I must preface this whole thing by stating that I realize that very few, if any, people are interested in what I am about to publish.

(I will insert here a comment as I update these pages in July, 2003. It turns out that I have heard from lots of people, and had good comments about this -- so I continue, with this update which changes some ages and photos and adds a new family member!)

(This update is 2007 -- and some things have changed greatly and some have stayed the same.)

I guess my family might be mildly interested, and maybe some old friends with whom I have very little contact these days.

I didn't intend to put this on the web when I started it, just did it to see if I could put a page together.
But I spent all this time, and SOMEBODY might be sorta interested, so here goes:

I am a 74 year old wife, mother and grandmom who lives in Athens, GA, with my husband, Jim.
He and I met while attending a small Presbyterian college, Bethel, in my hometown in Western Tennessee. We had some good times and good friends there.

We married in 1954 and spent the next year at Ole Miss, where he got his Masters in math and I worked in an office. Then came a few years in Knoxville while he got his PhD - and we added three children to the family! He is now a retired mathematics professor, and runs a business which mills and sells antique heart pine lumber. He taught math at the University of Georgia for over 30 years, and nine of those years he was head of the department. We have many good friends and acquaintances all over the world from those years. He is a topologist, a form of geometry, and was very active in annual topology conferences at the University during his entire career. Come to think of it, we are still active in that area!!

We have two sons and a daughter, and three granddaughters . Our twin girls, Karen and Susan, born in l966, only lived three weeks.

Tim, the middle child, is a successful businessman here in town, owning two bars in downtown Athens. He has BA degree from UGA.

Mike , the youngest, is in Russia as a missionary. He has a BA degree from UGA and an MFA from Texas. He worked in theater before becoming a minister, and is a very talented musician, with two CDs out.

Cathy is a professor of social work at
Denver University. Her PhD is from Denver, Masters from Washington. Her husband, Chris, also has a PhD, in Geology -- he works for USGS in Denver. Their three children are Beth, 22, Laura, 20, and Kate, 15.
Of course everyone thinks that their grandkids can "walk on water" -- the following photos PROVE that ours can.

Beth, Laura, and Kate in 1996


Here are Laura, Kate and Beth in the summer of 2001, photographed at their Adirondack camp.

Beth, Kate and Laura, Christmas, 2006

Beth graduated from Williams College in 2005 and now works as an editorial assistant for FS&G Publishing House in Manhattan.

Laura graduated from USC, with a degree in music, in 2007, and is working for a while before grad school.  She is Assistant Director of Alumni Giving at USC.

As this is written in August, 2007, Kate just started her senior year of High School in Golden, CO, and is actively checking out colleges for next year. A combination of pre-med and soccer are her two priorities. 




I'm not working anywhere now, just keeping house and swimming a lot and reading a lot. I do still have a small antique business which is in an antique mall in a nearby town, Madison, GA, which is an antebellum town, missed by Sherman on his march to the sea.
In 2002, I also obtained a small space in a mall here in Athens , Agora, which has everything from CDs to vintage clothing to art to antiques. A friend and I share the space. It is also another place in which to meet interesting people.
I don't put a lot of time into this anymore, but enjoy what I do.
A group of retired musicians jams in the Madison mall once a week, and I have joined them on snare drum!! Sometimes we actually play out as the Appalachee River Band!!?? They are very good country musicians, and I'm honored to join them. And it's fun!!


I'm missing the good times with the musicians.  Due to the illness of some of them, we are not getting together now. It was a lovely experience while it was happening; maybe we can get back together sometime again.


I no longer have a space at the Madison Mall, all my small 'business' is at Agora , which is a neat little shop in downtown Athens.  A friend and I rent a small space there.  One can find antiques, art, vintage clothing, jewelry, there.  After continuing to make the trip to Madison on Saturdays to 'jam' for several months, I no longer do that, either. I miss the musicians and the music; hope we can do it again sometime.

A 2003 UPDATE ....

It's hard to know just where to interject this update. I guess this is as good a spot as any.
As of July, 2003, I have had my 6 month check-up after finishing chemotherapy for a breast cancer, and all is well. The past year has been a new adventure for me. Thankfully, it has been an easy passage -
Briefly, my annual mammogram in 2002 showed a spot; second mammo inconclusive; ultrasound indicated need for a biopsy; biopsy indicated small cancer; surgery (lumpectomy) to remove it was performed. All of this in about 5 weeks, start to finish. The cancer was small, non-invasive, no lymph nodes involved. We did the whole regimen, though. Four chemo treatments 3 weeks apart, then 37 days of radiation - all for insurance, altho I'm quite sure that the thing is "long gone". :-)
I never felt really bad, and actually gained four pounds (sigh) - and had marvelous care by marvelous people throughout the whole journey. I am quite well now.
To those women reading this: GET A MAMMOGRAM EVERY YEAR.! !




