The HyperTexts

The Mysterious Case of Christine Alice Spouse, Actress

Christine Alice Spouse was a beautiful actress with a very mysterious story! She was involved in a romantic relationship with Carlo Nieper, a notable artist who painted the portrait below. He may have also been a German spy! And it is possible, although perhaps not confirmable, that she was also involved with a spy on the other side ...

Christine Alice Spouse, with a Portrait by Carlo Nieper

compiled by Michael R. Burch, her great-grandson

There are mysteries surrounding the birth of my grandmother, Christine Ena Spouse, and her mother, Christine Alice Spouse [1881-1968]. Here is what I have been able to gather so far. According to my grandmother's birth certificate, she was born on April 19, 1908 in Sutton-in-Ashfield, County of Nottingham, England. She was born at 32 King Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield. This was the residence of the Harrisons, her foster parents. The Harrisons ran a Salvation Army boarding house and had fostered other children in the past. Her natural mother's name appears as "Christine Alice Spouse, formerly Stuart." The father's name appears as "Ernest Chatterton Spouse" and his occupation is given as "Actor." Our family believes that Christine Alice Spouse was also an actor, and there are other documents which verify this. The mother's residence is given as 32 King Street, and this agrees with what my Aunt Barbara Hurt Gallagher told me: that the mother was living in the Harrisons' house when the baby was born. If this is the case, it seems likely that Christine Alice Spouse was indeed the mother. Why would she give her maiden name as Stuart? One possibility is that she wanted her baby's last name to be Spouse. If so, she would have needed the father's last name to be given as Spouse, and she would have needed a different maiden name. Her sister Winifred Mary Spouse married Frank Stuart, so she may have "borrowed" the last name Stuart. Another possibility is that she had married Frank Stuart, or some other Stuart, or had had an affair with a man by that name. Another possibility is that Winifred had assumed her sister's identify for some unknown reason. Christine Alice Spouse later lived in London with Carlo Nieper, a member of an aristocratic German family and a portrait painter of some note. It is believed that he was on friendly terms with Hitler and painted Hitler's portrait. They had three children together: Violet Mary Carola Nieper (1911-1982), Raoul Nieper (1913-1989), and Helene Sybil Nieper (1914-) who was nicknamed "Bobbie." (There is a rumor that Carlo Nieper was a German spy who fled England via a U-boat the onset of WWI. He died in Berlin on December 17, 1938. There is another rumor that Ernest Chatterton was also a spy, last seen jumping out of hotel window in Germany to escape the German police!) In any case, Christine Alice Spouse married Philip Sale in 1927. She had a sister, Winifred Mary Spouse (1880-1918), who was also an actress. She also had a brother, Stanley Charles Spouse (1884-1969). Christine Alice Spouse was born on November 27, 1881 in Plumstead, Kent, England. She emigrated to Atherton, Leichardt, Queensland, Australia in 1958, presumably to be near her children, who had emigrated there earlier. She died in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia on April 25, 1968.

What follows are pictures and brief histories of Christine Alice Spouse's descendents through her daughter Christine Ena Spouse, my grandmother ...

The Hurts, the Burches, the Hollands, the Gallaghers, the Boytes, the Whites, and their relatives

Disclaimer: I have tried to include as many family members as possible, but I don't have pictures of everyone, and there are some relatives that I haven't seen in decades. If anyone would like me add someone to this page, please email me at As the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family, I would like to create a way for the younger generations to learn more about each other, and stay in touch. But with such a large and constantly growing family, I'm going to need some help! (Hint, hint.) If the pictures seem weighted toward my immediate family, it's because those are the pictures I happen to have in my possession. Contributions from other sources are certainly welcome.

Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 and died on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch. He is survived by his loving and always-adored wife of 57 years, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, his son Michael Ray Burch, his daughters Sandra Jane Burch Boyte and Debra Leigh Burch White, and their families.

