Mamaws Words

Its been about a year since I was able to sit down with Mamaw and listen to her life stories. Sadly I haven’t made enough time for just me and her, and I need to be better about that. I really enjoyed listening to her stories. I love learning about her history (and my family history). Mamaw must have enjoyed talking about her past as much as I liked hearing it, because she took the time to write down a few memories. I decided to type them out so the entire family could enjoy them. I figure that is better then keeping it all to myself.

So here is a little bit of her story. I did not edit any of it- though spell check may have got a hold of it. I know its not the same as reading it in her handwriting, but its special nonetheless.

_________________________________________________________________

 

Herein are a few stories (true) from the past. Probably more common and the usual rather than anything unusual or extraordinary. Throughout I’ve always felt for the most part life has been good and I have been especially blessed. Most blessed to have had a husband who loved me and children who have so enriched my every day. Most important, from a very young age, I came to know I had a heavenly Father who was always looking out for me. Very few times have I had the feeling of being alone, for I’ve felt my Savior always close to me.

Early Memories

I’m not really sure I remember the fall into the barrel of oil or just Grandma Green’s account of it. While living with my Grandma on a large farm a few miles south of Ocilla. I do think I recall a few happenings. Out at one of the big farms the boys (uncles) had a barrel oil was kept in and while climbing around out there I took an unintentional dive into the oil. Grandma said she was still trying to get oil off me forever.

Grandma, of course, had none of the things to make life/work easy. Water came from the well. The well was at the end of the backside porch near the kitchen. I think there was another one out in the back yard too. There was a large wood stove in the kitchen, where Grandma cooked many large meals for her family of ten children and Grandpa, as well as others visiting at meal time. I heard Daddy say one time he must have been over half grown before he ate more parts of a chicken besides the wings. In those days grown-ups ate at the first table and children always ate at the second table. The preacher from Reddy Creek Church (I think it had to be the Methodist Church) often came home with them on Sundays for dinner. That meant Grandma go up Sunday morning early, ran down and billed, dressed and cooked several chickens that had to be fried before going to Church. Of course there was other dishes to prepare too. The vegetables were most often fresh and had to be picked, prepared, and cooked for a fairly long time on that big ole wood stove. Pies were stacked up in the pie safe. It was a safe with a wire covered door which kept flies from sampling the pies and probably a few small hands too. The dining room had only the pie safe and a long table with benches on each side. Chairs were only at the ends of the table. I’m sure the tables, benches and safe were made probably by Grandpa. He had worked at a sawmill and I think sawmilled timber from some of his land since he had furnished lumber and helped build Reddy Creek Church, but Grandpa helped build several other churches as well.

One Sunday we were all at church and I wanted to sit with Mildred, Daddy’s baby sister, who was only about three years older than I was. Well it seems “Milbs,” as Mildred was called by the family, and I got to having too much fun and got tickled. That meant Daddy had to come right down front, get me, and take me back to sit with him. It was a while before we could sit together in church again.

Grandma and Grandpa lived in a big ole wooden farm house on apparently a fairly large acreage of farmland. The big crop was tobacco. That meant rides on the tobacco sleds, which were built like sleds on the bottom, but had high sides, maybe 3 feet high and pulled by a mule. They were taken to the field, the tobacco cut and laid into the sled then taken to the tobacco barns that had a stove or stone fire box and a tall flue (pipe) that went up thur the roof. The tobacco was hung over long poles so that the leaves hung down freely- giving you flu cured tobacco. I don’t know how long it had to cure, but it was at least several days. During that time someone always had to be at the barn to keep the fire going. That also meant a large amount of firewood had to be on hand all the time.

Uncle Raymond always told everyone, to my embarrassment, about the time he was sitting up at the barn. It was hot, of course, and Uncle Raymond had overalls on but had pulled his shirt off, and was lying down on a built in bench just outside on the front of the barn. It had a shelter over it much like a porch. He told that I got hold of a pair of pliers lying around and proceeded to clamp down on his exposed nipple. I don’t think he dozed much more that evening.

Grandma said I always called the uncles “my boys.” I was the oldest granddaughter and so I got lots of attention from them. She said Uncle Dewey was my most favorite one however. He was a very sweet man. Later he became the father of five daughters and I know they loved him dearly.

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

This barely even puts a dent in Mamaws stories. I promise to keep them coming

-Beth

 

I’m So Blessed

A while back my family started working on our family tree. I get obsessed with things, and learning about my family history was something that I easily became obsessed with. But, I learned really fast that I had a lot my “facts” wrong. Even things as simple as where my grandfather was born. I learned all this by talking to my grandmother. It made me realize that I didn’t want to tell my family story wrong. And if I’m being honest, the best person to start telling my family’s story is my grandmother.

I called my grandmother to make sure that she would be ok with me “interviewing” her and writing everything down. She told me that it would be ok, but not on Sunday’s because she would be at church, and not Tuesdays, because that’s her old ladies day. Any other day would be fine but, she didn’t really know what kind of stories I wanted her to tell me. Really, I have no clue… I want to hear it all.

photo-1421435371524-d26441ec7dda

It took a few days, but I finally made it to my Mamaw’s house. My Aunt Lorey was just leaving. My Aunt told me that Mamaw was excited to talk with me, but was a little worried I would put her on “The Google.” My sweet grandmother doesn’t have internet and has no idea what “the google” is. After we explained it a little bit, she decided that “the google” was like a dictionary, and that would be ok.

We headed inside and got started right away. She decided that she would tell me why she is so blessed. It’s mainly an overview of her life growing up. She also told me about meeting my grandfather, but I think that their love story should be its own post.

Mamaw was born in Chula, Georgia. She lived there with her mom, dad, and two older brothers. Her father worked in the turpentine business and they lived on his bosses property. He worked six days a week and preached on Sundays. When Mamaw was a year old her mother passed away.

Because her father was away so often, Mamaw’s father took her to live with his parents, in Ocilla, GA on a tobacco farm. Her middle brother (who was three at the time), went to live with the other grandmother (Grandma Thompson), and her older brother (James) stayed with her father since he was eight and was in school.

In the summer time, when the crops were really busy, Mamaw’s grandmother took her on the train to Miami, FL to stay with her aunt and her husband. Once things slowed down she would head back to Ocilla.

When Mamaw was four, her father got remarried to a teacher in Chula (I have always know her as Mamaw Green). After a time all the children came back to live with them, and the family moved to Sycamore, GA.

book

The school eventually burned down and school was held in different houses. Mamaw Green’s brother and sister-in-law (Mamaw Dess) offered to have my grandmother stay with them in Athens, GA, so that my grandmother could attend school. Mamaw stayed with them for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade. Mamaw Dess was good to her and really was like a mother.

Once Mamaw started high school, her father insisted that she return home and finish school in Sycamore. As soon as summer break started Mamaw would hope on a Greyhound Bus and travel back to Athens to spend her summer with Mamaw Dess.

When she finished school around the age of 16, her father told her she could go to college wherever she wanted to. She decided to go school in North Carolina, and headed off to Mars Hill University with her best friend. After a while they decided to swap majors from business to nursing, and decided to go to Georgia Baptist Hospital.

After this point Mamaw added in my Papaw, so I’ll write about that next time.

I learned a few things after sitting down with my grandmother…

1. I love to hear her tell stories. Even when she isn’t sure what to say next.

2. Mamaw doesn’t give a lot of names… remember to ask for them.

3. Don’t turn off the recording when she tells you she is done with her story for the night… she isn’t done and you will miss some of the best parts.

4. I hate the way my voice sounds recored… talk less, listen more.