I’ve recently been writing about my paternal grandmother, Mettie Knight Swain, whose life I didn’t know nearly so much about as my mother’s family. I reached out to my cousins who were kind enough to send me pictures. I am grateful to receive these. Pictures can tell you so much more about a person than you’d expect. The man in the hat is my grandfather, Eddie Swain, Mettie’s husband. He died of a brain tumor at the age of forty-two. The family picture is one of the earliest I’ve found with Eddie and Mettie Swain and their three children, Geneva, standing left, Parnell, and Edward in Mettie’s lap. They had four more, Bill, Bessie, Esther, and Ola Bea. This photo would have probably been made about 1922.
The next photo was probably made when Mettie was in her fifties. The next shows a light-hearted side of her I never knew, seeing her pose as a pin-up girl. I do remember coming in from play to see her laughing with her daughters. There were forty of us grandchildren. I can well-imagine they were glad to shoo us out when we all came flocking in at once for a drink of water. It must have been a mad-house! The woman in the car is my aunt Julie. I am not sure about the boy behind her.
Maw Maw always wore crisply-ironed, cotton dresses and smelled liked baby powder. She had the most beautiful silver hair and shockingly blue eyes I’ve ever seen. She used words I don’t hear any more, “ary” mean any, and “nary” meaning none. She pronounced my name Linder instead of Linda, but I knew better than to correct her. I am grateful to my cousins Allen Lee and Rick Compton for providing this photos.