Cantrell's Country Corner

Here's a photo of part of my booth when it was at Southern Antiques and Primitives in Rutledge, GA. I was there for one year, 2001-2002, but that didn't work out, so I moved back to Madison, and now, 2007,of course, my little space is in Athens.

This is me and Jim, my husband

We have done some interesting, fun things through our 50+ years of marriage. I will show photos of a couple of them a little later.

These are some photos and some info about me and my family.
(The photos vary in size because they come from different sources.)


This is our home, photographed during the Christmas season, and in the springtime.


We remodeled it 30+ years ago, and have enjoyed it a lot. Now that all the children are gone, we close off a lot of it most of the time. It gets used when they visit, and when we have guests, which is fairly often. I like to have parties with lots of people!! I really enjoy arranging things in the house and doing unusual design ideas. My creative side comes out there, I guess. Since we are into mostly primitive antiques, the entire style of the house is country .
The house is full of "stuff" which we have accumulated over the years of antique hunting. We inherited a lot, too. I 'm an only child, and my
parents were older when I was born, and they kept EVERYTHING. Jim's Mom was an antique dealer for many years. We do have some neat old things, from cannon balls found in the walls of a house Jim took down to a hand-woven coverlet made by my Grandmother Dinkins. In fact, the house is starting to resemble a museum??!!

Speaking of neat things!!

This is my new car!!! I really, really like it!! It looks like cars did when I was a child, but has all the new "bells and whistles". In the '30's , I thought I'd be driving a rocket in 2000 - and look at me now!!

2007 ....

I still have the Cruiser, and still enjoy it a lot.

That's Fritz and Bonnie next to it. Molly isn't allowed outside the fence until she learns to behave better!!

An update on the dog population in the household:  In early 2004, Fritz died at age 14 and a few months later Bonnie died at 13! We miss them both very much.  Molly is 8.5 years old now, and a bit more settled.  She has a new companion -- Brock.  Mike encouraged us to get a big dog -- and he is.  He is part Great Dane and a really sweet, intelligent, beautiful animal.  He is about 2 years old and very athletic!  I'm getting more exercise than I want trying to train him!






The entry about Brock is a good place to insert my latest bout with cancer.  Long story, with a good ending!  In April 2005, Brock and Molly, our small Border Collie mix, were running in the back yard.  It was a beautiful morning, and I looked away from their antics to enjoy the Georgia April Sky (there's nothing like it ! ) Suddenly I was going down -- Brock had tried to make a sharp turn, and he slid into my left leg .  I heard it pop !  I'll leave out part of the story -- but I did have some really delicate surgery on that ankle -- I had a compound fracture of the ankle, it was also dislocated, and my knee was broken !  A doctor wanted to do a CT scan to check out a small digestive problem that surfaced while I was in the hospital.  So - in June, 2005, I had that and it showed that I had ovarian cancer !  I hobbled around to see doctors, etc. while on my walker --(it  took four months before I could put weight on that leg). A very good specialist in Atlanta was recommended and he removed the cancer on July 5, 2005.! !  I did chemo after that -- again with no very bad side effects !  I am so very, very thankful for good, caring doctors !  And now my leg works fine and I feel well !  We keep a close check on me now, of course, but so far I'm fine. 

We felt that we couldn't take proper care of Brock after we got involved in the health problems and my 'gimpyness' for months, so, with tears and sorrow, we let him go back to the rescue group and they found him a home with a young couple who adore him. I will forever miss him !


In July, 2006, after months of just Molly, the 11 year old Border mix, we finally added another member of the family.  Dixie is a rescued dog, as all the others were.  She came to us wild and untrained but very, very smart.  She has become, after some hard work from Mike, Jim and me, a very sweet and special dog!  I will always regret giving Brock up, but Dixie is the next best thing!










This is our son Mike, who now lives in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is with the MIR Foundation, which ministers to the orphans, and others, in that country.


This is our daughter, Cathy Potter, photographed on the site of her great-grandparents' home in Graves County, KY in 2002.
More about her and her family is further along in this "narrative".
I still don't have a decent photo of our son, Tim. Will add one later.

My visit with Mike !!

In late July,2001, I spent ten days in St. Petersburg and surrounding area with Mike. I went alone, calling it my big adventure. Now I think it might be the first of many trips there??

