Saturday, November 7, 2009


Despite the rain, there were kids everywhere in the neighborhood. It was great! Jake was Mario this year and what a cutie! Mario is a little chubbier than Jake so I kind of thought he looked like a blue pencil with a big red eraser.

We went to Olive Garden for an early dinner and then back home for trick or treat!

See? Skinny blue pencil, red eraser!

Add 1 mustache!

We had a great night and the rain started again right as we turned onto our street to walk home!

What a haul! He had a very full pun'kin!

Even Bella got a new toy!

That toy is now toast! No toy will get the best of Bella!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lots of Changes

It's been pretty busy around here the past few weeks. I've gone from having a job I was so fed up with to a job I really like and actually make money doing! Whoo hoo! It's amazing how things fell into place with this job. Honestly, I was worried about going to work outside the house again. I'd been at home for 8 years and thought that, along with my age, would make it hard for me to find something. Prayers were answered though every step of the way. I really felt after the interview that I had the job, but was worried about the hours. They wanted to start me out 10 am until 7 pm. What on earth would I do with Jake? I couldn't afford daycare of any sort right away and my mom was backing out on picking up Jake for me if I got a job. Instead of worrying though, I just prayed. When I got the call on Labor Day, prayers were answered when my boss told me she needed me to start out part time 8 to 2:30. YES! I readily accepted without thinking twice. When I started, the job was a busy one, which I like, and it was what I call mindless. Oh, you still need to know what you're doing, but for me it was perfect. No stopping to look up drugs or medical terms, no listening over and over to try and figure out what some sloppy dictation was supposed to be. It was great.

I was to be one of two people doing this job, and when the young girl came back from family medical leave, it seemed to work out fine. I think though because I get in there and work and don't slack off, that it made her slacking off more noticeable. I'm not bragging or anything; it was just the way it was. She was constantly texting on her cell phone or talking on the phone at work, constantly up and down from her desk and talking. I was worried for her myself that she may get fired.

My boss approached me one day and asked me how soon I could go full time. Telling her the truth, I said it would be as soon as I could figure out care for my son after school and that my mom had kind of backed out of what she and I had discussed. My boss also said that the hours would be 9 to 6, which would be a bit better than 10 to 7.

All along though, I had this feeling that the girl I was working with would not be staying long, and sure enough, she came back from lunch one day and quit. I hate it that she quit so soon, but I was offered her hours of 7:30 to 4:30! Another prayer answered because I really wanted to have evenings with Jake and not have to come home, slap some kind of dinner on the table and then put him to bed. I also found out that his school had an after school program, and it was so simple to get him enrolled in that. He's fine with it, with only a little bit of fuss, and I feel good about him being there.

I just completed my first full time week and it went very well. This coming Friday I will have a full paycheck working full time. I will not know what to do with myself!! After 8 years of struggling with money and going back and forth between transcription companies, I feel like a person with a real job again. I don't feel like I'm some loser struggling to make ends meet, that I can't buy clothes for myself when I need them so badly or spend too much at the grocery store for fear of not having gas in the car of at least a bit of cash in my pocket in case of emergency. I feel like those times are over and I'm on my way to standing on my own two feet again! My prayers were definitely answered!

What else is new? My baby turned 6!!! Unbelievable! For the first time, we decided to have his party somewhere other than here at the house. We chose a great new park with two covered picnic areas, great playground setups, and most importantly, restrooms! Of course, it was freezing cold! Last October, Jake was in shorts, it was sunny and warm. This time, we're all cold and couldn't wait to get back home! Of course, the kids didn't seem to mind at all.

Jake and Kimberly, from his class.

Lucian! What a climber!

Jackson, Jake's cousin. What a cutie!

Jake was very protective of Kimberly. Jake's cousin Will has his eyes closed in this one! He's a cutie, too! Lucian is behind Will.

Nana made the cake. Sponge Bob, of course!

