Today is my dad’s birthday!  Happy snappy!  And last week was my grandmother West’s 93rd birthday.  That’s some serious time spent here on the Birmingham soil.  While her short-term memory is rapidly fading due to dementia, she can still remember her daily horse ride down a dirt path (that we now call Lakeshore Drive) in the early 30’s like it was yesterday.  To this day she still owns the oldest house in Mountain Brook even though she now permanently resides in an assisted living home.  It’s a scary house, too.  The original structure in the middle of the home was built in the 1870’s, and it is every bit as haunted as it looks from the outside.  I’m sure it will be torn down in the next few years which will be very sad to see.  I have many fond memories there, even if I was always looking over my shoulder for dark shadows.

I know I have told this story before, but I can’t help but tell it again since it is my favorite.  My grandmother West (Louise) was married to my grandfather in 1940 during the biggest snow storm on record, and just a day later my other grandmother (Gayle) was born in a nearby town.  It was 7 degrees the morning that my great-grandfather carried Louise up the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown in her beautiful white wedding dress as to not get her wet.  A church caretaker had been up all night heating the building just so it would be warm enough for the occasion.  Isn’t that a wonderful visual?  There are photos too, which I’ve promised before to scan… but I haven’t made it over to the house yet to do it.  In due time, I would love to make a retrospect of her life in photographs for you all to see.  She is the mother of 7 boys, an amazing & accomplished painter, and most of all… an angel on earth.

My grandmother & dad on her "memory board."

My grandmother with her 7 boys in the 90's.