Where would we be without our parents, and their parents, and their parents’ parents, and so on?
As I get older, I find myself feeling more and more gratitude for those who came before me. Sometimes it just seems like magic to hear about their lives! Why does it seem like they had their lives much more “together” than my own? All in all, I feel that I owe my life to my Mom & Dad and to those who created them! I may not always agree with everyone in my family but I love them just as much. I wish I knew my ancestors better, and yet from the little I do know, I can definitely see their influence throughout my life, like an invisible hand reaching beyond time and space.
Sarah Davis Ramspeck
My Great Grandmother (Mom’s Grandmother)
Dec 15, 1899 – June 5,1993 Atlanta, Georgia
A woman of the horses! My great-grandmother was known as a kind and generous soul and I remember most her soft and sweet smelling hands. She was an excellent horse back rider who showed prize horses in horse shows all over the South. Her husband Carl built a log cabin where they spent 1/2 of every year for 30 years. She lived with horses, a cow, a goat, ducks, and chickens, and tended to a big garden and orchard. She loved gardening and filled her property with beautiful shrubs and flowers, particularly native azaleas.
Photos courtesy Wendy Higgins
My Grandmother (Mom’s Mom)
March 2nd, 1924 – September 30th, 2008 Atlanta, Georgia
A woman close to the rhythms of Nature! My maternal grandmother Ann Eidson loved animals and the environment and she cultivated a strong relationship with both. She was “The only Self-Sustaining Sustainer in the Atlanta League” – Peachtree Papers, 1974. As a kid, she loved riding horses. As an adult, my grandmother rode her bicycle for transportation long before it was popular for women to do so. She also shopped at thrift stores before thrifting was trendy. Ann married her high school sweetheart Bill during WWII just before he went overseas with the Navy. They had 4 kids together and raised them healthy and happy in the countryside amidst post-war poverty. Ann rarely went to the grocery store because she grew everything for her family at home. She was also a beloved Girl Scout leader who knew everything anyone needed to know about plants and trees. A humble healer, Ann helped her husband heal naturally from colon cancer through lifestyle changes and a homegrown vegetarian diet. She and my grandfather designed and built an eco-friendly “passive-energy-house” in the 1970s that they lived in for the rest of their lives.
Photo courtesy Wendy Higgins
My Grandfather (Mom’s Dad)
June 14th, 1920 – July 11th, 1996 Atlanta, Georgia
A man close to the Sky! My grandfather Bill Eidson loved building and fixing things. He was a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy who flew bomber planes in WWII. He married his high school sweetheart Ann and they remained affectionately in love with each other and their 4 kids for over 50 years. After the war, Bill became a C.P.A. and worked two jobs with his father while also getting his law degree. Bill was also a devoted Boy Scout leader for 40 years. In his 50s, my grandfather beat the odds given to him by his doctors and survived colon cancer through a combination of Anne’s plant-based cooking, lifestyle changes, and healing mind-control practice. He also built a whole pop-up camper with his own hands for his family to live in while traveling through the National Parks.
Photo courtesy Wendy Higgins
William F. Higgins
My Grandfather (Dad’s Dad)
April 15, 1916 – October 9, 1983 Hillsdale, New Jersey
A man of fortitude! That is how my father, William F. Higgins Jr., described my grandfather, William F. Higgins Sr. My dad remembers my grandfather breaking his leg in a ski accident and walking home with the broken bones. My grandfather worked for his father in a Plumbing business in Bayonne, NJ, before running his own Insurance & Real Estate Agency, The Higgins Group, in Hillsdale, New Jersey with his wife and 2 kids. William graduated from Columbia University in 1938 and also worked for the FBI during WWII.
Photo courtesy Bill Higgins
Marion West Higgins
My Grandmother (Dad’s Mom)
January 9, 1915 – December 24, 1991 Hillsdale, New Jersey
A woman of the gavel! My grandmother Marion Higgins graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1936 with a degree in political science. In 1965, she became the 1st woman to act as Governor of New Jersey when the Governor was out of state. A devout Republic Party politician, she served as the 1st female Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and was only the 3rd Woman in USA History to serve as speaker of a state House of Representatives. In addition to politics, Marion ran a Real Estate business with her husband and raised 2 kids. In 1973, she followed her father’s footsteps by becoming a member of the Bergen County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.She was also the 1st woman to serve on the board of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
Photos courtesy Wikipedia & Wendy Higgins
James E. West
My Great Grandfather (Dad’s Grandfather)
May 16, 1876 – May 15, 1948
A man who made the most of himself! My paternal great grandfather James E. West was an orphan, a tuberculosis survivor, and a cripple as a child. He became a lawyer, a tireless advocate of children’s rights, and the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him to the Department of the Interior in 1902. He was instrumental in establishing the juvenile court system. In the early 1900s, he was the finance chairman for the Boys’ Brigade and the secretary of the Playground Association of America. He also served as secretary of the National Child Rescue League, responsible for placing orphaned children into homes. As secretary of the White House Conference on Dependent Children, he pushed for reforms in the management of orphanages. He was also a Mason and a member of the Knights of Pythias.
Photo on the right of Time magazine cover with James E. West for the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in 1937 courtesy Wikipedia. Photos below courtesy Wikipedia and Google.