Thursday, March 13, 2014
This is a picture of my daddy held in the arms of his maternal grandmother. She was his favorite grandmother and he called her "Biddy Mama", I suppose because compared to the tall, robust Germans on his father's side of the family she was so petite. He loved her dearly and named his only daughter after her, Sally Misheaux. My mother shortened the middle name's spelling to Misha on my birth certificate. I don't know if she did that intentionally, or if she wasn't sure of the correct spelling. Either way, it doesn't matter to me because I have always loved my name.
And, what a namesake she was! This scrappy, little West Texas lady was abandoned by her husband when my grandmother and her two brothers were quite young. She never remarried, and raised her children on her own...no small feat during the depression. The family never spoke of my great grandfather. No photos of him exist to my knowledge. Just last year I received an email via Ancestry.com from a woman in Tennessee who was his niece. Her research had followed his trail after his abandonment of my great grandmother, to Canada, then to England as a soldier, marriage to an English woman, father to two girls by her, and then he abandoned that family! This is where his trail went cold. Again, the English family destroyed all photos of him. His sister, her mother, knew of his abandonment of my great grandmother, but her daughter didn't have the heart to tell her about the second wife's abandonment. She wrote me that she and her sister always referred to their uncle as "Wandering Walter".
While Walter wandered, Sally Misheaux remained in Coleman, Texas and raised two fine sons and a wonderful daughter who was my favorite grandmother. There is such a legacy of strong women on both sides of my family, I never wonder where my own strength stems from when I need it...I inherited it! My dad's birthday was last month, February 28th. An only child, raised by amazing women, it's no wonder he was a good man and gentle soul and I miss him every day.