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Heather Gates, Ep. HG 27, Heather and Her Friends Talk Family History After the Movie

Updated on September 11, 2018
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They went to see the movie "Jerry Macquire"

A movie promotional image
A movie promotional image

The Girls Went to the Saturday Night Movie Because It was Tom Cruise

“Jerry Maguire” was the new movie at the Lyric this week. It starred Tom Cruise, so that was enough information for Heather, Kari and Karla to plan to attend. They were not disappointed. The surprise of the night was the performance of Cuba Gooding Jr. He was new to all three girls, but they each agreed that he gave an award winning Supporting Actor performance. Of course, they hoped Tom Cruise would be recognized, as well, but they just enjoyed watching him, award winning performance or not.


Over their milk shakes at the Ice Cream Parlor, after the movie talk had mostly been hashed over, their thoughts went back to their family history and genealogy discussions. They had each volunteered for the ‘Community History’ committee at the organization meeting of the Society. Heather reminded Kari and Karla what Jennifer had mentioned to her. Christmas dinners were a great time to ask the older members of the family to tell stories of when they were young. Ask about memories their older family members had shared when they were young. Then, be sure to take the time to write down the key points included in those memories as soon as possible after the discussion. Kari said, “That sounds like a lot to remember!”


Heather responded, as Jennifer had to her similar thoughts, “Do what you can!” Many of the stories won’t be entirely factual, but get down what was said. It can lead to other questions later on. It can lead to questions that can be researched later. “Whether someone was born in 1918 or 1919 is not the point. Getting that information makes it easier to look it up somewhere. Get the full name, if possible, as well as place. That is especially important.” They went on to talk about that. Karla mentioned that both their grandparents would be visiting for Christmas this year. “What a wonderful opportunity,” Heather replied.

They enjoyed malts after the movie
They enjoyed malts after the movie

The Family History Discussion Continued

About an hour later, the girls were surprised they had continued to talk for quite a bit. Heather had mentioned what she had heard about Carmen, from Tucson, from Karen and Jennifer. They talked about what it would be like to live in the same community for generations, but being in two different countries during that time. That had taken them back to Oak Springs, and what they had found out about how long their own families had been living there. Heather said Jennifer had told her that Karen had a paper written by her mother that suggested her family went back to the first settlement of this valley. But, she added, she did not yet know any of the details.


Kari and Karla said that was something they would be asked their grandparents about when they visited at Christmas. They knew, of course, that their’s was a Century Farm. Their mother’s family had lived on that land since at least 1890, they remembered. Karla said she once knew that story, but had forgot the details. Neither were sure about their father’s side of the family. Both sets of grandparents were now from out of town. They knew their mother’s parents had lived here and retired elsewhere. They would simply have to ask. That seemed like a really good place to start, and a great excuse to ask the questions. Heather reminded them that some folks don’t like to talk about the past, though, so keep that in mind. Karla said she remembered hearing that, so they would be careful how and who they approached. If one didn’t want to talk, perhaps another would. They were anxious to try, in any event.


They spent a few minutes talking about the specific plans they each had for the Christmas holiday and who was coming when. That took longer than they realized, and decided they had better head home before it got too late. Even though it was vacation, they were not supposed to stay out too late. Even if they were having a great time talking. They would talk about these things more, after the holidays, to share what they had learned. Heather added, “And begin to make a list of more questions” they wanted to ask. They all agreed, with a laugh.

Heather worked at the Stable early on Sunday morning

She enjoyed working in the stable
She enjoyed working in the stable

Sunday Morning Found Heather at the Stables

This Sunday morning before Christmas was Heather’s rotation assignment to be at the Stable first thing in the morning to carry out her normal work routines. It was cold outside, but the animals in the Stable provided warmth, along with the activity, to make it a quiet, pleasant work environment for Heather. Christopher’s dog, Chase, provided companionship, along with the horses. Heather was anxious to check out both Shadow and Sunshine, her two pregnant charges. Vitals signs for both were normal, which was always a pleasant finding. Jennifer had prepared Heather for possible abnormal conditions to watch for, but so far, no abnormalities had occurred. She certainly hoped it stayed that way. The pregnancies were about half-way through for both horses, Shadow further along than Sunshine, of course.


Heather spent a few minutes going back through her records of both horses, to be sure she had everything recorded that she needed. She had given her FFA Instructor an interim report before the holiday vacation, but she wanted to keep on top of each of her responsibilities. Those included keeping Jennifer, the veterinarian, appraised of the information she needed.


Since Cletus had this day off, Heather had more chores to do with each of the horses. She and Cletus did many of the same tasks, but each had more when the other was not there on a particular day, of course. She realized that while she liked to work when Cletus was there, she also enjoyed the enhanced sense of responsibility when Cletus was not there. That was an interesting thought going through her mind as she forked a fresh bale of straw into each stall for the horses. The birthing stalls, being double-sized, took more straw than the regular stalls. What a wonderful life I have, she mused, as she went about her task in the place she loved the most.

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. This episode runs in parallel with the timeline of the “Christmas at the Homeplace” novel. The theme of this novel is ‘coming home for Christmas.’

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Bill, I recommend to you do the DNA test at Ancestry.com. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much family you actually have. It is a new "social media" of a whole different variety! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      10 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Dora. Each of your comments makes me feel good. Very much appreciated!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      10 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no one to talk to about family history,and I find that a bit sad.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      10 months ago from The Caribbean

      The theme of friendly warmth in the middle of winter is a great feeling. This episode is a really good read.

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