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Those Photos That Tell A Story - Your Story

Updated on March 14, 2013


Around 1750 Dawson Wade left Wales and settled in Virgina, though, perhaps 'settled' is exactly the wrong word . . . Dawson Wade, "bear fighting partner of Daniel Boone", left family in Kentucky who would continue the move west. Not the least adventurous of the Wades was Dawson's great granddaughter . . .

My life has very largely been defined by remarkable, beautiful, special women . . . and my story starts here. This is my great grandmother, the heart of my mom’s family, the Edwards. And my earliest memory of how remarkable, beautiful, and special my great grandmother was, is her name . . . no one else had anyone in their family with a name anything like Pansy Maud Essie Burton Wade Edwards.

I had no grandmother or grandfather to visit, and Maud was my mom’s grandmother, so I just called her ‘grandma’. I remember a ludicrously puffy bed, high off the floor that, as a little kid, I had to struggle to climb up out of a cavern of blankets and comforters to escape from a nap. I remember sitting with my sister in a fig tree in her backyard, nibbling on figs. And I remember with every visit to grandma she would emerge from her bedroom with a Sears clothes box, that was making that familiar sound . . . as she reached me, she would lift the lid and let me pick-out one marble – her late husband, Ford, had collected marbles or merely still had some from when he was young, and with every visit I got a Cat’s Eye, a green Aggie, a Boulder, etc.

I came to know that Maud Edwards was a strong, beautiful young woman who undertook a great adventure – but as a child, I knew her as a Walt Disneyish Grandmother . . . sweet and demure, but lively.

The story of this vehicle looms large in my youth and in the story of the Edwards family - this represents the adventure that Pansy Maud Essie Burton Wade Edwards undertook. Pansy Maud had vowed she would never take her children where her own mother couldn’t be a part of their lives, but when her mother passed away in 1924 work began on the continued move west. The back of an old farm delivery truck was rigged to replace the manufactured back-end of this 1922 Model A Ford and Pansy Maud, her husband Ford, and her (then) five children left Kansas and followed the Oregon Trail heading for California. As Maud put it “The days of the covered wagons were past, but what we went through on that journey would have done credit to the pioneers”.

To the left and in front are my great uncles and aunts, Kenneth & Janice and David & Olive, Maud is in the middle and her oldest son Wade, my grandfather, is to the right. My grandfather died two years after I was born and I have no memory of him, but I remember my Aunt Janice and am told that she had a great affection for me.

Wade's Delicious Do-Nuts - once in California the family livelihood centered around the donut shop . . . to the left is my Aunt Olive with her son Michael, in the middle is my Aunt Janice helping their father, Ford, my great grandfather.

Now, this is Pansy Maud’s first grandchild, my mother Gail Edwards. Always the smartest, strongest, most independent, most decent, and prettiest person in the room. I can't advance this next statement without explanation; I am my mother’s son . . . not that I am always the smartest, strongest, most independent, most decent, and prettiest person in the room - but that my mother and I are much alike, I hold no one in higher esteem, and I am who I am very largely because I am who she raised me to be.

My father, Benjamin Ward, left when I was weeks old, I have no memory of him, except . . .

What happened to that part of me,

The part I now can never be;

He tied my shoe when I was three,

I think I vaguely remember his knee.

My mom thought I needed a father, so she married a very nice man and good friend, Dick Haist. The Pansy Maud I remember was at that wedding at, I believe, my Aunt Janice’s home.

. . . as was my beautiful sister Melanie, our Aunt Chrisy, me, and our Uncle Brad.

Meanwhile; The D’Agostino family had moved to Pennsylvania from Italy. Dick Haist and my mom were good friends and they remained good friends, but their marriage didn’t last. Bill D’Agostino, the second from the left, would be my mom’s great love. His father had hand-made boots for Mussolini’s army and when he came to America he made boots for the Pennsylvania state police.

And this is how I ended-up in Pennsylvania. My mom met and fell in love with Bill D’Agostino in California and when he returned to Pennsylvania we returned with him . . . where he gave us my little brother Jon.

