Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Aunt Beb

I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2016), where we write 26 blog posts featuring each letter of the alphabet. I have been wanting to write some family history blog posts and this will give me incentive to keep it up at least for a month. Who knows, it might create a nice habit to come. I will be posting short bios of my children’s ancestors, so some of the people might end up on the wrong blog (i.e, ancestors of my grandmother) so I might repost them to the Mam-ma’s Southern Family later.

B is for Aunt Beb
Aunt Beb was born Beryl Mavella Johnston but we called her Aunt Beb. She was my children’s great grandaunt and my grandfather, Tom J. Johnston’s sister.
Beryl with her younger sister, Mildred

 Aunt Beb was born 4 Jun 1909 to Thomas Newton Johnston and Nell L. Hutson. She was the oldest of five children and she was only ten years old when her mother died in 1919. Her youngest brother was only 19 months.

It must have been very hard growing up without her mother. She once told the story of when she started her period the first time. She didn’t know what to do and she thought she was going to die.  No one had told her about the “facts of life” and the normal process of growing up. So she hid what was going on, washing out rags that she used each day. Finally, one of her aunts set her down and explained everything.

Mam-ma with Aunt Bev, 1981
Aunt Beb came to all of the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners at my parents or grandparents' homes. She always looked snazzy and I wondered at the time why she only wore black, white and silver. Now I understand how those colors make us look slimmer but as a young child, I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to wear more colorful clothes.

Athens, Greece, 1948

She was also very photogenic and loved having her photo taken, especially in new outfits. She also traveled and we have photos of her taken in Greece.

She died quietly in 1986 and she left her furniture to my mother. We enjoyed the French Provincial furniture for a long time.

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.


  1. In just a few brief stories you have brought Aunt Beb to life. She sounds like someone I would like to have known.
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Jollett Etc.

  2. Oh Wow! That is big to travel in 1948!

    So who looked after the family after her mother died?

    1. It is unclear who looked after the family. There no was indication in the 1920 census and her father didn't remarry until 1931.


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