Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Day I Made Franklin Garrett Earn His Pay

Yesterday  I reviewed my Oakland Cemetery photographs.  I came across the above tombstone of Franklin Miller Garrett (1906 - 2000) and I thought of the time I talked to Mr. Garrett on the telephone.

Between 1975 and 1990 I found out  what CSA unit  one of my ancestors was in during the Civil War.  I had no idea what action or where  at  this Confederate Unit my ancestor  belonged to.  This was before Google and on-line research.      I did the next easiest  thing, I called  The Atlanta History Center.  I told the lady that answered  the phone that  I wanted to know the movements of a certain Confederate unit in the War.

She connected me to Franklin Garrett, the official historian of The Atlanta History Center.  I told Franklin what I was looking for and he took notes and told me just a moment, it might take a few minutes to find it.  Then I heard him put down the phone and steps, like walking up bare wooden steps.

In a few minutes I heard footsteps again, like coming down the stairs the phone making a noise, and he told me the information  I had asked him for.

But!  The information he gave me opened the door for more questions, which I promptly asked.

Franklin said, "Just a minute"  And I could here the phone being put down, steps, then heavier steps stepping up the wood steps.

Because this time  he probably  knew where to look, he was back quicker and gave the information.   I wrote it down and thanked him and said something like, "Since I have you on the phone, I want to ask about another ancestor's unit..."

I told him what else I would like to know and in a polite gentle way he asked me did I have any more questions,  that he could get while he was up there... gently he  said walking up and down the stairs was wearing him out.

Later I found out Mr. Franklin Garrett was not born in Atlanta but grew up in Atlanta, and was an expert on the history of Atlanta and had written several books on Atlanta.  I see by his cemetery stone that he was born in 1906.  He was probably between 69 and 75 or 76 when I gave him a good stairs workout.

Whew!  It wears me out just thinking of it.

Franklin Miller Garrett


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