I remember one time, in Santa Rosa, seeing a Black man – in Harrisburg, we lived on ‘the line’ . . . everything east of 18th street was White and everything west of 18th street was Black. My first day of school most of my classmates were Black and my teacher was Black – I moved from California and The Beach Boys to Pennsylvania and James Brown . . . and, it was 1964.

The first time I brought a school friend home our porch was filled with neighbors screaming “Get that little nig_er out of our neighborhood! You don’t know what it's like here!”. I looked at my friend, he had tears on his cheeks and he was scared. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Then my mom, Pansy Maud Essie Burton Wade Edwards’ granddaughter, reached from behind the front door and pulled out a broom answering the mob “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do – the last one of you morons off my porch is going to be running home with my broom sticking out of their ass”.

We were the odd family from California, my mom was the ‘divorced woman’, and I was the 'nig_ger lover' – but the 1800 block of Park Street became the best place I ever lived.

Eventually we moved to a suburb of Harrisburg, eventually I met Pixie and everything in the world changed . . . eventually we got married and eventually had six kids and twelve grandkids – but that’s all for the next hub . . .

All photos used in this hub are personal photos taken by myself or family or friends.

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    • sjwigglywoo profile image


      9 years ago from UK

      An amazing story can be told from a few photos, fantastic I really enjoyed reading your story.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Millionaire Tips ~ I genuinely count that an honor, thank you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Just had to come back!


    • itakins profile image


      9 years ago from Irl

      Another incredible hub -wonderfully portrayed and so engaging .

    • AEvans profile image


      9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I enjoyed the story of your family. You went through culture shock when you moved to PA. My mom would tell us stories about the 60's it wasn't a good time for many. Your mom seems like a wonderful person and she was beautiful! History is what I truly enjoy reading, especially when it comes to family history. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Huntgoddess profile image


      9 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Very nice Hub. Thanks for sharing your story. I love photos and stories about real people. They're so much better than those dreadful celebrities the media keeps shoving down our throats.

      Wow, your mom's quite a gal!!

      Happy New Year --- from a fellow Pennsylvanian --- but I haven't been there for so long. I was born in Philly, where my dad's family is from, and grew up in Pittsburgh, where my mom and stepdad's families are from.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      9 years ago from USA

      HI MickeySr, I just wanted to let you know that I have included this hub in my list of favorites this week. Congrats!

    • Joanne1225 profile image


      9 years ago from Central Pennsylvania

      Mickey - No "Yikes!" necessary. You very eloquently shared a wonderful story. I enjoyed it and I see others have as well. As you can tell, I am also "chatty," a term I prefer, but which means the same as blabber. What was it that Juliet said to Romeo, "A rose by any other name smells as sweet."

      So you traded your marbles for Dorothy Provine in a bathtub - is that akin to losing your marbles? LOL She was so beautiful - a true glamour girl! I don't blame you a bit. I actually had Dorothy Provine paper dolls and I believe I saw all but 2 of her movies, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," also starring Ethel Merman (a fave singer of mine), being her first. Would you believe she just died in April of 2010?

      That's great that you got to catch up with Sue Fleming! Did she also live at DJ? I remember seeing her a lot back then, too. I'd love to get together with you and Pixie, if I can just get over having knee replacements and back surgery! I'm sorry I never met your mom. I also had a great mom, that I miss very much, but know where she is! It was just 4 years ago that she moved to Heaven.

      I read that about Pixie's grandfather being the 'Koons' in 'Koons Park!' What's amazing, too, is that I remember the original black and white picture posted of him when they built Koons Park. I lived across the street from the little league field and could just run across the grass to the left of it, straight to the pool!

      Please give Melanie a big hug from me. She was always a very special friend. What a shame that we lose track of each other over the years. But she lives in my heart, always.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hershey, Pa.


      J ~ "I feel as if I've just taken an incredible journey through the life of Mickey Haist"

      Yikes . . . when you actually state what I've done here it seems a bit extravagantly presumptuous for me to imagine anyone would have an interest to read this - but, I do think we all have a story and I don't think mine is any more special than anyone else's, I just like to blabber.

      J ~ "I loved reading about your great-grandmother, Pansy Maud. I must ask - do you still have any of those marbles she gave you?"

