La Chapa

La Chapa

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week is was taken at the Raton Pass Motor Inn, on Route 66. Each room has a different theme, and this week’s photo was taken in the Pin-Up Girl room. The Raton Pass Motor Inn is a real blast from the past and I highly recommend anyone taking a trip down the Mother Road stop there for the night.  You can find more about Raton Pass Motor Inn  HERE.

 “Well, it’s better than the back seat of the car.” Jo Reynolds eyed the motel room. Scarce furnishings, but clean. She expected worse this side of the Mexico border. Jo had driven all night, crossing the International Bridge at Mission Texas. Dead-tired, she found the desolate motel near La Chapa. Jo needed sleep, but first she needed a drink. She poured several shots of cheap tequila into a dull glass left on the nightstand by previous occupant. Undaunted by germs, Jo emptied the glass quickly, then laid on the bed, closing her eyes.

Sleep did not come. No amount of tequila could erase the memory of the past two days. Or of Jimmy.

They had been so good together. A perfect blend of desire and danger. If only Jimmy had kept his mouth shut. Jimmy loved to boast, especially after a few drinks. At a different motel, they fought hard. He pleaded, and she cried when he spoke the words that sealed his fate.

“Baby, you know I’m no good for you. Better kill me now.” *

They say a woman’s weapon of choice is poison, but if you are a Texas gal, a Colt-45 works just fine.


* Loosely lifted from the song Loser, by Beck.



Architecture in Monochrome(Day 12)

Architecture in Monochrome(Day 12)

I love black and white photography, and enjoy taking picture of architecture. Unfortunately, I had to resort to using existing photos but I found several that  capture the theme of Architecture in Monochrome. I hope you enjoy them.

This first photo is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol Maine. This is actually the second Pemaquid Lighthouse, build in 1835. The first was constructed in 1827 and used salt water in the  mortar mix, which eventually began to crumble. This lighthouse can be found on the National Register of Historic Places, reference number 85000843


To reach the top of the lighthouse, you have to walk up this 3-story winding staircase. This is a view from the top of the tower looking down.


This old monastery in Mission, Texas is near the banks of the Rio Grande.  I think it might be La Lomita Mission, but I can’t be sure. My husband and I wanted to safely see the Rio Grande while we were there. Our hotel desk clerk gave us directions to a retiree RV Park right on the river. This monastery was one of the waypoints. The clerk said it was haunted.


This is Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Galveston, Texas. Originally built in 1884, Sacred Heart was once the largest church in Texas. The original church was destroyed by a hurricane in 1900 and rebuilt in 1904.


I don’t remember where this was taken. It is another magnificent church building. I couldn’t get a good photo from a distance, so I decided to take one looking straight up.






Visit to Union Cemetery

Visit to Union Cemetery

Just west of the small Texas town of Gustine lies the old Union Cemetery. My husband and I visited the cemetery last week, a side-excursion on our way home to Oklahoma from South Texas. The cemetery is the final resting place for many of the Comanche County Kee’s, my paternal grandmother’s family. As a genealogist, visiting the family burial grounds is a must anytime we are within a “short” driving distance. I tease my husband that we have to visit the ‘dead relatives’. Fortunately, he is very understanding.

1-DSCF5257The small cemetery is enclosed by a stone fence with a couple of iron gates at either end. You cannot drive through the cemetery, but there is parking off the road and the gates were not locked. The Union Cemetery sign states it was established in 1879, several years after the town was originally settled, but before a post office was established. In the older part of the cemetery, there is a sign marking burial site of Susan Mary Rogers Speed, the first burial. The cemetery itself is well maintained and most of the markers are in good shape.

Having never been to the cemetery before, I didn’t know where to start, so I picked one end and began looking for anything that said Kee.  Having just come from South Texas, where the weather was warm, I was not prepared for the fierce wind of an early February morning. My light sweater did very little to keep out the cold. 1-DSCF5256Fortunately, I quickly found my 2nd-great grandmother, Plaiscetta Adeline Culp Kee. In keeping with Texan tradition, her grave marker only lists her initials, “P.A. Kee, wife of J.S. Kee.”  Plaiscetta was born April 23, 1822 in Chester County, South Carolina. She was the great-granddaughter of German immigrants who settled first in Pennsylvania and then South Carolina. Culp was an Americanization of the original name, Kolb. Plaiscetta  married John Silas (“J.S”) Kee , also from Chester County, around 1840. Plaiscetta, John, and their children moved to Alabama about 1848 where she and John had several more children before John died in 1867. She moved to Texas in the 1870’s, following in the footsteps of some of her sons.

