Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Memories of "The Bridge", Dr. Dorothy Cal (aka Carroll) Hardy


The  dark sky is  split by  jagged streaks of lightening
Stars have long since fled in fright
As the first sounds of angry thunder
fractures the cold  black night:

A wind, born of fury grasps the trees and holds them fast
While my soul's boundless spirit rises to meet nature's 
Creator at last.
When the storm subsides - all is quiet

Once more stars cast their age old light

The night is calm-
The storm has passed-
My eyes are closed - my body lies
still at last

from "Pebbles in The Pond" poems by Dorothy C. Hardy (aka Dr. Dorothy "Carroll" Cal Hardy")

Dr. Dorothy Cal (Carroll) Hardy, my "Bridge" now walks among the ancestors.  On our last visit in October 2015, she told me she didn't know how to talk about death.  Fortunately, she left me many of her writings and finding the above poem revealed to me that she already spoke on the subject.

Dorothy is my bridge for during the last four years, she shared so very much that allowed us to bridge the Carroll/Cal family.  Most of all the connection of love between us was unconditional and went deeper than I could have ever imagine.

Our story together amazes me especially whenever I think about how we bonded.  I met her at the young age of twelve in Creighton, Pennsylvania at our Uncle Robert Carroll's home.  She was about twenty-two years older than me and she mostly interacted with other adult family members yet this young girl was totally impressed by her presence.  Yes, she was a beauty and a cousin not previously seen before yet there was something very special about Dorothy.  I overheard her speaking of being divorced, planning to marry again and living in Cincinnati.  It would be many years later before I would try to find her and realized that her surname had changed creating a challenge.  Of course, this was before the Internet was available to us common folk.  Four years ago via Ancestry.com we reconnected through a student, Cheryl Morris, that was helping her with family research.  I never thought of how we were related as a young girl but as my family research journey moved towards our Carroll line, she was remembered.

We communicated and shared our information.  Dorothy had first hand information of her grandfather, Henry Carroll/Cal aka Pa Cal for she was his last known living grandchild.   He is my 2nd great grandfather and her father, Otis Cal and my great grandfather, John Cal are brothers.  Dorothy had much information documented on the Carroll/Cal family and knew the geographic area of Northwest Alabama.  She became my bridge by sharing information with me in writings, communication and showing me the area. Dorothy was healthy, energetic and a very intelligent eight-four year old woman that was still teaching a Creative Writing Class.  I loved every minute of being with her and she quickly became my sister, mentor, teacher and challenger.  The only difficulty was when she would say "you need to know how to get to the old place when I'm not here".  She meant how to get to the family cemetery, Cal Family Cemetery, Town Creek, Leighton and other areas that our family have ties.

Salutes to a very special ancestor that will never be forgotten.

Dorothy C. Hardy 1927-2015
Born to Odis and Lorean (Harris) Cal near Town Creek, AL
Graduate of Alabama State University, migrated to Cincinnati, Ohio
Married John Mootry Jr. in Nashville, TN  then William E. Hardy
Founder of Intergeneration Writers Guild
Held many job titles: Assistant Dean of Student Groups & University Programs,
Cincinnati, Administrator of student services, Director of Counseling Services at Central
State, Director of Specialized Student Services at Southeast Missouri State University
Recognitions; 1986 World of Poetry's Golden Poet Award, published in numerous journals
and magazines.

"Leaning back I think of what lies ahead: my bright rainbow--my tomorrow". Line taken from On A Greyhound Bus from Promises: Bright and Broken, Poems by Dorothy Hardy.

Journey of a Family Historian.