Friday, November 4, 2011

Nellie and Bill

My great-aunt Nellie.

This is Nellie, who is the sister of my favorite grandmother (Bernice, pronounced BURRniss); she's my mother's aunt. One thing I can tell you about Nellie is she loves everyone; she loves to laugh; and she can tell a good story. No matter what it is she's laughing at, you can't help but laugh along with her, it's contagious.

Nellie and my mother could be sisters, they look so much alike.

Chesapeake Bay Mother

Nellie is married to the young man below, Bill Braxton. They currently reside in Florida, and they're both very inspirational people in their own ways.

Bill, among other things, flies planes, writes books,
and drives from Florida to Pennsylvania even though he's
in his nineties.  NINETIES, people! He not only looks young,
he is young and he LIVES young.

This young man, who is in his nineties, drove the two of them all the way from Tampa clear up to Pennsylvania recently, and they stopped in Mathews and Gloucester to visit with friends and family on their way.

Bill and Nellie met when they were much younger. They went on to marry other people but when their spouses passed away, they not only reconnected - they decided to get married.

Bill sent me a couple of emails filled with memories jogged by his recent visit.

The first mentioned an old tree at Flat Iron.  For those who have ever driven down Ware Neck, this would be the huge, old tree you pass when you turn off Route 14 at Welford-Taliaferro Wayside, at the very first sharp bend to the right, just past the couple of buildings that used to belong to my great-grandfather.

Bill says, "The tree must be at least 200 yrs old; Nellie says she played under it when she was little. Next time you pass that area, take a look at the historical marker across the road from the Strigle home. It is dedicated to the Womens Air Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. Margaret Ann Hamilton Tunner was a Gloucester girl who was one of these pilots. Her father was General Tunner who commanded the Berlin Airlift in 1948. I was a pilot on the Berlin Airlift and also served under General Tunner in the Korean War. Also, I had one of the WASPs as an instructor in Flying school. So many memories!"

About the Old Mill Skating Rink, he said: " I know you have seen this a thousand times or more, but can't pass the place without driving in and just looking and thinking of the great times. If someone asked me the happiest years of my life, I would have to say 1940 and 1941. Nellie was the prettiest girl in Gloucester; I never had trouble getting a load of guys in my car to visit the rink. Why did they have to put in that bridge at Yorktown and ruin everything? Gloucester ain't what it used to be.

Click here for a post I did about the Old Mill Skating Rink which includes not only a picture of it but our Bill's memories of the place.

Click here for Part II of Bill's story where he talks about meeting Nellie.

Nellie and Bill's visit was all too brief, but we savor every minute we get to spend with them.


Last but not least, completely unrelated to anything above other than I'm still talking about my family and how much I treasure them, I'd like to share a photo of my parents and my son at Wednesday night's Beta Club ceremony at the high school.

Chesapeake Bay Parents
Chesapeake Bay Son

I love and appreciate them all.


deborah said...

what wonderful memories your Aunt and Uncle share with you - they are true historians, passing on what was special or important to them!
Congrats again on the Beta Club induction and to the Cross Country Teams for their wins! WooHoo!!

Anonymous said...

Point one--there are far too many lovely women in your family ! Another point--Bill had such an amazing service record--OMG. So touching that his happiest years were 1940 & 41..

tj said...

...I agree with the above comment regarding way too many lovely women in your family. Sheesh. I see where you get it from CBW. ;o)

...Bill & Nellie sound like absolute treasures! And what an adorable couple too.

...Yeah, if we could only turn back time to a day in their lives to see and feel what they have lived. *sigh*

...And honestly CBSon, could you get any cuter?! ;o)

...Have a wonderful weekend!

...Blessings :o)

growing wild on waverly lane said...

I'm so glad you did this post!

If it weren't for Bill visiting in his favorite years, I would have no snapshots of me as a baby/toddler. Thanks to him, I know what I looked like.

I confused him with Eddie Bracken, the movie star (Bracken, Braxton). I couldn't see a movie with that actor without thinking I knew the guy.

They're both so great and I love them.

Maria_NJ said...

Oh they are sooo dear!..God Bless them for taking that long trip...

I feel the same way...FAMILY is everything...

don't work to hard today and have a wonderful weekend...

Mental P Mama said...

How sweet are they???? Sigh.

Daryl said...

Young Sam bears a striking resemblance to the older (was going to say elder but your dad is anything but elder) Sam. I love family stories, reminisces ... thank you for sharing your Bill and Nellie!

Anonymous said...

this is great stuff!
Middle Sis

Fighting Mermaid said...

Nice post! Old time love stories are surely the best.Congrats on the Beta induction. I remember those Beta conventions as meetings that might worry a parent...but maybe I'm remembering something else. LOL.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Fighting Mermaid - Actually you are remembering quite accurately, thank you for reminding me! Yet another thing to put on The Ever Growing List of Worries Regarding Parenting Teenagers...

On a related topic, my precious eighth grade daughter informs me that she has been asked to the eighth grade mixer. This means she has a DATE for the eighth grade mixer. This means she has A DATE!!

I am not prepared for this...

Dghawk4 said...

Wonderful post, wonderful stories, wonderful family! Stories like those are so precious and stthe fabric that binds a family together. Try to get as many of them as you can. Also get as many of your parents stories as possible. I wish I had more stories from my family, but was fairly young when most of them passed. I have a few from my parents, but wish I had more.

BTW a BIG congrats to both of the CB children on their accomplishments. You have every right to be proud.

thomas said...

Wow. Great stories, everyone in your family is a great writer?

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Do treasure those moments with your family, especially the older ones. Get as many stories as you can out of them before they take them with them, too. I've been longing for my grandmother lately; I have a lot I'd really like to run by her.

Robert Julian Braxton said...

My father Cornelius Erwin "Bully" Braxton was stationed 27 months at an Orlando army air corps base in second World War - an aircraft mechanic. After second child (my younger brother) was born 1945 September, my father was honorably discharged from service. The family went back to Snow Camp, NC, the ancestral Quaker community - Braxton family from late 1600's. I am retired in Fairfax, VA (here since 1984) and go to Gwynn, VA, summer seasonal.