Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Yep, that’s about it for my Latin vocabulary.  Veni, vidi, vici...I came, I saw, I conquered, believed to have been written by Julius Caesar in 47 B.C. as a comment about a short war that took place in present day Turkey. So, why, the Latin recitation today?  Because, get this, my grandmother took four years of Latin when she was in high school in the 1920s. The 1920s people, seriously, pretty cool, huh?  According to her final high school transcript (which is far too brittle to flatten and scan, sorry!) She aced The Essentials of Latin and Caesar and she got a “B” in Cicero and Vergil’s AeneidThe Aeneid, 9,896 lines of dactylic hexameter, sheesh!  It’s like The Odyssey and The Iliad, classical, epic, poetry. Now, I know, you all absolutely could not wait for that class! But wait, not only did she take four years of Latin but she also pretty much aced Algebra, Quadratic Equations, Binomial Theorems, Logarithms, and Plane and Solid Geometry. Add to that two years of English, American Literature, English Literature, Medieval and Modern History, English History, United States History, Civics, a year of Biology and, of course, Home Economics. All that in three years, not quite the schedule I would envision for a young woman attending a very rural high school in the 1920s to have mastered.  Oh yeah, and, it was noted on her report card that she was “of good moral character!” There were ten people in her graduating class so we are not talking major high school here. Pretty amazing if you ask me. But wait! There's more! Of course she took a rigorous course of study, times were changing for women in the 1920s. Women's Suffrage was finally successful in 1920 sparking a new age for women and their voice in politics in the United States. To my female friends and family-don't ever pass up an opportunity to vote, it was our great grandmothers who paved the way! (Sorry, well, not really... I'll get off my soapbox now.) Mildred was a young woman in a very interesting time in our history. Mildred (Ball) Arlene Silas, Rentz High School, Class of 1925.

Here’s some more interesting information about Mildred and her education:

From my Mom’s (Jane Thomas Abbate) notes on her Mother: 
"Mother was closest to (her sister) Gladys, who was two years older than her.  When time came for Gladys to go to school, she refused to go unless Mama went with her. Since it was a one room school house; the teacher, Mr. O.K. Jolley said, “just let Ball come, it won’t hurt anything”, so Mama started to school two years early.  It must have been a good thing because Mama finished school with high grades and in those days if you did that you could teach school when you graduated."

Basically she started school at age 5 and finished 11 years later at age 16.


My maternal grandmother, Mildred Arlene Silas was born on March 11, 1909 in Rentz, Georgia. She was the sixth child of John Franklin Silas, Jr. and Minnie Eucebia Alligood. Even though Mildred could have become a teacher after graduating from high school she did not choose that path.  Instead, she married the love of her life, Daniel Claude Thomas, at the age of 16 on July 20, 1925.  They moved to Miami, Florida, in the 1920s and lived there the rest of their lives. She was the mother of two daughters, Phyllis Margaret Thomas (1926-1999) and Eucebia Jane Thomas (1937-2012). She lived to get to know and enjoy each of her five grandchildren. Before her death February 26, 1989 she had six great-grandchildren with two more having been born after her death. Mildred died on February 26, 1989 in Hialeah, Florida. She is buried at Flagler Memorial Park in Miami, Florida where her husband and both daughters are also interred.
Want to try Grandma's famous Apple Salad? Check out the family recipe page.

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