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July 8, 2012. Gramma Martha Hopkins Annual Birthday Party Reunion. For me from afar for all my tomorrows. (Hopkins Reunion)

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What if you had a party and nobody came?

Or. What if THEY gave a party and YOU couldn’t come?

The Hopkins Reunion last Sunday in Paris, Tennessee, home of my heart and many who reside in my heart. I didn’t go. I could ‘t. I blame my COPD. Too many hoses, too many machines, too many visiting hospice norses assuring me I’d be in deep doo-doo if I left town and got into trouble out of town because they don’t cover that ground?


Thank goodness, brothr Ronald and niece Sandra took a lot of pictures.

Thank goodness Wanda gathered signatues from everyone which she included in that beautiful card I received in the mail yesterday along with the card and note from Vita.

Sad as I am about losing such a chunk of my life, I am so lucky to have so many friends, so many family members who are also friends.

No cornbread. No black-eyed peas. No blackberry cobbler.

The face of our reunion is changing dramatically. Aunt Maxine died short weeks ago, the oldest of Grandmother’s children,, leaving only Aunt Margaret.

Uncle Willie’s kids seem to have stopped coming after the deaths of their spouses and/or siblings.

Forty showed up Sunday. It looks like there’s a brand new field of beginning seniors who will take up the staff of memory keeping for the Hopkins family.

L-R: lap and folded hands of Joe Frankie Smith, husband of Gramma’s great granddaughter (my sister) Peggy Moody. Gina Hopkins, daughter of Gramma’s cousin, Eli Hopkins. Dana Harvoth, daughter of the late Rebecca Hopkins, daughter of Eli Hopkins. As close to the olden days of rocking on the front porch and swapping stories, keeping them alive for the next year and the next generation. And showing pictures. Pictures. Jump starting our memories of people we used to love as much as ourselves. Or liked a lot. Or knew only slightly in passing. Picture of lives we thought would be with us forever. 120708 Hopkins Reunion, Paris Tn Ronfoto IMG_2010


120708 Hopkins Reunion, Paris Tn Ronfoto IMG_2010 Wanda Green Sykes, the tomato lady (Ron got my tomatoes this year, she see, as I sobbed)

anna lou owens hopkins n spouse Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2020-001 Ronald photo

Barb n doy family2 or dup of 1 Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2032-001 Ron Shot


Barbara Webb and a handsewn quilt in the works at the senior center. A reminder of the quilts Grandmother used to make in the wintertime. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, the big quilting frame hanging from the ceiling, after she had sewedalll those tiny patches into beautiful patterns. Outworn shirts, dresses and god knows what else would rise to the discernible eye. Criptrographics.

Ronphoto. Barb and son and his die and their son. Sandrashot. ParisTN. Jul 8, 2012. Hopkins Reunion. Criiptographics. My earliest memories of Doy, I believe, are in church at Mansfield Baptist Church where all of us went way back then : Uncle Sam and us; Uncle Jay and them and seemed like all of Mansfield wuz Baptists.

Barbra talking to yet unid Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2027-001-1

ben nixes son john warren Nix and two children Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2037-001


cousin elis family Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2030-001

fred n sandi n randy Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012 IMG_2019-001

Hopkins boys n wives Odell Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2035-001

JOE frankie and Hopkins boy Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2017-001

Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2029-001

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Jim Forsythe. Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2014

Joe F et all Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2022-001

Joe Frankie and others. Hopkins Reunion. July 8, 2012. Paris TNIMG_2013

john warren etc better teweaked Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2038-001-1

Kay (far right) sisters n niece Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2015

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not sure thinks its connieowens Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2036-001

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odell n brother n wives nelda and anna Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2034-001

Ozellas family Hopkins Reunion. ParisTN. July 8, 2012IMG_2033-001

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Teresa Smith IMG_2016-001

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Written by frankieleeee

July 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Family, Genealogy

20120530 Wee-Willie the Traveler joins the parade of loved-ones past my big ole chair where I sit even as I write

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Refreshments, anyone? Wet your whistle, sir or madam? Kelley danced as only she can, head flung back, apron flying above her waist as she whirled and twirled her way out of the Lunch Bunch jungle on a winter’s day in Kettering Ohio. For pennies. For dimes. For quarters and and semi dollars. For isn’t half the fun, or more, in the giving of ourselves, our money and, yes, ofttimes our anger? How lovely as they celebrate around frankly who appears to wear his new death mask. (flefoto. 120202. Golden Corral Buffet. Kettering OH)

I am one lucky sunuvagun. Since my induction into the elite of the Cincinnati Hospice program, I have made an effort to get in touch with as many old and new friends, relatives and others in an amazingly wide variety of people I’ve come to love and like and respect over the decades.

