Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910

I now know that my great-grandmother, Carrie, was 3 months pregnant when her family was counted on April 18th for the 1910 census. How I know this? According to the 1903-1997 Texas Birth Index, on 19 October 1910, my great uncle, Lewis Blanton Chappel, was born! [1]

 

 

[Abstraction]

Certificate of Birth
City – Houston
County –  Harris
Certificate No. 36495

Date of Birth – Oct. 19th 1910
Name of Child – Lewis Blanton Chappel
Sex – Male
Race or Color – Colored
Legitimate or Otherwise – Legitimate
Alive or Stillborn – Alive
Name of Father – Lewis Chappel
Nationality – American
Maiden Name of Mother – Carrie Blanton
Nationality – American
Residence of Parents
Town – Houston
Street No. – 815 Swartz(?) Street
Occupation of Father – Gass Plummer
Name and Residence of Person Reporting – I. P. Lamb MD, 2009 Calhoun Ave.  Houston, Texas
Permanent Record. Write plainly with unfading ink. Place 1-cent stamp on reverse side and mail within 5 days to City Registrar if birth occurs in incorporated town; otherwise to County Clerk.

But not long after his arrival into this world, tragedy struck, and his death became a devastating loss for my great-grandparents, 9 December 1910! [2]

Lewis Blanton Chappel Death Certificate

[Abstraction]

Texas State Board of Health
STANDARD CERTIFICATE OF DEATH
Registered No. 1640

PLACE OF DEATH

County – Harris
City – Houston
No. 815 Schwartz St., 5 Ward

Full Name – Lewis Blanton Chappel

PERSONAL AND STATISTICAL PARTICULARS

Sex – Male
Color or Race – Colored
Single, Married, Widowed or Divorced – Single Colored
Date of Birth – Oct 19, 1910
Age – 1 mo. 19 ds
Birthplace – Harris, Tex

PARENTS
Name of Father – Lewis Chappel
Birthplace of Father – Texas
Maiden Name of Mother – Carrie Blanton
Birthplace of Mother – Texas

THE ABOVE IS TRUE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE
Informant – C Chappel
Address – 815 Schwartz

MEDICAL PARTICULARS

Date of Death – Dec 9 1910
I HEREBY CERTIFY, that I attended deceased from Dec 8 1910 to Dec 9 1910 that I saw him alive on Dec 8 1910 and that death occurred on the date named above  at 7 a.m.
The CAUSE OF DEATH was as follows: Congestion of Lungs
CONTRIBUTORY – Indigestion
I. P. Lamb, MD
Dec 9 1910
Address – 2009 Calhoun Ave.  Houston

PLACE OF BURIAL OR REMOVAL – Evergreen
DATE OF BURIAL – 12-10-1910
UNDERTAKER – I. S. Lewis
ADDRESS – 2615 1/2 Odin Ave

In addition to using Ancestry.com for locating historical documents about my ancestors, I also use FamilySearch.org where I’ve been fortunate enough to access and download for free birth and death records online for many of my ancestors. You’re probably wondering how in the world have I been able to access these documents online for free since state privacy laws prohibit access to vital records like these. Well being aware of what is considered public information and not public information in Texas helps a lot! According to Section 552.115: Confidentiality of Birth and Death Records from the 2012 Public Information Handbook,  [3]

“(a) A birth or death record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health or a local registration official is excepted from [required public disclosure], except that:

(1) a birth record is public information and available to the public on and after the 75th anniversary of the date of birth as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(2) a death record is public information and available to the public on and after the 25th anniversary of the date of death as shown on the record filed with the bureau of vital statistics or local registration official;

(3) a general birth index or a general death index established or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public to the extent the index relates to a birth record or death record that is public information and available to the public under Subdivision (1) or (2);

Reviewing Vital Records

More Clues and Information

The best way to show a valid connection for every ancestor you’ve added to your family tree is with BMDs —  birth, marriage, and death records! For the most part, birth certificates connect children and their parents. Marriage certificates connect husbands and wives. Death certificates can connect both –parents and spouses — provided the Informant giving the information at the time of death knows the decedent’s family history well enough to give accurate information.

I don’t have to tell you how SURPRISED I was to locate this birth and death record! I actually found baby Lewis’ death certificate when I wasn’t even looking for it. Once I had a birth date, his birth certificate came to light quickly.

