It was a Monday afternoon at Holly Springs Elementary School in Douglasville, GA. I was sitting in my 2nd grade class, becoming more and more impatient for the bell to ring. Then I could go to the car rider line and find my cousin, Reagan. We sat in this long hallway of our elementary school waiting to hear our names called over the megaphone signaling us that our Nana was here to pick us up. Mondays were our favorite day of the week. It was our day to hang out and spend time with our Nana. As we rode in the car, we asked if we could listen to our favorite tape with our favorite Sunday School songs. Riding down the road we sang at the top of our lungs to “The B-I-B-L-E” and “Down in my Heart” all the way to the house. When we got to our Nana’s house, we would begin our normal Monday routine. First we would go out to the little pond in the front yard to feed the goldfish. We would take turns feeding the fish little pinches of fish food flakes. After we were positive that the fish had plenty of food, we would go inside and start on whatever homework we had for the day. Nana was very adamant that our homework had to be complete and correct before we could go play. As we finished our homework and went to play, the Monday night supper preparation began. Every Monday night my entire family would come to my Nana and Poppy’s house and we would eat a homecooked southern meal complete with fried chicken, macaroni, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and cornbread. Reagan and I had the privilege of setting the table for everyone. We made sure that the dining room table was set properly with plates, napkins, silverware, and glasses. As the family arrived, we all began gathering at the dining room table to have supper. But before we ate, we all held hands to pray. Together my cousin Reagan and I began praying,
“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands, we all are fed. Thank you Lord for daily bread. Amen.”
Sitting at the dinner table, I overheard all of the adult conversations that took place. All of the stories that happened within the last week. All of the events that are going to take place in the near future. One thing we never really talked about though was our ancestry. I can reminisce about all of the childhood memories I have with my grandparents and my immediate family, but that doesn’t really grasp the bigger picture. My family’s history is much larger than my little family of fourteen.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet any of my great-grandparents or other relatives. The only time we ever saw extended family was at a funeral or a wedding, but even then I heard names and how they were related to me but I never really got a chance to know any of them. I would hear childhood stories about my mom and my uncles but I never really paid attention. One thing I always heard was that “my family left marks on Georgia.” I have recently heard little bits and pieces of my ancestry that have me curious. One litle bit I have hear about is my great-uncle, Marshall “Mark” Mauldin, playing Minor League Baseball for the Atlanta Crackers. I also heard that my great-great grandfather, Milton Reese Mauldin, worked for the City of Atlanta Police Department for 35 years and retired from there.
Though both my Nana and Poppy have gone home to be with the Lord, the curiosity of where my family came from and the impact that my family has left on Georgia hasn’t faded. My goal for this project is to learn all of the many things and ways that my ancestors impacted the state of Georgia. I plan on interviewing my uncle, Marshall Raymond Mauldin Jr., to try and uncover the things about my ancestors that I never knew. My Uncle Ray is one of two brothers to my mom. He is the father of my cousin Reagan, whom I shared much of my childhood with. He also lived, and still lives, in the house right beside my Nana and Poppy’s house. My Uncle Ray lives a musical life. He played in numerous bands from 1987–2001 but his biggest was his band, Terrafyre. For all of my childhood, my Uncle Ray worked in a self-owned television shop with my Poppy. After my Poppy passed away, they sold the television shop and my uncle started his own company selling guitars. He has sold guitars to many famous people including James Hetfield in Metallica, Eric Singer and Bruce Kulick in Kiss, as well as the Zac Brown Band. One of my fondest childhood memories of my uncle was all of the crazy names that he came up with for us to call him. The one that stuck was “Uncle Dude”. According to my mom has the best family stories of anyone. It was actually my mom’s suggestion to interview my uncle. She admitted, for once, that her brother actually knew more than she did about our family history.
I hope to learn all of the amazing things about my family and especially all of the ways my family has impacted the state of Georgia. For my wildcard I plan on interviewing my dad and asking him questions about his side of the family, who is also from the South. I hope to use his stories to tie together both sides of my family to strengthen the southern bond that makes me who I am.
- What was your father like?
- Was family an important aspect of your childhood? Did you have a bunch of family reunions?
- How many of our family members served in the military?
- What made you want to serve in the Army?
- How did Nana and Poppy feel about you joining the Army?
- Do you know of any neat stories about Uncle George that served during WWII?
- So was music a big aspect of your childhood?
- What made you want to get into music? Did you ever think you would have a career in music?
- How was life different from when you were growing up in the more segregation era than it is now? Were things more segregated?
- Was attending church a big thing when you were little? Did Nana take you to church like she took Reagan and me?
- Was our family dedicated to the South and to being southern? Would it have been different if we had been from anywhere else?