Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Women in My Life part ll

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Back on Oct 22nd I wrote about my Great Aunt Callie. Callie, pictured here in black, since she was in mourning for her dead husband. These are the McAfee sisters, my great aunts, on my mother's side. The last little girl on the left with the big white bow is my grandmother Julia. But, today I want to introduce you to Tennie the oldest of the girls, pictured here on the far right (1881-1966). Tennie was valedictorian (number1 academically) of her high school class of 1900. You didn't have to have a higher education at that time to teach school....just pass some exams. So, she became a teacher in some out lying smaller communities. Her father (my great grandfather) would deliver her on Sunday night by horse and wagon and return to get her on Friday night. During the week, she lived with her students families.
Years later, after Tennie married she went to work as a teacher at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Some parents of blind children, at that time, felt is was a stigma  and  actually hid these children away from the public. Tennie raised money herself, to put gas in her car, so she could comb the hills looking for blind children that would benefit from this school. Many times, she was staring down the barrel of a shotgun, when parents wanted her to just go away. Tennie became so proficient at teaching braille that she was asked to come to Vanderbilt University to train teachers there.
Aunt Tennie was a wonderful Great Aunt and one of the women who came before me.

We stopped in Muskogee, OK on our trip home this week and I sought out the school for the blind, which has a new campus.
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  1. wow. you come from some hardy, brave, wonderful stock.

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  3. A beautiful and strong role model!

  4. A very nice story of a woman who wants to help others. She did a great job to try to find the blind children in their homes.

  5. Through this and other stories of women 'achieving' in a time when it was definitely a man's makes me very proud to be a female. I really enjoyed this account of your Aunt Tennie's life Janey, she was definitely a woman ahead of her time.