Here's my father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., on the left. This picture was taken on the day of his wedding, July 14, 1956 at the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. Dad looks quite dashing (and probably more confident than he actually was, if his wedding was anything like mine). His best man, standing on the right, was Richard A. Allen. According to the marriage certificate, my future mother was a 20-year-old "spinster"! (My, how times and the language have changed.) Dad's profession was listed as an airman first class, and mom's as a "fell-binder" (which may have been a euphemism, as she worked at a brassiere factory). His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB, hers as her parents' house at 22 Priory Close, Mattersey. Her father's profession was listed as a railway laborer (albeit with the English spelling "labourer"). There was no mention of her mother in those chauvinistic times. Robert Wilson was the vicar.

Here are pictures of the love of my father's life: his English rose and my mother, Christine Ena Hurt (Burch), looking very fair, very English, and very, very beautiful:

The smiling woman behind my mother is her mother, Christine Ena Spouse Hurt. The man is her father, George Edwin Hurt Sr.

Here are pictures of my mother and father, before their wedding. The boy in the middle picture is mom's younger brother, Colin Hurt.

Here are pictures from my parents' wedding in Mattersey, England:

But little did my parents guess what they were getting into, when they decided to have me! I would grow at a fearsome rate, reaching six foot tall by the time I was thirteen, with a crazy metabolism that allowed me to eat gargantuan amounts of food while remaining skinny as a rail. I was always hungry! The first picture is of my mother, pregnant with me around Christmas, 1957. It snowed in Orlando that winter for the first time in 70 years. The other pictures are dated September and October of 1958. I think we must have visited Nashville during that period of time, as the last picture seems to have me sitting beside the cash register of grandmother Lee's grocery store on Sixth Avenue South, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The picture below is dated 1959. I found it in the school folder of my aunt, Sandra Jane Burch. The picture is of my father, me, my mother, and our refrigerator. The picture strikes me as being what we might call "American bucolic," and emblematic of an American middle class recovering from the ravages of World War II which was able to find normalcy even in the middle of the Cold War. I'm sure millions of other Americans have similar pictures of the same era (and perhaps even the same refrigerator, or one very much like it).

Here's a "very English" picture of my mother, pushing me in pram down an English lane. While my father was stationed in Thule, Greenland, my mother and I lived with her parents, George and Ena Hurt, in Mattersey, a tiny English village in the Nottingham area, and my guess is that this is where the picture was taken.

Here's poem I wrote for my mother:

Mother’s Smile

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,
then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!

If my parents didn't know what they were getting into with me, they were really heading into uncharted waters when they had my pesky sisters! Here I am with Sandra, known as Sandy to everyone but Herself:

I think this may have been the family passport picture, made soon after Debby was born. I think it's interesting how much Sandra (on the right) looks like mom, and how much Debby (in the middle) looks like me, at least in this picture:

Here are we are, hard at play. I believe the third picture is of my grandfather George Edwin Hurt's vegetable garden. He definitely had a green thumb, but I think his grandchildren were mostly making a mess.

Genealogy / Family Tree

The abbreviation CG means "current generation," or my generation. CG-4 means "four generations in the past." The state abbreviations indicate the state of birth of the child, which is normally also the parents' state of residence at the time. "Co." means "county" and "m." means married.

Christine Ena Spouse was 21 when she married my grandfather, George Edwin Hurt. They lived at 22 Priory Close in Mattersey, Doncaster, Yorks, England. Here is her genealogy, with CG meaning "current generation" or my generation.

