Monday, May 25, 2015

Music, Migration, & Memorial Day

John & Frances Reedy (Harlan, KY)
We have been thinking about Frances and John Reedy and other missed loved ones on Memorial Day. Timi keeps this favorite photo of her Mamaw and Papaw beside her near the dining table. 

We think it was taken sometime in the 1940's in Harlan County before John and Frances migrated to Dayton, Ohio, so they were likely about in their late twenties or thirties. Timi loves this picture because her Mamaw and Papaw are laughing and look so happy together. 

Ruby (Kidd) & Howard Clemons (1940's)
This year, Memorial Day is even more bittersweet with the loss of Tammy's Mamaw, Ruby May Kidd Clemons (1925-2015) in January. She and her husband (and Tammy's Papaw) were married for over 70 years. 

According to the memoirs she wrote for some of her Elkins cousins, she was born on Hatton Ridge in Menifee County, Kentucky where she lived with her parents and two sisters until her parents divorced when she was 9 years old. Her mother then moved to Ohio with the girls and later remarried. Ruby eventually moved back to Kentucky with her husband Howard where they remained.

While Ruby never produced any commercial recordings, she was very musically and artistically inclined and produced a plethora of paintings, poems, short stories, songs, and handicrafts throughout her 89 years of life. She got her first organ when she was six and was a self-taught musician who played the piano, guitar, and harmonica. She served as the pianist at several local Churches of God for over 60 years, and she performed publicly for various civic organizations that she was involved in. Ruby Clemons wrote and copyrighted more than 1000 country and gospel songs, and she self-recorded many of them on cassette tape. Tammy hopes to gather and archive her grandmother's extensive musical and artistic productions, and she plans on sharing her Mamaw's memoirs with the rest of her family.

Ruby Clemons (Hat Day at Hope Church, May 2014)
Ruby Kidd (age 13) with her cousin Mary
Ruby Clemons has always been a tremendous role model and support system for her granddaughter Tammy, and there is so much more to say about her life, accomplishments, and impact on the world around her. Meanwhile, Tammy created a playlist of videos featuring her Mamaw and Papaw, Ruby and Howard Clemons, in honor of their great influence on her life.

On this Memorial Day, we remember these and many loved ones, living and past, who we will love and miss every onward.

1 comment:

  1. Just so happened across this blog today and absolutely adore it! I write a blog geared towards Appalachian migrants called Appalroot Farm! My parents migrated from Eastern Kentucky to Ohio in the late 1950's. I hope you get a chance to check it out. The link is Blessings to you!