11th Edition – Smile for the Camera
Brothers and Sisters
I’m a Toastmaster and the first speech one of my Toastmaster friends gave was, “Everything I Learned, I Learned from Bugs Bunny.” I’ve thought about that title with regard to my mother’s life and think her likely first speech would have been, “Everything I Learned, I Learned From the Movies.” Mother’s father (Jacob Lineberry) died when she was 1 1/2 years old and her mother (Eva Keithley Lineberry Fox) died when she was 7. She and her siblings (minus the two oldest , who were adults, and the two youngest who still had a living parent, Mr. Fox) moved from Oklahoma to a small rural Virginia community to live with various family members. During those years, mother was afforded very little education or parenting and picked up a lot of what she expected from life from watching movies in the 20’s and 30’s. Mother loved Hollywood musicals as well as the Hollywood romantic notion of love.
Due to circumstances, Mother and her siblings didn’t live in the same home from the time she was 8 until she was 15. Though it was clear she loved all her siblings, with her brother Johnnie she also loved his musical talents. The picture I’ve selected shows mother’s Hollywood style of relating to people, even her brother.
Johnnie was eight years older than mother and, though generally a little distant in his personal bearing, the love mother felt for Johnnie was definitely reciprocated. He and his wife, Julia, provided a home for mother for a number of years until she finally married when she 24.
Mother had a beautiful operatic soprano voice but always held her brother up as representing the epitome of musical excellence. Johnnie was an operatic tenor who regularly sang on the radio with a woman named Hazel Poteet. He also played the violin beautifully, according to mother, and in mother’s last years she would sometimes hear a song he had sung or played and she would begin to cry at the remembered sweetness of his musical talent and her sense of loss that he had not fully shared his giftedness with the world.