Shades of blue are her favorite colors. Daisies are her favorite flowers.
The little girl with the big bow—yes, that’s Sara. It makes her easy to find in the family photos, and it always makes her smile when you mention it. She will quickly follow that smile with a memory of how much she despised that bow, and then she will wonder out loud at how, to this day, she cannot understand why her sister, Rachel, got to wear the cute, little rosebuds instead.
On June 27, 1917, in the little town of Graysville, Greene County, Pennsylvania, John Madison and Frances (Cook) Livingood introduced their new daughter, Sara, to her older siblings, William and Rachel. These first three children were spaced just ten months apart in age; however, it was another three and a half years before the youngest Livingood, Arthur, joined the family on December 12, 1920.
Tragedy struck the family on March 19, 1926 when Frances died of pneumonia. She was only 38 years old and left behind her four little children then aged 11, 9, 8 and 5. Sara and Arthur, stricken with the same illness, could not even attend their mother’s funeral. Community members offered to adopt the two girls or the two boys, never able to take all four together, but John would not see his family broken up. With help from his eldest sister, Mary Ann “Sis” (Livingood) Venom, John kept the family together. When his children were ready for high school John chose Center Township Vocational High School which offered vocational courses that he thought would particularly benefit his daughters who did not have the opportunity to learn sewing and cooking and other skills from their mother. It was here that Sara Livingood met William Roy Buchanan.
Roy and Sara admired each other from a distance, but never mentioned their crushes. Sara was only sixteen when she graduated so during her high school years she was a bit young for dating, and to complicate matters Roy did not like to risk rejection so he preferred that the girls ask him out first. Nevertheless, the relationship finally got started at the end of a school field trip in their junior or senior year of high school. The class had sold subscriptions to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette earning themselves a trip to Pittsburgh. The day was very eventful, a tour of Heinz factory that included lunch, a visit to a music conservatory, a flower show, sightseeing at the recently constructed Cathedral of Learning at Pittsburgh University, and finally a movie called "Mystery of the Wax Museum" which featured wax figures coming to life. Despite the action packed afternoon, Sara always told that the excitement really began on the ride home. The small country school had managed to provide two buses to transport the students between Rogersville and Pittsburgh, about an hour trip in present-day vehicles. On the return trip the bus Roy was on broke down and the displaced students squeezed onto Sara's bus. Sara consequently rode home sitting on Roy's lap. According to Sara, they both enjoyed it and so the relationship began!
After graduating high school in the spring of 1934, Roy and Sara both entered Waynesburg College as freshmen that fall. Here, Sara followed in the footsteps of her elder siblings, William and Rachel, who both attended Waynesburg College and graduated in 1936. She majored in French, but was also certified in Latin. She was a member of an academic sorority and during her junior year was selected as a May Queen attendant. Sara graduated Waynesburg College on June 13th and was married to Roy on her 21st birthday, June 27, 1938. Rev. Harvey Funk performed the ceremony at the First Baptist Church in Waynesburg. After the ceremony, Kenny Guthrie, one of their ushers, drove the newlyweds to Buckeye Lake, Columbus, Ohio to spend a week honeymooning.
Roy and Sara lived in John Livingood’s home on East Street in Waynesburg after their marriage; John continued to be a welcome part of their household until his death on December 31, 1945. Their true home was found when they moved into a house at 255 Bridge Street with John and their first two children, Marilee (born November 13, 1939), and Loralyn (born March 6, 1942), when Loralyn was just 6 months old. There they spent the next 48 years. Two sons completed the family, William Arthur (born March 19, 1944) and John Lee (born September 21, 1952).
In 2008, Sara celebrated 70 years since her Waynesburg College graduation and was honored as a long-time friend and faithful alumna. Her connection to the school only increased over the years as her children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren attended and graduated from her alma mater. Sara had used her education to teach French, Latin, English, and Home Economics. She was also an excellent seamstress.
Deeply beloved, respected, and to be dearly missed, Sara passed away from her family on May 7, 2009, just short of her 92nd birthday. If asked to count her blessings she would have answered that she was married sixty-one years, was the mother of four, grandmother of ten, and great-grandmother of fourteen.
This is John, Sara's youngest son. Below is Sara's famous "Caramel Recipe" (see video). I had the pleasure of making many batches of caramels with Mom!
HOMEMADE CARAMELS RECIPE
2 Cups of brown sugar firmly packed
1 Can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk (other brands will work)
½ Cup of Oleo or Butter
¾ Cup of Light Karo
1 ½ tsp of vanilla
Few Grains of Salt
Other: Wax paper (cut into squares for wrapping caramels), “8 inch square pan” or “6 inch x 10 inch rectangular pan”
1. Cook above ingredients (with exception of vanilla and salt), stirring constantly, to hardball stage.
2. Remove from the fire
3. Add 1 ½ tsp of vanilla & some salt and stir
4. Pour into a WELL BUTTERED 8 inch square pan
5. Chill in refrigerator for a few hours
6. When chilled, remove from pan to a firm surface
7. Cut in squares and wrap