Since Jake had his first birthday, it's been my tradition to take his photo on October 19 at 10:07 pm, the date and time of his birth. Here's my baby this year. (Forgot to put his pillowcase on his pillow, duh!) How do you like those Sponge Bob Jammies?

Lastly, we have a new addition to the family. Oh, it's taking some getting used to, but she's pretty cute.

Bella is supposed to be Jake's puppy, but she really loves Pat. Luckily though, she's good with all of us. Explaining to a child how to be gentle with a puppy is tough! Jake is beginning to understand that he could hurt her if he's not careful. Of course, SHE thinks she is a big dog. Pat said at the vet's office the other day, Bella saw a big dog come out of the exam room and started to bark and growl at him. Pat said the dog could have swallowed her in one gulp, but Bella didn't let that stop her!
Bella dreams big for sure!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting Up For School

I remember how hard it was to get up and get ready, don't you? If you rode the bus like we did, you probably had to get up that much earlier, too. Compared to what time I had to get up as a kid, Jake's got it pretty easy since we start waking him up at 6:45. Noticed I said "start." He'll eventually come into the living room where I've turned on Play With Me Sesame, a half hour take off show of Sesame Street. He never wanted to watch it or Sesame Street when he was smaller, but Play With Me Sesame has been a hit since school started. I love hearing him laugh at Elmo and Grover dancing or Ernie annoying the crap out of Bert.

He still grumps and complains while I'm cooking breakfast, and as I was doing so Friday morning, I peeked into the living room to make sure he was up.

This is what I saw...Bert, Ernie, and that blob on the couch.

Guess the blob is not quite awake yet, but I did hear a little laughter coming from it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project Comfort

What is Project Comfort?

If you've never heard of a prayer shawl or a comfort shawl, this site called The Prayer Shawl Ministry can enlighten you on what they are and their uses. Basically, they are handmade shawls given to someone undergoing any type of change in their life, such as an illness or grieving, where a bit of comfort is needed. They can be knitted, crocheted, and quilted. Often, they are blessed by a minister or priest before being given to the recipient.

My plan is to make as many as possible to donate to our local hospital's cancer center, to anyone, or any hospital. I'm working on different patterns, including some with more of an open weave for the warmer months. I personally know that doctor's offices and clinics can be quite chilly even in the summer if you have to wait for long periods of time.

If you would like to donate yarn or make a monetary donation, it would be greatly appreciated and certainly be for a good cause. You may contact me at jks4690 "at" aol "dot" com. Also, if you are a knitter, crocheter, or quilter and would like to volunteer for Project Comfort, use the same address to contact me. I'd love to have your help!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Some VERY Interesting History Here in Town

I was going to say "Family" history, but I think I'll just say that the main person in this story was the husband of my relative, so we're not technically related.

I'm talking about my relative, Dot Cooper, who we called Uncle Dot for some reason even though she was an Aunt. Uncle Dot was the younger sister of my great, great grandmother. She married T. Earl Robertson, whom this bit of history is about. The story below is something I had heard only bits and pieces of and today my cousin, Lisa, who said it took her FOREVER to put enough information together to find this article, sent an e-mail to all of us "cuzins" containing the following. I've changed the wording a bit and removed the names of the deceased and injured. I do not want to offend any readers!

And also, if you take the ghost tour in downtown Spartanburg, you get to go down to where this happened. According to my cousin Andrea, who took the tour the claim is there are voices to be heard and lots of "ghostly activity." Apparently, this was something the city would not forget.

Here goes:

The Spartanburg Journal

August 1, 1929


Shipping Clerk Runs Amuck at Bell Mill Wielding Hand Axe

T. Earl Robertson in Bloody Rampage Fatally Wounds _____, _____, _____, and _____

African American Worker Badly Cut, May Die

Four persons all white men, were killed or fatally wounded, another probably mortally injured and the west end of the city thrown into confusion here shortly after noon when T. Earl Robertson, 55, shipping clerk at the J.W. Bell mill on West Main street became insane and ran amuck with a hand axe.