I met several of the babushkas ( grannies) whom he has helped with warm clothing, water, etc., and visited two of the children's camps where he also works. We did the "tourist bit", also ,doing some sight-seeing , and shopped the street markets.

The main event, though, was meeting Olga Yaskevich and her family.!!
She took the job of secretary and translator for the MIR Foundation, and she and Mike found each other!! At the time of my visit, there was nothing "official" , but on August 28, 2001, he proposed marriage. and she said "yes"!!

They were married in St. Petersburg on Nov. 24, 2001 ! We did not attend, but have many photos and a video. (Cathy and Laura did go, so he had some family there.) It was a beautiful event, and they are gloriously happy.
They were able to come here for Christmas - an unexpected joy - and our holidays were very jolly! Olga is a real gem.! !

Following are a couple of their wedding pictures, then the next photos are a few of the many that I took while in St. Pete and on my overnight in Paris on my return trip.

Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cantrell


"Misha and Olga" St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 24, 2001


Fifteen or more years ago, when we had a booth in the Athens Flea Market, Jim bought a trunk full of clothes from a guy who had it stored in a semi which was parked in a field a few miles North of here. (I 'm not kidding!) The trunk turned out to hold elegant clothing which appeared to be the diplomatic wardrobe of the owner, who was Sumner Welles, undersecretary of State under FDR . There was handmade underwear (sewn in France) and double-breasted grey suits and brown suits and fancy shirts and bow ties, black and white and shoes (patent leather for the evening wear) -- and tuxedos. Our sons each appropriated suits and tuxes (one with tails) -- and you see Mike in one on his wedding day! !
Severe alterations took place --- Mr. Welles was a large man -- but the quality of the clothing is outstanding, and Mike looks good in that tux, don't you think?

Me at "The Church of the Spilt Blood"

It's very ornate!!


The Neva River and some of St. Pete's old buildings in the background. Sun was just setting at 10:45 PM!!


We spent the night, and ate a feast, with Olga's grandparents and great aunt in their village two hours south of St. Pete. The Grotins, her grands, are on either side of me.


Mike and Olga and the hovercraft that we rode on the Bay of Finland to visit Peter the Great's place.

In September of 2003, Mike and Olga took Oksana Fitisova, an orphan, into their home.  She was almost 18, and so an adoption wasn't done, but she is now with them.  We are happy to have her as the newest member of the family.


Oksana has brought heartache to herself and the family through some very bad choices.  She is no longer with Mike and Olga; we love her and pray for her, and hope to have her back someday.

You might want to check out his web site - he has some very interesting photos and writings.

Another 2007  Update


In early June, 2006, Jim went with me for my second visit to Russia.  We flew into Helsinki, Finland, where we were met by Mike and Olga, and where we spent two days at a dacha on a lake which belongs to friends of theirs.  What a beautiful place ! I will include photos taken there and in Russia.  We drove across the border and  then spent about 8 days visiting them, making new friends, and seeing old, and doing the tourist bit in St. Petersburg and Novgorod and to the Grotins' dacha in Dolgovka. I will label each photo.

Mike, Jim and Olga at big cabin in Finland

The smaller cabin, not visible, is the sauna.  We actually experienced a genuine Finnish sauna, woodfired1

Mike at sunset -- @11:00 PM -- at the Kopporo dacha, Finland

Nancy and Ludmilla Grotin, Olga's grandmom, at their dacha in Dolgovka

Jim and Orest Grotin, Olga's grandad, at the Dolgovka dacha

Dinner with the Grotins

A view of Mike and Olga's building in St. Pete

Jim and Mike at two ancient wooden churches in Novgorod

I have, of course, reams of photos of the beautiful sites of St. Pete, and some of the ugly sites, too !  Hard to know which ones to show -. We drank tea and ate with Olga's Mom, Tanya, her sister, Alla, ate Georgian food with them and others at a local restaurant, did so much that I can't begin to report it all.  It was a good trip!



Jim and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in a very special way in 2004 ! 

The entire family, except for Tim, who couldn't get away, met in Scotland !  Both my and Jim's ancestors came from that country, and we decided to visit the family castles. Ten of us spent ten days touring in a van and a car, staying at B&Bs and seeing castles and countryside and more beauty that I could begin to describe!  I will, again, label photos as I enter them.


Cathy, Jim, Nancy, Mike at Allerdice Castle. Jim's mother was Hilda Alderdice.  This is the family castle, now occupied by a private family, who had us in for tea.