According to the FamilySearch wiki — Introduction to Birth Records [4]

 . . . experts recommend looking into death records first and marriage records second. Followed by Birth records, because they are usually the most difficult to find. It is very common to find birth information in other soucres.”

My mom, who is my oldest living Chapple family member that I interview and discuss my findings with regularly, was just as surprised — shocked in fact — to learn that her father, who was raised as an only child, wasn’t the only child her grandmother had given birth to. Grandfather Joseph, would have been about 7 years old when his baby brother died. So I wonder why he never mentioned to mom (or any of his children) he had a baby brother who died as an infant? Or was this loss simply too difficult to “ever” talk about with others?

Baby Lewis’ birth and death records provide a few more interesting facts about the lives of my great-grandparents in 1910! When I first started tracking them in the 1910 Census:
1) Lewis, Carrie, and their son, Joseph were living in Houston’s Historic Freedmen’s Town at 1609 Saulnier Street, Houston, Texas in mid April.
2) Carrie, for whatever reason, is reported living in the home of her younger sister in Houston’s Historic Freedmen’s Town at 1604 Cleveland Street, Houston, Texas without her husband and son by late April.

Now by 9 December 1910:
3) Carrie, who is the informant on her son’s death certificate, reports they’re living in Houston’s Greater Fifth Ward Community at 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, Texas.
Like Freedmen’s Town, Fifth Ward was settled by freedmen too in 1866 and became known as a musically rich neighborhood just east of downtown Houston.

So based on information from these vital records, what new information have I added to my Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census); Gass Plummer (son’s birth certificate)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census); 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate)
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has 2 sons, Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910)
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?

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Source Citation:

1.  “Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VXM3-RLS : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Lewis Blanton Chappel, 1910.

2. “Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JF3Y-CJW : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Lewis Blanton Chappel, 1910.

3. United States, Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott. (2011, November). 2012 Public Information Handbook. Retrieved April 09, 2013, from https://www.oag.state.tx.us/ag_publications/pdfs/publicinfo_hb.pdf

4. FamilySearch. (2012, November 27). United States Birth Records. FamilySearch. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Birth_Records

 

Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?

Ancestry HintsWhat I enjoy most about Ancestry.com is its intuitive search interface! After locating my great-grandparents –Lewis & Carrie (Blanton) Chappel– in the 1910 Census and adding data from that record to each of their Ancestry timelines a “shaky leaf” hint appeared! When I followed that hint, the historical record that it referred me to was for another 1910 U. S. Census entry for my great-grandmother Carrie Chappel. At first, I thought it was an entry for another “Carrie Chappel” in this record because I had already located her with her family in this same precinct and enumeration district. But upon further investigation, this entry was indeed for my great-grandmother who was enumerated twice in the 1910 Census!

Carrie [Blanton] Chappel Enumerated Twice in 1910 Census

Carrie (Blanton) Chappel Enumerated Twice in 1910 Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on a date not specified by the Enumerator, this 1910 U. S. Federal Census reports living at 1604 Cleveland Street, Houston 4 Ward, Harris County, Texas were: [1]

Line 70: Rosa Williams, head of household, age 24, a widow, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Washerwoman from home, rents the house she lives in

Line 71: Alice, daughter, age 6, born in Texas as were her mother and siblings, with a father reportedly born in Missouri

Line 72: Moselle, son, age 5

Line 73: Rosie May, daughter, age 1

Line 74: Carrie Chapel, sister, age 23, married for 4 years, mother of 1 living child, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Cook for a private family

Line 75: Daniel Spryor, male boarder, age 43, widow, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a common laborer on odd jobs, could not read or write

Reviewing Ancestor Data

Review Data for New Clues and Information

 

How do I know line 74 of the record above is my great-grandmother, Carrie Chappel? The head of household, Rose (Blanton) Williams, is my great aunt and one of Carrie’s younger sisters!

But there are two major questions that immediately come to mind as I take a closer look at this record:
1) Why is Carrie’s information in this record so much different from the information I have where she’s enumerated with her husband and son?
2) Didn’t Ida May Ford, the Enumerator on both census records, not recognize Carrie or at least remember counting her probably weeks before with her husband and son?

Very interesting indeed!