Thank you all.

Monday and Tuesday Don Mc Ghee, my blues buddy of the past twenty years, stopped by on his way home from the St. Louis blues festival orwith his helper and friend Mary Z.

Mary Z, “If you’ll just punch this button and look over here in this corner for this other selection, select your photo/s and designate them all “tags,” you’ve got it made. Jot down “tags” and you create a wildly powerly instrument, summoning every “tag” within twenty blocks to your standup hard drive; I advise you have a bucket of water on standby to keep it cool and prevent permanent damage to your computer.
See, that’s not so hard, now is it?
Your turn, Don. Don? Don? Damned, looks like I shoulda tied him up while he waited….er… to make damned sure he waited. (flefoto. fle. May 2012 Criptographics)

That was Monday and Tuesday. Seemed like we didn’t even get started talking about “stuff” afore they had to climb back into their van to head back to Detroit. But not before Mary took me in hand to teach me to “tag” my few tens of thousands of photos so that I can easily locate them (most of them/some of them/a few of them) for the likes of my blog. Don has finally gotten his own photo webpage up and running. You might wanna set down ‘n’ visit fer a spell.

(Criptographics ©2012) Don the Blues Guy; Mary Z the blues guy in training (out of sight to the right right there); CB the caregiver to the other blues guy in training from long ago and a distant planet. Had we made available to the public the visual materials we saw that day, I’ve not the singles doubt in my mind that most of us would still —- today — even — harangued to our hanging by the petty victorian policies of Planet Earth.

Problem is i need em back here already; I’ve forgotten half the stuff she taught me. Now I gotta wait for my daughter to try the same lessons all over again.

Everytime I see Willie I’m reminded of the dozens of  Scrabble (copyright til you die) trips CB and I have been making every year of our lives. Makes me sad is what it does and not as sas as poor CB gets because she must serve double duty as my caregiver which has got to be as tough as coal mining.

There are pools (betting) cropping up over several parts of the United States, a debate over what is under that cellphone under Wee-Willie’s left hand? What kind of sizzling secret do we seek to uncover? Willie spent Wednesday over here and I’m glad she did. Today, 3 days later, she’s in Vermont again. Look closely at her shoulder blades may reveal rumored vestigial wings. Then what? My god! Willie fly? Out of the ointment? Naaawwww!!!!

Willie came by for a non scrabble day of palavering about who and what and where we both knew, about who and what and where one of us knows, about all the other stuff mixed in there about which neither of us had a club.

What a day! Well worth the 3 nitroglycerin pills I took last night.

Thank you, Willie the traveler who sets for yet another journey through the national maze of scrabble boards.

If fish were wishes!

My Aunt Maxine has died. She was a “bud.” I’ll miss her. A lot! (March 15, 2012. Somerset MI)

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Maxine Latimer

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ca 2010 Aunt Maxine visiting Frankie at my hotel in Paris. She was with Aunt Margaret, son Don and daughter-in-law Helen. All of us were in Paris for annual Gramma Hopkins Birthday reunion. (flefototo. Paris TN)

LATIMER, MAXINE; of Somerset, Michigan; passed away on March 15, 2012 at her home with her family by her side. She was born on February 9, 1918 in Henry County, Tennessee to Henry and Nelle (Hopkins) Sutton. Maxine was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James Latimer; and three brothers; and one sister. She was survived by five children, Gerald (May) Latimer of Taylor, MI, Don (Helen) Latimer of North Adams, MI, James (Lynn) Latimer of Flat Rock, MI, Pat (Natheen) Latimer of North Adams, MI, and Deborah (Paul) Fleissner of Brooklyn, MI; 17 grandchildren; several great and great great grandchildren; one sister Margaret Clayton of Paris, TN; and several nieces and nephews. Maxine enjoyed cooking, gardening, and fishing. She also loved spending time with her family. A Funeral Service to honor the life of Mrs. Maxine Latimer will be held at the Hampton-Kurtz Funeral Home in Hillsdale on Monday, March 19, 2012 beginning at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in the Northlawn Cemetery in North Adams. The family will receive friends for visitation on Sunday, March 18, 2012 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home in Hillsdale. Friends who wish may make memorial contributions to a charity of their choice .