Cantrell, Potter families at MacLean clan castle, Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Jim's other Scottish connection is the MacLean clan.

We had our official 50th celebration at dinner at my mother's

Davidson Clan castle - Tulloch Castle, in Dingwall, Scotland.

(Mike took the photo and is thus, sadly, missing from the family scene.

That entire trip was a joy and a blessing for us!  What a treat to have such good times with those whom we love so much !





The Girls

This is me, Cathy, and her three daughters. Beth and Kate are on the left, Cathy and Laura to the right -- Grandmom in the center.
AN UPDATE: It's July, 2003, and at this point, Cathy still teaches at Denver University, Beth graduated from a really intense high school baccalaureate program and is now about to start her junior year at Williams College.
Laura just graduated from that same high school program , and plays the tuba extraordinarily well . She was offered full music scholarships at USC and at Colorado. She has chosen Colorado, and will soon be a Freshman there, altho she exempted so many classes, I think she's almost a sophomore ! ??
Kate plays whatever sport is available, mainly soccer, (and the piano )and they all ski, of course
She plays competitive soccer with a traveling team there in Denver.
I hope to have a photo of their entire family soon -- it's been a while since we had an opportunity to get all five of them in a good picture.


Here's a bit of an updated shot of us, ready for the big 50th dinner at Tulloch Castle, Scotland








This was made at Christmas, 1999 - the last time we were all in one place. We were acting silly, so it is not a good representation of us all. !! For one thing, Mike has lost 60 pounds since then!! ---And Kate doesn't really have glass eyes!!

I will add individual photos as I can locate them.

This is Kate with our three dogs -- Bonnie is part Australian Shepherd, Molly is part Border Collie, Fritz is an interesting mix -looks like a big hound, and is very smart. (He's Mike's dog - but we have him now. Mike "raised him well" and he behaves beautifully!)
2003 update: we lost Fritz last winter! He died at age 13, which is fairly old for a big dog. I miss him still!
He was a very special dog.

Kirsten Meyer, an "adopted granddaughter", in an outfit which Tim bought for her in Costa Rica.
It's always nice when she stops by to visit.

Tim and Kirsten


This is Elizabeth Crew, my goddaughter..
Her parents are Nancy and Bob Crew; who live in Monticello, Florida. I'm very proud of her.
This is her high school senior photo - she will be going to college in Boston in the fall of 2003.

 I'm happy to report that in 2007, Elizabeth is a college graduate, and is working as a political assistant in the Boston area.


This is Nathaniel Thonessen, my godson, of whom I am equally proud! His parents are Eric and Linda Thonessen and they live here in town; I occasionally get to see them.


We spent the 1966-67 year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Jim was a Sloan Fellow. He was there, of course, to do mathematics. We made the medical journals almost as much as the mathematical journals, though. Our twins were conjoined, and did not survive the necessary surgery.


We are sure that information learned by the doctors in their surgery has helped to save other children since then. Life goes on.



In the l967, Jim found this l800's water mill, with house, barn, outhouse, 14 acres - 40 miles north of here. For eighteen years, we spent most of our weekends there, working and playing. Had a couple of horses. (One named Holy Smoke!!) Jim learned from an old miller, and we ground corn meal !! We had a lot of good times there with friends and family-- finally sold it: present owners are friends and we still go there occasionally.

Kirsten sliding down the rock at the mill

This is one of the fun things to do there. One lands abruptly in the pool below!!
Another interesting item about the mill: at one point we owned the l800's church building on the hill near the mill!! It wasn't being used and was not in good shape - Jim put a new roof on and fixed it up.
Then the Methodist conference bought it back, and now once a year there is a "Homecoming" at Mt. Olivet Church!! It would have disappeared by now, if not for Jim buying and restoring it!!
When Kate was three, a big tombstone in the adjoining cemetery fell on her and broke her leg!! We wrote a song about that event - "Oo, oo, Kate's got an "owie" !!!
She's fine now, of course, an avid skiier and soccer player.



After dealing in old lumber and log houses for a while, Jim wanted to restore a log house. This one was in Franklin County, GA . This is how it looked in March,1983, before we moved it to Winterville, Ga. As you will see in the next photo, we made it look as it would have looked around 1860 , with added "shed rooms" and a kitchen building.


Here it is in the final stages. The inside was also done to look as it did in 1860 - huge fireplace, kitchen appliances hidden behind heart pine cupboards, etc. Everything in the house was old lumber, and we furnished it with primitives.
We did it for "fun and profit" and had a lot of the first, and a little of the second. Jim, Mike and I worked on it over the three years, with help from Wilton Brown, a Banks County carpenter, and various other carpenter friends. We sold it - reluctantly!! Didn't want to give up our big house to live in it. The family in it now are friends who really love it.