In the 1910 census record with her husband and son, Carrie’s entry reads: [2]

Line 37: Carrie Chappel, wife, age 27, married 7 years, mother of 1 child that’s living, born in Texas with parents reportedly born in Mississippi, has no occupation

But in this second 1910 record above, her entry reads:

Line 74: Carrie Chapel, sister, age 23, married for 4 years, mother of 1 living child, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Cook for a private family

Big difference in information don’t you think?

But more importantly, why didn’t the Enumerator recognize Carrie or remember counting her already?

Finding ancestors enumerated more than once in census records is not uncommon. In Michael John Neill’s Genealogy Tip of the Day on 22 June 2012, he writes: [3]

Depending on their family and work situation, there is a chance that an ancestor is enumerated more than once in a census. The census was not necessarily always taken “on just one day,” so individuals who moved around the time of the census may have been listed by two enumerators. Individuals who were living in one household and working as domestic help in another may show up in twice–once in each household.”

Clearly the work situation Neill suggest above is not the reason my great-grandmother was enumerated twice in this census. So who do I think gave her information to the Enumerator? My aunt Rose of course! I say that because it appears the only accurate information given for this household in 1910 is about my aunt and her children and about the boarder, Daniel Spryor, who was living there at the time. The only accurate information given to the enumerator about Carrie was that she was married, the mother of 1 living child, and a Cook for a private family. According to family members, my great-grandmother was an AWESOME cook and did in fact work as a cook in the homes of affluent white people for many years. Why this wasn’t reported in the first record I found? I do not know, or maybe she hadn’t started working as a cook when that information was given at the time. But to explore this further, why wasn’t Joseph, her young son, not enumerated with her at this second location if she lived there? If she was married, why wasn’t Lewis her husband enumerated with her at this location as well? Another way to look at this whole scenario is . . . maybe Carrie and Lewis separated. If that is what happened, that would explain why she’s enumerated twice in this census. And . . . if that was the case, where was her son, Joseph? Was he left with his father? Very, very interesting indeed!

Some great information this second 1910 census record provided was that I had no idea that Aunt Rose and her family were living in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town in 1910 too! Using Google Maps, I was able to create a visual that not only helped me gain a better perspective as to where they lived in this area of the city, but I was able to see just how close they lived to one another too – 0.3 mi – just 2 – 5 minutes away on foot! [4]

The homes of ancestors Carrie Blanton Chappel and Rose Blanton Williams in 1910

Point A marks the location where  my Great-grandmother Carrie lived with her family at 1609 Saulnier Street. Point B marks the spot where Aunt Rose and her family lived at 1604 Cleveland Street in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town in 1910

 

Even though the location (1609 Saulnier Street) where my great-grandparents lived still exist today (the original 1910 house is gone, but another one very similar to it sits in its place since 1928), aunt Rose’s home is no longer there. Due to gentrification that has taken place in Freedmen’s Town over the past 15-20 years, the location where her home stood has been replatted and a water sprayground called, James Wiley Park, is located there today. This park includes a multi-colored rubber surface, with spray and ground features such as a flower, rainbow, fire hydrant activator, raining buckets, and an in-ground spray fountain. Other amenities include benches, a drinking fountain, and a basketball court (see example of a water sprayground below). [5]

 

Houston's Water Spraygrounds

Water Sprayground. Photo Credit: Houston Parks and Recreation Department

Have some ancestors who were enumerated twice in census records? Share your thoughts!

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)

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Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M2MV-7FN : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Carrie Chapel in entry for Rosa Williams, 1910.

2. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M2MJ-KDV : accessed 29 Mar 2013), Carrie Chappel, Houston Ward 4, Harris, Texas; citing sheet 3B, family 75, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375573.

3. Neill, M. J. (2012, June 22). Genealogy Tip of the Day: Enumerated Twice in a Census? [Web log post]. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com/2012/06/enumerated-twice-in-census.html

4. Taylor-Harris, L. (2013, April 14). The Homes of Ancestors Carrie (Blanton) Chappel and Rose (Blanton) Williams in 1910 [Google Map]. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=211577307229168907313.0004da5718d3de54b4d72

5. Water Spraygrounds. (n.d.). The City of Houston Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/aquatics/waterspraygrounds.html

Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)

Ancestor Hunt

My mother’s grandfather, Lewis Chappel, has been an enigma in my family research for years now. By the time mom was born, he was already missing in action and no one, not even her grandmother who raised her, ever talked about him. The challenge of locating information about him will be great, but my desire to know what happened to him is greater.

