March 19, 2021

FINDING HER PLACE

It must have been strange to be one of only two daughters and one of the three siblings that were not twins in the Guthrie family!  Artie, born in 1902, was the fourth child and second daughter born to Tom and Callie Ensminger Guthrie. After her came two sets of twins—Jim and Tim born in 1904 and Harold and Farrell born in 1913 and Frank (born in 1907).  Before her were George (fraternal twins Addie and Harry (1896) and Tom (1898). Nine siblings in all!

The other daughter Addie never married and died in her thirties.  Artie married Gordon Bennett when she was about 26.  They lived in Decatur (Meigs County) and had a daughter Frieda (born in 1930) and a son Gordon, Jr. (born in 1933). 

There always was a sense of sadness around Artie.  The cousins all talked about her many chronic illnesses—she had a “bad back,” cancer, just one thing after another it seemed. After she was widowed, there wasn’t any move to have her look after her mother, Aunt Callie. Instead Aunt Callie lived with her son Harold and his family—and Artie was alone.

Her son was always called Buddy—and as a young man, he moved to the San Francisco area.  He loved exotic flowers and always had a garden filled with tropical flowers.  He specialized in orchids and African violets for indoor blooms. I’m not sure what his job was but it always seemed that his lifestyle definitely was more acceptable in California than in Decatur, Tennessee.  His mother Artie adored Buddy and all his friends—and more than anything, she loved spending time with him in California.

When Tom and I lived in Houston, we enjoyed visiting Jim and Vera Guthrie at their home there.  Once when they invited us over for steaks from his ranch, Artie was there for a visit.  She enjoyed traveling to see her brothers in Texas and California!

This photo shows Artie and Buddy sitting among the lovely blooms in his California garden in September, 1987. She was 85 years old then. She had many surgeries and hospital stays in California and eventually died there in May, 1992 (about four months before Harriett died). 

Both cousins died far from their Tennessee homes—Artie in California, Harriett in South Carolina—but both are buried in Tennessee. They spent their last days with those who loved them most. And that sounds like home!

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