Monday, August 28, 2017

Spotlight Memories: My grandfather, George Washington "Wash" Burris, Jr.

My Grandfather, George W. Burris, Jr., has been gone now for 43 years, but he remains a very important man in my family.  He raised my mom (Jean Burris Lensing) to be the beautiful woman she was.  He was quick with a joke and honest and generous to a fault.  He made his living in the "family business", the U.S. Postal Service, as Assistant Postmaster in Clark County, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The only reason he was not appointed Postmaster was because he was a Republican and he refused to change his party affiliation, which is what he would have had to do in those days to get the top job. He held a license to practice law and a state teaching certificate.  He also worked on South American oil rigs for a time in his youth.  But most important to him was his family -- his wife and 4 children. He was my mom's hero, she loved him, respected and admired him and looked to his example all of her life.  To me, he was a loving grandfather who made me laugh and taught me how to play Chinese checkers.  So I honor my grandfather today, as I do everyday.  The picture below is Granddaddy Wash sitting on the ledge of his front porch outside his home at 808 Crittenden in Arkadelphia, AR, in 1954. He was probably wearing the suit he went to work in that day at the post office.  He was 64 years young.

All my love forever granddaddy! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tommy Lensing and Jean Burris Wedding Miscellaneous

I found a few more pieces of information in mom and dad's wedding album that are interesting:

The first two pics are from a postcard of St. Edwards Church from back in the day, front and back, which gives a little history of the building (that is Jean's handwriting on back side):

Next the following pictures are of Jean Burris' (mom's) wedding engagement photo announcements from two different newspapers.  I am assuming the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat.  Notice they are both a little different, and I love the formality of the language.  Also, notice the first one has "Scranton, Penn" on it as daddy's hometown.   I guess they had never heard of Scranton, Arkansas. :)

Next is the marriage license notice from the paper, and two photos from the wedding day.

Incidentally, I found two birth notices tucked into the wedding album.  The one from March 11 was the notice of my birth, Barbara Louise Lensing, birth date March 11, 1960

The other one from 2309 S. Jackson, was my brother Eric George Lensing's birth notice.  He was born February 14, 1962.

We were both born at St. Vincent Infirmary and our delivering doctor was Dr. Robert Ross.  Actually, he delivered all 4 of my parents, Tommy and Jean Lensing's, children at SVI.  Mom said after Eric was born Dr. Ross said "I can retire now, I've delivered 4 red headed babies!" :)

Here is a funny, short story mom told me of her pregnancies and Dr. Ross:

Mom was never a big bread eater but she loved donuts.

Dr. Ross was very strict about keeping her weight down, so she said she would be good before the visit but after her doctor visit was over, each time she would stop off at the bakery and buy a box of donuts and eat them all, though I can't imagine her eating a whole dozen.

After her binge it was back to eating wisely.  She said she always thought Dr. Ross was being silly because he was so over weight himself.  He didn't practice what he preached.

Next, the wedding invitation list:

Jean Burris made this wedding invitation list in 1955 I assume.  It is typed on her employment stationary.  She worked at Jack East Insurance from the time of her move to Little Rock until (or after) she was married.  

If you can read the names and addresses - you will need to magnify it - most of these people have died and those who haven't are surely not living at this same address now.  I'm not sure how many on mom's side attended other than her parents and brother Bill and younger sister Wanda.  Her older sister Mary Ann did not attend for some reason, something mom always wondered about.  The photos we have are mostly of dad's family.  But I'm sure she had plenty of people on her side.

Last but not least are the wedding invitations.  There were two different ones, unfortunately, for my mother.

My dad had a silly sense of humor and he liked to show it off on occasion.  Being a printer and knowing people in the business, he was in charge of getting the invitations printed for the wedding.

He had always heard mom say that the one thing she didn't like about her first name Emma, was that some people in her family pronounced it Emmer, and she hated that.

Remembering her dislike for Emmer, he printed one invitation out as Emmer Jean and put it on top of the real ones in the box.  When mom opened the box to look at them she was mortified!   Dad was laughing and mom was about to kill him.  She must have forgiven him because she married him, but at the moment she wasn't laughing!

 My cousin Dee Burris Blakely shared some information on where the Emmer came from.

- Emmer came from the way that folks of her generation pronounced her Aunt Emma's name.  I remarked on it to Dad when I was a kid (the way they also said "warshed and rinched"), so I'm sure Aunt Jean had a dose of it all her life. -

So, here are the invitations.  Dad, you are just something else!

This year, January 14, 2017, would be their 61st wedding anniversary.  Of course I remember it every year and thank God you were my parents.  Love to both of you always!