Dad was always in a hurry "to make good time" [whatever that is] when we traveled. Being a kid, I desired to linger in the beautiful woods that went whizzing past the car windows. On one trip home from western Pennsylvania (early 1960's and pre-Interstate), I have a vague memory of begging Dad to stop in Georgia. I wanted to touch some of that lovely red clay that lined the roadsides in my hands. Red clay was fascinating to a Central Florida girl who grew up with thickets of flat scrub pines, palmettos and sugar sand. Most of the time, he would just shout he was in a hurry. But this time he stopped at a clay embankment, scooped up the clay putting it into a bag, then slung it at me in the car. "Here!" he mumbled, as he mashed the pedal of the Chevy and it heaved itself down the road. I was so pleased to have that silly clay! I kept it for a long, long time. From the very start, something drew me to the Georgia countryside. Was it the natural beauty or was it something deeper?
Back to the Big Land Hunt: we just couldn’t find anything suitable in Florida in our price range. I suggested to my ever patient, understanding husband about venturing further North into southeast Georgia. The siren call of the red clay was still there, little did I know why.
After finding the maternal side of my birth family, we settled into the time consuming part of getting to know each other. That went over fairly well for
In the interim, we had moved to our current location in southeast Georgia, in the Spring of 1993. By that time the Internet for public use was coming into it’s own. For us country mice, it was dial-up and very slow, but it almost always worked. Communications where opened up between history researchers. FamilyTreeMaker software for home use premiered. Many Courthouses and Genealogists now had their public info on-line. All this made researching for the Financially Impaired so much easier. I took up the reins of research with the greatest of ease. To aid in the search I ordered the customary Marriage Licenses, Birth and Death Certificates, visited courthouses for documents with my family‘s name on it. Photographed cemetery tombstones hoping for connections. From one of the documents I had ordered I learn my grandmother, Bessie Moore, first wife of George Baxter McMahan and mother to my birth-mother, Marian Estelle "Mary" McMahan, was born in Axson (Atkinson County), Georgia before her parents moved to Florida during the first Great Depression. “Oh, my goodness”, I thought, “I’ll never find her parents, let alone her grandparents. She might as well have been a Smith!” Oh ye of little faith! I was worried over nothing. Thanks to Folks Huxford and his Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia books, to whom many of us owe much, and his cursory research of the Moore Family in Clinch and surrounding countries, I made all kinds of connections. It was so exciting to find more of my blood kin. At that point I at least had a basic outline of Who's Who in part of my Family Tree. And the further I dug into the research, I was shocked because I had moved into an area where I must be related to a good three quarters of the population. I belonged here! I had truly moved HOME.
But even there, the story does not end. All the information I had gleaned up to that point was relatively easy compared to how I later found my birth-father from a woman whom was deceased, that I never met, that didn't tell her sisters nor was his name on any of my adoption documents. (I know because I had the records opened by court order.) That story is a novelette from which I will spare my readers. [smile]
The Lesson? Life can take a lot of twists and turns but when we trust Jesus, He will indeed take care of us "exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or think" [Ephesians 3:20-21]. He truly will carry us Home whatever that "home" is that we all need. Just be sure you enjoy curvy roads.