Johnnie Mae & Robert LongLaughing about the recent cemetery “adventure” of AAGSAR member Sandra WILLIAMS-BUSH (Ancestral Callings: Georgia & Mississippi), I was reminded of one the funniest family stories ever shared with me by my late Cousin, Johnnie Mae STRINGER LONG.

Mae was Elbert STRINGER’s younger sister, the daughter of Missy DORSEY and John STRINGER. Missy and my GG Grandmother, Marrie WINGFIELD CARTER were Sisters. All of the beautiful DORSEY and STRINGER images I have, came from Mae. Her facial features and voice were so much like that of my Great Grandmother Annie CARTER JACKSON (Mae and Elbert’s first cousin they referred to lovingly as “Baby Sister”), I would just stare at her. It was comforting to be in her presence.

I spent many afternoons with Mae scanning pictures, capturing history and laughing about her fear of ghosts and spirits.

My favorite Mae story?

According to Mae, she’d always been the scary type. When she was a teen she and Elbert would visit Grandma Catie’s grave at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Mae told me when Grandma Catie died, her son John “Bud” WINGFIELD and cousin Harry HECTOR carried a huge boulder via wagon from Washington-Wilkes to place on Catie’s Grave.

Well when they arrived for one visit the boulder had disappeared – sunken COMPLETELY in the ground! On top of Grandma Catie’s grave! And when they attempted to investigate further, Elbert and Mae began to sink into soft earth!

Mae said the calmer Elbert got, the more hysterical she became! Mae said it was so bad when she was able to get free, she ran screaming and crying from the graveyard — leaving Elbert there to fend for himself! She never returned after that!:)

I was in tears watching Mae reenact that day, with her hands flailing in the air! She doubled over with laughter, tickled recalling her own silliness!:)

Man, Johnnie Mae was something special! How I miss her!

Thank you Sandra! I realized this priceless piece of family lore lives somewhere in my archived Our Georgia Roots site, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where! I cannot allow it to be lost.

Your graveyard misadventures and the “new residents” saved it!:)

“I think the ancestors are telling me it’s time to get back to work: So I went to cemetery today as I do on a regular basis — it’s one of my favorite places. As I stepped off the path to find who I was looking for I noticed a lot of new residents, what I didn’t think about was the condition of the earth. I walked around and suddenly my right leg went down into the earth and the more I tried to pull it out, the deeper it went. Got to the point where my leg was down at my knee & when I finally was able to pull it out, my boot stayed. I live in the northeast, so I need my boot — now I’m on my hands & knees trying to get it. Mission accomplished but it’s ruined, of course. I LAUGHED all the way home . . . still laughing.” — Sandra Williams-Bush

Now, you are timestamped right here with me and Mae. We are kindred!:)

I am the FIRST to admit, cemeteries are not my thing. I fear the new residents would be + 1 new neighbor had they grabbed my boot! LOL