Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kitchen stories: Mom's birth

For Grandma Emily Pricella to get off the farm all she had to do was marry a man ten years older than herself. Her future husband, Thomas Perry Colvin, came into her life when she was almost fifteen. He'd worked on their farm as hired help and wanted to marry her. Now her father James didn't want to lose her, she could work in the fields and could even drive a buckboard so I'm sure that's why she wasn't married until she turned sixteen. She was sixteen on January 1, 1922 and one month later married. I believe they ran away since they were married across the Ohio river in La Grange, Kentucky

Le Grange, in Oldham county Kentucky, is an odd little town. The train tracks go right down the center of the small street. Literally, everything stops while the train moves through. It was on the trip to locate our family cemetery in New Albany that my sister, aunt and I wandered over the river into Kentucky to find the birthplace of our mother. She was the only sibling of five to be born in Kentucky and it was a small town with an odd name; Pewee Valley. Mom was always teased with the name of her birthplace but I found later the town is named for a local bird, the Pewee, and had nothing to do with the size of the the quite small city.

Since she wasn't born in a hospital and we had no clue to where they lived, so we drove on through this very small town and ended up in Le Grange. The older section of town had some antique shops as well as some touristy places so we parked and started poking around. Standing in a gift shop I felt the rumble before I heard it and thought we were having an earthquake. Nothing major mind you, I'm quite the expert on the ground moving but I did look up, check to see what was shaking and when I then heard the rumble, glanced outside. I was quite amazed to see a towering locomotive with dozens of cars lumbering up the street just inches from our rental car. We stepped outside to see this sight as did a few other strangers in town; the locals just go about their business.

It's hard to imagine my grandmother at sixteen, newly married and pregnant with her first child. Yes, I've done the math and there was no "happiness ahead." She did come early and grandma tells this story.

It was mid-December and though cold, no snow. They had no car but did have a buckboard and Emily, no stranger to driving one, used it to go to town. God only knows where her husband was but on the 14th, as she was coming back from town, the horse spooked and threw her down on her knees. All alone she got the horse and wagon under control and drove home. It was still a few weeks until her due date but the next day she went into labor. The mid-wife was called and momma, Lorna Georgiana Colvin was born later than night.

I never asked grandma if she were frightened because I don't think she ever was. If she was she never showed that side of herself. Anyone knowing her knew she was a tough old bird and this could be the result of a lifetime of pain and disappointment. She was 25, had five children, one only six-weeks-old, and in the midst of the depression her husband died.


  1. Anonymous12:17 PM

    keep 'em coming........ I love the family stories.

  2. would love to go back and do that trip again.........olde Pruce was indeed a tough olde bird just like her mother i'm thinking

  3. Anonymous3:23 PM

    I discovered La Grange three years ago. Fell in love with the place and bought a home. Yes, the train becomes second nature, even irritating at times when in a hurry -- but, it is an amazing sight, and one that few people get to see.