The Meaning of Mother’s Day
(The photo above is of a few pieces of the China Set that belonged to my Great-Grandmother Keith, then passed to my Grandmother, and then given to me. It’s Blue Willow.)
My Grandmother’s Blue Vase and Her Blue Willow Clock
The Meaning of Mother’s Day
Me, 1st. Grade, Rome, Georgia
(I think the fact that my grandmother proudly displayed this very unattractive photo of me in her living room up until the day she died, is proof that she was a wonderful “mother” to me.)
My Grandparents/Great-Grandparent’s House on Morningside Drive
It is so much bigger than it looks. It extended way back and it had a large downstairs.
Here is where you would park if you were to come and visit with us.
You would then walk down these steps to enter into the front door.
Mary Keith and Me
I was a young girl at church, The First Christian Church in Rome, Georgia with my Grandmother one Mother’s Day Sunday when carnations were being passed out to all the women. Someone handed my Grandmother a White Carnation. She accepted it with a sad look on her face. And she held it very dear. I looked around the congregation and I noticed that some women were getting Red Carnations while other women were getting the White ones. It was then I realized the significance of the Red and White flowers. The women who received the Red ones meant that their mother’s were living. The women who received the White ones meant that their mother’s were deceased.
In the car on the way home my Grandmother had placed her White Carnation on top of her Bible, next to her purse and her white gloves beside her. When we got home she placed it in a small vase on the kitchen table and looked at it every time she sat to eat until it died and then she threw it away. But that White Carnation meant something to her. It made her sad but it also gave her comfort.
This is my Grandmother, Nellie Mae Keith Haskin,
otherwise known as Mrs. Franklin Ellwood Haskin
The last photo that was taken of her, age 87, 1999.
She died January 2000. As of this writing we are the year 2020. She died 20 years ago.
This is my Grandmother and her Mini-Me, ME! Easter Sunday 1963
This year her birthday, April 12, is on Easter. She loved Easter.
Julie Ann Aycock age 1 1/2, Florida
And this is me, my name is Julie Ann, otherwise known as Jew-baby by my Grandmother that I love and miss so very much.
In the photo at left that is my Grandfather that I absolutely adored, along with my Grandmother trying to grab me. 🙂 The photo at right is me along with my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents. Otherwise known as the people that I have loved the most in my life. (With the exception of my husband and children and their partners.) Well actually, I love them all equally whether they be living or dead.
My Granddaddy and Me
I also write about my Grandfather and how much he meant to me.
He always had a genuine smile on his sweet face.
Coy and Lillian Lone, A.K.A. Grand-Hopaw and Honnie, with my Grandparents Nell and Frank Haskin
(I have that couch, that table, and both of those chairs. Oh, and that mirror frame.) 🙂
My Grandparents Front Porch
(I would love to still have those chairs.)
Nellie Mae Keith Haskin is the woman that has loved me most throughout my life and up until the day she died. In so many ways she was my mother even more so than her daughter Mary Keith, my very own mother. When I look around at how other grandparents would treat their grandchildren I always noticed a distance between them. Meaning, they just weren’t as close as my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents were to me. My Grandparents were more like second parents to me. I believe that they saw the distance that my mother had toward me and they then took up the slack. After all, my biological father was a dead-beat dad, and my mother was more interested in dating than she was in mothering me.
Me, age 21, at my Grandmother’s House
Nellie Mae took me underneath her wing and taught me how to eat properly at the table. To use a knife and fork to cut my meat and not just stab it with a fork, hold it up to my mouth and eat it that way. She taught me to sit up straight. To keep my knee’s together. (As if I am holding an Aspirin between them.) 🙂
Just a few Southern Lady Foods
She also taught me how to act in public. She taught me how to behave, and how to be a lady. She also taught me how to loose with grace and style. And although that was a good lesson to learn, I wish that she had taught me how to win.
But I think her generation was all about loosing so the other person feels good. And my Grandmother was probably the best looser in the world. Something she was quite proud of. 🙂
I don’t want this post to be of a sad nature because my Grandmother was very funny and I have so many funny stories to share with you. She never knew that she was funny though which made her all the more funny.
When I think of my Grandmother I think of Brunswick Stew, Cheese Straws, Angel Food Cake…..
