This photograph depicts my mom’s mother, Verna Carlotta Crosley.

  She’s pictorially to the left of a nurse colleague.  It was taken about 1914 in California.   Possessing just ¼ of an ovary – she never expected to have children. 

My mother, an only child, was born to her and Hobert J. Squires on May 5, 1918.

     She was always intent on making needed change. In 1920, she and Hobert made a visit to the Cyrus McCormick’s, of Santa Barbara [he was heir to International Harvester’s fortune]. As a flight mechanic during the “Pancho Villa” War in Mexico between 1914 and 1916 – McCormick wanted Gramps’s consultations over the advent of aviation in warfare.  Mrs. McCormick, whose wealth instrumentally founded Planned Parenthood; discussed a women’s right to choice and contraception with Grandmother.

    She was born in Rome, Georgia in 1886 and after her mother died there, the family moved to Brownsboro, Texas. Shortly thereafter, her father died.  She and her four siblings endured orphanage upbringing until, one by one, they followed the oldest sister, Cleo, to Southern California.

    Likely exposed to Southern Baptist beginnings; Verna became a follower of Father Divine’s spiritual movement; then, the teachings of Aimee Semple MacPherson and she became something of a reformer in the Christian Science San Diego branch, instituting having the Readings done by women, as well as men.  She, herself, could not comfortably do public reading; having had such short formal education.

   I never saw her attend any church.  By the time I was her (only) grandson – she kept a small plaque on her spartan bedroom wall reading:  God is Love.

In 1967, when I was among the builders of the Los Angeles Resistance movement to end the Vietnam War, she was my most outspoken supporter in the whole family.

    She lived to be 94.  It is most likely she was of Scottish, Irish, Italian, Creek Indian and African origins – but she talked very little about her past - to anyone

    The white Baptist side of Rome, Georgia knows nothing of her family’s names.

 Apparently, Rome, Georgia, was the citadel of genteel, Southern courtesanship before and after the Civil War.

 Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s U.S. struggle for civil rights and resulting social changes, it was wonderful to have her intangible, but utterly palpable sense of profundity, positive urgency, and participation.

  I inherited her white’68 Dodge Dart with an all-black interior.  Power to the People!


William ‘Billy’ Brady  ~ Executive Director ~ National American Metis Association.