Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Herbert and Georgie, part I

I'll take a little break from my usual angry screeding for a bit of personal history. A couple of stories of my mother's parents, Herbert and Georgie (as he called her). The Herbert I knew growing up was a rough-necked, poker­playing, cigarette-smoking gruffly lovable old fellow. I liked Herbert, but I was also just a little afraid of him. I was never quite sure if he was joking when he told me to “come over here or I’ll sock you in your snotty little nose.”

My mother, Mary, has a story of how her parents – Herbert and Georgia – met and although it is mostly a tall tale (he told the story to some soldiers riding on a train heading to Fort Knox), it's the only story I've got and I like it.

It appears that Herbert Basham and Georgia Roberts were fourth cousins (Herbert's grandparents were Obadiah Basham and Sara Roberts Basham). Herbert and Georgia may have met at family functions in Meade or Breckinridge County or later, as adults, in Louisville.

But Herbert told these soldiers that he met Georgia at a dance and she caught his fancy. So, he decided to visit her.

Herbert said that he took the train to the county in which she lived. Herbert then caught a cab and rode until the driver said that the road had run out. Undaunted, Herbert rented a donkey and started up the hillside towards her home.

Soon, however, the trail became narrower and narrower, until it was so overgrown with vines and trees that the donkey could go no further and so Herbert took to walking. Finally, he could see Georgia's home in the holler, but he saw no road or trail to get down to his new sweetheart.

It was then that he noticed a vine, worn until it was shiny, and he knew that he'd have to swing in on grapevine. So, not unlike Buster Crabbe's Tarzan, he swung in to Georgia's home in the hollers of Breckinridge County and announced his intention to take her to the big city.

Herbert insisted, to Georgia's embarrassment, that she'd have to wear shoes to get on the train and so he gave her (or so he told the soldiers) her first pair of shoes.

The veracity of that story notwithstanding, Herbert and Georgia Roberts Basham married on April 26, 1924, the day after Herbert's 23rd birthday (Georgia was 21). They were wed, as many young couples were, across the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, to avoid the waiting period that was in place in Louisville.

Georgia said that she was feeling poorly that day, but they went on with their plans. And, as it turned out, Georgia and Herbert spent their Honeymoon night at General Hospital. Georgia's appendix had ruptured.

And so, more or less, they began their lives together.


the dharma bum said...

the story of them meeting reads like something out of the book/movie "big fish."

i never heard how my grandparents met. i might just try to find out.

Sky Niangua said...

When we know our Ancestors, we know ourselves.

Wonderful life stories...