Monday, August 22, 2016

The Persistence of Memory

Funny how research can lead you to things that you never expected.

Researching a north Georgia murder from the 1950s took me to  a number of Rome News-Tribune archive pages; an article here would reference an earlier date, so I would jump back to that date, and so on.

Eventually, I was taken to the Rome News-Tribune for February 7th, 1956.

Head-On Crash Kills Five, Hurts Two in Polk County

The minute I saw that headline, I suspected I knew what I would find in that article.

"Five persons were killed and two seriously injured Monday in a head-on crash of an automobile and an auto transport truck near Rockmart, described by Polk state troopers as 'the worst highway tragedy we've ever had here.'

"The car and an auto transport truck collided on the Cedartown-Rockmart highway four miles west of Rockmart when the truck attempted ot pass another vehicle, the patrol office at Cedartown reported.

"Killed were James Edward Green, 30; Roy H Leming, 65; Henry Newton Brock, 30; Edward Elmo Mitchell, 23, all of Cedartown; and David Elton Waites, 21, of Rockmart..."

Roy H Leming.

My grandfather.

The minute I saw that headline, I knew that it was going to be about his death.

I never saw the article before now, and I didn't even know the date of Granddaddy's death.

I have scattered memories of him. I remember getting a gift of socks from him one Christmas (probably the Christmas of 1958), and not being very impressed with socks. What I wanted instead was some of his books; he laughed and said they were too old for me. I'm pretty sure they were Louis L'amour paperbacks.

How I have those memories, I can't explain. I was only two and a half years old when he died. I didn't think I had any memories of anything that far back in my life. Apparently I was wrong.

I've been told by many members of my family that I inherited my love of books from my grandfather. He was an avid reader, grandmother used to tell me; as I got older, she gave me some of the books that had at one time belonged to him.

It's hard to express the variety of feelings I had when I found the article about his death.

I didn't get to know you very well, Granddaddy.

I wish I could have.

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