The dead are:

_____, 30, 170 Pine street, sales manager for the J. W. Bell company.

_____, 58 321 South Converse street extension, bookkeeper and cashier for the J.W. Bell company.

_____, 36, South Church street extension, car repairer for the C and W C railway.

_____, 47, South Church street extension, car repairer for the C and W C railway.

_____, about 40 years of age, residing on Brush street and employed with the Bell company, was at the county hospital his skull crushed also by a blow from the ax. He was resting quietly, however, about 9:10 o’clock this afternoon.

Preparations were being made this afternoon to take the insane man to the Columbia asylum. Physicians who visited him in the county jail declared he was violently insane, although he appeared to have lucid moments. Every precaution was taken by officials to prevent him from doing himself bodily harm.

Effort was being made to locate Coroner John S. Turner, who was out of the city, to learn what action would be taken concerning an inquest.

_____ was killed instantly in the office of the J. W. Bell company and _____ died while en route to the hospital. Their heads were split open by the maniac who crept upon his unsuspecting victims who were defenseless and without an avenue of escape from the building.

_____ died at the Mary Black clinic an hour after he had been carried to the institution. His head was crushed by a heavy blow from the ax in the hands of Robertson. _____ succumbed at the Mary Black clinic three hours after he was struck down by the insane man.

Both _____ and _____ were taken unawares by the ax-slayer as they were eating their noonday lunch in a box car in the yard of the C & W C, a short distance from the J.W. Bell plant.

Reports from the Spartanburg county hospital were to the effect that _____ is suffering from injuries to his head, the evidence being that he was struck two blows. His forehead is cut and bruised but it has not been determined whether or not his skull is fractured. He also has a cut on the top of his head. The man was unconscious when he reached the hospital but a short time afterward revived but was unable to give a coherent account of what had taken place.


Robertson was taken into custody by Constable Frank Johnson of Judge JJ Gentry’s court. The insane man was captured by S.J. Lanier, foreman of car repairs for the C. And E.C. railway, who held him until the arrival of the officer.

Mr. Lanier had noticed the maniac walking along the platform of the Bell company and saw him throw something away, he said. Mr. Lanier had found both the bodies of _____ and _____ and then noticed Robertson.

He met him on the sidewalk near a pole and asked him what he meant by killing the two men. “I don’t know what made me do it,” the maniac replied; and later on “just crazy; just crazy,” he repeated.


He kept begging Lanier to have him arrested, the C. and W. C. foreman said. Lanier caught the maniac about the waist and so held him until the arrival of Constable Johnson.

_____ and _____ were found by J.B. O’Neale, C. and W.C. engineer, Bussey having been slain at his desk.

After Robertson had been on his death-dealing trail, he stood in a door of the establishment and refused to let people come in, It was said. A traveling salesman coming up to the door asked to see Mr. Bell, but was told by the maniac, it was said, “You can’t come in here. I am the only one in this place.”


The traveling man noticed something queer about Robertson’s eyes and left.

The slain men were all married and have families. _____ wife and young daughter were expected back from Chattanooga, where they have been visiting this afternoon.

Some signs of Robertson’s having acted strangely had been manifested for several days, several persons said. But J.W. King, traffic manager, who was at lunch at the time of the accident noticed nothing particularly.

Robertson was “worrying possibly a little” at times, but he had not noted queer behavior during the morning.

Robertson explained he hadn’t been able to eat dinner. He had tried to kill himself two or three Sundays ago, he told the physician, by throwing a chain over a high voltage wire.

He had thought of putting his head into a revolving wheel at the Bell plant, he said. He had had no quarrel with anybody, he explained, and he thought _____ and _____ were still at their work.

His breath had been bad and he had been undergoing treatment, the maniac told the physicians he had asked his brother to have him locked up for he knew he was crazy.

On being further questioned he admitted he “might have” hurt somebody during the day.

