Friday, March 21, 2014

Sepia Saturday: At Mr. Jefferson's University


Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features a statue of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and definitely one of the greatest.  I’ve always felt particularly “close” to Jefferson, partly because my Jollett ancestors were contemporaries and near neighbors, and partly because my dad was a product of Mr. Jefferson’s university, THE University of Virginia (Wahoos are very particular about putting the accent on “THE”). 

Mary Eleanor Davis Slade Charlottesville, VA 1952
Momma  heading to work
at the Bursar's Office

Daddy was a student when he and Momma married and moved into a little white trailer on Copeley Hill where many married students lived.  Since his primary goal was to finish school, Daddy worked occasionally, but Momma was the one bringing in a steady income as a typist in the Bursar’s Office on the college campus.



They used to laugh about driving a “tall car.”  I suppose it must have been like a Model A or other gangster mobile still operable in 1951.  Whatever it was, it had poor brakes and had to be tied to a tree to keep it from slipping into gear and driving itself down the hill.


Wendy Slade and Orvin Davis 1952 Charlottesville, VA
Granddaddy Orvin Davis and precious wonder 1952
plus the famous tree that held the car















My job was simply to bring sunshine into everyone’s lives and keep young parents on their toes.

Wendy Slade at Davis house Portsmouth, VA 1952 or 1953


Like the time I toddled into the bedroom and asked Momma, “Who’s that man in the kitchen?”  Poor Momma, probably only 24 years old.  She was petrified.  She found a baseball bat or club or something and inched her way to the empty kitchen.   Did I make this man up?  Or was there really a stranger in the house?  Momma never knew for sure, but since there were often “hobos” riding the rails through Charlottesville, she believed he was real.

Wendy Slade, Orvin Davis, Fred Slade Sr Copeley Hill, Charlottesville, VA 1952
2 doting granddaddies Orvin Davis and Fred Slade, Sr.
Momma and Daddy are on the steps to our trailer.
Or like the time I told Momma there was a kitty cat under the bed.  Momma did not like animals in the house, particularly cats.  She looked and looked but found no cat. 

Or like the Sunday morning Momma and Daddy awoke to find me gone.  They finally spied me in my nightgown, a hat, and gloves on the community swingset.  So happy.  And I even thought of gloves!

Or like the numerous times they had to set the table for 4 to accommodate my imaginary friend, Bobby Cox.  (No, not the coach of the Atlanta Braves – he hadn’t been invented yet.)  They always wondered if Bobby Cox was a boy or girl.  I don’t know either.  I have no memory of any of this, just their repeated stories amidst laughter.

When Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, he wanted this institution to be free of church influence, to be funded by the general public so less wealthy people could attend, and to offer a full curriculum not offered at other universities.  I don’t think Toddler Psychology was among the choices.



Well, don’t just stand there like a statue, make your way over to Sepia Saturday for more stories. 

29 comments:

  1. Great 'Snippets' of an imaginative toddler. Jefferson's philosophy for the less wealthy public seems to have funded and founded generations of Virginians with 'Riches' well beyond untold numbers of $2 bills and rolls of nickles.

    Today is AtoZ Theme Reveal day....I revealed...hope to see ya there. BTW where's your 2014 AtoZ Challenge Badge?
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. You don't see my badge? Isn't it on the right?

      I LOVED getting $2 bills for my birthday. When I was little, that is. Nobody gives me $2 bills anymore.

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  2. I like Jefferson's aims for the uni as stated in your final paragraph. I wonder if they have been achieved.
    PS Your mum looks very stylish.

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    1. Oh indeed they have, or at least the part about having a variety of curricula, not sure about poor people attending although of course there are scholarships.

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  3. Maybe not "Toddler" psychology, but they probably offered "child" psychology or development at the University (not that it would help much in raising a child).

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    1. I doubt there was even child psych when Daddy was there. It was a liberal arts school, medical and law schools. Not much for training teachers back then.

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  4. When you first mentioned the car with bad brakes (hopefully you meant the hand brake?) being tied to a tree so it wouldn't slip out of gear & roll down the hill, I pictured a nice big stout tree. Then I saw the tree! It's a wonder the car didn't pull it out by its roots & roll down the hill anyway! :)) Not easy being parents & making it through college at the same time. Kudo's to your dad, & your mom, too, for helping make it possible for him to do it. And there are many 'Bobby Coxes' in the world - except some of them are named 'Peter' . . . as in "Pan" for instance.

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    1. I see there was a tire behind the tree, so it much have been placed behind the wheels to help keep the car in place.

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  5. I always knew you had "class," Wendy -- gloves on the swingset! Nice job!

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    1. Yep, that's me -- class all the way.

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  6. I liked the way you linked Thomas Jefferson to some lovely family anecdotes and photographs.

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    1. Thanks Sue. I feel like I've used all my statue pictures in other posts. What's a blogger to do?

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  7. Love the photo of your Mum. And you of couse!

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  8. I like the idea of THE univerity; I've always regarded mine that way.
    Nice to know that a Bob(by) can be someone's imaginary friend.

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  9. Fabulous that your family told you back anecdotes of your childhood, thus they are remembered. What smart parents you had!

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  10. It seems to me Wendy that you did a good job of bringing Sunshine into everyone's lives. And what a cute picture you make.

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  11. Thanks for the stories about Little Miss Sunshine - a great accompaniement to that photo of you, dressed to the nines and laughing.

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  12. You seem to have had a vivid imagination as a child or your house was swarming with invisible cats and men.

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  13. You were certainly an interesting child Wendy. It’s not unusual to have imaginary friends, but I’ve never heard of imaginary kitty-cats!

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  14. A great way to weave the Sepia Saturday theme into a story, Wendy. There must be a word for personal memories that we only know from the stories that other people who were there tell us. A kind of interpretive memoir.

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  15. I think you did a marvelous job of bringing smiles to all, and in fact you're still doing it!

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  16. Strangely I've read stories about children who do this, recalling people and places that should not exist in their minds. Usually they outgrow it and have no memories of it. I wish I'd had an imaginary friend. Sort of envied those who did.

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  17. A great way to link to the statue - history, family and fun!

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  18. Wonderful that you have written your parents memories down for future generations. When I was little, I thought my name was "yours". Mum & Dad must have always said "that is yours" and I started to call myself "yours"

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  19. Great family stories and photos. You clearly copied your mother in dressing with style.

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  20. All those lies you told Momma is why we are 8 years apart! LOL.

    You were precious in that velvet coat!

    Glad you kept Momma and Daddy hopping.

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    1. I'm sure I was the best birth control method out there!

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