I just got off the phone with Tommy Langford, a columnist from the Times and Democrat, the newspaper in my hometown of Orangeburg, SC. Since all the old Orangeburg families, of which there are maybe thirty, are intertwined back through the generations, I couldn’t place him right away because Langford isn’t a name that is familiar to me even though in the middle of our conversation his wife yelled that they had been invited and attended my sister’s wedding in 1979. (The interview occurred in August 2009 and Tommy subsequently has passed away. I took these notes immediately upon hanging up the phone that day.)
Tommy is 85, which is the age my mother would have been, and he went to school with her and told me some very nice things about her which warmed my heart. He knew everyone in my family including my aunt, Miss Anne Lee, and he would go by my Grandfather’s house on Green Street and Miss Anne Lee would give him ‘acrobat lessons for a nickel.’ (I never knew.) And he knew my grandmother Big Lurline quite well and often when he was in Columbia he would see her at Berry’s Coffee shop and go in and sit with her and talk and talk and they had a grand time and then we fell to discussing his family and he told me something I never knew which was this: one of his cousins was killed in the plane crash that killed my Uncle Bill in 1939 and he understood why I didn’t recognize who he was because while his last name was Langford, he was actually a Culler which really solved the mystery of who he was so then I was able to place him because the Cullers’ are a fine old Orangeburg family and I said hadn’t his sister married to my late Scoutmaster, Mr. Lawrence Garrick, no that was his first cousin which made sense to me because Mr. Garrick ran R.L. Culler Refrigeration and his father-in-law, old Mr. Culler, used to tell me how he had known my grandfather and yes Tommy said that was his family, I had it right, and he also was great pals with my cousin Rut, whom I never actually knew but he and Rut were great friends and was there anything else for the interview and I said, “uh, well,” and he said, “thank you” and hung up.
The article subsequently written by Tommy Langford can be found at the Times and Democrat website.