So my very own, “WDYTYA?” for Lewis Chappel begins today!

Census Records

Since I don’t have any home sources such as — birth, marriage, death, religious, school, and personal records — about Lewis to go on, I will begin my search for him in the U. S. Federal Census enumerated with my great-grandmother, Carrie, and their son Joseph. So I start my search with the 1940 decade and work backward, decade by decade.

1940 – Nothing!
1930 – Nada!
1920 – Niente!

It wasn’t until the 1910 US Census did I finally find them together as a family!

Lewis, Carrie, and Joseph Chappel, 1910 U. S. Census

[Abstraction]

Enumerated on the 18th day of April 1910, this U. S. Federal Census reports living at 1609 Saulnier Street, Houston Ward 4, Harris County, Texas were: [1]

Line 36:  Louis Chappel, head of household, age 27, married 7 years, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Pipefitter for a Gas Company, rents the house he lives in

Line 37: Carrie Chappel, wife, age 27, married 7 years, mother of 1 child that’s living, born in Texas with parents reportedly born in Mississippi, has no occupation

Line 38: Joseph Chappel, son, age 7, single, born in Texas

Analyzing the Data

Analyze the Data

Let me pause here and say that as I take a closer look at the information reported in this record and other census records; I must keep in mind that though these records are a genealogist gold mine, they’re not perfect! All of the information recorded was done orally. There will be errors on both parts — the enumerator and my ancestor, or person, giving the facts. Enumerators, depending on their level of education, misspelled names miscalculated years of birth and marriages, and simply did not record information as accurately and carefully as reported. Those giving information, depending on their level of education too, sometimes didn’t know all the facts needed, or they would make up information as they went along with the interview. Oh, and let’s not forget those ancestors who were not always “forthcoming” with the truth about their lives for a variety of reasons.

Name | Relation | Personal Description

My great-grandfather’s given name is spelled with an “ou,” as oppose to Lewis spelled with an “ew.” This is a reminder that I must include variations of how his given name may be spelled in my search process as well as possible nicknames he may have used like Lou or Louie. Something else I noticed is that my mother spells her maiden name, Chapple, with the “le” ending as opposed to Chappel with the “el” ending. So when did the spelling of the surname change? That’s an excellent question! But this also means that I must consider all spelling variations of the surname in my search process too!

Something I was surprised to see was the middle initial “E” associated with my great-grandmother’s name. As far as I know, she wasn’t born with a middle name. My mother who is named after her wasn’t born with a middle name either. BUT I have seen on some of my mother’s vital records, “Louise,” as her middle name. When I asked her about it, she said school officials insisted that she have a middle name for their records back then. Mom said she refused to let them call her Carrie Bell or Carrie Mae. So she chose Louise for her middle name on school records. So in light of how my mother came to have a middle name, I wonder what “E” name my great-grandmother was using for her middle name at that time? Interesting indeed — LOL!

Both of my great-grandparents are 27 years old, which means they were born around 1883. Great-grandmother Carrie was born 28 Feb 1883. Therefore, her age is correct on this record. I just hope this is the case for Lewis’ year of birth too.

According to this record, they had been married for seven years, which would put their year of marriage around 1903.

My mother always believed that her father, Joseph, grew up in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas where he was born, then moved to Houston during his young adult years. But this wasn’t the case at all since this census record shows him living with his parents in Houston, Harris County, Texas at the age of 7.

Nativity

Both of my great-grandparents were born in the state of Texas. My great-grandmother was born and raised in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas. And their son (my grandfather), Joseph, was born in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas too. So is it possible that the city of Eagle Lake, in Colorado County, Texas is where Lewis is from as well? If not the city of Eagle Lake, which town in Colorado County did he live?

