Thursday, April 17, 2008


Lana at a ballgame leaning against her Dad and her favorite pillow.

My granddaughter, Lana, loves our family. When my son, Jason, was little and I was traveling all around copying pictures, talking with folks and tramping through cemeteries, he would go, When he was older and could do other things, he chose them. Lana loves looking at the pictures and hearing stories. When she was three she started calling family "her people" and saying she "needed" to see all "her people". She thinks everyone loves her and loves everyone unconditionally. In January, at age 4, she went with me to Cleveland. We stayed at Uncle John Vent's with Nancy Ellen and Lisa. Lisa made a big hit with her when she put up a small tent in the house. I thought Nancy Ellen was out-of-luck for making friends after that, but when we woke up the next morning in an upstairs bedroom she pointed to Nancy's door and said "I love Nancy so much!" then she pointed to Lisa's room and did the same. Last, she pointed downstairs and said "and I love that little old boy downstairs, too. This house feels like home."

As we visited with Robin she fell in love with Robin's husband, Steve, and their dog, Haley, and their cat. I can't remember the cat's name, but I am sure if I asked Lana she could tell me. Next we picked up Aunt Ernestene and Candy on our way to visit with Aunt Hazel. Lana just chatted away with them. We cautioned her that Hazel was very old and she must be very quiet there. I took crayons and coloring books for her to amuse herself.

Hazel's home was anything but quiet. She lives with her son, Arnold and his wife, and at the time a son or two, their wives and several grandchildren, one of whom was four were in the household. It was so loud. Lana was in heaven. Last, we visited with Otho & Pat Holcomb. She fell in love with them, too, but I think their little dog helped that one along. On the way home from that trip she said she wanted to move in with me and just travel with me to meet "her people".

Lana often stays with me on Friday nights. On Saturday mornings we listen to Bobby Joe Pass on bounce radio doing his gospel show and then his jukebox show. I had to take her over to meet Bobby and his wife, Madonna because she "had" to meet them. My sister, Donna, is one of Lana's favorites. She calls Bobby's wife, "My donna" to differentiate from her Aunt Donna. She loves their dog, Rusty, also.

Bobby Joe gave me some CD's when we visited. I played one once while Lana was in the car. Now it's her favorite CD replacing the Wiggles and the Village People's YMCA album. She thinks that it is Madonna who is singing her new favorite song, "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoe Laces". She pretty much knows the words to "Going to the Chapel", "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", and "Charlie Brown", practically the whole CD.

Lana has been begging to go back and see Bobby Joe and Madonna. Last week I was too tired to think about driving over and promised her I would try to take her this week. Tuesday night I called to see if we could visit yesterday. Madonna said that they were going to see Aunt Lake so we have to find another time to go over. Lana wanted to know about Aunt Lake.

I got to thinking about Aunt Lake. I remember sitting on Poppy and Granny's front porch when a bunch of family were talking about family names. Aunt Lake said no one knew the name on her birth certificate. Mom said she did. Aunt Lake said, well, tell if you know. Mom said, I do know it, but I will keep it a secret if you don't want it known. Go ahead, Lake said. Mom said Baby, and Aunt Lake was suprised, but said that was right.

Well I can do one better than that. In the 1920 Census Otho and Nancy Bentley are living next to Elbert & Sabrina Craft Bentley, AC & Pricy Craft, Ben & Sarah Craft Franklin and Chunk and Polly Craft. Their children are listed like this:

    Stella 14
    Willie 12
    Nettie 10
    Atha 8
    Laura 6
    Lettie 3
    Sabrina 1
    Georgia 0/12

The census was taken on January 2, 3 & 5th of 1920. That means that the child, Georgia was born less than one month from those dates. Aunt Lake was born December 21 of 1919 (according to Kentucky Vital Statistics 1911-1999), so she was identified as Georgia in this census.

I always heard it said that she was named Lake Erie because when she was a baby she was always wet and they were always changing her diapers. Most of this came from the boys who would NOT even have been around when she was a baby, so I still don't know why the name was chosen. I have seen several Lakes in the Wise County, Virginia and Kentucky census records so it was not an uncommon name.

In 1960 (or at least that is when they developed the pictures) Aunt Lake, Uncle Berry, Uncle DV and Aunt Mary Evelyn took a trip down to Cherokee, North Carolina. These pictures were taken on that trip. There is a fourth one of Uncle DV sitting on a bull, but I don't think I have digitalized it yet.

Aunt Lake, the Chief and Aunt Mary Evelyn.

Uncle Berry & Aunt Lake holding rattlesnakes.

Lana was especially thrilled with this picture of Aunt Lake because when we visited the Columbus Zoo last summer she petted a snake that they had in the reptile house for anyone who wanted to see what a snake felt like. I passed on that opportunity.

Aunt Lake is in a nursing home now. We should all try to visit her.


  1. Karen, Nice picture of Aunt Lake holding the snake! You and Lana need to come to Cleveland for another visit. Lisa

  2. Oh Believe me, Lana is raring to go. She will be in the car with me and say, "Nana, just head this car for Cleveland. I been missing my little old boy. I need to see Lisa and Nancy."

  3. Karen,
    I don't know if it means anything, but Lake Erie is in Michigan.
    Your Cuz,