Gladys and Lavay's 50th Wedding Anniversary
Sunday June 21, 2007 - 2- 4 PM
A few Comments of Memory and Appreciation.
Congratulations to Gladys and Lavay on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Lavay is my nephew and the oldest of my parents' twenty grandchildren, so he had his own special place in the Baird family. (picture at right is Lavay at 2 and Ruth at 8)
After Lavay and Gladys's marriage, Gladys also became a vital part of our large family. I am especially appreciative of the fact that Lavay and Gladys visited (and later brought their children to visit) his widowed maternal grandmother regularly in her old age.
Gladys and Lavay and their children also can always be counted on to participate and attend Baird family reunions, funerals and weddings when possible.
Lavay is the only child of my sister Louise and her husband Ernest McCullough. Louise was the last of my three sisters and five brothers to die. So as his last aunt, who knew him as a child, I will write a few memories of Lavay's childhood.
Lavay came into the world with a ready made and large family of fans. His mother Louise, as the oldest daughter, was called "Sis" by the rest of us. Sis, the perfect lady, took an interest in her younger siblings and tried to teach us proper manners, not always with success. Nevertheless, she had a special place in the heart of each one of us. I will miss her as long as I live!
. Lavay was one of the pastors to give a eulogy at his Grandmother Baird’s funeral.
Lavay's dad was killed in a tragic robbery when Lavay was a baby. Lavay may know more of the details from his mother than I, but my understanding is that Ernest was robbed of his money by two brothers and killed.
The two Hulsey brothers received the death penalty and were electrocuted for this horrible crime.
One of the sad memories of my childhood is the sight of my grieving sister, Louise fainting and almost falling as she is being escorted to a car supported on each side by her two older brothers (Wilson Grice and William Bogan) to go to the first of the cars lined up in front of our house on 32 Hazel Street to go to her husband's and the father of her baby's funeral.
When Lavay was less than two, he contracted polio in an epidemic among babies and young children. The "new" disease was affecting many babies at that time and was introduced to us as "Infantile Paralysis.
"The treatment then was to isolate the child with polio because of fear of contagion. I remember my mother being furious with the medical people at the hospital because they took him screaming away from his mother and would not let her stay with him. The family story is he never stopped crying and his strong voice could be heard crying loudly enough to be heard all the way to the waiting room.
Apparently it helped to develop his lungs to prepare him for his later calling as a preacher of the Gospel. So I suppose Mama finally forgave them. After they brought Lavay home, Sis made up for any trauma he may have endured as she lovingly bathed and massage his legs every night.
Sis was reluctant but Mama loved to tell stories of the "cute" things Lavay said as a handsome and bright little boy who learned to talk early. Mama told about how Lavay, as a toddler, slipped out of his mother's reach as she was giving him a bath, ran "stark naked" out the door to the back porch and yelled to Mrs. Horning, a neighbor, "Look Horning, I'm barefooted."
Louise and Mama took joy in the fact that Lavay, in spite of his paralyzed leg, learned to do exceptionally well everything any other boy could do, including bicycling and climbing trees.
Lavay's grandfather (my father), Wilson Baird, became ill with heart disease and died in 1932 when Lavay was only three. Family members told me how, as a thoughtful man who loved all children, Papa gave special love and attention and prayer for Lavay as his first grandchild as well as to the other three grandchildren (Marian Loyd, Leon Loyd and Bobby Baird) who were toddlers and the only grandchildren born before my father died.Papa was bedridden over a year before he died.
My sister Vera told me how several 0f the little children were one day beside Papa's bed playing when she went into his room. She said, Papa, "I'm so sorry, are they bothering you?" he replied, "Let them stay with me, we are having an important conversation."
I was six when Lavay was born, and like most little girls, was happy to be invited to go along with him and his mother, and hopefully be a little help on their frequent visits to see his paternal grandmother, Mrs. Steele and other of his father's relatives who lived in Covington - about three miles away
I also traveled with Louise and Lavay by taxi and street car for his regular exams and treatments at Scottish Rite Hospital when the hospital was located at the end of the trolley line in Decatur. We got off the trolley car and walked a few blocks to the hospital.
I am happy to join with others of my family and with friends to congratulate Gladys and Lavay on reaching the 50th anniversary milestone! Their Christian life and the Christian life and witness of all three of their children continue to be an inspiration to all who know them.