Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rentz, the Trees, and Aunt Dib!

I'll deviate from the "Fearless Females" series today since the blog prompt will take me back to an ancestor I have already written about several times. I have had this other story on the back burner for a few weeks and then, today, when I was checking in at, I realized that it is the anniversary of the death of a favorite grand-aunt and she figures predominantly into this story. So...

One of the things on our list when my sister and I visited Georgia last month was to stop by Rentz, Georgia, the town where our grandmother was born and raised and where we had spent time as kids visiting family during summers. Top on our list was to see if the trees that stood in front of our grand aunt's house (Corrie Mim "Dib" Silas Davidson) were still standing. We knew that the house had been moved, but, we were really hoping that the trees that were centered on either side of the entrance to the house were still there. Trees? Yep, because when the Abbate siblings were teenagers, visiting our Aunt Dib in Rentz, we carved our names in them!

As we approached Rentz I spotted the trees right away. The Rentz Baptist Church was the landmark that made it easy to find them. The church had bought the property where her home stood many years ago. They had built on the land but the trees were still there. We quickly parked the car and jumped out to see if we could find our names and sure enough, after a little searching, we found them.  Fortunately, my sister had carved the year as well as her name giving us a reference point in time. So, 37 years later Ang, Vicki "76," and "Jim" were plainly visible, a little higher and much wider but definitely still visible!

Of  course, returning to Rentz and finding our names on the trees was great fun but the flood of memories quickly took over as we drove around looking for other landmarks that we recalled. There was not much we could recognized as it appeared as though a lot of "downtown" has been torn down or abandoned. We did find the old gas station where our aunt and grandmother were spared in a traffic incident that included "pushing the foot feed" instead of the brakes one day. Yep, they went careening between the pumps and the building but, thankfully, walked away with just a few scratches!

Corrie Mim (Dib) Silas Davidson
Rentz, Georgia
August 1966

My grandmother, Mildred Arlene Silas (Thomas) and her sister, Corrie Mim Silas (Davidson), were close and lived together for a time when they were both widows. We remember that Aunt "Dib" as we called her (her lifelong nickname) burned her trash in the backyard which probably does not sound like much excitement, but, for us "city" kids it involved fire right in her backyard and that was way cool! We were allowed to eat Cornflakes for dinner if we wanted, hung out on her big front porch in the stiffling Georgia heat, and we walked to "town" without escort. Carefree summer days...

Rentz Cemetery
February 2013

So, today is the anniversary of Aunt Dib's death. She was born on December 4, 1902 and she passed away at the age of 77 on March 9, 1980. She was married to Ewell R. Davidson and they were the parents of one child, Jacqueline Davidson (Moore).  She has grandchildren and great grandchildren that still live in Georgia and nieces and nephews all over the U.S. that, to this day, remember a favorite aunt!

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