I Also Think Of…..
Church Dinner’s, Congealed Salads, Fried Chicken, Bent Tree, Georgia, Boaz Alabama, Gaylesville, Alabama, Shopping in Atlanta at Riches Department Store, The Pink Pig Ride at Riches, Window Shopping down Broad Street in Rome, Georgia, The Piggly Wiggly (grocery store chain in the south), Cantaloupe, Watermelon with Salt, Picnic’s, Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches, 4th. of July’s, Fireworks at the Levy in Rome, Florida Trips, Tomato Sandwiches, Parking Spaces, Butterscotch Candies, Peppermint Candies, Solitaire, Bridge Games, Canasta, Luncheon’s, and about a million more things that I don’t have time to list here.
Oh, and then there’s Black Ketchup! (I’ll get to that story.)
And how in the world could I ever forget about her Soap Opera’s? Or rather as she would call them, “My programs.”
My mother, Mary Keith, and Her Critters
(I have that couch and that table, and that lamp, and that sconce on the wall to the left.)
Julie and Mary Keith
I’m not really sure that I even know the meaning of Mother’s Day. I actually thought that I could explore that as I write. I mean the obvious is the importance of honoring our mother’s, or mother figures. Giving them the recognition that they deserve. But somehow that just doesn’t seem to be enough for those really good mother’s out there that deserve so much more than just a carnation.
So, join me as I hopefully entertain you by recounting my relationship with my Grandmother and all the fun that it truly was in knowing her and loving her.
Happy Mother’s Day,
I also created a new post for Mother’s Day 2020:
I also have this post you may be interested in reading.
A Few Photos
My Graduation Present
Life Boat Drill
Me, and my Grandmother on the right. She gave me a cruise to The Dominican Republic, San Juan Puerto Rico, and The Virgin Islands aboard The Song of Norway when I graduated from high school. I am 18 here.
Enjoying our Cruise
Gordon and Me, Engaged to be Married, 1983
(I know this photo was taken by my Grandmother because the top of our heads are cut off. Her signature style.)
Here we are in her Living Room.
I also know these photos were taken by my Grandmother, hence her finger at the bottom of the photos. I loved that house and I have most of the things you see in the photos.
20 Morningside Drive, Rome, Georgia 30161
The address that I most associate with my Grandparents.
L to R: Jean, Mary Keith, Grandmaw Nell, Me, and Scarlett
Here we are putting together my Bird Seed bundles to throw at us once Gordon and I are married. Scarlett was one of my bridesmaids. Jean was in charge of the Guest Book.
It was at this time, 1983-1985 that I lived in my Grandmother’s basement. See photo above. We are in my living room here. The door at the back led to my personal porch. The door to the back left was my bedroom with bathroom. I loved living with my Grandmother. And she loved it too. 🙂 There were stairs to the left of us that led to the upstairs where she lived.
Gordon at the foot of my bed in my bedroom playing video games. Also, you can see Gordon’s Jeep outside my window. The house had a driveway and carport in the back of the house that would easily park 3 cars not including the garage.
Me, Modeling at Belk’s Department Store
I was working there at the time in the cosmetics department and they asked me to partake in the fashion show. I was something of a hit but only because I was the only girl that had modeling experience.
Easter Sunday 1985
Me and Gordon with my little brother’s Frank and Ben at my Grandmother’s house.
( I have that couch, those end tables, that painting….)
We will never get that time back but I do appreciate that I was lucky enough to have lived through it.
Me, Easter 1965, I think.
Julie and Gordon Wedding Day, June 22, 1985
With our Grandmother’s, Nellie Mae and Beryl Louisa
Me with Baby Veronica 1988 left, and Baby Brodie 1994 right.
In the photo at left I am at my Grandmother’s house on Morningside Drive. The house that we all know as hers, and my Grandfather’s and Great-Grandparents house. That is before my Grandmother sold it and moved to a new home in order to downsize. She always had African Violets on that windowsill.
(I have that chair, that rug, and the table next to me in my own home now.)
Me and Brodie, photo right at my parents house out in the country in Rome.
Me, with my Grandmother in a mountain chalet in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Christmas 1989.
