Just Folks Gettin By Part 6

busThe next day, Lucille got a letter and read it to Jenny over lunch. “Oh listen to this.  It’s from Cousin Sally, Aunt Lucy’s daughter.  Remember I told you Aunt Lucy had her widowed daughter and grandchildren livin’ with her.  Well, this is the one.  I sure was crazy about her.  Me and Velma run around with her a lot while I stayed there.  Anyway, listen to this:

 

Dear Lucille,

I hope this finds you well.  I made you a copy of that dishtowel embroidery pattern of Mama’s you wanted.  Remember how she done it up in yellow and blue to match them dishes she got down at the Five and Dime with her birthday money that time?   I done some for a wedding gift for Maybelline’s  daughter, Jessie’s wedding shower.  She acted like she really liked them.  I done two pair, one in blue and green and one pair in yellow and orange.  They didn’t look as good as Mama’s but the girl seemed like she liked them.  She said that’s the first bit of needlework anybody give her yet.  Used to didn’t nobody have no money to buy nothing, so I never got the habit of buying gifts I could make.  Bless her heart, if I was the gossiping type, I’d say that that gal’s going to need a baby shower soon, but that ain’t Christian, so I won’t. 

My garden is doing real good.  I already put up two hundred jars of tomato vegetable soup and fifty quarts of peas.  That soup will be real good this winter when we ain’t had nothing fresh in a while.  I can add a little meat when I get tired of it plain, but I never got the habit of needing meat every meal.  I know you remember we had meat it was just on Sunday, and then it was probably just an old hen that had quit laying Mama didn’t want to feed no more.  Boy, I was scared to death of them chickens after Mama cut their head off.   Lots of times they’d run in circles till they just dropped over.  I never thought much of something it didn’t need a head, especially after that one run me up under the porch.  I had nightmares about that for years.  You and Velma laughed like that was the funniest thing you ever seen.  I hid every time Mama killed a chicken after that.

Mavis (“That’s her daughter, Jenny”) is expecting in the next couple of weeks.  I am supposed go stay a few weeks after the baby comes to help out.  Soon as she found out she was thataway she made me promise to come.  She sent me a ticket last week.  I’m all packed just waiting to hear the baby is here.  I made arrangements with Myrtis down bus stop to git the mailman to let me know.  He always runs by nine and that would give me time to get to the noon bus.  It’ll get me to Bonneville by four and they can have somebody pick me up.  I sure hope they have a girl this time.  Them four boys is cute but Mavis is sure wanting another girl after she lost that baby girl last year that was a blue baby.  She ain’t got over it yet.  She says she’s carrying this one high like she did Brenda.  I’m hoping she’ll be too busy to keep on mourning.  It sure was a blessing when she found out she was thataway about two weeks after Brenda died. They would have been about sixteen months apart.  I’m worried about her, but I believe she’ll be okay.  Don’t forget to keep praying for her.

I better close.  You can write back to me at Mavis’s house at the same address you used last time.  I’ll let you know how things go.  Keep in touch.

                                                                                                               Love,

                                                                                                                Sally

Well, ain’t that nice she’s gittin’ to go stay with Mavis.  She was real worried about her after she lost her baby.  She wouldn’t git out of the bed for about three weeks till her husband told her she had to.  Sally said she walked around like a ghost till she found out this new baby was coming.  Sally was real worried about her.  I thought I wanted to die after your daddy got in trouble and Jimmy died, but I knew I had to scrap around and figure out some way to take care of you.  After that, I was workin’ so hard I just felt numb.  I do believe Uncle Marsh helping me git that dishwashing job saved me.  When I wasn’t workin’ I was so tired I staggered to the bed and passed out, then got up and did it again.  My best days was Monday’s when the café was closed.  I just lived to go see you on Mondays.”  Lucille mused.  

Jenny broke in, “Oh Mama, you’ll never know how I looked forward to your visits.  I was about the only kid who ever had a regular visitor.  It made me feel so special.  Sometimes we’d all be in the to the classroom and a couple would come in.  We weren’t supposed to know, but they were looking for a child.  All the kids would be looking at each other, real excited, hoping to get a chance to shine.  Later they’d whisper, wondering if they’d be chosen.  Once in a while, a kid would be called to meet folks, and we’d be buzzing, wondering if they’d be adopted.  I felt so happy, knowing I had you.  It put me in a special class all to myself.  Once in a great while another kid would be lucky enough to have a visitor, but no one else had a mama who came every Monday. You always reminded me we’d be together again with Daddy.  I didn’t much remember him, but I always held onto the idea of going home.

 

 

 

Wearing Out Your Welcome

Cousins on Christmas

Cousins on Christmas

parents wedding pic

family6My mother found this hilarious letter among her things today. My grandmother was in a foul mood when she wrote it. I recalled this weekend like it was yesterday when I read the letter. Grandma was nosy. If she’d been an animal, she’d have been a ferret. She like to get right behind Daddy, quizzing him about his business and his family. “How come your mama moved off the Henderson Place? Seems like she was set up real well there. How come Ella May and her husband separated? They looked like they were doing good?” If she didn’t get enough answers, she picked us kids. “When did Suzie get married?”

None of this endeared her to Daddy. He wasn’t a patient man. If he’d been an animal, he’d have made a fine bear. She had already been visiting two weeks by the time this letter was written. She was thinking her son was on his way to get her when she got a call, learning it would be another two weeks. It didn’t make her or my dad happy to know they had another two weeks to spend together. My dad was on strike at the time, throwing them together, even more. His family came in to visit that weekend, creating a perfect storm. I expected them to kill each other!

I will transcribe for you”

Dear BL, Just time for word. Hope all are getting along all right. Sure hope your daddys neck is feeling better I don’t feel too good Such a crowd here last night Bonnie, Edward, their 3 kids & Geneva came Ester, Junie, and their 5 hienas. Cat Young & her bunch of Angel then 2 bunches of neighbors & their familys & it was so quiet it hurts my ears til yet. running & slamming doors. I thought they would never leave. Kack(my mother)is fixing to take Cat Young to Springhill she has to go to the bank on business & Arnold had to go help Edward finish his filling station today & use his car& he ask her to take her to the bank. I intended to go & found out Kack was going to take all her kids. I better close. O I talked to John yest he ask me if I’de mind staying here two weeks longer til schools out that he hated to come one day & go back the next.so I told him I’de wait they are beginning to make a little progress in their talks about settling the strike they are all hoping the mill will open after July the 4th Bill got to work 2 days for another construction job, he had to walk the picket line last night for an hour for two must close Kacks ready to start tell your daddy Bill is wanting to give away their big collie does he want him to go with Blue. Must stop now. Please write soon. Love to all Grandma

I had forgotten until I reread this letter that Grandma didn’t bother with punctuation, though she had been a teacher.

Letter to a Patient from a Nurse:

Dear Patient,

You probably don’t remember me,but I was your nurse.  I took care of you when you had your baby, took care of your sick child, comforted you when you were in pain.  I worked extra shifts on holidays and weekends because you needed me.  I rejoiced when you got better.  Cried with you when you needed a friend and tried to help you find the answers.  I sang and talked to you when you seemed unresponsive because I knew you were in there.  I brought Easter baskets for your children so they wouldn’t be disappointed when they came to see you on Easter.  I hugged you and your family.  I talked to you about things outside the hospital to give you something else to think about, trying to bring you a story that would interest you everyday, unless you just needed me to be quiet with you.  I was there for your miracle and to hold your hand when you died talking to Mama.  I never corrected you, knowing it was her hand you were holding.

Nursing was my job, but taking care of you was my privilege.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your life.