He had formerly worked with the county and elsewhere, including on a farm. Robertson said he had been with Bell several years.


Robertson lives with his wife and son in East Spartanburg. He was interviewed at the jail by Dr. L.J. Blake and Dr. J.E. Cudd, county physicians.

When asked his name he replied he didn’t know, and again gave a negative answer when the question was repeated. He has two brothers he said living above the city, Andrew and John.

The only thing he could remember about the incident the maniac first claimed was asking someone to arrest him.

Mrs. Robertson and their son T.E. Robertson, Jr. arrived at the jail about 3 o’clock and visited Robertson in his cell.

Her husband had been having spells for several weeks, Mrs. Robertson explained. Their home is on the Union highway near the junction with the Spartanburg Country Club road.


John Simpson, employee at the Bell plant was probably the nearest to the warehouse victims and gave a coherent account of the events, although he was not an eye witness. He was eating dinner near the platform of the warehouse and was facing the railroad track.

The man said he heard a loud cry for help issue from the interior of the building. Soon Robertson appeared carrying the handax in his hand. It was stained with blood and he had blood spots on his face he said. As he approached him Simpson said he became frightened and moved away.


Simpson said he evaded the man who walked around several freight cars and again entered the building. It was then that Robertson attacked several of the employees who fled from the building. Among the number was Clarence Guess, who narrowly escaped the fate of _____, who was struck twice by the insane man.

Simpson said he fled toward Main street but turned around in time to see Robertson emerge from the building behind several of the workmen and walk directly across the railroad track to the car in which _____ and _____ were seated. He then went to the telephone and called the police station, he said.


Robertson had been in the employee of the Bell company for about 8 years in the capacity of shipping clerk. He lived at East Spartanburg and for a number of years was employed as street car motorman. He is married and has one son. His wife visited him in the jail shortly after being apprised of the tragedy.

AUGUST 2, 1929

…………While the city was reeling under the shock of the tragedy precipitated by the erstwhile meek shipping clerk, the man who in his frenzy snapped out four lives, was being spirited away to the state hospital for the insane at Columbia. The party, in charge of Chief J.H. Barnett of the county rural police, left here about 3:30 o’clock after making hasty arrangements for the commitment of the mentally unbalanced man to the institution.

They arrived in the capital about 4:15 o’clock when he was immediately admitted to the asylum and placed under observation.


Three times during the trip Robertson attempted to kill himself, the officers said, but each time his efforts were restrained. He kept muttering, they said, that he wanted to die. Every precaution was taken by those in charge of him to prevent him from doing himself bodily harm and hospital attaches are exercising every care with the same object in view, according to reports from Columbia.

Wish I could figure out why they mentioned that "his breath had been bad." Such an odd comment, don't you think?

I understand that Earl Robertson's son, who was also named after him, worked all of his life to "pay the families" of the men who were killed. I'm sure this must have been something to deal with during that time. My grandmother, who was 7 years old when this happened, said she can remember someone coming to the house to inform them all of what happened. It's so tragic and sad and an unfortunate part of Spartanburg History.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two Funnies (or not so funny) in One Day

Jake said on the way out to school today:

"I wish a big rock would drop on school!"

Nice, right?

Jake said later:

"School is like a microwave....BAD!"


Physique 57

Thanks so my friend, Tami, I found out about this give-away! I'd love to win this! For a chance, visit Fitness NYC!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bubbles, SpongeBob and Six-Year-Old Feet,

In just another 2 months my baby boy will be 6 years old. I really cannot believe it. He's only a foot or so away from being my height. I can't keep him in shoes for more than a season or pants either for that matter. I know everyone says they grow up too fast, but I had no idea how true it was until I had a child of my own.

Yesterday, Jake and I played outside, drawing on the driveway with chalk. I had to draw everything SpongeBob Squarepants and hopscotch, of course.

Do you recognize the houses of the SB characters? I even added the Krusty Krab! haha!