      This is miserable; before we moved to Pa I traded a kid the marbles I got from Pansy Maud for a photo of Dorothy Provine in the bathtub . . . I've always been a sucker for a pretty face, even at 9 years old.

      I'm surprised you never met my mom . . . I do recall you at Donna Jane and you're right, she did work nights. She was very special - I had lunch with Sue Fleming not too long ago (first contact with her since way back when) and I think the first thing she said to me was "I loved your mom".

      If you didn't know this it's one of those kind of things that will blow you away; the 'Koons' in 'Koons Park' is Pixie's grandfather . . . her mother's family were the Koons' of Linglestown.

      And, I couldn't agree more about Melanie - she was a striking beauty and is one of the sweetest people ever. I did more little brother type tormenting of her than 4 dozen little brothers heap upon their sisters, yet I don't think there's anyone on the planet who loves me as much as Melanie.

    • Joanne1225 profile image


      9 years ago from Central Pennsylvania

      I feel as if I've just taken an incredible journey through the life of Mickey Haist, which of course turned into Mickey & Pixie Haist. I so enjoyed your pictures and the stories that I couldn't stop to comment, I was compelled to keep going. Some of what you wrote about jogged memories in my own life, but from a different perspective.

      I loved reading about your great-grandmother, Pansy Maud. I must ask - do you still have any of those marbles she gave you? What a strong woman! Do you have any other stories about her trip across the country?

      It's funny, Mickey, all the time I spent at your apartment at Donna Jane, I never met your mom. I believe she was at work when I was there. She is a most beautiful woman and I remember that from a picture Melanie shared with me when we were teenagers. In fact, I think it might have been the b&w picture of her above. Your tribute to the woman she is and how you are like her is so very touching. She had such fortitude to go through all she did, especially as a "divorced woman" in that day and age. My mother was also a "divorced woman," although remarried to my father, it carried a stigma back then.

      I cringed at your story of bringing home a friend and having a neighbor yell about this child being a "ni**er." God Bless your mom for what she did and said! I lived in Linglestown until I was 11, just across the street from Koons Park on Balthaser. I spent much of my childhood in that pool. I don't believe there were any black people in our neighborhood, but my mother used to take us in town frequently and my uncle, Nicholas Sgrignoli, who followed in his father's footsteps and was a shoemaker, closed his business and then worked at Pomeroy's in the shoe repair department in the basement, until his death, when I was 12. There, downtown, I saw black people, and my uncle worked with a black man. I was taught, by my mother, that God made us all, so I never saw skin color - only people. I was so adamant about fighting prejudice that my first baby doll was black and I carried her everywhere. Otherwise, I had little interaction with black people until high school, and in looking back, you could probably count the number of black students on two hands. I was friends with them all, not because they were black, but because I got to know them and liked them.

      Last, the picture of you and Mel and your cousins on the day of your mother's wedding to Dick Haist is great. I knew Melanie immediately - her beautiful eyes! I always loved talking with Melanie. She had a beautiful heart and her eyes reflected that beauty, laughter, whatever she was feeling. I loved Mel... she was a great friend at that time in my life.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Hershey, Pa.


      I can't express my hopes for you in the coming year - no hurt, surrounded by friends who care for you and unencumbered private time, movement forward where it provides you joy and only fond memories to provide you comfort . . . Kimberly, I so hope you have only peace and authentic love ahead of you. Make that happen - because you're the best.

      . . . hey - did you see my use of you and our late-night chat last week in my "Twas The Night Before . . ." hub?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I wish you magic and kindness and love for you and your wife's new year my dear friend



    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      9 years ago from USA

      This is a great hub - sharing your life story through pictures is a great way to do it.

    • profile image

      janice infusino 

      9 years ago

      Enjoyed your story, looking forward to the next one.

    • profile image

      Barb Criss 

      9 years ago

      As usual.. love your stories.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Mickey this is one of the best galleries I have seen yet, truly

      Thank you

      Your amazing

      These photos made me feel like I had a family and I thank you for that

    • craftdrawer profile image


      9 years ago

      It's always interesting to read about others lives and view their photos. I enjoyed your story and will be sure to check out your other Hubs.


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