My cousin posing for the camera on a beach near Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 1976.
The poor area that fostered four generations of my paternal family has been taking a pounding the past two weeks. First an oil spill, then tornado and this past weekend more storms! So, here are two pictures from a more tranquil time in the Gulf Coast. This beach is somewhere near Ocean Springs where my father, his father, and his grandmother were all born and where my great, great-grandmother lived most of her life. Those are my cousins – Nicky and Dalvin Ford running from the camera and Haile Ford posing. Knowing me, I was trying to get one more dip in the water or find one more broken seashell before it was time to call it a day.
My cousins running, probably from the camera on a beach near Ocean Springs, Mississippi in 1976.
Do you have any memories (photos or words) of your times on the Gulf Coast? Please share them and send good thoughts for the people there and the environs. Click to hear an Ocean Springs resident telling National Public Radio how the oil spill is affecting him.
My head’s been too congested all week to track many of my fellow genealogy bloggers, but reports of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have preoccupied my foggy brain.
About a week ago, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf some 50 miles from Louisiana’s shoreline leaving 11 workers missing and presumed dead. A broken pipe attached to the rig fell into the ocean and has been leaking thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since.
That part of Louisiana contains some 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands and is spawning grounds for countless fish and birds according to the New York Times. Fisherman must be concerned for their livelihood and residents must be worried about the black smoke cloud that controlled burning, one possible remedy to get rid of the oil would leave in the atmosphere. As the reports kept getting worse with each passing day, I couldn’t help but worry that swimming might eventually be effected too.
One of my fondest summer memories is driving with my paternal grandfather and cousins from Grandpa’s home in New Orleans to his old stomping ground in Ocean Springs, Mississippi on the Gulf Coast and spending an afternoon playing in the Gulf’s surf. Grandpa mostly watched from the beach, but you could see the sheer delight on his face as his grandchildren played in the Gulf, his Gulf. We cousins were children of three of his four sons. Two of those sons were along for the afternoon. It was almost a Ford family reunion. To my memory, the only thing whiter than Grandpa’s big smile was that beach. I’m always surprised to look at pictures from that day and discover that the sand was more gray than white. But in my memory of that perfect day, the water, the shore, my family were all pristine.
I hope the team of engineers and scientists from BP, Exxon and other oil companies in conjunction with the government can come up with a solution to stop the spill and save the wildlife it’s threatening. (It’s the ecosystem and not swimmers that is currently threatened by this spill).
In the meanwhile, my thoughts are with the families of those missing workers and all of you now affected by this disaster.
If you live in that area, has anything similar happened before? How was it handled and how did it effect you?