The C.B. Mackey Family

This is my my Mother's family, and while we had only 1st cousins on Dad's side of the family tree, we had literally hundreds of cousins to get to know under the Mackey tree. This was because of the "Mackey First Cousins Reunion" which mother and her first cousins started in 1951. Through this association we came to know a great deal about our East Texas roots in Upshur County Texas. Living in Dallas (where East Texas begins), as the years went along, I became very involved in this reunion, publishing a newsletter and building a database to capture all the family names and addresses. We met every five years at first, but then switched to every three years after pleas from our oldest reunion founders, "We might not make it to five years!" Sadly, like many family reunions, the Mackey First Cousins Reunion died from lack of interest by the younger generations....

After Avalyn and I were married and living in Dallas in 1960, Mother enjoyed coming to visit a week before the reunion; then we would drive to East Texas together. In 1975, mother arrived with plans for me to help her prepare a "slide show" for the reunion. I was always the family photographer/computer guru, and she gave me a list of Mackey family pictures that we had both collected over the years, with a request that I create color slides from them to show in my Kodak Carousel Projector. To go with the slides, Mother had written a script to read with the slides. I created the slides and we began practicing showing the slides, with Mother reading her script. Next we tried recording her narration on our cassette recorder, so she didn't have to read it each time. This worked, except it was hard to tell just when to change the slide. Mother said, "I have an idea..." She went into the kitchen and brought back one of Avalyn's crystal glasses and a spoon! Yep, we recorded again, with Mother tapping the glass for a nice little "ding" recorded on the tape to signal a slide change! We were both excited about showing our "slide show" at the reunion... Our presentation was a big hit! Many in the family had some of the pictures we showed, but Mother's narration brought back memories that her generation cherished; we repeated the show at the next reunion.

Mother confessed to Avalyn and I one of the reasons she wanted to create her slideshow. She said, "You know, I loved my Dad so, that I really never gave my mother the credit she deserved. If it hadn't been for her strong faith and constitution, Dad would never have lived past his 25th birthday, because he was badly affected by TB even when they were married.  I remember Grandmother saying to Mother as we left for New Mexico Territory, "Now Julia, when Madison dies, we want you to bring him home to bury him."  
What a send off! He did nearly died, but laid out in the hot New Mexico sun and somehow, with mother's love and attention, survived, even after having one lung removed! I wanted to give credit to Julia that I'm afraid I never did when she was alive."

Well, I treasured our slide show, and I still don't know how mother compressed our complete family history into 17 minutes! Twenty-five years later, as my computer knowledge advanced, I recreated Mother's family slide show in digital form and presented it again at the Mackey First Cousins Reunion in 2005. I also turned it into my first DVD and sent copies to everyone in our Mackey family who requested it. Now, five more years have passed and I am creating video's on the web and learning how to "embed" them in my webpage as well.

I hope you will enjoy watching "The Life and Love of Julia Mackey Todd." It runs about 17 minutes...

Ray Mack(ey) Thompson