CG-9: Ephraim Spoures (1690-1733) m. Elizabeth (?): parents of John Spoures (Scotland)
CG-8: John Spoures/Spowers (1720-?) m. Jane Pyles (1709-1757): parents of Edward Spouse I (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
           John Beadle I (1730-1811) m. Mary Dingley (1734-1809): parents of John Beadle II (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-7: Edward Spouse I (1738-?) m. Mary Clark (1746-1813): parents of Edward Spouse II (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
           Barnabas Storr (1795-1863) m. Ann Hart (1795-?): parents of Barbara Storr (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
           John Beadle II (1760-1831) m. Mary (1759-1799): parents of John Beadle III (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-6: Edward Spouse II (1775-1850) m. Barbara Storr (1777-1819): parents of William Spouse (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
           John Beadle III (1788-1859) m. Elizabeth Susannah Read (1781-1864): parents of Samuel Charles Beadle (Erith, Kent, England)
CG-5: William Spouse (1799-1848) m. Mary Jane Turner (1802-1857): parents of Edward Spouse III (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
           Samuel Charles Beadle (1816-1847) m. Elizabeth Coates (?-1843): parents of Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (Highley, Worcestershire, England)
CG-4: Edward Spouse III (1831-1911) m. Elizabeth Mary Coates Beadle (1843-1900): parents of Christine Alice Spouse (Scarborough, Yorkshire, England)
CG-3: Ernest Chatterton (?) m. Christine Alice Spouse (1881-1968): parents of Christine Ena Spouse (Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, England)
CG-2: Paul Ray Burch Sr. (1904-1992) m. Lillian Christine McAdams (1915-1991): parents of Paul Ray Burch Jr. (Nashville, TN)
           George Edwin Hurt Sr. (1907-1998) m. Christine Ena Spouse (1905-1984): parents of Christine Ena Hurt (England)
CG-1: Paul Ray Burch Jr. (1933-2013) m. Christine Ena Hurt (1936-): parents of Mike Burch, Sandra Burch, Debby Burch
CG:    Michael Ray Burch (1958-) m. Elizabeth Harris (1967-): parents of Jeremy Michael Burch
          Sandra Jane Burch m. Wayne Boyte: parents of Scott Boyte and John Boyte
          Debra Leigh Burch m. Walter White: parents of Samantha White and Garrett White
CG+1: Scott Boyte m. Michelle Umboh: parents of Alaya Boyte and Aryanna Boyte
           John Boyte m. Samantha Boyte
           Samantha White
           Garrett White
           Jeremy Michael Burch
CG+2: Alaya Boyte
           Aryanna Boyte

The Family Tree of Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch

Here is a more detailed Genealogy, in roughly reverse chronological order, for my direct line of the family


Jeremy Michael Burch was born in Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee. He currently attends David Lipscomb University, where he had a perfect 4.0 grade point average his first semester. He also played tuba in the Vanderbilt marching band on an exchange program, and was seen dancing in the stands on national TV during a Vanderbilt football game. He has also acted in plays and musicals at his high school, Nashville Christian, and at the Dickson Renaissance Center. Jeremy played Benedick in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, Tom in Night of the Living Dead, Mervin Oglethorpe in Smoke on the Mountain, Birdshot in The Homecoming, and also acted in Annie, Tracks, Into the Woods and The Trial of Goldilocks.


My sister Debra Leigh Burch White was born in Southampton, England at the USAF hospital at RAF Burderop, Swindon, Wilts, England. This is per her official Certificate of Birth issued by the US Department of State and signed by Vice Consul Charles W. Schaller. Her middle name was spelled "Leigh" according to my mother because she and my father were afraid my grandfather Paul Ray Burch Sr. might take offense if her middle name was spelled "Lee," since my grandmother had married Eric Lee. Debby married Walter White and has two children: Samantha White and Garrett White. She graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in accounting, and is a CPA by trade.

My sister Sandra Jane Burch Boyte was also born in England. According to her certificate of Holy Baptism, she was christened on Sept. 6, 1959 in the All Saints Church at Mattersey. Sandra married Billy Wayne Boyte on January 2, 1982 at Bellshire Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and has two children: Scott Boyte and John Boyte. She graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in psychology, then worked for many years as a radiologist.

Michael Ray Burch was born in Orlando, Orange County, Florida on February 19, 1958. According to my Certificate of Holy Baptism, I was christened on the "Easter Even" on April 5, 1958 in the Cathedral of Saint Luke in Orlando, Florida. Interestingly, my birthdate on the Certificate is wrong (St. Valentine's day, Feb. 14, rather than Feb. 19) and there is a godparent named Blake that mom can't remember. Since my favorite poet is William Blake and I have a number of Blakes in my ancestry, I find that interesting also. I married Elizabeth Steed Harris on June 27, 1992 in Warren, Arkansas. I own and manage a computer software company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group, Inc., I edit and publish an online literary journal that gets around a million page views per year, The HyperTexts, and I have had articles, essays, letters, humorous pieces and poems published more than 1,800 times by a variety of literary journals, anthologies, magazines, newspapers and websites which include TIME, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Tennessean, The Hindu, The Lyric, Light Quarterly, Unlikely Stories, Writers Digest's "The Year's Best Writing" and hundreds of others. I have also translated the work of Basho, Sappho, Miklós Radnóti, William Dunbar and other poets into modern English. I was also a weekly columnist for the City Paper until it ceased production. In my younger, wilder days I was something of a pool shark: I won a number of pool tournaments and played on the Springwater pool teams that finished first and third in the city of Nashville, winning over $7,500 in cold cash. I also won the straight pool tournament at Tennessee Technological University and qualified for the NCAA regionals. But after celebrating my victory a bit too joyously, I overslept and missed the bus to the next round! I am also a peace activist, and the primary author of the Burch-Elberry Peace Initiative. I have worked with Greta Berlin and Mary Hughes Thompson, co-founders of the Free Gaza Movement, and other peace activists around the globe.

