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Ova and Arthur Pierce were my maternal grandparents. As I grew up they lived very near my family on the main street of Byrdstown. He was a trader. She was a homemaker. They had two daughters and four grandchildren.
Because he was a trader, my grandpa always went to bed early so that he could get up before daylight and travel to a nearby town’s stock sale. You never knew what he would have when he returned in his stock truck that afternoon. All four grandchildren always had a pony he had traded for. I loved to ride in his truck and today I still have the tin cup he carried in his glove compartment in case I wanted to stop at a spring and get a drink!
My grandmother was our main baby sitter. There were lots of things to get into at her house. We all loved to play upstairs, where she stored things in big trunks. We would go through her things and play dress up with the old hats and clothes. Granny Ova was an excellent cook and seamstress. She made most of my clothes when I was a little girl. Reading was one of her favorite hobbies. Her favorite TV show was Murder She Wrote and if you tried to visit with her while it was on, she turned the volume up!
My pa died suddenly from a heart attack when he was not much older than I am now. I was only fourteen years old and it was very devastating to lose such an important person in my life. My Granny Ova lived longer than any of my grandparents and she was part of my own children’s lives. I was very blessed to have these wonderful loving grandparents as I was growing up.
Don’t laugh! This is a Christmas picture made with my grandparents probably around 1967. That’s me on the right, next to my Granny Ova. I think I was in the sixth grade. My glasses and my velveteen dress were very fashionable at the time! The other people in the pictures are my brother and my cousins.
Grandpa at the kitchen table. He liked to smoke Winstons and drink coffee.
My paternal grandparents were B.W. and Liza Donaldson. B.W. stands for Burah Wickless. I have never known anyone else who had that name. They are both from Clay County, TN. Their family owed a farm in Fox Springs, which was a community near the town of Willow Grove. In the 1940’s when Dale Hollow Dam was constructed they were forced to leave the home they loved because it was to become part of Dale Hollow Lake.
They moved to Celina where my grandpa continued to farm and my grandma was a homemaker. They had five children and ten grandchildren. Every Sunday afternoon my family and I made the long winding drive to Celina.
Their farm was an adventure for us. It had chickens, turkeys, cows to milk, beehives, a smokehouse, pigs, huge fields of corn, a big barn full of hay and lots of hills and hollers to explore. My favorite place was the spring and the creek that ran beneath it.
My grandparents never had much money or were able to buy us expensive presents, but they gave us something much better. They taught us to treat people fairly, help our neighbors and to love your family with a fierce devotion!
Now that I’ve become a grandparent, I understand how my grandparents felt about me. If I could go back I would listen closer to their stories. I have lots of questions I would ask and I would have recorded in diaries and scrapbooks the things they told me. Most of all I would have made more pictures!