Her eminence asked me about the Mitral Valve Birthday Party, so here goes.
You have read references to my cousin Libby in the blog. If God only allows one good thing to happen to you for the rest of your lives, and you get to choose what it is, meeting Libby and becoming a part of her extended family should rank pretty high up there on your list. Libby was one of the sisters I didn't have but SHOULD have. She is the only child of my mother's sister Florence.
Here's the kind of person Florence was: she didn't have a middle name, so when people asked her what her whole name was, she would say, "Florence Ann Rebecca Tincher". (You might notice that two of my children also have the names Ann and Rebecca.) I never got to meet Florence, since she died before I was born. She had rheumatic fever as a child and had a weak heart. That didn't stop her from being a wild, fun-loving person. We have pictures of her where she has this great, free-spirit, beautiful smile on her face. (My daughter Ann bears an uncanny resemblance to her.) Florence was several years older than Mom, old enough that Mom was her bratty little sister. Mom said she used to love to dress up in Florence's clothes (and get in trouble for it). Mom also remembered going to Nashville with Florence on a bus to see the Grand Ole Opry. Mom said she hated the Opry--but sometimes now I wonder if she really did.
Florence married Herb Bynum. I have no details of their romance or early married life, but I bet Libby does. All I know about Herbie was that he had red hair, he was a barber, and he had tuberculosis. At the time that he got sick with TB, the accepted treatment was isolation in the Waverly Hills TB sanitorium in Louisville, so Herb went there, leaving Florence and baby Libby with my granny, Florence's mom. Herb died way young, maybe when Libby was around six years old.
Florence made a living for Libby and herself, and helped to support my Granny, with whom they lived. My mom also lived there at the time. Florence Ann Rebecca worked really hard, maybe at Steiden's Grocery, a hat factory, seems like a dry goods store (think Dillard's, you young folks). One day two or three days before Christmas, when Libby was still a little thing (maybe about 8 or 9), Florence came home from work and told Granny that she thought she'd lie down for a while. When she hadn't awakened after a couple of hours, someone checked on her and found she had died. Too early a loss of one of the world's great people, in my opinion.
All this knowledge to get to the place where Libby was an orphan at the ripe old age of 10. How that affected her life is the subject of a future post.
Love to all, and God bless.