Elizabeth Steed Harris was born in Fayetteville, Washington Co., Arkansas. Her parents were William Sykes Harris II and Susan Elizabeth Johnson Harris. (Susan later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan, although probably not officially, and remarried, becoming Suzan Blacksmith.) Her brother is William Sykes Harris III. Beth is a wonderful singer who had a single on the alternative charts: "Take a Walk Through the Pain," recorded as Beth Harris; it reached number nine on the Cashbox alternative charts. Performing as Beth Harris on the country music TV talent show You Can Be A Star, hosted by Jim Ed Brown, she took the opening round, and nearly won the whole shebang. (Bill Clinton, a friend of her grandfather William Sykes Harris, helped her get on the show.) Lynn Anderson was one of the judges, and when she appeared as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and he asked her to name the up-and-coming young country music singer for everyone to keep an eye on, she named Beth. Lynn also told Beth in confidence that she was the best vocalist in the talent show, and not to let the naysayers get her down. But Beth was ripped off by people she trusted, and chose to leave the country music industry to become a full-time mother when her son Jeremy was born. But she continued to sing, took up acting, and won the Best Actress in a Musical "Jimmy" Award after starring as Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Dickson Renaissance Center. Beth also acted in many other plays and musicals, including Godspell; Jesus Christ, Superstar; Faith County (starring as Mildred Carson), The Odd Couple (starring as Olive Madison); A Christmas Story (as the teacher Miss Shields); A Christmas Carol (as the Ghost of Christmas Present); Beauty and the Beast; Night of the Living Dead (in which she got to act with Jeremy); and many others. Beth got started at an early age, as in kindergarten she had the lead role in Miss Hurry-up and the Runaway Packages.

Mildred on a ladder, dressed as Juliet

Beth Burch starring as Mildred Carson in An Evening of Culture: Faith County II at the Dickson Renaissance Center (March 10-26, 2006). This was Beth's 15th production at the Dickson Ren Center, where she won four "Jimmy" awards for Best Actress in a Musial, Best Actress in a Play, and two Supporting Actress roles.


My father, Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on Thursday, July 27, 1933 in Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital and died at Windlands East, an assisted living center, in Madison, Tennessee, on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the age of 79. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Ray Burch Sr., his mother, Lillian Christine McAdams Burch Lee, and his sister, Sandra Jane Burch. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, his son Michael Ray Burch (me), his daughter Sandra Jane Burch Boyte, his daughter Debra Leigh Burch White, and their families. He was a twenty-year man in the United States Air Force, and after that a bookkeeper, and then a security guard for Davis Cabinet Company. Later in life he had bladder cancer, then renal failure, but was stoic and not one to complain. He made the courageous decision to end dialysis treatments, and thus his life. His family supported this decision and came to be with him through the hospice process that allowed him to join his departed loved ones. My mother and sister Sandra were with him when he passed away.

The first Sandra Jane Burch, my aunt, was born in 1945 and died tragically at age ten on March 21, 1955 in a flash flood that hit Nashville. She was the only person to die in the flood, although there was at least one other close call with another child, according to newspaper reports. Her father was Paul Ray Burch Sr. and her mother was Darkis Mary "Dottie" Stepp. There is more information about the first Sandra Jane Burch later on this page.