Today, we were out again with bubbles. He received some as a party favor over the weekend.

Notice they are peppermint scented.

I love the cheeks in this one.

After I had enough bubble pictures, I once again started to wonder how many pairs of shoes we would go through before his feet stopped growing. Those thoughts led to these:

Bubbly Boy Feet

Squatty Boy Feet.

Right Boy Foot

Size 13 Boy Feet

Dear Nike,
Please send shoes. Thank you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun Weekend!

This Saturday was Carson's first birthday! She invited Jake to a pool party at her Marmie's house and we had lots of fun.

Here's the birthday girl and her mommie!

Having a little snackie.

There were hotdogs and chips, ice cream sundaes, and of course birthday cake!

Carson had her own, of course!


Sweet Carson got lots of presents including a tea set, a baby doll, and a trike!

Jake is learning how to swim and did great with the swimmies. At first I wasn't going in with him, so Hope volunteered to help out.

It was so hot, though, I broke down and went in the pool. The water felt great, but after playing with the kids, lifting Jake out of the pool so he could slide into the water about 100 times, and of course getting more sun than I needed to, I was pooped! I really wanted to do this:

Instead, I had to deal with this little guy:

Don't you love those goggles? : )

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why is it....

that the taste of that tiny McDonald's hamburger is so wonderful with those McDonald's fries???

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bringing it Back to Life, Part 3 - Inside Prior to Demo

The point of my blogging about the house is to get the story down for the family. I plan on showing my grandmother what I've written and have her add or delete anything needed. I've asked other family members to write down their memories of the house and the family members who lived there as well. I want every detail, "lest we forget."

That being said, you may want to return to previous posts where I've added another picture or two or little tidbits that I've discovered. I'll try not to backtrack from here on out though.

On the agenda this week is to borrow all the pictures my dad and his wife, Mackie, took along the way and copy them for my collection.

In the meantime, how about a look at the inside of the house before demolition started?

After my aunt and uncle moved out, they did rent the house a couple of times. We all know that can be bad or good depending on your tenants. Basically though, the house needed an overhaul of huge proportion in order for it to survive and remain a family landmark.

The layout of the house I remember looked like this: (Sorry for the blurriness.)

The day demo was to start, I went down to help pull up carpets and also to take pictures. Wow! Let me just say, there was never a shortage of dogs who also shared the house, and the carpets had some more odor! Floors were rotting, it was filthy, and lots of junk was left behind by previous renters. I personally wondered how on earth my dad was ever going to manage such an undertaking. I might have been too overwhelmed after that first day and called it quits, but not my dad.

My dad and his brother looking over the hallway. Masks were certainly a necessity!

This bedroom is now part of the new kitchen.

This photo was taken from the oldest part of the house, the dining room, straight through to the front door.

Here you see how the plaster was done originally in the house.

This is the front bedroom. I'll have some more detailed photos of the original ceiling in this room, but it's beautiful! The straps that held a quilting frame long ago still hang there. The door you see in this photo now leads into a new bathroom.

The fireplace in the living room. The brick was added sometime in the 1970s and then the wood stove later.

All of the carpets were taken up, and the cabinets in the hallway were taken down. Both sides of the hall were lined with cabinets similar to this one, all added in the 1970s.

Here's the kitchen as it was. This is in the very back room of the house and for now is still this way. It's in the oldest part of the house that my dad has done nothing with yet. I think I mentioned, he may not be able to save the older rooms.

Basically after that day, my dad moved in. He knew once he began bringing in his tools, saws, and supplies that he would need to be there so nothing was stolen or ransacked once he started working. He worked during the day and into the evening and then after a trip up to my grandmother's house for a shower and dinner, he would go back to the house to sleep. I'm not sure how he decided what to do first or how he did anything without sketches, but he had everything in his head just how he wanted it to be. Just wait...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bringing it Back to Life, Part 2 - Some of the People

I don't remember my great, great grandmother of course, but I know she was a woman petite in height, and she was a civil war veteran's wife. The picture below is of her and her son, Wales, my great grandfather. I have to find out, but I think they are standing in front of the hog pen where the (duh) pigs were kept.

