Monday, June 30, 2014


            It was a hot summer June day near the mountain in Cobb County. It had been raining but the rain had stopped, puddles dotting the landscape. My great-great grandfather, Isaac Peterson Collier, was there in the trenches with his fellow soldiers in Company K 5th regiment Georgia from Upson County. He had lost a brother in the battle in the past few days but he continued to fight. On June 21, 1864 in the heat of battle, an artillery shell came into the trench from which he and the soldiers were shooting, its fuse burning. Bravely, he
picked up the shell and tossed it out, into the standing rain water, putting out the fuse. He and his fellow Confederate soldiers were saved. For his bravery, he was offered a battlefield commission to Lieutenant.  However, the commission would have transferred him to another unit and he chose to stay with his men from Upson County. Instead, he was promoted to Sergeant and continued to fight until surrender in 1865.
            One hundred and fifty years ago the battle of Atlanta was preceded by the Battle at Kennesaw Mountain and the Battle at Smyrna. In Cobb County we remember the date, not with celebration, but with commemoration of the men who fought valiantly for the South. The Civil War battles in this area are a part of our American history, and, for many of us, the history of our family members. Thanks to the work of the local Sons of the Confederacy, my ancestor is remembered in exhibit 13 at the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park museum.
            The Civil War was a devastating time in our American history, a country torn apart, families torn apart, death, terror, sacrifice, but also bravery, and growth and change. I pray we will never again be a nation divided, but always “one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
            So, if this was such a strife-ridden time in our history, why do we commemorate it now 150 years later? For one thing, we learn from our past so we don’t repeat it. We look to the past to see how far we have grown as a nation. And we recognize the history of our ancestors. It is not an abstract history, but, like the history of WWI and II, the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, it is the story of our ancestors. I am here today only because God spared my ancestors, my grandfathers and my father and brought them safely through the horrors of war.

            Long ago great-great granddad Collier saved lives with his bravery at a spot that is now near Burnt Hickory and Old Mountain Road in Marietta near Kennesaw Mountain. Today, I live in a subdivision named somewhat after General Robert E Lee and from my porch, I can glimpse Kennesaw Mountain. I can easily imagine skirmishes fought on this land a hundred and fifty years ago. Today, we commemorate the1864 battles in Cobb County, looking back at the history and moving forward into a united, peaceful present and future.


Thirty One years ago, shortly before Mother’s Day, on May 1, 1983, I received a wonderful, precious gift: the birth of my daughter, Katie. She arrived with black hair and a sweet disposition. Now, thirty one years later, shortly before Mother’s Day and her birthday, our daughter Katie received the wonderful, precious gift of her daughter, Caroline.

At 11:12 p.m. on Monday night, April 28, Caroline Bennett Long was born at Presbyterian Hospital, Charlotte, N.C. She came into the world with a head of soft black hair, reminding me of her mother‘s arrival. Her big sister, Addie, was thrilled with her baby sister, standing outside as the family car drove into the drive-way, waiting with both sets of grandparents. Addie first greeted her mother and then her baby sister, with giggles and oooh’s of excitement.

Arriving home from the hospital, Caroline was greeted royally and took it all in with calm and sweetness. She let us take turns holding her and rocking her. She may be the second child in her family, but I can tell already she will be able to hold her own and be her own person - just like her mother.

Caroline needs to know that her mother will be a terrific role model for her and her sister. Katie didn’t fit the mold of a second child. She has always been willing to accept challenges and to be the best she could be in all endeavors: a scholar, an athlete, a friend, a wife, mother and a loving, caring Christian.

I look forward to watching Caroline develop her own personality, discovering her own talents and interests. I imagine her playing games with her big sister, having whispered conversations, playing dress up, reading lots of books, and kicking the soccer ball. I expect she, too, will hold her own with her sister, excelling in her own right.

Caroline is our fourth granddaughter and each of the girls share similar family traits and look; yet each is unique and individual. Each granddaughter is a special blessing that we cherish. In years to come, I’m sure the four cousins will be best of friends, enjoying vacations and holidays, face time and photos. Addie, Lilly Bell, Harper and Caroline – you are our darling girls; loved, cherished and adored.


Dear Harper,
It will be a long time before you can read this letter, but it is written to welcome you to our Lipsett family. We haven’t met yet in person, but we have talked with you via Face Time on the day of your birth: March 9, 2014. Your Granddad and I, your Nana, will be coming to see you soon at your home in Arlington, Virginia.
            You were born into a digital world, with your dad, our son Peter, announcing by phone text that you would soon be arriving. We sent out a birth announcement to family and friends via email soon after your birth. And, as I said before, our first visit was a digital one, our IPad to your dad’s. As your mom, Ann-Bailey, held you, I do believe you smiled for us. We have already had several virtual visits with you.
Who knows what electronic marvels the world will hold during your life? But we will always make time for live visits with you. We also hope that you will share the family love of reading and that paper books and newspapers will never be totally replaced by the electronic versions.
During a recent Face Time visit, you slept blissfully in your father’s arms while we chatted away. Your sister, Lilly Bell, talked to us and entertained us, until it was important to have your mom put a band-aid on a booboo on her leg. No one else could see the booboo but she
was very concerned about it. In no time at all you too will play so hard that you have booboos that require band-aids. You will be playing games with Lilly Bell, walking and talking, having tea parties and being best friends with your sister. She is already very proud of you and eager to have you play with her.
            You are our third granddaughter, following your cousin Addie Long and your sister Lilly Bell, but rest assured, Harper, that you are not third in our love. You are all three tied for number one in our love and devotion. 
            Harper Bethli Lipsett, you are a beautiful, sweet, good-tempered baby. On March 9, you joined the Lipsett and Lynn families, including loving parents, sister, cousin, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents who are all excited to love you, teach you, encourage you, and watch you blossom.
Love always,