Published in Heritage on March 18, 2012
I am so happy I had the opportunity to talk with Aunt Maxine about her childhood, her courtship and growth as a wife and mom, grandmother and great-grandmother. They all were reared near Buchanan, Tennessee and when they weren’t working from dawn to dusk had plenty of eye left the girls (or boys!). She said she met Uncle Ambrie (James) at a church social, as folks often did back in them thar time. The car they courted in was jointly owned by my dad Connie and Uncle Ambrie which, obviously was more important that mutual destruction as they both got by it with minimal damage. And… and …. and my MOM was assigned by her mom (my Grandmother) to supervise her older sister and Uncle Ambrie on their dates. Since they didn’t seem to have anything else to do, Mom and Dad decided to give it a go themselves…and that seemed to work out alright. They liked each other a lot for a lot of years, through a war (WW II), settled down for steady handwork at the Hancock place there between Paris and Puryears until a booze-filled fellow traveler totaled the pickup truck we were all in … all 6 of us… and killed my mom. I need to find out what happened to that asshole before i jump into the big chasm pretty soon.

January 1, 2006: Aunt Maxine and family. Pat, Debbie, Gerald, Aunt Maxine, Don (Jimmy is missing). Criptrgraphics. foot from Aunt Margaret’s collection.

Written by frankieleeee

May 14, 2012 at 4:30 am

Posted in Family, Genealogy

19720521: Indy 500 Time Trials. WBRB Junket team: Steve Morris, news director, John Cwikla, sports guys and I.

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John Cwikla seemed to spend much of this time searching for an ABC-TV pass so he could jump into the middle of the masses of reporters. I had a good time but, to tell the truth, Tired look fast, then wait, et nausea. But ALL EXPENSES PAID. So if you could live with your folks or friends or in your car or theirs, life was like a deream working at the Voice of Macomb County. (flephoto. Indiananapolis IN. 19720521)

John Cwikla seemed to spend much of this time searching for an ABC-TV pass so he could jump into the middle of the masses of reporters. I had a good time but, to tell the truth, Tired look fast, then wait, et nausea. But ALL EXPENSES PAID. So if you could live with your folks or friends or in your car or theirs, life was like a deream working at the Voice of Macomb County. (flephoto. Indiananapolis IN. 19720521)

ca 1972 WBRB, Mount Clemens, MI. I can’t for the life of me remember the lady’s name. As I was walking one day from the sat ion’s front glass wall to the newsroom in back I saw these legs crossed; they looked like they were preening for attention. As I remember, the upper part of the body was in animated conversation about…in animated conversation. “Wow,” I said, “WOW!” Nothing like a sunny afternoon between you and a glass wall warming up your cockles and persuading the world what a good boy (or girl) you are and how this who missed out on you dug a permanent hole in their hearts forever – I’m almost pretty sure. For one of the few times I wished I had me a bucket of paintbrushes, a gallon o’ paint and some talent that would/could turn this thighs into eye pleasers. Best part of it is, the camera, my Yashica TLC almost turned the trick by itself. (flefotot. ca 1972. Mount Clemens, MI. WBRB AM/FM)

1972 July – Paris TN, Linda Grainger (will someone pls confirm) sister of my best boyhood friend Larry Grainger (who died in a Henry Couty TN jail cell under mysterious circumstances). For years of the time I lived with Grandmother in Paris, I spent as much time as I could with Larry and his family who lived up and kinda behind Ms Bollas whose husband had been a popcorn vendor in town. In 1972, on vacation I spent a day carousing with Larry, mostly at the bar where my dad worked at Mays Bridge Road and 69 (with some numbers/lep tters I’ve misplaced/forgotten). We wound up running into Big Sandy’s town drunk. It was my fault so saith the judge. Had to drive 15 or so miles to Camden who demanded, almost to the penny, everything both Larry and I had, in order to get our butts out and home. Scared to death. I knew for sure I’d be in the doghouse for a dog’s life. While I was at the Grainger house on Routon, I shot as many photos as a could. Mr. Grainger, a fireman on the L&N shortly thereafter shot himself to death in a asking lot out on Highway 79 across from a cemetery. Then Larry died/got killed. The Graingers come down through theCulpepper part of our family, the one that supposedly flows down from Charlemagne. (flephoto. July, 1972. Paris TN)

