too many children when WW II rolled around.

He worked most of his life.

He farmed as well as worked for the B & O Railroad as night watchman.

He grew, raised, slaughtered, and cured everything the family ate.

He brought UP three sons and nine daughters in a home without indoor plumbing and electricity.

He never owned a car.

He never owned a television.

He never had a phone.

In today’s world, with so much we take for granted, I am amazed at how different his life was than mine is today, yet he’s technically only a generation away.

I wonder what he would think of us today.

There was much ado this week on the Facebook around the issue of preachers’ kids and why they go bad.

Seems, fount of wisdom, Katy Perry who is a preacher’s kid opined as to why preachers’ kids lose their faith, leave the church they were brought UP in, and even sometimes abandon their teachings and beliefs in God altogether.

The way I see it, Katy Perry seems to wear her rejection of her childhood teachings like a badge of honor.

Although I think Ms Perry is misguided and foolish and her interview in Vogue is a train wreck, the article or post about it contains some good, viable information.

It talks about Katy Perry’s preacher’s kids story, and implies that her story is every PK’s story.

But, it’s not the story every preacher’s kid would tell, and it’s for darn sure not mine.

Oh, yes, I’m a preacher’s kid, or PK as some would call it.

Frankly, I prefer TO:  Theological Offspring.  It sounds classier, and as you can tell from the name of my site and the many and varied topics on which I post…

Well, I’m just a classy guy.

So, no to the PK and yes to the TO, ok?

The post written for For Every Mom by Megan Briggs, a child of a PK herself, is well written, well thought out, and  hits the mark, or close to it.

But, to be sure, I think Katy is wrong.

I think she chose to reject what she was taught, not because there was too much of it, or because there were no choices, but because it is just easier and often more advantageous to be the rebel.

Which she is.

I’ll make some comparisons – and as you know – this will get rambley – hey, it’s the way I roll.

Ms Perry is the daughter of evangelical pastors Keith and Mary Hudson.

Difference # 1, I am the son of a Baptist Preacher, teacher, and expositor and his wife. Mom was Dad’s wife and our mom.  She was a member of the church, an active one, but she didn’t belong to the church, and T-RUST me, the church knew it.

There are similarities too.  Katy grew UP singing in church, as did I, she hit it big, and I, well, I did not.  Perry states her attendance at church was required.  Mine was as well.

But, then I was a kid, Mom and Dad were going to church, I’m six years old, they are not going to let me stay home by my lonesome – who needs all that DFACS trouble anyway?

Her family “steered clear of cultural traditions like Santa Claus and anything having to do with Halloween…”

Difference #2, Daddy told us the real reason for Christmas, sang “Here Comes Santy Claus,” and schooled us on where Red and Green came from and how Christmas had moved from a celebration of Christ’s birth to a pagan ritual to a combined event.

Daddy was pretty smart, knew his history and more than that, knew the Bible.  Halloween was a time for kids to dress UP, get candy, and have fun.  We never had the witchy scary stuff.  I went as a hobo, Popeye The Sailor Man, stuff like that.

We even had a Halloween Party at church.

Perry implied in her interview that there was a “…political line of thinking she was expected to adhere to…”

Her dad watched Fox News.

And though my dad watched all the talking heads on TV, and was a very spiritual/religious man, I don’t think religious affiliation is a requirement for Fox News fans.

Perry’s folks were protesters.  They protested Marilyn Manson.

Dad wasn’t a protester.  He wrote the editor of the local paper – often.

Perry, like me, was taught the doctrine of separation.

The Bible says ‘…Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…” in 2nd Corinthians.

The Apostle Paul wasn’t just referring to her relationship with Russell Brand… In other words, there’s a path of salvation and a path of destruction. The Apostle Paul suggests pulling away from the pleasures of the world and trusting Jesus is the right route to take.

Katy of course, has become a major influence in modern day media culture.

She refers to a “…higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable…” but she doesn’t believe in an “…old man sitting on a throne…”

I was taught there is a God, the Almighty God, and He is on his throne in Heaven overseeing the world.

Old Man?  who knows, He might be an old man, and He’s assuredly a higher power.

But He’s not only a higher power, He is THE Higher Power.