In a book my grandmother wrote for her three sons, she tells about "Mama."

"She despised wash-day and would give away a Sunday dress to get a woman to help do the washing. She was a confederate widow. In July each year she received a pension (around $130). We would load up in the T-Model car and go to Spartanburg. It bought all of us shoes, cloth for dresses, curtain material, white sheeting, baloney, and each of us sat in the car and had a greasy hot dog with lots of onions."

"She loved her church, my babies, pretty clothes, and cheese, and she was as reserved and noble as a queen."

"She married my grandfather, Henry Johnson, when she was very young. I wonder if she ever loved him very much. He was almost twice her age and died when my father was four years old. She never married again."

"She disliked the dark, loved new moons and things done right. She taught me things I will never forget-you never chewed with your mouth open-you put a knife, fork, and spoon at every place." (All the time I might add and not just special occasions and MY grandmother taught me the same thing.) "Every night she knelt by her bedside and said her prayers, her hair hanging down her back in a single pigtail."

Wales and his mother Lillian Cooper Johnson

Below is Layton Cooper, or Uncle Layt as everyone called him. He worked very hard on finishing the house as a young man.

The picture below is of Wales again. I have a teensy memory of him. He passed away when I was 4 or so. Some excerpts from my grandmother's book about her father:

"He had a funny way of teasing without laughing. How he loved my boys when they came along. He was so very special. I feel he's enjoying Heaven, for if he's not there, there is no use for anyone to try to get there."

"His hands I will never forget. He made a trip to Woodruff for crop fertilizer in a wagon and was caught in a severe thunderstorm. Seeing those hands with the wet, torn bag and the pink and white squares of coconut candy was too much."

This lady is Wale's wife, Clara Jackson Johnson. Everyone called her Mother except my dad and his brothers and they called her Granny. I call her Mother, too, and it suits her much more than Granny does in my opinion. She passed away my senior year in high school. I can remember when she lived in the home house a little. I remember staying overnight with my cousins Hope and Judy.

My grandmother wrote these things about her mother.

"I can always remember how my Mother kept flowers in the house. Always starched scarves on the tables and dressers. Pillow cases, too, were starched, and the sheets were ironed nice and smooth."

I know she was a wonderful cook. I know she like to dress up for church on Sundays. She always wore dresses and always had a broach or necklace on. She taught me how to crochet and I can still see her hands showing me the stitches.

Daddy Wales at Christmas.

Check out that plate of fried chicken!

My grandmother, Mary Kathryn, was born in the house. This is her as a baby.

There were lots of babies. This is my grandmother's younger sister and my grandmother's first son, Bob.

Here's my dad.

My cousin, Hope. I know it gets confusing, but Hope is my grandmother's niece, my dad's first cousin and my second. She's closer in age to me, and I consider her my sister!

Look! It's me with my great grandparents. My grandmother told me that Daddy Wales would never hold us, but he'd touch us in some way. I love this picture of him holding my hand. Notice the broach at Mother's collar?

There were special events at the house, too. Here's a picture of my mom's bridal shower. My great aunt is in the center. On the left is Emily, and don't ask me to make that family connection or you'll be so confused you won't know whether to scratch your watch or wind your butt!

Another bridal shower: this time it's my dad's youngest brother's wife or soon to be wife, Judy.

While I look for more photos of the house and pictures taken in and around the house, I'll leave you with this:

Snort! This is my great aunt, my grandmother's sister, Hope's mom. Don't you love the hair? I wonder how long it took her exactly to get it that high and how much AquaNet she had to use? She was at a family picnic in this photo and my guess is she fishing a bug from her iced tea with that spoon and thinking how much she would like to ring the photographer's neck.

Life goes on doesn't it?

Jake in Papa's new window...