Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jason's Home

Jason arrived home February 11th to a very happy family!! This picture was printed on the front page of the Colorado Springs newspaper. The caption read: "Audrey Rizzuto, 4, of Colorado Springs, helps her dad, Sgt. Jason Rizzuto, push a stroller to the car after he returned from Iraq. Rizzuto was welcomed home by his wife and three daughters." When we pulled it up on the web, it gave me chills and made his being home...REAL!! A huge weight was lifted when he called and said he was in America. You really don't realize how much you'd been "holding your breath" until you don't have to anymore. That was the feeling we felt after seeing this darling picture...such relief!! Then the very next thought that comes to mind is..."there are still so many more that need to come home." Hopefully that will happen soon, but until then, PRAY for all the soldiers. We are all proud of Jason, for his dedication to his duty and love for his country. What an amazing man!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


My hometown....Corinth Mississippi(Corinth Courthouse where Teddy personally saw and heard Elvis Presley singing on the courthouse steps!!)
Moving to Mississippi meant I was coming back to my 'roots'. Yep...many of you may not know it but I was born in Mississippi. Being a Navy brat, I didn't really grow up in the same town or state for that matter. I never felt I had 'roots'. After moving to Jackson, one of the places I had most wanted to visit was the town where I was born, Corinth. Here I had my father's side of the family go WAY back on both his father's and mother's sides of the family...some as far back at the early 1800's!! At the beginning of the year I got a chance to do just that. Not only was I able to drive the streets of the town and connect with the places so many of my family members were a part of, but I was able to visit with Wood family members I hadn't seen in 30 years!! It was quite the emotional experience for me. Since I started family research in 1979, I have learned the names and dates of so many of my relatives...trying to 'connect' with the family I didn't know. (My parents were divorced when I was 3) Mom told me the stories she knew and had gone to Corinth on a few occasions and taken pictures of many of the places I ended up taking pictures of, but it wasn't the same as actually being there. The town is a quaint southern town, with an amazing town square. The homes have was beautiful even though it was the dead of winter! Teddy was our tour guide and stopped at every house I had any connection to. I remember bits and pieces of walking into Mumma's home and being at Granny's and I remember staying at the home my mother spent her teenaged years in...but to see them through adult eyes was different. How I wished I could walk through the houses again and pull a little of their 'spirits' from the walls. To hear the voices of Grandaddy and Granny Choate, although I think Teddy does a great imitation of what Grandaddy Choate must have sounded like! My visit with family was the highlight. We were entertained by Uncle Monte and Uncle Jerry, who both play the piano beautifully, but who also are great at telling stories that had us rolling!! Aunt Peggy shared her amazing scrapbooks with me...I wanted to run out and photocopy each page they were so filled with memories and some awesome family photos! I was thrilled to be able to see pictures of many of the family members I knew in name only...and now had faces to put with the names. I loved hearing stories told by my aunts and uncles, they put life into those pictures. It was a wonderful experience to be immersed in my ROOTS!!! Everyone was so kind and accepting...Thank you for your warm Southern hospitality!! :) My plan is to do it all over again real soon!!!
Corinth Sites...

Top left: The old Corinth High School where both my parents graduated as well as my grandparents. Top right: The Waldron Street Christian Church where my 'way back' Wood family were involved in its re-construction after the Civil War. My "MeeMaw" played the organ for church here for a zillion years. Town square Confederate soldier statue, and Borroum's Drugstore (across from the courthouse) where they have an old fashioned soda fountain and where we had the MOST amazing chocolate milkshake EVER!!

Old Corinth homes...Top left, the home of Pa and Mumma Wood, my great grandparent's. I remember Mumma had a chihuahua that scared the living daylights out of me. Top right, my grandparent's home, Cecil and Dorothy "MeeMaw" Wood. It's the smallest of all the homes yet 6 rambunctious children were raised there! Bottom left is the home of Papa and Grandma Hinton who were the grandparents of my grandmother (my great-great grandparents). They both died within months of each other less than a year before I was born. The bottom center home is where my mother lived as a teenager. The bottom right is Grandaddy and Granny Choate's home. I had my first birthday here and have vague memories of being inside. It was amazing to me to be able to drive through the town and see so many places where someone I was directly related to lived years ago.

Hinton family...I was given the middle name of Hinton. It is my father's middle name and the last name of his great grandparents (and his grandmother's maiden name). I never liked my middle name and asked my mother why she didn't give me a girl's name like hers...Anne. She would then tell me bits and pieces of what she remembered about my great-great Hinton grandparents. How much they loved each other, how sweet they were etc. After a while, Hinton didn't seem like such a strange name to me and I began to love the name. Enough so to pass it on to Chelsey. Here at the Salem Christian Church cemetary is the Hinton family plot. A way back Hinton grandfather helped establish this church and all the Hinton relatives are buried here. There's even a Hinton Road in town...if I could have, I would have taken the road sign home with me!!

Family...The Wood brothers, Teddy, Monte and Jerry, taken at Uncle Jerry's Oxford MS home. A real void was felt by the absence of Uncle Buddy who passed away last January due to cancer. He was spoken of with great respect and admiration...he was greatly missed.

I don't know how I forgot to take pictures of Uncle Jeff and Aunt Bette. They live in Oxford too and own the oldest floral company in town. We got a 'behind the scenes' tour of the shop...there was so much to take in even though Bette and Monte insisted that the shop seemed barren since all the Christmas deco had been taken down.The Tupelo family: Uncle Bill Hardin, (Ken and me) Teddy, cousin Brooks, Suzanne and Aunt Peggy Wood Hardin at the Hardin home in Guntown MS. It's a beautiful home that they built themselves and used a ton of the neatest old doors from Bill's grandmother's antebellum home.

Can't wait to see you all again...