Happy 100th Birthday, Nanny!(They don’t count time in heaven by years… eternity ya know, but still )

nanny_1982

Happy 100thBirthday , Nanny! (They don’t count time in heaven by years… eternity ya know, but still ) May 15, 1918 – August 10, 1985.

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor would be 100 years old today. She was born around 3 o’clock in the afternoon (a relative in Varnell, GA may have her birth certificate with the correct time).  Her parents had waited over 8 years for her. Nanny’s older brother had been stillborn in 1910.  She was born in Smyrna, Georgia in Big Ma’s house. Big Ma was a black woman who had turned her lovely Victorian, Turn of the century home into a home for borders.

From approximately 1924 until January 1936, Nanny lived at 1195 Niles Avenue Atlanta, GA.

Nanny_house

Today, My thoughts keep turning not to the grandmother I knew but to teenage Naomi who, without thoughts or cares, could go to downtown Atlanta AFTER DARK. Imagine if you will a 15 year old girl in 1933 going to downtown Atlanta with her best friend, Louise Hollingsworth and 10 year old sister, Madeline to see a movie at the Fox Theater or Lowe’s Grand!

fox

The three girls would walk from their house to Marietta Street (West Marietta Street now) to the Streetcar Stop. In 1933 there was an elementary school at the corner of Marietta Street and Knight Park. They would then take the streetcar to downtown. They would then return the same route after their movies were over. Doesn’t it just boggle the mind that they could do that? But yes, they did.

I hope and pray to write more about Nanny, Granddaddy, and Mamaw Wimpy this summer. I am doing this for Carter and Ammon. I want them and future generations  of Caylor-Browns to know more about how their ancestors lived in the 20thcentury. I know I am being a bit vain, but to my dear relatives who have disfellowshiped from me yet perhaps visit my blog you really should be sitting down with me to compare,  correlate, and confirm some of my memories. As you well know, I am not a fan of “false history”.

 

Daddy’s Birthday (September 19, 1939)

He was born in Varnell, Georgia on Tuesday September 19,
1939. He was the first of only two children born to Troy and Naomi Caylor. He was
born at his Nanny Alexander’s house (Nanny, Granddaddy, and Daddy lived with
Nanny Alexander until January of 1941). I forgot the name of Daddy’s doctor,
but Nanny Alexander was in the room when Daddy was born. During the whole
pregnancy, Nanny knew in her heart and prayers that she was going to have a
girl. She had grown up with two younger sisters and was surrounded by girly
things for so long, she just knew she was having a girl…God had a surprise!

When Nanny woke up from the anesthesia and learned she had a
boy, she had a split second of disappointment. She even had Daddy’s name picked
out as Hannah Rebekah (both from the Bible); however, when she heard the news,
she, of course, had to give up all of her plans. Knowing Nanny the way my Nanny
Alexander and Granddaddy did, they knew she wouldn’t mind if THEY named him (I’m
serious. They knew she wouldn’t mind, and she didn’t). While Nanny was sleeping and Nanny Alexander and Granddaddy gave Daddy his first bath, they named him Oliver Haven Caylor: Oliver from Nanny’s father, William Oliver Alexander, and Haven from
Granddaddy’s father, Luther Haven Caylor.

I could keep writing and writing about Daddy, but emotionally it’s kind of
difficult, so I will say just one more thing. From 1979 until his death on May
28, 1982, my father and I shared a multiplicity of wonderful times together. My
favorite times that I have stored in my heart were when he and I traveled back
and forth to church together and discussed the Lord, the Bible, school, life in general, and Coonhounds. It was such a wonderful and fulfilling experience having Daddy
as both my earthly father AND brother in Jesus Christ. That precious bond is
something that death and time cannot erase. Happy Birthday in heaven, Daddy.

Nanny Caylor: Birthday

Nanny Caylor

Her full name was Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor.  She was born May 15, 1918. May 15 was also her father’s birthday who was born in 1875. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, but she grew up in Atlanta. Her father worked for Southern Railroad as an engineer, and he was killed outside the tunnel at Braswell Mountain near Rockmart, Georgia when his train exploded in June of 1935. Nanny, her mother, and sisters moved to Varnell, Georgia where her mother (My Nanny Alexander) was born and raised in January of 1936.

Two years later, she married my grandfather, Troy Dewitt Caylor, and 10 months later my father, Oliver Haven Caylor was born. Their second son was born in January of 1943. She outlived her parents, her sisters, her husband, and my father. There was a part of her soul that was like Naomi from the Bible especially when Biblical Naomi told the people to call her Mara which meant “God has dealt bitterly with me.” However, she leaned on Jesus Christ as her strength and her redeemer and never forsook him. She was a great mother, a spectacular grandmother, an exemplary Christian lady, and a great friend to me.

She was my Bible study confidant, and we loved to talk about world traveling and world events. We also shared good short stories, classical literature, and she was a walking treasure trove of family, oral history. I could listen to her talk about our ancestors and her childhood forever. Literally, we could sit up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. simply looking at pictures, family Bibles, or family heirlooms. We had to make ourselves go to bed. When my father died in 1982, she and I leaned on each other in our bereavement. I was so glad God let me have her for three more years. Nanny died on August 10, 1985. She has been dead for over 25 years now, and I still dearly miss her. It is also a treat when I dream about her and her house, but, of course, a part of my heart is lonesome when I awake and she is only, once again, in my memory and in those dreams.

I cannot wait to share all these things plus tons more with Carter and Ammon. Nanny will live on through them. Happy Birthday up there in Heaven, Nanny. We love you!

Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (Photo Date: March 1982)