Eight cars squeezed into the driveway. The
kitchen full of daughters and granddaughters
cooking, talking, laughing.
Jim making biscuits.
Cousins passing around the baby.
She looks at them and goes back to sleep.
After lunch, they blow bubbles between
the cars in the cool green sunshine.

Head of Table

My father at head of table

I don’t remember how the argument
started. I just
remember how my uncle Louis exploded
with the anger he’d been
holding in for years. Ever since
my grandfather died and my father
took his place at the head of table.
As the oldest, my father thought of
himself as head of the family. But
he didn’t live in
that house. It was my uncle’s house. He
lived there. He paid the bills. He
bought the food and supported their
mother and sister and nephew. Everyday
he went to the clinic where he and his father
had practiced medicine. His name was on
the deed. Why wasn’t he sitting at head of
table? My father sort of laughed it off,
made some remark to
diffuse the situation, changed
his seat. I think. He
must have because after
that, my uncle sat at the head and
my father sat
elsewhere around the table. I do remember
that. That and
the anger.

Hair On Fire

hair_on_fire.jpgLast night Jim and I were laying in the bed talking about the reunion when my eyes started to itch so I got up to splash some water on them. I had lit a new candle for my bathroom when we got home and it was sitting on my sink. After I stood up from splashing the water, the room seemed to get much, much brighter. I turned around to see what was happening with the candle (the only light in the bathroom) and saw MY HAIR WAS ON FIRE! Luckily, in my small bathroom, a towel was right at hand, I grabbed it and smothered my flaming hair immediately. It didn’t reach my scalp and my whole hair didn’t burn off, mainly one small area, which still has plenty of hair. I will probably give myself a trim to even it all out later. The candle was moved out of the room and then doused. The other candle in the front is now in a bowl of water. Just in case the fire was out to get us last night. Jim said it was because i had just been talking about other people’s thinning hair. anyway, that was a wild end to a strange (and perhaps last) reunion I ride to. Now that it’s over, I wish I could have a photo of myself with flaming hair, but not about to redo THAT! It all happened so fast. Then we had the smell of burning hair. .I took a shower and washed my hair and we soaked the scorched towel. Smells alright now. Guess my happy for the day was not burning myself up at 1AM

I didn’t scream or yell, unlike if I’d seen a waterbug!

Williams Reunion 2014

We went and we’re back. It was a very long drive. My knee did not enjoy it, however recovery was relatively quick.  We had food on the way up so that we ate constantly and also stopped for lunch at a rest area.  On the way back we had little food in the car and stopped twice.  Would have been good if we had had sandwitch stuff and so only had to stop once. We ran into one traffic jam, about 60 miles from Atlanta on the way back.  Jilo drove all the way there and back.


Blood Group

blood type card 1.jpeg

I received this card during my first pregnancy and I’ve kept it handy ever since, just in case.  I share it with new doctors so that they will have the information.

“Different ethnic and racial groups also have different frequency of the main blood types in their populations. For example, approximately 45 percent of Caucasians are Type O, but 51 percent of African Americans and 57 percent of Hispanics are Type O. Type O is routinely in short supply and in high demand by hospitals – both because it is the most common blood type and because Type O-negative blood, in particular, is the universal type needed for emergency transfusions. Minority and diverse populations, therefore, play a critical role in meeting the constant need for blood.”  Red Cross Blood Type Charts and information

My husband also has O+ and I would suppose all of our children also have O+ and that our parents did also.  A very popular blood type, although not quite as useful as O-.



A Feeling of Home


The photo above is from my Graham grandparent’s book “A Treasury of Fun”.  They received it soon after their marriage in 1919. Although of a certain time and place, it says “home” to me. Maybe I read too many old books. Below is a collage of 4 of my many homes.  Click images to enlarge.

When I was growing up, home was where my family lived. I didn’t think about how long we’d be there or where it was, it was home. And when we moved again (as we regularly did), the new place was home. Our familiar furniture and books were there. We ate together  in breakfast or dining room, the familiar food.  My sister and I did our same chores.