(People were always asking me, ‘Where is Gordon? Why isn’t Gordon in any of these photos?’ It’s because he was always out to sea on whatever ship he was assigned to at the time while in the NAVY. So, the kids and I would go home to visit with family.)
My Mother’s Day Treat! Pigs n’ Taters
When my Grandmother died I found these patterns of hers that she never finished with all her needlepoint. They look very “Pride and Prejudice” to me. Something from the Jane Austen era. I loved them and took them home with me. Along with some other patterns of hers that she never got around to finishing, and her yarn and needles.
White and Pink Roses in a Vintage Vase
I found these receipts and needles in my crocheted basket. My crocheted basket in the bottom photo, in the back, with the blue/orange yarn. I made it myself in my early 20’s. I was much more into needlepoint back then. And even up through my early 30’s.
I wanted to get out all of the needlepoint that I have of hers and photograph it. I wanted to look at it, touch it, remember it. And even decide what I want to do with it. I am thinking about just applying and sewing it onto a pillow as it is and not finishing it by stitching in every little square.
The straw basket that you see in the photo above and below was some kind of a picnic basket that I turned into a mini sewing basket to house some of my sewing embellishments. I placed a piece of fabric inside to line the basket but instead of sewing it, I just pulled the ends through and tied knots in them so that nothing can fall through.
I also placed some of my Mother’s Day roses all around, white and pink.
Now that I have looked at it all I will place it in my bedroom in the hopes that I will pick it up and start doing needlepoint again. We’ll see, won’t we? 🙂
A Mother’s Day to Remember
Perhaps even “The Meaning of Mother’s Day.”
Remembering something special from long ago and keeping it close.
Aunt Margie’s Crochet Bag and Needlepoint
She never finished the crocheted bag as it has no handle. But my cousin Sarah was looking through Aunt Margie’s needlepoint when she came across 2 of them. She kept one and then she gave me the one above. Sarah is Aunt Margie’s granddaughter. Orange is definitely the 70’s. 🙂
Veronica, Grandma Nell, and Julie
I always loved the fact that she would come and visit us so very often no matter where we were living and she loved to travel and take us with her.
Little Veronica with Grandma Nell
My Grandmother would KILL ME if she knew I posted this photo on the internet for the entire world to see. 🙂 Napping in her bedroom on Raymond Avenue.
Here we are at Bent Tree, Georgia. She owned land there. It is an exclusive community in the mountain’s. Here we are having a picnic while Veronica and Brodie swim in the lake.
Photos of year’s past….
July 4th., 1993, Grandmaw Nell’s House, Raymond Avenue, Rome, Georgia
After having just eaten a 4th. of July dinner of Brunswick Stew and Barbeque Sandwiches.
(This is her screened in patio in her backyard where she would entertain. The building you see behind us was a backyard studio/storage building. Her house is to the right of all of us. L to R: Mr. Ramsey (my cousin Susan’s father), Me, Joe Keith, Susan Ramsey Keith, my Great-Uncle Ray (sitting) my Grandmother Nell, My step-father John Lancaster, my mother Mary Keith, and my Great-Aunt Margie sitting.)
Joe Keith is the son of my Great-Aunt and Uncle, Ray and Margie Keith. Uncle Ray is my Grandmother’s brother. And interestingly enough she never called him by his name. She would just call him Brother. And the lovely Susan is married to Joe. Joe is also first cousin to my mother.
Baby Brodie and Veronica, with Me watching over them.
Memories Start Right Here
(I’ll be writing this from top to bottom so new entries will be down below.)
Laid to Rest in Alabama
While we were living in Maryland in the early 2000’s we came to Rome, Georgia, my hometown, to venture into a genealogy quest to see our ancestors graves.
Veronica, Joseph and Brodie in Alabama, 2001
Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
The Church Graveyard
(Me, my nephew Joseph, and son Brodie)
Keith, W. J. and Dona (pronounced Donah, not Donna)
Interesting that W. J. was born on Brodie’s birthday.
Brodie Keith Kanakaleo Whann at the gravesite of his ancestor namesake, Brodie Rondo Keith.
Brodie Rondo Keith is my Great-Uncle who died at 11 months from Diphtheria.