Occupation

Lewis’s occupation as a Pipefitter for a Gas Company gives a significant clue to the type of knowledge and skills he possessed if he was indeed a Pipefitter at this time.
According to Wikipedia, “a pipefitter is a trades person who lays out, assembles, fabricates, maintains and repairs piping systems. Pipefitters usually begin as helpers or apprentices.” [2]

Keeping in mind my great-grandfather’s race and the 1910 era in which he lived, more than likely he worked as a Pipefitter Helper, than a licensed apprentice for the gas company.
Is Houston Electric Light & Power (HL&P) the company he worked for at the time? It is possible given the fact that his home at 1609 Saulnier Street was in the vicinity of where the city’s first gas plant was built along the west banks of Buffalo Bayou. “HL& P filed a charter in 1882 and was granted a franchise by the Houston City Council. Over the next century, HL&P generated electricity from steam, natural gas, coal or lignite and finally nuclear fission for sale and delivery to retail customers in the rapidly growing Houston area.”[3]

Ownership of Home

The house that they rented at 1609 Saulnier Street was in 4th Ward, better known as Houston’s historic Freedman’s Town. This community, which began with 1,000 newly freed slaves from the Brazos River Cotton Plantations in 1866, grew to over 17,000 by 1910 making it the center of black cultural and professional life in Houston. [4]

Another tip I want to include here is how important it is to carefully review ALL of the families enumerated on each census page you find your ancestor(s) recorded! Ancestry.com  makes this process very easy because each census record you attach to your ancestor’s timeline includes a link to “view others on page” (see below).

When I viewed all of the families enumerated on the same census page with my great-grandparents, I discovered that my great uncle Patrick Robert Blanton, Sr., one of my great-grandmother’s older brothers and his family, lived next door at 1607 Saulnier Street! Below is a Google Satellite street view of where these old homesteads are today. Those original 1910 houses they lived in are long gone. But similar row houses were built in their place by the 1920’s and 1930’s.

House A on the left (1607 Saulnier) was the home of Uncle Patrick Blanton, Sr. House B on the right (1609 Saulnier) was the home of  Lewis & Carrie (Blanton) Chappel, Freedman’s Town, Houston in 1910

So based on information from this census record, what key information have I learned about my great-grandfather that I didn’t know before?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Street, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census)
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has one son, Joseph Chappel
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

You know, I’m not surprised that my great-grandparents are living in Houston’s historic Freedman’s Town. But finding them together as a family in only one census record leaves me with a lot of unanswered questions:

  • When and where was Lewis Chappel born?
  • Who are his parents?
  • When and where did he meet and marry Carrie?
  • Where were they living at the time their son Joseph was born (in Eagle Lake, TX or another city/town of Colorado County, Texas)?
  • What year did they come as a family to Houston?
  • What became of this family beyond 1910?

Stay tuned, for this is only the beginning of my WDYTYA? journey!

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

—–

Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M2MJ-KDV : accessed 29 Mar 2013), Louis Chappel, Houston Ward 4, Harris, Texas; citing sheet 3B, family 75, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375573.

2. Pipefitter. (2013, February 12). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipefitter

3. Company History. (n.d.). CenterPoint Energy. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://www.centerpointenergy.com/about/companyoverview/companyhistory/

4. Fourth Ward, Houston. (2013, April 08). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Ward,_Houston

Wordless Wednesday: Spending Time With Our Oldest Living Family Member

Well almost wordless . . .

The Chapple~Smith Family Dinner my brothers and I hosted on 2 December 2012 was a HUGE success! It was wonderful seeing cousins (along with their adult children who have children of their own) I had not seen in many years. But what made this afternoon such a special one for all the descendants was spending time with their oldest “living” Chapple ~ Smith family member — my Mom, Carrie Chapple Taylor! So below are a few photos of mom –who celebrated her 84th birthday this past October– with family members who arrived early for our dinner event!

Bowie Family

Mom with her oldest great-granddaughter, which happens to be my “mini-me” (Bowie Family)!

McLemore Family

Mom with another one of her beautiful great-granddaughters (McLemore Family)!

Armstrong Family

Mom with her great-nephew, Bernard, and great-niece, LaJuana (Armstrong & Jean Families)

Armstrong and Jean Family Members

The Armstrong and Jean Families

Marshall Family

Mom with her nephew, Ralph and niece, Bettye (Marshall Family)

Yeah … We’re Family – Deal With It!

My brothers and I are rounding up the Chapple ~ Smith descendants for a Family Dinner Saturday afternoon, 1 December 2012, that we hope will parlay into many family gatherings and reunions for years to come. I sent the invitation below to relatives and 30+ have RSVP that they’re coming. So I’m very EXCITED about seeing my family!

Chapple ~ Smith Family Dinner