My mother, Christine Ena Hurt Burch, was born in England on the Ides of March, on March 15, 1936. According to her birth certificate she was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, England. At the time her parents lived at 21 Vere Avenue. Their names were George Edwin Hurt and Christine Ena Hurt, formerly Spouse. If I am reading the birth certificate correctly, her father was employed as a "boillery hewer." I have a copy of her 1946 report card, issued by the Nottinghamshire Education Committee for Mattersey Thorpe County Junior and Infant School, which says that she was first in her class and a "very keen and willing pupil." Her head mistress was a G. Pilkington. Mattersey Thorpe is a wee piece from Mattersey, the Nottinghamshire village where my mother lived with her parents. I also have several of her report cards from the Hallcroft Secondary School in the Retford District, dated 1947 to 1951. Her best grades were in English, Science and Music, where she consistently received As and Bs. Her worst grades were in Physical Training, where she received Cs and Ds. And she was absent a lot! According to mom this is because she was a sickly child with pernicious anemia and yellow jaundice, which was later diagnosed as hepatitis A.

Paul Ray Burch Jr. and Christine Ena Hurt Burch were married July 14, 1956 at the Parish Church in Mattersey, East Retford, Nottingham, England. His residence was listed as Sturgate AFB, and hers as her parents' house at 22 Priory Close, Mattersey.

My English uncle, my mother's brother, George Edwin Hurt Jr., was born on February 27, 1931 and died on November 24, 2012. I know little about his ancestry, other than his parents, but hope to learn more. Help would be greatly appreciated (hint, hint).


The birth of my English grandmother, Christine Ena Spouse Hurt, is shrouded in mystery. I have her birth certificate, issued in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, England. According to the document, Ernest Chatterton Spouse, an actor, and Christine Alice Stuart were the parents of Christine Ena Spouse, who was born on April 19, 1908. But Christine Ena Spouse was an abandoned baby, so the names of her parents on her birth certificate may not be factual, and the name Spouse seems a bit suspect. The "informant" was listed as the mother, with an address of 32 King Street, Sutton in Ashfield.

Michael Ray Burch: Here's my Native-American-style birth announcement, dated February 19, 1958:

Here's Beth Harris Burch, the wife of Mike Burch, turned into a work of art by Lauren McCall.

Cherokee Proverbs
translations by Michael R. Burch

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.

A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.

A brave man dies but once, a coward many times.

Don't judge a man till you've walked many moons in his moccasins.

My father's father was Paul Ray Burch Sr. He worked for C. B. Ragland, in Nashville, Tennessee, as a truck driver. Paul Burch Sr. is reputed to have once lifted the back end of his truck so that a tire could be changed, a feat an English relative of the family, Russell Holland, repeated at the wedding of Sandra Jane Burch. She was named after my father's sister who died in a tragic accident at age nine ...

The first Sandra Jane Burch died on March 21, 1955. To avoid confusion with our living Sandra, I will call her Jane. Recently I came across a folder containing her schoolwork and certain other of her personal effects. Here's a picture of my sister, Debby Burch, that I found in Jane's school folder. They look like twins!

Here's a picture of Sandra Jane Burch (Boyte), in which her Cherokee blood seems apparent ...

Here is a picture of our Aunt Jane lying in her casket, surrounded by flowers:

Jane was the daughter of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch Sr., and his second wife, Darkis Mary Stepp Burch, also known as Dottie. Here is a picture of Jane's grave in Nashville's Spring Hill Cemetery:

Here is a picture of Paul Ray Burch Sr. visiting his daughter's grave and leaving flowers:

Jane was born on December 23, 1945 (a Christmas baby!) and she died on March 21, 1955 at age nine. Her brother Paul Ray Burch Jr. was born on July 27, 1933 and died on the evening of March 20, 2013 at age 79. So he died just a few hours short of the anniversary of Jane's death. And when he died, his sister's picture was on the wall at the foot of his bed, so hers may have been the last face he saw in this world. At the time of her death, Jane was also survived by her parents, her other brother, Clint Beavers of Cleveland, Tennessee. She was also survived by her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Stepp, also of Cleveland, Tennessee. Darkis Mary Stepp Burch ("Dottie") on the left, with Chris Burch, on the steps of the Nashville Parthenon in August, 1957.