Brodie Rondo Keith
January 13, 1908
November 19, 1908
I always have his birthday written on my calendar every year. I want to remember him seeing as how he didn’t live long enough for anyone to actually know him. And also, no one ever really talked about him when I was growing up. I guess because he died so young he was easily forgotten. But not by me.
Before I lead you into these cemeteries I feel that I must explain a little bit about the south and how important these graveyards and tombstone’s are to family members.
Family names, family history, family traditions, are very important to southerner’s. Death, Graves, Ceremony, Clothing, are important rituals to the people of the south. They care about where they are buried and what dress or suit they will be buried in. Will there be an open casket? Or a closed one? What jewelry will they be wearing? Who will do their make up and style their hair? In a way it’s almost as if they are planning something as important as a wedding. Except in their minds they want a good send off to the after life.
In the autumn of 2001 Me, Veronica and Brodie took a trip down to Rome, Georgia for a visit with my parents and to do some genealogy research. Visiting graveyards and recording our history. We actually visited 3 graveyards in Alabama.
It was a lovely day. Oh, the weather was cool and gray, but it was very exciting for me to visit with my ancestors and see where they were laid to rest.
Mill Creek Missionary Baptist Church
Another Church Cemetery
We are Related to the Dykes, the Keith’s, and the Kerby’s (Kirby’s)
My ancestor, Joseph Keith, came over from Scotland and settled in Alabama. He first stopped off in Ireland and selected a bride to bring with him to America, a Kerby. This was in the 1600’s.
Little Joseph Keith
Lot’s of Joseph’s/Joseph Keith’s in our family.
What a cute little tombstone.
Old Southern Cemetery’s
See the beautiful tombstone’s above? All broken, faded, rustic, rotting? To me they are beautiful. Who hand scrawled the writing in the one to the right, above? Someone carved it out of stone and then proceeded to carve out the names.
Although I do not have a photo of it, my favorite tombstone was just a rock that someone placed on a grave with the letter C scrawled on it. Obviously they were not educated and didn’t know how to write well. They were poor. Who was C? A man? Woman? Child? Boy? Girl? Whoever they were they certainly got my attention as being special.
My mother, Mary Keith Haskin Aycock Lancaster in the red jacket above.
More Family Tombstone’s
I LOVE These TOMBS!!
They look as if some vampire is about to burst out of them. 🙂
Suzy Stevens and M.L. Stevens
I don’t know who they were but I find their tombstone’s quite charming. Obviously they didn’t have a lot of money and their stone’s were carved by someone’s hand. The pretty heart on Suzy’s is very sweet.
The fact that someone still cares about this person who died so long ago is very sweet. Look at the flowers. 🙂
Jesse U. and Cammie P.
I love spooky trees in graveyards. 🙂
Berdie Eveti, I don’t know who that person was but look at the crude hand carving of her name and that someone still placed flowers before her grave.
Me, at the grave of Elizabeth Kerby
It started raining while we were doing our genealogy search.
It Started Getting Dark
It also started raining harder so I ducked underneath a magnolia tree and that is when I discovered these sweet little tombstones.
I took a picture of them and look what turned up? A Spirit Photo! See the circle around the tombstone on the left? If Spirit Photo’s are to be believed, then that means a spirit was with me when I was there. 🙂
David M. and Annie Ruth T.
Joseph Ray Keith
(My Grandmother’s Brother, My Great-Uncle Ray)
It is traditional in the south to name a child with a first name and a middle name, but to only use the middle name as their first name. Understand? Remember that Scarlett O’Hara was actually named Katie Scarlett O’Hara. The middle name becomes the main name. Very typical.
At My Parent’s House in Rural Rome, Georgia
Veronica, Brodie and Joseph in the Driveway of John and Mary Keith’s House
(The pasture in the background I used to mow with the tractor quite often.)
Me, leaning on my Ford Contour
Headed to the Cemetery to Place Flowers on Grandma Nell’s Grave Site
Julie and Veronica
My Family that are Buried in Rome
Frank and Nell Haskin
Coy and Lillian Lone
In some graveyard’s in the south it is traditional, a week before Mother’s Day to come in and clean them up. Mow, weed eat, prune, plant, and clean up the graves. Planting flowers in some cases. Then once you have finished the work, you set up your picnic lunch and eat beside the gravesite’s of your beloved relatives. In our case it was always egg salad sandwiches.
