Wednesday, October 31, 2012

not so long ago

Katie aka: Blossom - October 31, 2000
Gina and I used to have a Power Puff girl for a daughter.  I knew her as Katie, but she wanted to be called Blossom.  She called her mother Bubbles and she insisted that I be Buttercup.  Blossom was the self proclaimed leader of the Power Puff Girls.  During a weekend trip to Chattanooga, we came across a Blossom outfit.  Mother pulled it off the rack and bought it.  Katie was  delighted. No sooner had we gotten back into the van did she want to put it on.  She wore the outfit all the way back home.  I'd look back into the rear view mirror and behold Katie's bushy, curly hair pop out from all sides under that Blossom hair piece.  She wore it all the way home and kept it on most of the time for months afterward.  If she wasn't wearing the Bubbles outfit, she was donning the orange Bubble hair. 

Of course she wore the outfit Halloween night.  It was her chance to show the world that they had a super hero in their midst.  It's hard to believe she's already 16.  She's a brilliant young lady who's a wonderful big sister.  Now if I could only keep her from wearing that Thor helmet!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Honoring Guytie

Memorial Pays Tribute To Former Cheraw Doctor 
Cheraw Chronical
Thursday, December 11, 1969

A beautiful, living memorial has been established in Columbia in memory of the late Dr. Clarence Lee Guyton, Jr., a native of Williamston, by his many friends and colleagues.

A fountain has been placed in the center of the grounds of the J. Marion Sims building, the new State Health Department headquarters.  Dr. Guyton, at the time of his death in 1964, was Assistant State Health Officer for South Carolina.  Dr. Guyton practiced medicine in Cheraw in the 1930's.

Mrs. Guyton, the former Jennie Llewellyn Finlayson of Cheraw, unveiled the plaque which bears the inscribed dates of Dr. Guytons's service to the state: 1936-1964.  Afterwards, the Rev. Thomas A. Summers, Chaplain, offered the following prayer:

"Eternal Spirit, from whom we come, to whom we belong, and in whose service is our peace, we arrive at this moment with many memories of a devoted servant.  We remember with grateful affection this man - his uprightness of character, his fidelity and loyalty to the Department of Health, his friends and his wife, his good-will shown to co-workers, and his high honor as a person.

May this memorial, which is being dedicated on this day, be an enduring witness before all people of the greatness of Dr. Guyton's person-hood and leadership.  May the waters which spring forth from it's depths be a symbol of his refreshing and flowing spirit, and may we all be ever reminded of what we have inherited from the fruits of his labors.

So, O God, let thy mercy rest upon us, a company of friends, who today remember with gratitude thy servant, Dr. Guyton.  In responding to the influence which he handed over as a treasure to the ages, may we dedicate our life anew to the principles for which he stood.  In the memory of him who led us beside the cool waters of faith, courage, and service, and to Thy Holy Name we pray. Amen."

NOTE: I found this newspaper clipping among Pat's papers.  I wish that it had a picture of the fountain that was dedicated to him.  If I find an fountain pic, I'll post it. Uncle Guytie died on October 8, 1964 due to cancer.  Here's a link to a previous post about Dr. Clarence and Jennie Llew Guyton.  It's from a letter my aunt Jennie Llew wrote to me a while back.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

mother and son

Patillo Ainsworth was the youngest of the Finlayson clan.  He adored his mother.  You can sense the gentleness and closeness in this picture of Ainsworth and Jennie Wait.  His devotion never changed; from childhood into adulthood.  I've read a good many letters he mailed to Cheraw, SC from aboard his ship during the war.  I could feel it in the very paper - the love and concern that was there.  It was an adoration that remained into old age and to his last day.

I believe in God.  I believe in His Son.  I believe that Jesus has gone before and prepared a place for us; where we unwrap the promises of Heaven, where our joy will be made complete and eternal.  In Heaven families are gathered back together and all made one...a grand reunion.

Friday, October 26, 2012

more Burruss

 Burruss Finlayson 1868-1950
Here's another image of Burruss Finlayson.  This image looks about a year or two younger than in the post I made last Sunday.  I'm surprised how many photos we have of him now.  Growing up, I remember only two framed photos around our house.  My grandfather was born three years after the War of Northern Aggression ended.  His father, Murdoch Uriah Finlayson had been a dry goods merchant before the war.  He moved his family from Wilmington, NC to Cheraw, SC when Burruss was a child.  It's Cheraw where Burruss grew up and became a merchant like his papa.  Burruss married twice.  His first wife Florence died, as did his young son Herbert.  He later married my grandmother Jennie Llew Foster.  They had seven children together: Rutha, Florence, Murdoch,Wofford, Westbrook and Ainsworth.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

being and becoming

“There ought to be a law against any man who doesn’t want to marry Myrna Loy.”
-James Stewart

Mryna Loy had it all: smart, funny and drop dead gorgeous.  She was stunning.  That's what got her noticed by Rudolph Valenteno back in the silent film era.  Her early work involved playing mostly bad girls - the seductive vamps. 
Mryna started in film in 1925, and it wasn't until 1934 that the audience experienced the full range of her talent.  Someone noticed that she had more than a pretty face and cast her as Nora Charles opposite of William Powell in The Thin Man.  Wow!

