Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ridley Kin Folks


This is my late grandmother Frances Viola Ridley Petty (1885-1968). She was my mother’s mother. She was born in Murray County, Georgia, spent the last ten or fifteen years here in Marietta, and died at a nursing home in nearby Paulding County.

I am bringing her up because of her name and the location she was born, Murray County, Georgia. Murray County, is a mostly rural farms. The two counties, on Murray County’s east border are Whitfield and Catoosa.

In Murray, Whitfield, and Catoosa Counties Ridley family members are all over. You might say the area is riddled with Ridleys.

This evening my sister called me and told me to turn on the A & E channel. They were doing a story of Alvin Ridley of Catoosa County, Georgia.

Just by name and location he has to be a relative… just exactly where on the family diagram, I don’t know yet. Alvin Ridley was arrested in the late 1990s for keeping his wife captive and starving her to death. She didn’t see daylight in 30 years.

Alvin was an eccentric recluse who was a TV repairman. It seems that TV repairman and being a recluse would not go hand in hand as a living arrangement, but that was him. One day he called 911 saying his wife had quit breathing, and with no emotion what so ever said slowly, “Please hurry.”

He lived in Ringgold, within almost a walking distance of the Chickamauga Civil War Battlefield, which was the 2nd largest Civil War battle fought, Gettysburg being the first.

Everything looked wrong. Nobody in town even knew he was even married for starters. Being eccentric didn’t help – there was junk and scribbling all over the place, where the wife had written things on the walls or on sheets or papers or whatever… she wrote all the time. She even wrote summary of TV shows – who the stars of the show were and so on.

Well, what it boiled down to was, just because you and your wife are reclusive and eccentric doesn’t mean foul play. The jury felt he was innocent.

He is an interesting relative I would like to know more about. The next time I am in Dalton/Chattanooga area I might drop by and visit Alvin. But again, he might not open the door.

Maybe I could bring an old TV with me telling him it needed some work.

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