I have always felt very peaceful in cemeteries/graveyard’s. These people, not just my relatives, but also other people once existed. They had lives, families, hobbies, trials, strength, sadness, challenges. They suffered through disease, famine. They loved, lost, grieved, mourned, celebrated. I happen to love being in graveyard’s. I feel peace. I love nothing more than to lean against a tombstone while eating an Egg Salad Sandwich and reading a good book. I don’t fear these people I respect them. I acknowledge that they once existed and had lives and I find them interesting.
I carry the memories of my loved ones with me everyday. I hope to do them justice by being the person they would want me to be. I hope that I am making them proud as being a culmination of all of them. Every piece of them is inside of me. I am very proud to be their descendant.
Julie Ann Aycock Lancaster-Whann
It’s a Cripple Place
This is what I remember the most about my grandmother. She just had to park within the first 3 parking places in front of any business. And if they were full then she would drive around the parking lot until a spot opened up near the front. I remember her glee in seeing a vacant spot right up front only to realize…… It’s a Cripple Place.
I remember reminding my Grandmother that it’s called “Handicapped Parking.”
And she would always respond, “It’s still a Cripple Place.”
When someone would leave the store my Grandmother would stalk them in her car, following close behind to see exactly where they were parked. Usually the person would look nervously over their shoulder wondering what this old woman was up to? Sometimes Grandma Nell was delighted to see that they were getting into a car only TWO spaces from the entrance! I remember hearing all the “Thank you Lord! Thank you!” from my Grandmother.
I would usually respond by saying that I’m pretty sure he is busy elsewhere and not helping you find good parking, to which she would scoff at me.
Sometimes I would remind her that I could have run in to the store and bought what we need in the amount of time she was driving around the parking lot.
As time went by I started to really look at my Grandmother. She was like Mr. Magoo, the universe was always there to prevent anything bad from happening to her. It amazed me that this very ignorant woman could go out there in the world and always come home safe and sound even when she shouldn’t be safe and sound. That’s when it all made sense to me. The reason there are so many bad things happening in the world is because God is so busy watching out for her that he isn’t looking out for everyone else. I kid you NOT! It makes perfect sense! I’ve witnessed it! Perhaps now that she’s gone he’ll devote his attention elsewhere. Just sayin’.
I Don’t Want That Stalk of Broccoli at my Funeral
The women of the south, at least of my Grandmother’s generation, are a bit obsessed with their funeral’s. It is typical to hear things like, ‘When I die I do not want ‘so and so’ funeral home. I have told Biddy and Cato my wishes but I’m afraid they are going to stick me in that horrible place simply because Biddy knows the funeral home director and he will give her a discount.’
I have also overheard many a conversation debating the pro’s and con’s of an open casket. ‘Who knows how my hair will be done by some funeral home hairdresser? I want to use my beautician. And what if they put on too much rouge on my face? What will The Lord think when he see’s me? He might mistake me for a hussy and turn me away!’
I guarantee you that in the back of every closet of every aging woman in the south, there hangs a dress that they wish to be buried in. Most have already bought their plots of land and picked out their headstones. In some cases their husband’s have already died and are laying their waiting for them. 🙂
I’m sure they have also debated what to do if they die in the winter as opposed to the spring? Graveside service verses funeral home? And of course the funeral director knows to ask the loved ones planning the funeral, ‘What were the deceased wishes?’ Because he KNOWS there are ALWAYS deceased wishes!
My Grandmother’s coffin was the most beautiful blue I had ever seen. A very light blue. She had a closed coffin. Just in case you were wondering. She didn’t want people staring at her while she was dead.
I do have to say that my mother did an excellent job of planning my Grandmother’s funeral. It was a lovely service with lots of people there to give her a good send off. Where we sent her I have no idea? But we sent her off. 🙂
But it was a few years before she died that my little brother Ben had dyed his hair green. To describe Ben, he is very slender, or was at the time. 🙂 He also has very curly hair. His hairstyle was shaved all around the sides and back and very curly on top. And to quote my Grandmother….”He looks like a stalk of broccoli! I don’t want that stalk of broccoli at my funeral because everyone will be looking at him and not thinking about me.”
