Hello World Wide Genealogy Blog readers-- I am a new author, Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser. As a means of introducing myself to you, I’d like to share my own story of growing up in America--especially coming of age in the 1960’s. As you well know, the 1960’s in America was a volatile time in history. I turned 11 years old in 1960, and 20 in 1969! What teenage years I had!
I grew up in a home in Richmond, Virginia, USA, with a live-in paternal grandmother in residence; she died when I was 15. There were also my Mom and Dad, and four of us children, older sister born 1942, older brother born 1947, myself in 1949, and my younger brother in 1955! We generally gathered for dinner every night, seven around a table it was my job to set, and my sister’s and my job to clean up afterwards.
Sharing a room with my older sister, meant being exposed to some cultural things as a child I might not have been otherwise…like music, religious discussions, and long talks into the night about high school and boys! I was in love with Elvis by the time I was 10! LOL
Events which I remember as being very important to me in my lifetime can be shown on this time line:
1949--born, (of course I don’t remember!) second girl, baby boomer, after WWII in which my father fought. Mom worked full time, unusual for the 1950’s. Mom and Dad and Grandmother had experienced the war and the depression, both affected their perceptions of life greatly.
1950-1975--the Vietnam War was ever present and a living topic in our home. Dad worked for the Federal Government in logistics and supply. He railed against communism all of our lives.
1952--President Dwight Eisenhower was elected the 34th President of the US, and serves for eight years, my ages 3-11. He was a large influence on my life. He was often the topic of conversation at home, and I had the opportunity to see him speak in Richmond, Virginia, while he was President.
1954--Hurricane Hazel hit taking down trees, and killing 95 people in the US. I remember it hitting our neighborhood! We lost power for a week, cooked over the fire, and trees were blown down all over the place, cars and houses were destroyed, people killed!
1954--Landmark Supreme Court case, “Brown vs. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas” requires public schools in the US to be integrated-- declares segregation of black and white citizens illegal. Nonetheless, I continue in all white schools throughout my school career.
1955--My little brother was born, a huge event in my life!
1955--I started public Elementary School in first grade and rode a school bus with my two older siblings. I continued in public schools of Virginia through 12th grade.
1959--January, Alaska becomes the 49th state in the US, and then in August, Hawaii becomes the 50th state! I remember the celebrations--fireworks and parades!
1960, John F. Kennedy is elected as President of the USA, so young, so dynamic. I idolized him.
1961--“Freedom Riders” travel through-out the southern USA protesting segregated buses, schools, restaurants, etc.--I was 12 years old, and it got my attention!
1962--There was the Cuban Missile Crisis, where we children all thought we would be blown off the face of the earth by nuclear missiles any minute! Fallout shelters became very popular, and our basement was sealed and well-stocked for survival! Cold war with the Soviet Union was a topic of frequent discussion in my home.
1963, August-- Martin Luther King delivers his “I Have A Dream” Speech which galvanizes the Civil Rights Movement already strongly active.
1963, Nov. 22--President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas, I was in ninth grade. I remember clearly our principal informing all of us, and silence falling as the impact was felt and many began to weep.
1964, February 9th, The Beatles appear on TV in America for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show, and like so many of my 15 year old friends, I fell in screaming love!
1964, June, I travel to the World’s Fair with my Girl Scout Troop after a year’s fund-raising effort! We are exposed to many international events and understandings we’d have never experienced otherwise. We also sang and danced to the Beatles’ music all the way up and back on the train from Virginia to New York City, New York.
1964, July 2--President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act. The Vietnam War is raging; many young men were dying for a war many did not believe in.
1965--Civil Rights riots are taking place all over the US with many people killed. Students join the protest marches in great numbers.
1966--I join a southern branch of “Up With People” called “Sing Out South”--a touring, singing group that I saw as optimistic and pro people of all races and creeds.
1967--I graduate high school, Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virginia, and go on to attend a small private Methodist college in Greensboro, North Carolina, Greensboro College.
1968--Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. In April, and Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles, California in June! These events scare me and make me feel unsafe in our world.
1969--Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th President of the USA. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. become the first men to land on the moon, July 20.
1970--Four college students are shot to death by National Guardsmen during an antiwar protest at Kent state University, May 1. As a college student, I was stunned! Instead of deterring me from social activism, it encouraged me to speak and act in their names!
1970-- Fall--I meet my husband to be, and we start dating in September.
-- I join a protest rally, several in fact, in support of Civil Rights and against the Vietnam War. I supported my many friends who were soldiers in the war, I just wanted them to come home alive, and I didn’t think the war was worth their lives. Once while I stood in solidarity with my friends-- as we stood arms linked around the perimeter of the campus, the North Carolina National Guard formed a ring around us. They had rifles and were four feet in front of us, also shoulder to shoulder. We sang, “We shall overcome one day” and “All we are asking, is give peace a chance” over and over. I have to say, I thought I might be shot and die that day.
1971--April--the schools in Richmond, Virginia where I was reared, were finally ordered desegregated by the courts! My younger brother was bused across town to a traditionally all black high school. My parents, strong believers in public education, refused to move or to send him to private schools as most of his friends did. He rode a half empty neighborhood school bus to his new school at age 16. He was big and tall, but gentle, and everyday he was challenged to a fight, everyday he was assaulted in the bathroom! School became hell for him, and he dropped out. He began cutting school unbeknown to my parents until he’d missed two months and the school sent a letter finally! He had a gifted level IQ, so he made up his schooling and attended college, but was impacted for life by this experience as were many youths, both black and white during this volatile time!
1971, June--I graduated from college! Went back to Richmond, Virginia, served as a lifeguard for my 7th summer, and then started teaching Emotionally Disturbed Children in September.
1971, December--I married Max Holshouser, a mechanical designer, woodworker, and teacher and had two children over the next eight years. In 1978 I went to graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. I moved from Richmond, Virginia, to Raleigh, North Carolina and moved from being a teacher of Emotionally Disturbed Children to being a family therapist and staff psychologist for a private practice and for public mental health. My social activism continued in a much milder way, volunteerism among other things.
1999--age 50, I had a heart attack, preceded by weeks of unexplained fainting and coughing spells. Experimental open- heart surgery revealed a serious, non-bypassable, stage four heart condition that took me out of my life as I knew it, and made me a chronically ill person, living on disability, having to sell my house to survive financially, and one who was expected to die within five years! However, I am approaching my 16th year of this illness and have three delightful grandchildren as gifts of this life I never expected to have!
2001, Sept. 11--Terrorist attack the World Trade Center in New York and our world becomes dominated by the war on terrorism as well as the war on drugs. I got so upset about it, so mesmerized by it, that I ended up having another heart attack and spent a week in the hospital.
2011--I discovered ancestry.com, and my new hobby and life interest began! It started as a way to give a gift of a small family tree to my last remaining aunt, and ended up as a passion for the rest of my life!
2012-- I started blogging as I had always loved to write, but it wasn’t until February 2014, that I began to write about genealogy exclusively! So I am approaching my first anniversary of genealogical blogging which has opened a whole new world to me , including this present community in which I am just becoming involved, thank you very much! The title of my blog is Heart of a Southern Woman, and there you can find the list of surnames I am researching.
Notice what a melting pot American I am with ancestors from: Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, and Wales, among others. My ancestry DNA says this is my ethnic DNA make-up:
West Asia< 1%
· < 1%