July 12, 2021

GOING TO VISIT UNCLE JOHN

This “double decker” photo from the early 1930s is one I never saw until we were going through the Underwood home in Atlanta after Juanita’s death.  It’s interesting that half of the group are on the side porch while the other half are standing on the lawn below.

Aunt Della (standing in the middle with her young daughter Juanita) must have been on a visit to her Athens family.  When they came, there were always family visits to see all their Ensminger and Cate relatives.  Since Aunt Della never drove, I’m sure Mother took her around to see everyone.  She’s standing on the right.  

Uncle John Ensminger and his wife Lena are on the porch.  He was my grandmother Evalee’s brother.  Three of their four children are in the photo—daughter Effie Mae is standing on the left. The younger children on the porch are Claude and Jonnie Nell.  Neal was their eldest son, but he was probably already working. 

Uncle John was still living when I was born and I remember going to visit, but I think Aunt Lena had died before then. Neal later married and raised his own family there, and Effie Mae (who never married) lived with them. The two younger siblings seemed to struggle more.  Jonnie Nell had one son, Buddy Arrants, and Neal and Maggie took him into their family as if he were their third son.  There he found the stability and love he needed.

A girl may move away from home, but when she comes back to visit, it’s a special feeling to be viewed as an honored “out of town guest” by those who remember when she was born!  And to share this extended family with her own daughter.

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