Here are pictures of the children of Paul Ray Burch Jr., followed by pictures of their spouses, children, grandchildren and extended, ever-widening families.

Michael Ray Burch is the eldest of the three children of Paul Burch and Christine Burch. He was born on February 19, 1958 in Orlando, Florida. He now owns and manages a computer software company, Alpha Omega Consulting Group, Inc., and is a poet, peace activist and editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry.

The first picture below is of me with my father in October 1958. I believe the pictures of me with the ball were taken at the house of my English grandparents George and Ena Hurt.

Before any assumes that Russell Holland got all the muscles in the family, please allow me to offer the evidence of the "guns" on "Muscle Beach":

More evidence (and my legs are much more shapely!):

But it seem only fair to note that Russell Holland entered the Guinness Book of World Records for a feat of strength, as reported by The Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times on Thursday, July 19, 1990, when he tied Geoff Capses's strongman record in the brick lift, carrying 24 bricks end-to-end, each weighing three kilos.

Sandra Burch Boyte is the eldest daughter and second-oldest child of Paul Burch and Christine Burch. She was born on August 17, 1959 in England. She graduated from Maplewood High School (Nashville) in 1977, and from Tennessee Technological University in 1981 with a degree in psychology.

Debby Burch White is the daughter of Paul and Christine Burch. She graduated with a degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University in 1984. She then became a CPA, and has worked as an executive for major companies such as First Tennessee/First Horizon, Verso Paper Corporation and Buckeye Technologies.

Here are pictures of other Burch family members. The first picture below is of Lillian Lee holding me in May of 1959. The second picture is of Paul Burch Sr. holding me in May of 1958, when I was a few months old. The third picture, dated January 1960, is of Eric Lee, Lillian's second husband, whom we called "Pappy."

The pictures below are of me on the beach with my grandmother, Ena Hurt, and my Uncle Colin Hurt.

Elizabeth Steed Harris Burch is the wife of Michael Ray Burch and the mother of Jeremy Michael Burch. Beth was born on December 20, 1967. She graduated from Little Rock's Lakeside High School in 1986, and attended the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), Belmont College (Nashville) and Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro), before dropping out to become a full-time mother, her true calling. She is also an award-winning actress and singer.

Here's a poem I wrote for Beth:

She Gathered Lilacs

She gathered lilacs
and arrayed them in her hair;
tonight, she taught the wind to be free.

She kept her secrets
in a silver locket;
her companions were starlight and mystery.

She danced all night
to the beat of her heart;
with her tears she imbued the sea.

She hid her despair
in a crystal jar,
and never revealed it to me.

She kept her distance
as though it were armor;
gauntlet thorns guard her heart like the rose.

Love!awaken, awaken
to see what you've taken
is still less than the due my heart owes!

And here's a page of love poems I have written over the last twenty years for Beth:

O, Terrible Angel

Here is Jeremy Burch kissing his mother Elizabeth Harris Burch after graduating from Nashville Christian School, on his way to David Lipscomb University:

Photo: Graduation day for my baby boy! Yes I cried!

Jeremy Burch and his uncle William Sykes Harris III:

Samantha White is the daughter of Debby Burch White and Walter White. Samantha graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2010 with a degree in advertising and now lives in New York City where she is an account executive for BBDO Worldwide.

Scott Boyte was born on June 16, 1983 in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from Oakland High School in 2001 and attended Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro). He now works as a software developer and tech support provider at Transformations Inc., where he works with his father Wayne and brother John. Michelle graduated from Madison Academy in 2000. They now live in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville with their daughters Alaya and Aryanna. 

Scott Boyte with his wife Michelle Umboh Boyte.

Aryanna Boyte (left) and Alaya Boyte (right), twin daughters of Scott and Michelle Boyte and great-granddaughters of Paul and Christine Burch.

Photo: The balloon twister at Brixx is awesome!!

Walter White, Garrett White, Debby White and Samantha White.


