Be sure to go back and read part 1
Miss Laura Mae’s stories always held my interest, though they certainly weren’t intended for my ears.
“The twins come about a month after Floyd left. To tell the truth, I was kind of glad he wasn’t there to get me “that way” again right off the bat like he done before. They was a few weeks early, so I was up all hours of the day and night a’nursing ‘em. Floyd’s mama, Miz Barker was gittin’ kind of childish, so I brung her to come stay so I didn’t have to try to watch her, too. Turns out, she was purty good help, a’rockin’ one of them babies all the time instead o’ tryin’ to run off all the time. Seems like it kind of settled her. She was a sweet ol’ lady.
The garden was a’comin’ in an’ we had plenty to eat without buyin’ much groceries. Miz Barker, Floyd’s mama told me I could git her pressure cooker to do the cannin’ and that shore helped, not havin’ to worry about my beans and tomaters goin’ bad no more. I had got a check or two, so I was able to get a kerosene stove and git rid of that ol’ wood stove. I got Joe Smith to set it up out in the yard so I could do my cannin’ on it. It shore was better not heatin’ the house up.
I had always took in ironin’ at a nickel a piece to help us over times when Floyd was drinkin’. I was real careful to go straight an’ pay on my grocery bill soon as I got paid so Floyd couldn’ git in my ironin’ money. Sometimes that was all that was comin’ in. I got Betty Lou, Myrt, and Glomie started ironin’ as soon as they was tall enough. I tried to let’em keep a quarter a week of the ironin’ money when I could. I’d let ‘em play about an hour after school, then soon as they was through with their homework, put ‘em to ironin’. We’d all listen to the radio while we was ironing long as the batteries lasted. Purty soon, they was savin’ their part of the ironin’ money for batteries.
Things was good till Jody got burnt. He follered Jimmy out to burn to trash and caught his clothes on fire. He was burned bad all over his back, big ol’ blisters everwhere. Doctor Garnett come out to see him and gave me some salve and pain syrup and told me to keep them burns covered. He couldn’t say if Jimmy’d make it or not. It was right in the heat of the summer. Pore little Jimmy suffered so. I had all I could do takin’ care of him and them babies. I don’t know what I’d a done without Miz Barker a’rockin ‘em like she done. With Jimmy so sick, I couldn’t nurse ‘em all the time like I needed to, so I got ‘em on the bottle some to help out. Mr. Jones down at the store let me run my bill up purty high a time or two when I had to keep Carnation Milk without complainin’ a bit. The girls kept right up with the ironin’, never passin’ a word when I couldn’ give ‘em nothing.
My sisters Oly and Ory helped the boys keep the garden goin’ and when it come in, they done most of the cannin’, leavin’ me to take care of Jimmy and the babies. Bessie an’ Joe Smith took to milkin’ the cow in the mornin’ so I didn’t have to get up before daylight after being up so much at night. I don’t know how I’d a’made it if I hadn’ had all that help. In a month or so, Jody was doin’ purty good. By that time, I had them babies purty much on the bottle, and I was able to pick my work back up. I don’t know what I’d a’done without good neighbors, but I was so glad when I could pick my ironin’ and my garden back up and take care of my own young’uns. I was proud for the help, but ever’body needs to make their own way and not be worryin’ other folks.
To be continued