larvalbug bytes archives / Main Index / previous / next

LARVALBUG LENS, January, 2012

Our lens focuses for this issue on Lawrence's (Larry's) namesakes, his paternal great grandparents, the Lawrences. They were the parents of his grandmother, that is, his father Leon's mother, whom Larry just called Mama Pearl. The shot was taken in the early 20th Century, though the exact year is not known. It probably was photographed at or near their home then, in Waldren, AR.

Ironically enough, although he was named for them, to Larry's knowledge he never met them, does not know if they were still living when he was born (1943), and does not know their (first) names. Oddly, there was so much material about Papa Frank's, that is, Leon's paternal, genealogy that we can trace the family history back to people in Germany during the late 17th to early 18th Century, yet the histories, personal details, and lineages of the women who married all these men are greatly lacking.

Comment by Julia, Larry's mother, concerning the Lawrences: "I just heard them referred to as Mama Lawrence and Papa Lawrence. I met her twice; the first time in Bakersfield [CA] where she was living with her second husband; they married in their late 80's. She and her husband had a garden and were picking beans as we drove up. She prepared a delicious lunch for us. Later her husband wasn't able to stay with her when he became almost blind. Their children had told them that if they married and inevitably broke down that his children would take him, and her children would take her. That is what happened. The other time I saw her she was bedridden and being cared for by her daughter, Clyde, in Pasadena [CA].

I think they lived in Beebe, AR, for a long while, and that is where I think Mama Pearl was born. Papa Lawrence started out by buying vegetables from nearby farms and going with a cart to sell them to the people of Beebe. Later he had a store which failed. Then he tried running a hotel but it also failed. I don't know how or when he died. They had a hard life but were very religious; Mama Lawrence was an ordained minister."

Thanks much, Julia, for your interesting supplement concerning Mama and Papa Lawrence! Larry