Barbara Hurt (Gallagher) with Christine Hurt (Burch) and Colin Hurt:

Christine Hurt with Colin Hurt and Beryl Hurt:

Mike Burch on vacation in England with David, Beryl and Victor Holland and Victor's wife Rosella:

My uncle, Colin Hurt, with his wife Julia and their children Ivan, Julia, Andrea and Paula. I remember visiting Uncle Colin when he lived in London, sometime around 1969. I vividly remember hearing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" playing on the radio as I played on terrace of his London apartment. His daughter Paula Hurt Harden now lives in the United States and has visited our family several times.

Colin Hurt, with his wife Julia and their children Julia, Ivan, Paula and Andrea:

Colin Hurt, Ivan Hurt, Andrea Hurt, Paula Hurt Harden, Julia Hurt Cox, and Julia Hurt:

Paula Hurt Harden:

Paula Hurt Harden with her husband Scott Harden:

George Edwin Hurt Jr., Pauline Hurt and Sara Hurt Afolabi:

Sara Hurt Afolabi with Pauline Hurt:

Rachel Hurt, Sara Hurt Afolabi and Joanne Hurt Devenish:

Joseph Afolabi and Sara Hurt Afolabi:

Mark Bean and Carolyn Gallagher Bean:

Carolyn Bean

Emily Grace Gamble, daughter of Cathy Gallagher Gamble:

Terry Edwards, Esther Holland Edwards and Matilda Scott:

Hannah Edwards, Jennifer Reeson and Esther Edwards: "An Edwards, a future Edwards and an adopted Edwards":

David Holland and Beryl Hurt Holland:

Esther Holland Edwards with Chloe Holland:

Rebekah Holland, daughter of Martin Holland and his wife Linda:

Rebekah (Becky) and Rachel Holland, daughters of Martin and Linda Holland:

Russell Holland, the son of David and Beryl Holland, married Ruth Miriam Mallender, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Mallender, on Saturday, February 20, 1988, at Bethel Church, Mansfield, Woodhouse, England. 

Carolyn Gallagher Bean:

Danny Bean, Mark Bean, Carolyn Gallagher Bean and Joe Bean:

Jacob Ollie Gibson, Cathy Gamble, Emily Grace Gamble

Here is Mike Burch on a freedom walk for Palestinian human rights. He was one of the speakers at the first freedom walk for Palestine to be held in Nashville.

Jeremy Burch as a high school junior, ready for the Junior/Senior banquet.

Photo: Here's another pic of Jeremy before banquet last year

Here's a poem I wrote for Jeremy:

The Desk

for Jeremy

There is a child I used to know
who sat, perhaps, at this same desk
where you sit now, and made a mess
of things sometimes.  I wonder how
he learned at all ...

He saw T-Rexes down the hall
and dreamed of trains and cars and wrecks.
He dribbled phantom basketballs,
shot spitwads at his schoolmates’ necks.

He played with pasty Elmer’s glue
(and sometimes got the glue on you!).
He earned the nickname “teacher’s PEST.”

His mother had to come to school
because he broke the golden rule.
He dreaded each and every test.

But something happened in the fall—
he grew up big and straight and tall,
and now his desk is far too small;
so you can have it.

One thing, though—

one swirling autumn, one bright snow,
one gooey tube of Elmer’s glue ...
and you’ll outgrow this old desk, too.

Originally published by TALESetc

In the picture below, Beth Harris performs on the country music TV talent show "You can be a Star!" When Lynn Anderson of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" fame, who was one of the judges, appeared on the Johnny Carson show, he asked her the name of the up-and-coming country music singer to keep an eye on. Her response was, "Beth Harris." But Beth didn't like the shark-infested waters of the music business, and chose to become a full-time mother to the apple of her eye, Jeremy.

Beth's mother, Susan Elizabeth Johnson, appears in The Razorback, circa 1965. She later changed the spelling of her first name to Suzan.

William Sykes Harris I, affectionately called Paw-Paw, Beth's grandfather on her father's side:

William Sykes Harris III, Beth Harris Burch, William Sykes Harris I, Sally Barnett (Beth's aunt), and Mike Burch (still the tallest!):

William Sykes Harris I (Paw-Paw), with Mike Burch (looking a bit scraggly):

Mike reading with Melody, another member of the Burch clan:

Beth looking angelic by our front yard swing, with an American flag in the background:

The HyperTexts