Saturday, November 8, 2008


today would have been gammy's 100th birthday! helen alford sellards hemphill, born november 8, 1908, was (as most of you know) my most beloved grandmother. she passed away shortly after gus was born, in january 2001. she lived a long, eventful, exciting, and i think happy life. she was married to my grandfather for 52 years until he passed; she had three children, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren (now nine, with sophie) that she lived to see. i miss her terribly and carry her with me always.

gammy told me many stories throughout my life, and this is a recap of one of my favorites--it is how she met my grandfather:

gammy left monticello college in illinois and accepted a teaching position in vero beach, florida sometime around 1926 when she was all of 18 years old. she was independent, on her own, working as a teacher and making friends. one of those friends was katherine hemphill, who was a fellow teacher and who years later would be inducted into the LPGA hall of fame for her considerable golfing talent. one day, while walking along the beach with her friend, she looked up and saw a man flailing his arms and screaming for help because his granddaughter was drowning. a beautiful, muscular man ran right in front of her, jumped in the water, and saved the drowning girl. gammy asked her friend who the lifeguard was and she replied, "that's my brother, herbert!" they were married like four months later. my uncle bert was born in october of 1927; my mom was a later-in-life surprise 20 years later.

and that is, in part, why i am here today. happy birthday gammy!

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