Saturday, September 17, 2011


"Grandparents hold our tiny hands for just a little while but our hearts forever."

My full given name: The date and place of my birth
Alana Sue Wiley

Is there a story or family history behind my name?
I've always believed my name is a combination of my parents' names. Al from Alfred and ana from my mom's name, Johanna. I may be wrong. I know how my sister's name came about, but I was never told about mine. I just figured this out on my own.

Did I have a nickname? How did I get it?
Everyone called me Alana Sue when I was young. In first grade, my teacher Sister Bohmilla called me Alma. I was Alma all year. Then, when I had her for second grade, she finally got it right. As I got older and went to Incarnate Word, the girls emphasized the Sue. When I started high school, I dropped the Sue. I signed my name Alana, and I told everyone my name was Alana. One of my teachers questioned the change, but she agreed that it was my choice and complied.

My brother-in-law calls me Alana Sue, and so do some of my cousins.

Where did my family live at the time of my birth and during my early years?
We lived in San Antonio when I was born. I heard stories about the apartment or duplex my parents lived in. I believe we moved to Selma when I was a year old. We moved into my mom's uncle's house, right next door to my great grandparent's home on Evans Road. We lived across the street from my mom's aunt's house. There were 3 more houses on our street, and we were related to the families in 2 of them.

I wrote a poem many years ago about my life:

Let me tell you a story
about a lady named Alana.
Her daddy's name was Alfred,
and her Mom was called Johanna.
She was born in San Antonio
in 1952.
They soon moved to the country
'cause the city wouldn't do.
She had a little sister.
Her name was Jannalyn.
Whenever they would fight,
Alana'd never win.

If I remember correctly, we lived in Uncle Aloise's house until I was about 2 or so. I've seen photos of my sister in a crib and me standing on my bed leaning on her crib in Uncle Aloise's house. I've seen photos of us at Christmas with our gifts by the tree.

We moved up the block to the house right on IH35 for a year or so, then we moved back to Uncle Aloise's house. I don't recall ever seeing photos of this house while we lived there, but I remember being there. I heard my mom talk about the concrete floors.

When I was about 4 or 5, my dad started building a house on an acre of my maternal grandfather's farm land. My grandparents offered an acre of land to each of their 7 children when they got married, but they had to live on the land to get it. When I was 4, my parents decided to take that offer. I was 5 when we moved into the house. It was a 2-bedroom, 3 room cinderblock house. the livingroom and kitchen was one room, we had one very small bathroom, and 2 small bedrooms. It was perfect for a small family.

I remember going to the house during construction and playing on the piles of sand and finding plugs from the electrical boxes that I thought was money. I was so disappointed to find out they weren't worth anything.

What kind of work did my parents do?
My mom worked for Western Union, making union wages. She worked downtown for many years, Tuesday through Saturday. My dad originally worked with his dad doing construction. When he needed insurance, he started working at the Borden company delivering milk to houses (retail) driving one of these small delivery trucks. As a matter of fact, he delivered milk to most of the families in Selma, including us. I remember him stopping by on my mom's day off for lunch. Around the time we moved on the farm, Daddy started driving a wholesale truck, which meant he delivered milk to stores and schools. His route was mainly in Seguin, Schertz, and New Braunfels. He left the house about 4:30 a.m. because he had to go to San Antonio, load his truck, and then go to Seguin.

My mom used to get up and cook my dad's breakfast every morning -- the whole thing - eggs, bacon, coffee. It wasn't long before other wives heard about what my mom was doing, and they were upset because their husbands were asking them to do the same thing. The funny thing was my mom worked, and the other wives didn't.

I guess I was about 10 when they got the idea of parking the truck in Selma. That way Daddy could go to town at the end of the day, load the truck, and park it in front of the house. They had to have some electrical work done to accommodate the special needs of the refrigerated truck, but it was a genius idea.

When we got to the hill just past Pat Booker, we could see the truck in our driveway. It was so much fun to see who would see Daddy's truck first.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Introduction - A Grandparent's Legacy

My daughter gave me the book "A Grandparent's Legacy," a gift book from Hallmark so I could record my life for them and my grandchildren. I found that sitting with a beautifully designed and bound book with pen in hand to fill in the blanks causes an extreme case of writer's block and memory loss. So I decided to use the book as a guide and write the answers here in my blog.

I'll follow where the book leads. I don't consider this copyright infringement because the book was purchased, and I'm just recording the information in a different format than originally planned. I like the idea of doing the writing on a computer so I can correct my mistakes. One of the first things I did when writing in the book was misspell my maiden name. Can you imagine? Then on the same page, I made a mistake when writing my dad's birthdate. I've known that date almost 59 years. Why would I suddenly get it wrong?