Little Gracie Mae

Harwood and Gracie Collins

Harwood and Gracie Collins, July 1907 (click for full picture)

When I was in junior high school in Alice, Texas, I spent many evenings across the street at Mama Grace’s house, picking her brain about people and dates and places so that I could fill in all the pertinent details on my genealogical charts. Every time I asked a fact-finding question, she would start into a story, often trailing off into laughter as she recounted precious memories of her childhood years growing up in Cass County, Texas.

One of my favorite Mama Grace stories is of her, as a little girl, walking out to the road to meet the mailman. Here is her story, in her own words.

We were on a rural route out of Atlanta, and I can remember to this day the horse the mail carrier was driving and the mail carrier. It was about three-quarters of a mile through to our mail box. I would go for the mail every day, and he came pretty nearly the same time every day. And I was a little bit skittish; there’s nothing but woods, no human being in hearing or sight from the time I got out of sight of our house until I got back to our house. I didn’t particularly mind going through the woods, but I hated to get up there on that road till the mail carrier came, and sometimes I’d just play around down there in the woods till I’d hear or see the mail carrier coming. Of course, he usually stopped at our box every day; maybe we were getting a daily paper at that time. How glad I was to see that mail carrier. I guess that’s the reason I loved him so. Oh, but he was a sweetie. And his name was Mr. Frank Sammon. Sometimes he drove a gray horse, and sometimes he drove a red horse. He went in a circle around that part of the country. I guess he was out all day long, from 8 o’clock in the morning till probably 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon at least. Bound to have been, to make that route he made.

You can listen to Mama Grace tell this story by pressing the play button below. This was recorded in the mid to late 1970’s.


Record your history

I strongly encourage you to get as much of your family history recorded as you possibly can, as soon as you possibly can. Sit down with the oldest members of your family and ask them questions. Write down their stories, or record them on audio or video. Capture those priceless treasures. Once the old-timers are gone, their stories will be gone forever … unless you record them.

If YOU are one of the old-timers in your family, record YOUR stories for the sake of your children, grandchildren and future generations. I have included links below to some resources that will help you know what kinds of questions to ask and answer when interviewing family members or recording your own life stories.

The story of walking through the woods to meet the mail carrier every day might seem mundane and unimportant to some, but I treasure that story from my grandmother’s childhood, and being able to hear her voice recount that story is priceless.

Family History Interview Resources:


What are some of your favorite family stories? Share in the comments section below.

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One thought on “Little Gracie Mae

  1. Paul, this is PRICELESS! Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to thoroughly document our family history, starting so many years ago. It’s amazing to be able now to sit here and click on a link and listen to Mama Grace tell her stories in her own voice! When you recorded that on a tape cassette recorder back then . . . who knew!? More please!! 🙂