After all these years, I finally was able to find three of my grandparent’s children’s birth announcements in “The Palmetto Leader.” The first one I found was on the first page of the paper. It is my mother’s birth announcement. I could not wait to tell her of this finding and e-mail a copy of it to her. It reads:
Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Vance, of this city, announce the birth of a baby girl, Wednesday, October 12, 1938. Christened Edna Lucinda. Mother and daughter are doing nicely.
They stayed in the city limits of Columbia at this time. My mother, Edna, was the first child. This resource is so important to me because my mother is my link to the past and to these wonderful people. I reflected on the placement of this birth announcement on the first page. Her parents were important in the community, but her grandparent, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance, traveled throughout the state of South Carolina as a presiding elder for the AME church.
I remember sitting in and listening to my grandparents and my mom and her siblings reflect on their memories of the past. I would wait for the right time to interject questions that helped me understand what life was like in the South. It paved the way eventually for me to relocate my family there. The things that stuck out to me that I looked for when moving here did not disappoint me.
Thoughts from Edna
Seeking another such conversation, I asked my mother what receiving her birth announcement made her think of: “My mom went for nine years trying to have a child,” she said. “Wow,” I thought, “Nine years! She almost did not have children.”
“She operated her own café at the time. It was located downtown Columbia, and was called the Green Leaf Café,” she said. I remember finding an article where the Mills Brothers had visited the café. I learned it was a popular place were many people visited.
“The doctor suggested to her to go home and let someone else take her place at the café. Two of mom’s (Otis) sisters, Aunt Cat and Aunt Beattrice, and two cousins, Sadye and Alma Talley, were the first ones to take over. They worked two shifts two at a time to complete the work that Mom did.
My dad got them to live with us, and most finished high school and college while working at the café. My mom conceived while they were living with us. They were able to help my mom out a great deal with me,” said Edna.
Sharpen the Saw
I can now look for her birth certificate among the county records. I can also find school records for Aunt Cat, Aunt Beattrice, Sadye, and Alma. I can also look for a christening record for my mom among Bethel AME Church records. I can try to find out the name of the doctor. Can you suggest anything else? Put it in our Facebook Group.