When I was 13 we moved into the first house we bought. We lived there almost 10 years, longer than any place else I lived up to that point.  It was at 5397 Oregon. Because it was where we lived the longest, memories of home often center on this house.  When I was a senior in college we moved to a 2 family flat with my grandparents. By that time I was planning my escape out into the world and that flat always felt temporary. In 6 month I graduated and was gone.

During my early years on my own, the house I live in wasn’t always home. In my early 20s, I moved 7 times in 3 years. Living in back rooms, attics, other people’s houses, temporary apartments, always waiting/watching for the next place to go.

It usually takes a certain amount of time for a place to feel like home to me. Some places feel more friendly than others. After a year it begins to feel permanent, even though none have been forever so far. Although we usually move everything, or most everything, with us, several times we have not been able to and then home feels bare until we can replace the missing things with different ones. I still wish I could go back and get some of them – the roll top desk, the dressers.

Family, both in the house and in the area, make a house feel like home. A dining table where the household sits and eats meals and plays games. Puzzles, plants, paper, pencils, tools and photographs are always there.  Space to work on projects.

Here are some links to posts I wrote about all the places I lived and other important streets in my life.  Index to streets in my life.





What I Wanted To Be …

I grew up in Detroit, the oldest of two girls. When I was growing up I wanted to be impossible things – a Gypsy, an Indian back before the conquest. I briefly considered running a doll hospital. My most long lasting desire was to have six children, live in the country and raise goats and rabbits. And that is what I grew up and did for many years, more years raising children and fewer raising goats.

During my high school years I sent for brochures and info packets about raising goats and rabbits.  My younger sister is only 2 years younger than I am and I didn’t have much experience with children. I grew up in the city, and although we had a garden, we didn’t even have a pet bigger than a turtle so it is a mystery where the desire for lots of children and goats came from.  It was all I wanted during those years.

kris st_john_rd_krisifejilomilking

After a series of twists and turns, I ended up in rural Simpson County, MS raising goats, chickens, a garden and children. We did that for 8 years and then moved briefly to a small city in Missouri where I was just as happy to say good-bye to twice a day milking and figuring out what to do with floods of milk. You can read more about that part of my life here > R is for Route 1 Box 173 & 1/2 From there we moved to Idlewild MI, in the great north woods. There we continued raising children and again added a big garden, a few rabbits and a lake.  We lived there for over 20 years.

Now we are back in the big city. All six children are grown now, some with children of their own. The goats, chickens and rabbits and even the garden are a memory.  Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had wanted to be something else. I had, and have, many interests but I didn’t imagine myself a life in them.  I majored in printmaking and drawing and minored in creative writing but I never pictured myself living my life as an artist or a writer.

Now I blog about family history and research the family. I do some printmaking now and then. I make candles. I go to dance performances. None of these figured as “what I would do with my life” in my growing up ideas of the future. I never really pictured beyond that period when I was in the child raising days.  I’m not complaining. As I breathed a sigh of relief and moved on from milking goats, I’m enjoying making a life with out responsibility for the daily care of dependent children.




Easter Memories

Memories of Easter – dying eggs in my Graham grandparent’s basement on Easter Saturday with my sister and cousins.  Easter baskets with jelly beans and chocolate eggs and one big chocolate Easter bunny.  Tiny fuzzy chicks.    The year someone gave us 4 or 5 real chicks that died one by one in their box in the basement.  Sugar eggs decorated with wavy blue, pink and yellow icing and a little scene inside.  Reading the book “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes”, new clothes, going to church. Going by the Grandmother Cleage’s after church.  What I don’t remember is gathering for a big Easter meal like we did for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I wonder why?


These Polaroid photographs were taken at my Grandmother Cleage’s house in Detroit, MI. on Easter Sunday about 1952, when I was 6 years old, my sister Pearl was 4 and my cousin Ernie was about 2.  I wish the photos had been taken with a regular camera!