Princess Katherine

Minna Katherine Stagner Veazey, holding purse, center, at reunion of Lipscomb Rifles, who served under her husband, Col. John L. Veazey, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Daughters Elizabeth Veazey Lynn and Mary Veazey Barrow are seated, second and third left. Daughter Vara Veazey Nagel sits beside her to the left. Granddaughters Betty Barrow and Crystal Barrow Waller stand in the background. San Antonio, circa 1950.
Minna Katherine Stagner Veazey, holding purse, center, at a reunion of Lipscomb Rifles, the company that served under her husband, Col. John L. Veazey, in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Daughters Elizabeth Veazey Lynn and Mary Veazey Barrow are seated, second and third from the left. Daughter Vara Veazey Nagel sits beside her to the right. Granddaughters Betty Barrow and Crystal Barrow Waller stand behind to the left. San Antonio, circa 1950.

I am a prince. I have a crown, a brown winged horse named Francis, and a wand that can be refilled at the factory when the magic runs out.

My promotion in rank was bestowed upon me by Princess Katherine. She has a pink dress with silver sparkles, a white winged horse, and, of course, a refillable wand. She is six years old.

During our brief visit last week, Katherine and I flew to the wand factory, the crown factory, and the shoe factory. We sampled sparkly chocolate chip cookies at the cookie factory. We visited the cake factory, where I had a slice of melon cake and she had vanilla. I wanted chocolate, but Katherine said they didn’t have that.

The last time I saw her, Katherine was toddling around in the aisle of Faith Presbyterian Church, holding a sippy cup, and I was lining up in the foyer waiting to be married. We were both too busy to engage in in-depth conversation.

So I took this opportunity to remind her that, in addition to belonging to the nobility, we also share a name. As we flew on horseback, I told her about the four other Katherines in our family, beginning with her great-great-great-grandmother, Minna Katherine Stagner Veazey. She won’t remember, of course. But perhaps when she’s older,  someone will remind her.

While Katherine and I toured factories, four-year-old Jonathan demonstrated his skill at sleight of hand by making a quarter disappear (“Don’t look…Now look–it’s gone!”). He said he can turn a penny into a quarter, an enviable alchemy in the current economic climate.

Christine, who is ten, visited on the other side of the room with her grandparents and her aunt. She is a poet, songwriter, author of an award-winning story, and talented mimic. Her monkey face is one of the best I’ve seen.

Like Katherine, Christine and Jonathan carry forward names from earlier generations.

I hope as they grow older, these children will hear all the names that have been passed down over seven–and more–generations. Even more, I hope they hear the stories that go with the names.

They won’t find winged horses or crowns or disappearing quarters, but they’ll hear about sailing to Cuba, and being kissed by President McKinley, and riding handcars up and down railroad tracks, and farming during the Depression, and hearing peacocks scream on the Quadrangle at Fort Sam Houston.

They’ll hear about grandmothers trying out hula hoops on Christmas morning and aunts demonstrating the Charleston.

They’ll hear about women holding families together when husbands and fathers die too young or go away to war.

They’ll hear about Marys and Elizabeths and Varas and Crystals and Barbaras and Bettys and Lynns and other Katherines.

They’ll hear stories of courage and sacrifice and laughter and love, every one of them worthy of beginning, “Once upon a time…”

Names are important. They identify the people who came before us.

But telling stories is like waving a magic wand.

Telling stories makes them live forever.


11 thoughts on “Princess Katherine

  1. What a happy surprse to see this in my mailbox this morning! I had forgotten about this picture. What memories it brought back. I am so pleased that you are writing about family, your cats and life in general. I can just hear Bill when Mother burned the toast! Keep ’em coming. Thanks for sending the blog site info. I’ll look forward to more.


  2. Do you know why Uncle Edwin isn’t in there? The names are on the back of the photo, but his isn’t among them. I’m guessing the date is about 1950–I know it’s between 1945 and 1951, anyway.


  3. What a wonderful memory of an all too short visit! Thank you for being the bearer of tales of family namesakes and lore! Katherine and Jonathan and Christine will be thrilled to read your description of their afternoon with Aunt Kathy, just as I am. I will send them the blog site info so they can read it themselves…but I must warn you there might be some harrumphing from Christine. She turned 10 in March! I’m sure it will be overlooked, though, with all the other accolades you wrote.
    Thank you! Do let me know when there is more to read!


  4. Thank you for reminding me that Christine is really ten. I don’t know why I decided she was eight, because that didn’t seem old enough. Please let her know that I edited the post and now her age is correct. (If anyone wants to shave a couple of years off my age, tell them to go right ahead.)


  5. Oh how i wish I had been there for this magical journy.
    I think I would have have also loved being loved growing up with my great anunt and grandmother! I understand that they had some interesting tales to tell being , some of which I have heard. My aunts also had/have some good stories that should be
    passed along.
    As for shaving a few years off, not me, I earned them all, including each gray hair.
    I love and applaude you for keeping us all in tune to our “roots”. MVZ


  6. Kathy, it would be interesting to know what/where/if any of the other folks in the photo are still around.
    Although Betty looks to be the youngest.
    Wonder if any of the original Lipscomb Rifles families would be interested in sharing some stories of their ancestors regarding the times in Cuba, and the company named after Grandfather Veazey.


  7. Uncle Bob Stagner is also in the photo. I believe he’s the one standing behind Bowa and smiling. Do you think the descendants of the other Lipscomb Rifles would know much about the experience? Or is it interesting to us because the women in our family went to Cuba for the war along with the men? Might be interesting to find out.


  8. I would like to have a list of those in the picture. Possibly those in the Caldwell County … Society would be able to tell us something about the families. I will be glad to contact them if you will send me a list. I am pleased that someone in your generation is carrying on the quest! Thanks!


  9. I just came across this while researching information about Elizabeth Lynn, my great grandmother. It seems you all hold a plethora of information regarding many of my family members. Would any of you mind sharing some of it with me? My email is
    Thank you,
    Tiffany Kaye Lynn-McLarty


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