In February, 2002, a local reporter did an article about Jim and his lumber. The AP picked it up and we have heard from people all over. It also went on the local online news...... a link follows.


The lake

In l988, Jim bought some land in the edge of the county, and built a lake on it!! All by himself!!
Actually, sometime in the distant past, someone had built a dam, but there were huge trees where the long-ago lake had been. He cut, cleared, diverted water from the creek, and we had a lake!! He and Mike built a picnic shelter, and the floating dock that you see them on here,. There is no electricity there - they used a chain saw to cut the wood, and, of course, had a great time doing it.!!
There are some lovely building lots on the acerage, but we don't wanna move, so we just go out and hang out!! He does a lot, I do sometimes - bugs and poison ivy and stuff always make me itchy and I'm not a great outdoorswoman. Tim fishes there sometimes -- Jim stocked it. And we used to have beavers, but they moved on. There is a great blue heron who visits now and then.
Fritz' mom was a retriever, and he really enjoyed fetching from the middle of the lake, (and retrieving rocks from the bottom in the shallows- Mike taught him that.)
Jim has had a bunch of fun ideas , and this is one of them!!

A new vehicle

We have some lovely land near town where Jim has his lumber and the new golf cart is to get from one shed to another. (He and Jerry have built several!) Fritz usually ran behind me when we went out there, but he liked this better.
The vines in the background are a large vineyard of Southern grapes : muscadines and scuppernongs . There is also a large pecan orchard on the property -- the whole place is very nice.

A group which is important in our lives

Two of Mike's friends, Dana and Leah, founded a group called Moving in the Spirit more than ten years ago. They teach dance to children who are at risk in the Atlanta area. They teach all ages and give these kids so much more than dance!! They learn discipline and work ethic and achievement and love -- all in the midst of inner-city situations. The teen-agers can audition for the apprentice company, which gets to tour.
We have so much enjoyed having them stay with us when they danced in Athens. They are very special people!!

Here's part of the company at our home in 1991

Same location, different group - 1998

That's Dana back left of photo (and her nephew in front)- Leah is no longer with them. There are lots of other people teaching and involved now - some of them started as dancers years ago. I recently said that we send a bit of money each month, and they turn it into changed lives!! What a blessing!!.

AND AGAIN --  2007


Their summer tour brought them to Athens again, after a few years of more exotic places.  We were so happy to have the present tour cast to spend time with us once again. 



My Dad died in 1980, at age 93. (He was a lovely man!!) Mother, who was 80, tried to stay in the house they had shared for over 50 years, in Western Tennessee. We were pleased when she decided to come live with us. Talk about lovely people -- she sure was, too.

Alvin and Leverne Dinkins

Here are my parents on their 50th anniversary in 1974

Leverne Davidson Dinkins

Here's Mom at age 75. She and I were always very close.
(I put this picture on her pillow when she was in the hospital after the stroke which took her life.)

Here she is with Beth and Laura at age 89.

We had Mom until l990, when she died at age 90. She never needed full-time care, but we had people who came to keep her company and fix her meals while I was at work.
Maggie Hunter was with us longest, and became like family, too. She is a talented, creative, happy person, and Mother really enjoyed her time with her. Mother taught her a lot of old songs, and they sang together a lot.

Here are Maggie and her daughter, Willis, in a later photo. I will put a better one of Maggie here when I have it.

Maggie later became a member of a music group - she sings beautifully. She and Katie, the other voice, got together partly because of songs Mom had taught Maggie.
The Warblers are a really good group - very popular in this area, and played on the PBS Mt. Stage radio program, too!!
After starting out as the two singers, with Katie's guitar, they added marvelous instrumentalists Greg Ernest and Steve Heath. They are an awesome group.
They did a CD and I became a "music producer" when I financed it with money inherited from Mom. They dedicated it to her!! We released their second CD "Mama's Waltz" in December, 2001. It's really good, and selling well.


This is Jerry in a typical pose, I guess -- he does a bit of everything for us. He and Jim are basically the crew in the antique lumber business -he helps tear down houses, sawmill, move lumber, you name it, he can do it!! And he does our heavy yard work now ( I really enjoy NOT doing much yard work--and he delights in making it look really nice!!) He's a good friend, and good worker.
He's thoughtful, too -- I have several nice plants that he has given to me on various Mother's Days!!


I guess we could call this the Sparky page.

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