I don't know which one of them was born first on 17 Jul 1908 - my paternal grandmother, Addie Louise, or her twin, Hattie Inez. They were the first children of two sets of twins born to Jasper Monroe Herrington and Julia Ann Callaway. After them came:
Florence Isabelle Herrington, born 13 Feb 1910;
Robert Earl Herrington, born 23 Dec 1911; and
Twin daughters Bernice Josephine and Eunice Catheline Herrington, born 31 Oct 1913.
But Louise and Inez were not the first children born to their parents - not by a long shot.
In order to understand how just how many kids might have been underfoot in the Herrington household, you have to go back through the marriages for both Jasper and Julia.
Grandma's dad was married twice before he married her mother. (Some researcher say three times, but I have not been able to find any evidence of a marriage between Jasper and Emma Willman.)
On 12 May 1895, Jasper married Tabitha Luvenia Bailey in Hot Spring County. They had a daughter, Maude, born that year. Jasper and Tabitha divorced, which was something I didn't know until I started shaking the family tree.
On 15 Sep 1899, Jasper married a widow named Mary Ann (Cothran) Johnson. They had two children, Lillian (born 21 Jan 1902) and Richard (born in 1905). Mary Ann Herrington died in 1907.
So when Jasper Monroe Herrington married Julia Ann Callaway, he already had three children. He and Julia would have six more.
But that did not include Julia's children from her first marriage.
I know without having to be told how Julia Ann Callaway met her first husband, Robert Bruce McBrayer.
Both their families were longstanding members of the little Baptist church in their small Clark County community of DeGray.
They married on 13 Dec 1891 in Clark County, and had eight children:
Charlie H McBrayer, born 13 Oct 1892;
Maude C McBrayer, born 19 Nov 1894;
Larkin Wellington McBrayer, born 1 Mar 1896;
Twin daughters, Maggie Lee and Madgie Buck McBrayer, born 26 Jul 1898;
Verna McBrayer, born 5 Sep 1900;
John Ernest McBrayer, born in 1904; and
A stillborn infant, date of birth unknown.
How many kids were there in your family, Grandma?
Seventeen, including three sets of twins.
I'd dearly love to have a photo of the house that sheltered the Jasper and Julia Herrington family.
At the time of their marriage, they already had nine kids living at home. By the time of the 1910 census, there were eleven.
And we talk about those being "simpler times..."
Grandma became a nurse - an LPN at the hospital in Arkadelphia.
This was Louise Herrington in 1928.
When my dad handed me that photograph a couple of years ago, he remarked, Didn't I have a pretty mother?
He did, and the pretty little nurse caught the eye of the assistant postmaster at the Arkadelphia Post Office.
On 18 Nov 1929, Addie Louise Herrington married George Washington Burris, Jr. They had three daughters and one son. Eventually, there were thirteen grandchildren.
The George and Louise Burris family grew up in Arkadelphia, in a rock clad house on the corner of 9th and Crittenden Streets. My grandmother loved flowers and had a border that went all the way around the house, with huge hydrangeas on each side of the front door.
My grandparents loved having their family come to visit. Grandma spent hours cooking before and during those visits. She was one of a long line of women who believed most anything that happened to you could be faced much easier with a home cooked meal in your belly.
The noon meal was dinner and the evening meal was supper. You rose and retired with the chickens. (No, they didn't have chickens in town that I recall, but you got up early and went to bed early.)
During visits in the fall, my dad or one of the uncles would climb the pecan tree and shake it so we kids could get the nuts that fell to the ground. Grandma needed those for her famous Karo nut pies.
I loved doing that, but was really glad when I got too big to be the kid who sat on the ice bag (paper, back then) on top of the ice cream freezer in the summer, while a grown up cranked. We had all the Orange Crush ice cream we could eat.
As a child, I was lucky enough to be able to spend several days over a few summers with my grandparents.
The bacon frying fork always amused me, even as a kid. Grandma had one fork that she used for turning bacon in the mornings, and you weren't supposed to set the table with it. It was for frying bacon.
One summer when I was about 7 or 8, I spent a week with my grandparents. There was a sidewalk sale "uptown," and Grandma thought I might like to spend my little bit of mad money there.
We got ready and walked from the house to the sale. She didn't bat an eye when I bought myself a silver lipstick and proceeded to adorn my mouth with it. (I must have looked like a little ghoul.)
I had my eye out for a gift for her. About the third store, I saw them.
Earrings. Patriotic - red, white and blue earrings. They were clip-ons, like she wore. They had multiple dangling chains with red, white and blue balls all the way down the chains, which came half-way down your jaw. Not like what she wore. Ever.
But to my child's eye, they were beautiful. And a bargain, too - only fifty cents.
I waited until she was busy looking at another table, and made my purchase. The clerk wrapped them up in a paper bag under the table, so Grandma couldn't see.
I was going to wait until we got home to give them to her, but the excitement was killing me. I gave them to her on the spot.
She opened them up, and exclaimed over them. Gave me a big hug and a kiss.
And put those gawd-awful earrings on, in the middle of uptown Arkadelphia, and wore them all day.
And every day I was there that week.
Grandma quilted. She wasn't big into sewing per se, but she had a friend who was, and she kept all 10 of her granddaughters' Barbies incredibly fashionable for years.
She made quilts for each of us, starting with the oldest and each year, presenting our parents with the quilt of the year.
Over my childhood and into my young adulthood, Grandma made me two quilts. The first one was given to me when I was quite young, and my mother let me and my sisters take the quilts out to the backyard to make a tent over the clothesline with them. We weighted them down with rocks to keep them from flapping in the breeze.
Needless to say, I no longer have that quilt.
But I do have the last one she made for me before she died.
It's a Split Rail Fence quilt, and although I do still use it, I use it sparingly. It's hand-pieced and hand-quilted. You don't find that much any more.
Grandma died on 11 Jul 1980, just six days short of her 72nd birthday, and six years after my granddad passed.
I was living in Louisiana then, and didn't get home for the funeral. I also wasn't around to help my dad and one of my aunts in their effort to get a more equitable distribution of my grandparents' personal effects. The three of us are pretty sure there is quite a bit of the Herrington, Callaway and McBrayer family history mouldering away in the attics and storerooms of my two other aunts.
Time is on my side now. And I'm back home.
I make a few trips to Clark County now and again. On a trip last summer, I stopped by the house at 9th and Crittenden.
The passing of thirty years has not been kind to the house or the flower garden that Grandma loved so much.
Her immaculate flower borders are gone, ripped out and replaced by weeds and overgrown shrubs. The detached garage has almost fallen down.
I did see signs that someone was working on the house, as there were new windows hung on the west side.
Maybe someone will love it as much as she did.
Her memory remains, cherished by so many of us.George and Louise Burris, at the side entrance of the house at 9th and Crittenden
See you on the other side, Grandma.