In recent efforts of cleaning and clearing, I went through a box that contained things left behind by my mother. As I looked at papers and dates and tried to decide what needed to be thrown away or passed on to someone else, I found a number of things that my mother herself probably once held and decided what to do with, because the dates were from years when she was a child. I found myself thinking of the reasons first my grandmother and then my mother kept certain things. One little pink booklet came apart at the binding when I turned the pages, but all the pages contained glimpses of life many years ago. The booklet was titled Catalogue and Premium List of School and Community Fair, Bullard, Texas At the bottom of the cover was the location and date: Bullard School Grounds, November 10-11, 1922.
I was intrigued with the little book as I looked through the pages which listed sponsors and advertisements and the list of exhibits and competitions like Best pound of butter, Best bronze turkeys, Best dozen tea cakes, Best counterpane, Best tatting, and Best baby! Of most interest to me were 2 sections where pages were missing. Both times, there were penciled notes in my grandmother's handwriting that indicated numbers of items from the missing pages. My hunch is that these were categories in which some of her craft or some competition entered by a son who was a winner! Since my mother's brothers were only 4 and 1 that year, that would have been her oldest, Vinnon.
33 1/2 Best display potted flower (which won wallpaper, given by Huges, hermer? & Son Tyler, Texas - value $3.50.
79 Winner of Mule Rase (which won mds. (merchandise?) given by Adam Wall, Drug. Co., Tyler Texas - value $2.50)
80 Winner of Horse Rase (which won mds (merchandise?) given by Walsh Hdw (hardware?) Co. Tyler, Texas - value $2.50)
Then I saw that on the front of the booklet was printed in pencil in small neat letters: VINNON TERRELL. I looked again at the date. And I understood why my grandmother kept the book. I knew why my mother kept it. And why I will keep it and pass its story on. I put together the name and the date and remembered.
Vinnon was Ky and Clyde Terrell's firstborn son, born in 1909 so he was 13 years old in November, 1922. He was killed in a hunting accident on Christmas day of that year. He went hunting with a neighbor boy who got him back to that family's front porch where Vinnon scrawled a goodbye note to his mother and father. I have seen the bloodstained note and heard his story all of my life. In the same box I found pages of his handwriting and schoolwork. My grandmother kept these things and her memories of her first son. I never heard her whine or complain or bewail his loss, but I heard the story of the way his short life blessed her. She knew raw grief then, and in many other ways later in her life but when I think of her I think of generosity and faith, of love and nurturing, of courage and determination. And that she always grew flowers. I am glad you won the fair prize for that, Grandma!