Why is it so difficult to call him God?

Katy has substituted her political activism for her religion while declaring she has to “…stand for something…”

What’s wrong with standing for what you were taught, and what’s wrong with standing for God?

And there was some blather in there about sexism and misogyny, trauma from her past about a controlling guy, blah, blah, blah.

Katy like me, was taught there’s a Heaven and a Hell.

She has decided that’s not the case.

Time will tell.

Fortunately, the article isn’t all about Katy Perry. The writer offers some suggestions :

  • Give your preacher’s kid a choice whenever possible
  • Make your parent-child relationship a priority
  • Be honest with your preacher’s kid
  • Don’t force doctrine on your preacher’s kid

The writer says, “The thing that stands out to me the most in Perry’s story is the lack of choice in her upbringing.”

Of course there was little choice when it came to religion.  Most families are that way – at least families with parents who have a religion.

Teaching kids right from wrong is called parenting allowing them to make ill-advised choices is called neglect.

But, Katy says she had no choice.

Again, I disagree.  We all have choices.

This is where my story starts…

Looking back, there were few choices in my childhood, and almost none when it came to church, the Bible, and God’s son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…but in reality,  I like Katy, had a choice.

One either chooses God or rejects God.

It’s pretty simple looking back, but at the time it was tough.

I don’t remember thinking as a child, “…the minute I get out of this house I’m never going to church again…” but for a while, I had little time for God, the church, or religion.

I know we were there every time the doors were open, Sunday School, Worship Service, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Revivals, Bible School.

Heck, I’ve been to more funerals and weddings than most people.

We went, and though the choice wasn’t ours, it didn’t turn me off on God.

But I strayed.

I went a while without opening my Bible.

I went a while without praying.

I made some bad choices.  I won’t call them mistakes, because they were decisions.  My decisions.

And for a while, I like Katy, saw things differently.  But I, unlike Katy, came back.

Thank God for that.

The Bible says “…Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it…”

That’s pretty much a promise if you ask me.

Teach the children well.

Tell them what you believe is true and sure.

As parents, do all you can.

But in the end, it is still the option of the child.

There were five of us.

The older two never strayed…I mean never strayed…it was annoying, and a standard I decided early on I’d never make.

The last three of us – well, we strayed.

And for a while we stayed.

But, always in the back of my mind there was that “Train UP the child” thing.

As a kid, it was fitting in.

Germantown wasn’t easy for a Baptist preacher’s kid.

There were temptations, there was acceptance, and there were entertainment options so to speak.

Dancing was forbidden.

I loved to dance.

I danced.

I still dance.

But, always in the back of my mind, I knew some things, some of the choices, weren’t right.

I wonder, if Katy feels that way.

What Katy doesn’t say and where we differ is I believe that if the Devil can’t get to the preacher, he will try to get to his kids, and if the preacher isn’t watching, he can lose them to Satan.

It happens, and it was happening to me.

But, always in the back of my mind, it was a choice.

I chose for a season to reject what I’d been taught.

I chose for a season to ignore what I’d been taught.

And I chose for a season to do what I wanted.

When it all comes down to it, it’s all about choices. One can be taught one way all their life, but their own free will determines the path they will take.

Katy’s folks gave her choices, she just rejected them.

For me, in the end, it was my choice to choose their choice.

Looking back, I see now how fortunate I was.  I heard things growing UP that most people never got to hear.  Not everyone had a dad who knew the Bible like mine did.  Not every kid heard the Bible stories told by someone who really knew them, really studied them, and really loved them.

Not everyone was fortunate enough to be a Preacher’s Kid.

 

If you’d like to read the article please go to For Every Mom – here’s the link…

Katy Perry and Why You Need to Give Your Christian Kid Choices

It’s a great blog every day.

Just a note…

  • “If there’s one thing I’ve heard from disgruntled preacher’s kids, it’s that they couldn’t stand the hypocrisy they witnessed.”
    • Let me be clear; I can’t not conjure UP one example of hypocrisy in either of my parents.
  • Don’t force doctrine on your preacher’s kid
    • I disagree – entirely. Parents, preachers or not, are supposed to teach their children what they believe is right and give them enough space to opt in or out.