I come from a long line of long lines... Groucho (I think)
I was born in Long Beach, Mississippi February, 6th 1957 (students take note). I was kinda cute don't you think? I attended Christ Episcopal Day School in Bay St. Louis until 4th grade and then went to Jeff Davis Elementary (which has since been renamed) After hurricane Camille destroyed our beautiful house on the beach I went to West Gulfport Junior High and then spent 4 years in Vicksburg at All Saints Episcopal School (a really great 4 years!!) My junior year, the army administered the ASVAB to all high school students and the results pointed me to computer programming, which in 1974, sounded pretty lame to me.
I started college as a Medical Technology major in 1975. D's in Chemistry forced a re-evaluation of that ambition - I had never made a D in anything. By the end of the spring semester in 1976 I had switched to Nursing. Fall of 1978 I earned my very first (and only) F. It was a crushing blow - I dropped out of college and didn't go back until 1988. By this point, I already knew that I would enjoy computer science. I had been an operations manager at a credit union and had enjoyed the database programming that I had been doing. I received a bachelor's degree in computer science from Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA in 1992 and a Master's degree (also in computer science) from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS in 1994.
I committed the ultimate in insanity, and went back to school in the Fall of 1995 graduating with a Ph. D. in Computer Science Education from The Center for Science and Mathematics Education at U.S.M. (Southern Miss.) in December of 1999.
I think I come by the 'cute' very naturally... This is my Daddy, Richard Farley Gates (at right circa 1907). He graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1928. His father (Augustus Fuller Gates) graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1899, and his father (Alfred Sterling Gates) graduated from "Medical College of Louisiana" (later Tulane) sometime after 1865. Gus's Great-grandfather Alfred Gates came to Louisiana from New York where he was one of the first tour captains on Lake Erie and the canal. Alfred owned a lumber mill in Franklin, Louisiana where he harvested and milled cypress. St. Mary's Episcopal church is constructed entirely of lumber from that mill and the width of the boards is amazing. Each pew is constructed with one board for the seat and one even wider board for the back. It must have been almost a virgin forest when he got there in the early 1800's.
Gus's brother Homer Horatio was a doctor as well and practiced in Franklin, LA. Two of Alfred's brothers graduated from the law school at Tulane. A long line of long lines indeed.
That's Gus on the left. He did his rounds using 2 trotters and a buggy (he would trade horses at lunch time). As far as I know he never had an office. He died in 1927, 1 week before my father's 21st birthday. My grandmother Gates was a beauty in her day. These are wedding photographs. She was 18 or 19 here. One of my second cousins attempted to say 'hello, lady' to her when she was just learning to talk, it came out 'Helodi' and the name stuck. Gus and Sadie (Sarah Frances Farley) were married in 1901. Daddy was born in 1906 - he was their only child. Helodi died in 1967.
Mom was cute too. She was born December 14, 1913. That's her - the one that looks like a doll standing in her grandmother's lap. The man on the left was Jeremiah Shumway. His daughter, Viola Pamilla Shumway Cass is the woman on the right, and my grandmother Sarah Evelyn Cass Smith is standing behind them all. Jerry was from Oxford, Mass. He married Mary Paine in Burrillville, R. I. and moved to Houston County, Minn. in 1853 with an assortment of Shumways and Paines and their spouses. He and Mary later moved to Lyons, Neb. The migration to "Indian Country" was the reason he was in Company A, 5th Minn. Reg't. He was a sharpshooter/sniper, by the way! And he fought in the Grand Army of the Republic from 1862 until 1865. His daughter, Viola and her husband stayed in Lyons where grandmother was born. My grandmother graduated from the Nebraska Conservatory (she would have been a concert pianist or a piano teacher with those credentials). She met and married a railroad man, Frank Anson Smith who came from Jamestown, N.Y. Frank bought a 'section' of farm land in Laffitte, Louisiana and arrived to find it all about a foot underwater. They built levies, and pumped the water off and did just fine. Mother was delivered by an Indian midwife in the house in Laffitte, but 8 years later her brother was born in a hospital in New Orleans. They moved north to get out of the reach of the storms sometime in the early 20's. Sarah and Frank lived in Hammond, LA for the rest of their lives. Frank had a garage in town and grew strawberries like the rest of the area farmers. The Laffitte land is still there and it is still under water, but we keep hoping someone will find oil on it.
This picture of Daddy was taken when he graduated from high school (1923) and the picture of Mama was taken when she was 22 (1935). Do you beleive that pose? Mama was a nursing student at "Big Charity" Hospital when the depression started. Her parents needed her home, helping generate income instead of spending it. Daddy needed an office nurse and the rest is history. She earned $5 a week, with extra for housecalls. Sometimes Daddy was paid with vegetables, rabbits, chickens, you name it. He never turned anyone away who was in need of his services - even when he knew he would not be paid for them. Mom and Dad were married in 1936 in the same church where Gus and Helodi were - the same church where Harry & I were. Dad was on staff at Gulfport Memorial Hospital from 1944 until 1975. He delivered a lot of babies - including me.
Dad retired in 1975. He and Mom traveled most of the year, coming home after watching the leaves turn up north and leaving again before the southern heat became unbearable. They had an Airstream trailer and a silver Dodge van and lots of friends in the caravan club. They did that until Mother died in 1981. He and I took my nephew up east the summer of 1982, visiting every revolutionary and civil war battle field from Louisiana up to Massachusetts. I even dragged that poor 8 year old into the Fine Arts Museum in Richmond, VA. It was a great summer. Dad died the following spring. I still miss them both.
The picture on the left is my high school senior portrait (1975). The other one is my husband, Harry, my best friend, Laura, and me at the Lunt Avenue Marble Club in Phoenix (1983).
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Last updated: June 9, 2015
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