Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Remembering

Recently my friend Mike McKenzie from Atlanta sent me several old photographs of my ancestors, family from two and three generations back. There's a picture of my great-grandmother Emma Amanda Look Weller,
 my grandfather's mother who died, as I understand, when Pop was born in 1872.


A picture that especially interests me is of my great-grandfather Reginald Heber Weller sitting with his six sons. Alfred, Pop to me, was the youngest, sitting at the left, and I think he was twelve, which makes the picture perhaps 1884.

Standing behind Alfred is his next older, and close, brother, my Uncle Charlie. Charles Knight Weller, who was almost four years older than Pop. Until Mike sent the pictures, I'd never realized because I only knew him in his seventies and eighties, but there is a very close resemblance between Uncle Charlie at sixteen, and me at the same age.

In the picture are three Episcopal priests. Sitting, my great-grandfather Reginald Heber Weller, who was called Heber, was rector of St. John's, Jacksonville, Florida, which is now their diocesan cathedral. In the center and standing tallest in the picture is my Uncle Heber, R. H. Weller, Jr. who was in the Diocese of Florida for awhile before being called to a parish in the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where in 1900 he was elected bishop. Uncle Heber, who died in 1935 about the time I was born, has been discussed in my blog before, and isn't my main interest at the moment; which is Uncle Charlie, the third priest (to be) in the photograph.

Looking at Uncle Heber and Pop, though, brings to mind Pop telling me about the time, I think he went for a year, as a teenager, when he went to Wisconsin to visit and live with Heber and his family. Pop remembered, which entitles me to my own memories, the day, probably a Sunday afternoon, when he took the horse and sleigh out into the snowy day with a girl he was in love with, had a terrible crush on her. And he kissed her. He said, "It was the first time I ever kissed a girl."

Noticing our resemblance as teenagers, I explored Uncle Charlie online. He was born in Kentucky, 1868, died in 1954 while I was a freshman at UFlorida. My father said he “read for Orders,” meaning instead of seminary he studied for ordination under a mentor. He was ordained deacon at St. Philip's Cathedral, Atlanta and assigned to the church at College Park; where in 1909 he was ordained priest, with his brother the bishop of Fond du Lac assisting in his ordination. The 1915 journal of the Diocese of Georgia lists him as having been transferred (letters dimissory is the term), and the 1915 journal of the Diocese of Alabama lists him as rector at St. Michael and All Angels, Anniston. Linda's great-grandfather and his family, the Nobles, who had come from England, built that church after the Civil War http://www.stmichaelsanniston.org/our-history/
for themselves and their employees who had come from England to work in their iron works. Anyway, Uncle Charlie is there in 1915. This rings a bell, stirs a memory. 

I have here, under my twin-masted schooner Annie & Jennie, is my uncle's textbook, Outlines of Greek and Roman History, William C. Morey. Inside the front cover it's inscribed in his hand, Alfred Daniel Weller, Jr., St. Michael's Parish School, Anniston, Alabama. I'd forgotten why Alfred was there, and now it returns to mind: Mom and Pop sent him there to school because Uncle Charlie was there. The end of that story, as I recall from my aunt Evalyn, was that Alf did not do well with his studies, and soon returned home. Seems to me that EG said that as well as not an especially brilliant student, he was extremely homesick, longing for home, where he was the golden boy apple of his parent's eye. I also heard my father use that phrase about Alfred, "he was the apple of their eye," and his death nearly destroyed Mom and Pop and our family.

But Uncle Charlie. If he and I looked alike as teenagers, I wondered what he looked like later. Online I came across a photograph of him in vestments, and I'm going to say he must have been sixty-five to seventy-five.

Linda says it does resemble me in an excellent photograph that Arthur Reedie took of me in the pulpit a year or so ago. That picture is on the same shelf with A&J, and I especially like it.

What ignited this morning's interest was sitting at my desk in my office at church yesterday, thumbing through the prayerbook Uncle Charlie gave me on my 14th birthday, looking for something about Francis of Assisi. The prayerbook is one of my treasures. In my teen years I memorized it during sermon time. 

Sitting here at my Bay window where through the clearing fog and cloud, I can barely see Davis Point, around which the A&J sailed into the beginning of my own life.  



Thos+ in +Time+ 

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