The other important grave I found was my great-grandmother, Elmira Renfro Ford Kee. “Mira” was born in 1859 in Union Parish, Louisiana. She was married twice; first to William Issac Ford and then to John Culp Kee, son of Plaiscetta and John Silas.  Like many of the Kee women, Mira lived a long life, dying at age 90. I can remember a story my grandmother told me once about her. Mira was very young during the civil war but apparently old enough to throw rocks at Union soldiers as they passed by. Her strong feisty nature was definitely passed on to a few of her daughters.1-DSCF5258

Had I been more prepared with warmer clothes I would have stayed longer but it was a cold day and we had a long drive ahead. Missed during this visit were Mira’s husband, my great-grandfather John Culp Kee, also known as “Kit” and Lilla Renfro Kee, Mira’s sister and wife to her step-son John Jefferson Kee. This just means I need to make another trip, which is just fine with me.

**Union Cemetery is located 1.5 miles north of Gustine, Texas on Highway 36 at the intersection of County Road 1476 in Comanche County. ***

Mary Ann Walker Brown

Mary Ann Walker Brown

Mary Ann WALKER was the second child of Allen Wood WALKER and Bethany Emeline HOWARD. She was born on 24 Jul 1834 in Alabama, USA. She had ten brothers and sisters, namely:

  1. Naomi WALKER was born about 1832 in Tennessee, USA
  2. William C. WALKER was born about 1837 in Alabama, USA.
  3. Howard WALKER was born about 1839 in Alabama, USA.
  4. Hampton Clay WALKER was born on 03 May 1839 in Mississippi, USA
  5. John WALKER was born about 1841 in Mississippi, USA.
  6. James WALKER was born about 1843 in Mississippi, USA.
  7. Nancy Minerva WALKER was born about 1844 in Mississippi, USA.
  8. Kizzie WALKER was born about 1846 in Mississippi, USA.
  9. Jasper N. WALKER was born about Mar 1850 in Mississippi, USA.
  10. Newton WALKER was born about 1851 in Mississippi, USA

When Mary Ann was 17, she married James Snyder BROWN, born 30 Oct 1827 in South Carolina. They had the following children:

  1. Sarah “Emma” BROWN, born on 26 Nov 1852 in Mississippi, USA.
  2. John Thomas BROWN, born on 13 Apr 1853 in Mississippi, USA
  3. Stephen William Coleman “S.W.C” BROWN, born in 1857 in Mississippi
  4. Hampton D. BROWN, born about 1863 in Mississippi, USA.
  5. Nancy C. BROWN, born on 09 May 1861 in Mississippi.
  6. Mary E. BROWN, born in 1866 in Mississippi, USA.
  7. Martha C. BROWN, born in 1867 in Mississippi, USA.
  8. Joseph Eclaston Robertson “J.E.R” BROWN, born on 04 May 1872 in Alvarado, Johnson, Texas, USA.

S.J. and Mary Ann, their children and Mary Ann’s parents left Mississippi in 1868 for Johnson County, Texas. There she lived until she died of a ‘short but painful illness’ on February 1, 1874. She is believed to be buried at Center League Cemetery, located between the towns of Venus and Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas.

Writing101 – Day Eleven

Writing101 – Day Eleven

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

The year was 1969. A lot going on that year. Richard Nixon took the oath of office as the 37th President of the United States and Neil Armstrong leaves the first human footprint on the moon. A new counter-culture took shape with Woodstock and the Beatles break-up ended a musical era. It was a year of unbelievable atrocities, of Charles Manson, the Vietnam War and My Lai.

And for me, 1969 was the pivotal year between childhood and teenage. It was the year I turned twelve. Read more