About ten years ago some friends and I were sitting around at a party.  The subject of handsome men and beautiful women in the movies came up.  The ladies present mentioned the guys they thought were pleasing to the eyes.  The guys mentioned who they thought were attractive.  Beauty of course is subjectively in the eye of the beholder.   I couldn't think of anyone on screen today that possessed any quality near what once was.  There's no one today that can match the kind of talent we had on the screen back in the Hollywood of yesterday.  Mryna Loy is at the top of my list of the most beautiful and the most talented women.  I watch her today and I am still captured by her beauty - in every stage of her life.  She aged gracefully on film and her rolls just got richer.  She was an actress with such incredible range and dimension.

"Life, is not having and getting, but a being and becoming."
-Myrna Loy

One of my favorite rolls of hers is The Best Years of Our Lives where she plays the wife to returning soldier played by Frederic March.  She's not the primary character in this film, but her roll as a loving wife to a husband dealing with a transition from soldier to citizen.  Both Frederic and Myna gave a very real, a very tangible performance.  It's a beautiful thing.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

familiar face

1868 - 1950
Here's a young photo of my grandfather, Burruss Finlayson.  Gina took one look at this photo tonight and said, "You've got his eyebrows".  Yes, those are Finlayson eyebrows alright. She said, "You've got his nose".  I think mine is a little pugger than his..but yeah..I can see that.  She said, "You've got his curly hair".  I HAD his curly hair!

Studying this photograph of a grandfather I never met. I see so many common features that I see in the mirror, or see upon the features of my siblings.  It's amazing what is passed down from generation to generation well over a century.  What else was passed on in the genes?  If we could look back, spend a day with an ancestor, would we recognize other qualities in his or her daily life?

I have a connection to my father when I am working at his old workbench in my garage.  I've learned that my father's father enjoyed working in his shop after work too.  My dad could actually build things.  I primarily repair things that have been broken around the house.  Where my dad had skill to actually construct, I merely restore.  Even though my skills out there are very limited, I find piddling in the garage a quiet enjoyment - a connection.  I think it's something my grandfather passed down to his son and his son to me.  What else is back there that is also in me today?

One day our children's children will be looking at old photos of us.  Who is this fellow on the mantle, this young fellow who was my grandfather - my great grandfather?  What little will be left of us fifty to a hundred years from now.  Maybe just a name.  Maybe a day of birth and a day of death, an occupation, hopefully a story or two.  More than likely, not much more than that.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Miss Florence

My aunts and uncles referred to their Papa's first wife as 'Miss Florence'.  Mary Florence Brock Finlayson had one child together, Herbert Carlisle Finlayson, who died at the age of six resulting from a stomach obstruction.  Florence died of a cancer shortly after little Herbert's passing.

"I don't know much about the Brocks (Miss Florence's folks), except that they all were pretty girls and a nice Methodist family there in Cheraw."
-Jennie Llew Finlayson Guyton

Both Florence and their son are buried in the Finlayson section of the Old St. David's Church in Cheraw, SC. 
They are buried next to the Burruss and Jennie Wait Finlayson family.  Her father Peter Haley Brock and mother Mary E. Lyles are also buried there.

I learned that at one time Peter Brock and son in-law Burruss Finlayson resided next to each other.  Both were dry goods merchants.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

i doubt it

JUNE 1970
This photo may not seem like much to many.  You can't make out the faces or see what's going on, so I'll tell you.  Everyone's back is to the photo.   We were all having such a good time around the coffee table that evening that Uncle Pat heard the commotion and deemed it a Kodak moment. 

The Finlayson's (my dad's siblings) from Columbia, SC and Macon, GA had come for a visit.  This particular night we taught our Aunts Jennie Llew and Rutha how to play the card game 'I Doubt It".  I remember how Jennie Llew threw herself into the card game.  To be good at the game you have to be good at bluffing (LYING).  Jennie Llew took a liking to the game and it was so much fun watching and listening to her bluff and challenge bluffs.  Our aunts made loud "AhhhhWoooo!" and "MERCY" exclamations as lies were exposed.  These two Carolina southern belles scolded each other and us for lying like that and acting ever so innocent when they were caught committing the same sin.  I remember our being crowded around that little round table playing and laughing at and with one another.

I know it won't mean much to most, but it was a good moment and I'm glad Pat had the camera.

Friday, October 12, 2012

doors beyond doors

I've been distracted by life lately.  Since the office closed I've been in limbo.  Life is so different now and I have yet to get in sync with this new phase, this new day.  There are things to do...and I do them.  I find leads and I pursue them.  I am merely going about life.  I don't really know what to write because I don't really know how to think about this time.

I've been pursuing opportunities but so far they all have been like mirages.  Every time I get nearer, it all evaporates.  I start all over again.  I know the economy is bad, countless other folk are struggling too.  I know that we only lose if we give up.  It's simply not an option to give up, I have to keep moving.  We each must have a plan, a compass to keep from wandering.

There was another door this week, but nothing was behind it...again. I'll find another door, be faithful while acquiring a little more patience. In my soul I know that one door is leading to another door.

Maybe I'll start posting more when I get solid footing in life.  In the meantime, I'll keep the faith and encourage you all to do the same.