Ben Lancaster, A.K.A. That Stalk of Broccoli
Luckily for Grandma, and Ben, his hair was his usual brown when she died. Whew!
I’m Watching My Programs
My Grandparents phone number since my mother was born in 1941 and probably a few years prior to that. It was in the 80’s I believe, that the area code was changed to 706. Out of all the phone numbers I have ever had in my entire life this is the one that I remember the most. 1-706-232-5176. I don’t even know my own cell number as I write this. I can’t tell you the phone number of our house phone when Gordon and I were first married. But this number I have never forgotten and I guess I never will.
Just a little history lesson:
Major cities were given area codes that were in the top numbers on the dial. For example, New York was assigned 212. That way people dialing New York wouldn’t have to be bothered with having the dial to rotate all around by having to dial those higher numbers that were low on the dial. And of course cities and towns that weren’t considered to be that important always seemed to have a zero in the middle. 404-706, like Rome, Georgia.
1-706-232-5176 is the number that I could call night or day and most of the time my Grandmother would answer. She had no answering machine, no voice mail, just her voice on the other end of the phone. She was always happy to hear from me. I could always hear the excitement in her voice when I would say, “Hey Grammaw!”
I would then ask her what she was doing and she would always say the same thing, “I’m watching my programs.”
Her programs were Soap Operas. And she was a devoted fan!
I remember one time when I was visiting her from when we were living in Hawaii and while I was in one of the bathrooms right outside her bedroom, I was putting on my make-up (or rather to quote my Grandmother, “Are you going to paint your face today?”) and getting ready she was watching The Young and The Restless. I heard one of the actresses say, “I’m not sure if Ryan was wearing a condom last night when we made love? Should I be tested for AIDS?”
I then stuck my head out of the bathroom and asked her, “WHAT are you WATCHING?”
I’m watching my programs. She would always say.
I would then ask in amazement, “Do they talk like that on afternoon T.V.?” To which she would delightfully light up and answer, “Oh, yes! They make love with each other all the time.”
FYI: Because of all the subject matter on afternoon T.V. thanks to Soap Operas, our politicians decided to have the Clinton Impeachment Trail televised during the day because they figured the public could handle it. And my Grandmother loved every minute of that Clinton trial. I credit Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky with keeping my Grandmother alive and healthy during the last years of her life. She loved scandals! 🙂
For Christmas one year my parents bought my Grandmother a VHS Video Player and gave her some blank tapes so that she could tape her “programs” during the day and watch them at night. It must have taken her a good 3 months to learn how to use it. I remember my brother Ben having to put black tape over the buttons she was not to touch, on the VHS player and the remote control. But she finally got the hang of it. We even started buying her VHS movies to watch. She didn’t understand the importance of removing the plastic wrap and taking it out of the box first. Lessons learned. 🙂
She would tape her programs during the day while she napped, (see photo of her sleeping above), and then watch them at night while she was wide awake and not able to sleep. Which is why with us living in Hawaii at the time, and having a 5 hour time difference backwards, she was usually always awake whenever I would call.
Since her death there is no one that I can call, or that I will ever call, that will be as excited as she was to hear my voice on the other end of the phone. There is no one that I can call where I don’t have to field some answering machine, or voice mail, or messaging system in order to get in touch with them. Everyone also seems to be so busy with their work, family, etc. How I miss calling 1-706-232-5176 and hearing her voice.
(I am not a writer, I just write. Please be kind if you have criticisms as I am untrained and just do whatever I want.)
Give Her a Breast Before She Gits us ALL KILLED!
My Grandmother loved to eat! And that woman could eat! She loved nothing more than stopping by a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant to grab a bucket of chicken and bring it home to eat for dinner. I have written in the past about a story where she nearly got she and I killed, in her car during her mad dash to get home and eat that chicken. But this particular time Gordon was with us. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so scared…….
Why don’t we run by and pick up some chicken for dinnuh tonight? Asked Nell.
Ooo, sounds good. Replied Julie. And how ’bout you Gordon? Whud ya think? Asked Julie.
Yes, I could go for some chicken, stated the Yankee Gordon in his Northern accent. (Which at this time, early 1980’s, everyone in Rome, Georgia knew Gordon was a Yankee and always had to comment on it wherever we went. They can spot a Yankee from a mile away.)
