My Great Grandparents buried in Varnell, Georgia
According to the Hartsfield Family Bible, The Atlanta Journal -June 29, 1935, and The Dalton Citizen News the week of May 9, 1945, the stone should read:
William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875-June 29, 1935
Sarah Maro Cox Alexander: September 26, 1886- May 9, 1945
These great-grandparents are paternal, and it goes next to Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor (May 15, 1918-August 10, 1985), to Oliver Haven Caylor (September 19, 1939-May 28, 1982) to me, Haven William Caylor-Brown (May 7, 1966-present).
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.
I along with probably millions of people who have lived in or frequented Atlanta for the past 40 or 50 years all remember Rich’s Department Store. Someone who is my mother’s age remembers it even better. Every time we go shopping in Atlanta, I think of Rich’s. I can’t help it! The family and I were just in Atlanta this past Friday and Saturday morning, and we went shopping at Lenox Square. If for some reason you are not too familiar with Atlanta and the Buckhead area, but like to go to Lenox Square Mall, the Lenox Rich’s was at the Peachtree Street side of the building. Macy’s took at big chunk of it on that end. I really miss it, and get nostalgic every time we go.
Rich’s was started in 1867 in downtown Atlanta, and by 1906, it was in a large building between Martin Luther King and Whitehall Streets. My Nanny Caylor grew up in Atlanta from 1918 until 1936. She, her mother, and two sisters use to go shopping at Rich’s. When my Nanny was a child, Rich’s had a “pulley system” that ran above the customers heads with containers. Evidently, the customers placed a ticket that coincided with the merchandise with their money, and then they sent the container to a cashier. The cashier then sent the receipt and the change back to the customer.( Now, if any of you can explain better, please do. It’s been about 30 years since my Nanny last told me the story).
My Nanny’s mother (Sarah Maro Cox Aleander… Sadie Alexander) was also a genius at sewing. My Nanny rarely had store-bought clothes, but she had excellent home-made clothing. If my Nanny Caylor saw a dress she really liked at Rich’s, my Nanny Alexander would say, “Okay, let me study it for a few minutes.” She would then analyze it, store it in her memory then make my grandmother a dress like it. Cool, huh?
I only got to go the main Rich’s building one time around 1986, and I really enjoyed it. It closed not too long after that. Not just for nostalgia sake, I always enjoyed shopping at the Rich’s department stores that were in the Atlanta malls until the early 2000s. They had great, quality, men’s clothing (especially their ties), and always had good sales. Oh, me, thanks for the shopping memories, Rich’s!
On Sunday after church, a friend tracked me down in the foyer and said, “I just want you know that you have the most beautiful daughter. My son and I see her and always say to each other, ‘There goes the little princess.’ I was very gracious, and I finally said, “I really appreciate the compliment.”
First of all, I am very thankful to God that I have two beautiful children. I am told quite often not only from family members and friends but from total strangers all over the world how beautiful they are. However, I love this philosophy from life from my great-grandmother. Her name was Sarah Maro Cox Alexander, and she was born and raised in Varnell, Georgia. She lived from 1886 until 1945. She lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. She also raised three lovely daughters one being my Nanny Caylor. Whenever someone complimented the beauty of her daughters she quickly stated, “Pretty is as pretty does.” Since I have my Carter, I have to include, “Handsome is as handsome does.” I don’t care if my children win beauty contests or become international super models. If they do not have a beautiful inner being, then they are not beautiful on the outside. However, they are off to a good start being beautiful inside and out.