ca Summer 1972. Rena Mae and her dad Alvie A Watson sitting on their front porch outside porch during a visit with Gerry me. I spent many summers at their house and farm. They felt like family next only to Aunt Louise and her family. Once Dad walked Jacky and me more than 5 miles from our leaky old log house to the Watsons in order for us kids to eat. They welcomed Jacky and me but made Dad go away because they disapproved of his drinking. Once Jacky and I stole a quart of canned beets from Miiss Clyde’s cupboard, ran out of the house and gulped every one of them suckers down before someone could find us and make us stop eating which is probably the best thing that could happen. Neither Jacky or I could ever get even with smell of a beet after that. Mr. Watson made his own rabbit traps (for eating only, of course) and loved his coon dogs: a gang of local farmers would go out of a night and stay out practically all night listening to their dogs chasing raccoons. You know, I still don’t know whether the object of the hunt was to catch a raccoon. I do know we used to eat them at the log house when dad would bring one down with his .22 rifle. (flefoto. ca 1972. Puryear TN)

ca Summer 1972. I think it’s Clinton Township MI outside Mount Clemens in the backyard of the home of Gerry (my then-wife) Jean, her husband “Butch” AKA Martin, sons Danny 2nd from left, Darryl behind Butch and Sherry not shown.

Written by frankieleeee

May 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Family, Genealogy

Old photographs taken (my guess is 30s-50s) around my hometown of Paris TN. Nostalgic right down the gut! You’ll find a lot of entries out of date down the line because of my illness and even greater lack of punctuality. I love these shots but have forgotten where I got them; I hope that someone admits to it.

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Downtown Paris TN which is where I used to go when I went to town. Note the year of the cars.

E. R. Moore Grocery & Market. Note the phone number: 999. These were the days when operator asked for your “number please.”

Written by frankieleeee

May 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Posted in Genealogy

1967- ca 1985 Digitized pics (thank you, daughter,) from my cameras when there was slide film (April 13, 2012 – my 69th birthday)

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1967 Clinton Townwhip MI. At home. Danny Haase, Gerry (Moody)’s eldest nephew playing with Hercules!

December 1967. Gerry Kimbel Furton Moody (my wife) and her sister Jean, aka Jeanne, Kimbel Haase opening gifts at Jean’s house. Butch, Jean’s husband, spent his working career as a meat cutter at Kroger, much of it in Romeo MI. I was working at WBRB, Clinton Township, Gerry worked at a small factory/shop in Mount Clemens and Jean, as always, claimed to be a nurse’s aid working at a hospital in Warren Mi. (flefoto. South Nunneley Road. Clinton Township. MI)

19661200. Gerry and friend walking out of the little factory where she worked 1) because she needed to keep busier than our little upstairs apartment demanded and 2) because broadcasting never paid worth a shit until my friend JC hit the jackpot one time. Near where we lived. (flefoto. fle. Mount Clemens, MI)

196702. Venice Beach (?) (near Venice) Florida. Visiting Gerry’s mom and stepdad on the beach, birding with my brand new Yaschica SLR (which replaced the Petri which Jacky had sent me from Vietnam), sightseeing, a time when tourism was fun. (flefoto. fle. I think Gerry and her mom are both in this shot).

1966. Danny Haase and “Herc” Hercules in the living room of their home. Clinton Township MI. How they did love that dog. (flefoto by fle)

Puryear TN. ca 1972l at the A A Watson Farm near Puryear TN. l-r: Mr. Watson (lvie Allen Watson. elder statewmqn, son Lomas Watson, lived with is parents entire life, as did Reba, My hope is that I’ll be able to tell some of their stories afore I can’t. Picture no electricity. Sitting around the living room at nigh, listening to a battery radio with an outsie antenna. Listening to the Grand Ole Opry broadcast from WSM, Nashville (Cowboy Copas, Carl Smith, June Carter Smith, Little Jimmy Dickens, Stringbean, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Ted and Doyle the Wilburn Brothers, Grandpa Jones, Web Pierce. ((flefoto ca 1972. Puryear TN)


Written by frankieleeee

April 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Family, Genealogy

Tonight, here at the site of the former Atkins Porter School, we shall carefully examine living specimens of the Alexander, Moody and Smith clans to see what they can tell us about the histories of our families! (July 9, 2011. Atkins Porter School. Paris, Tennessee)

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Picking up pieces of ourselves, putting them together very carefully, and placing them under the microscope of our collective knowledge and research material is what we do in early July every year to collect information about ourselves in order to pass more of us along to those who come after.


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Written by frankieleeee

August 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Family, Genealogy