We must have been out shopping with my Grandmother because we were in her car and she was driving. I was in the front seat with her, and Gordon was in the backseat.
Oh, look. Here she comes, said Julie, pointing out to Gordon that Grammaw Nell was emerging from the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant with her bucket of chicken as she is approaching the car.
Nell: Keep this back here with you Gordun and don’t let it tip ovuh. That is our dinnuh.
Me to Gordon: You might just wanna hang on and brace yourself.
Gordon: What do you mean?
Me: Just don’t let that chicken topple over.
Gordon: Why does everyone keep saying that? Of course, I won’t let it topple over.
Me: Uh, huh. Just hang on, says Julie as Nell settles herself behind the wheel of her 4-door sedan.
It was at that point that Grammaw Nell gunned it! I believe I heard a thump in the backseat from Gordon, probably hitting his head on something while we fly through the parking lot towards home. I then heard another bump. Probably Gordon’s head hitting the roof of the car as Grammaw flew over a speed bump in the parking lot.
Grammaw Nell: You watching that chicken Gordun?
Gordon, breathing heavily and exclaiming: YES!!
Me: Grammaw, Slow down! You are gonna git us killed!
Grammaw: You scared Gordun?
Gordon, the liar!: Um, no?
Grammaw: See, Gordun thinks I drive just fine Jewleh.
Me, turning around to glare at that chicken Gordon for not saying something when he had the chance, while he’s sprawled all over the backseat with fear in his eyes.
Me: I then heard Gordon exclaim:
Gordon: Was that a red light we just flew through?
Me: Just hang on! We’re almost home!
Grammaw: You still watching that chicken, Gordun?
Gordon: Yes! Watch the road! Look out! There’s a car!
Grammaw: I see it. It’ll git outta the way when they see me comin’.
Give her a breast before she gits us all killed!
Grammaw: Don’t touch that chicken Gordun! Now Jewleh, you know that I don’t eat in the cah!
Me: I wish you would!
After scraping the bottom of her car over a few speed bumps and running into a few pot holes in the road, Grammaw Nell pulled into her driveway. Before Gordon and I could gather ourselves up Nell was exiting her car door and grabbing that chicken from Gordon and heading into her house. She was already in the front door before Gordon and I were even out of the car.
We walked in through the front door only to see her sitting at her dining room table with a plate and napkin feasting on that chicken.
Me: Leaning towards Gordon and whispering to him. Can you believe that was the same woman from the car?
Gordon shaking his head: Nope!
Me: If we want any of that chicken then I suggest we get some now. We’ve earned it!
Gordon: When did you want to make those brownies?
Me: Shhhh… not until her nap.
(NOTE: My grandmother was the slowest driver in the world except when there is a bucket of chicken in the backseat.) 🙂
Me: Who’s Driving Me to the Airport?
Edna’s Driving. Said Nell.
No! Not Edna! Yelled Julie.
When we were living in Hawaii and with Gordon being in the military we were considered poor. Even though he worked full time and assigned to a ship we lived paycheck to paycheck. The only time we had any extra money was around Income Tax Refund time in the spring. The good thing about our lifestyle was that we were living in Hawaii where clothes were not important. A pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops (slippers) would get you anywhere on that island. We would go into the Aloha Flea Market on Saturday’s at the Aloha Stadium to do our shopping. I could spend $20.00 and buy 5 pairs of shorts for Veronica or Brodie. Then spend another $20.00 and buy 7 t-shirts. I would then spend about $5.00 on a pretty sarong for myself to wear over my swimsuit to the beach. Gordon would then pay about $7.00 for a pair of board shorts for himself. I would always visit my guy that baked the best banana bread on the island, and I would pick up some honey sweetened sesame sticks to snack on. And of course we would always buy our Spam Musubi for lunch while we shopped. You didn’t need a ton of money to enjoy life in Hawaii.
Living in base housing meant that you never had to pay any rent, or pay any electric or water bills. You also never had to pay any repair bills. The military would always send someone out to either fix your appliances, or replace them. We did have to buy our own washer and dryer though. And those repair bills were up to us. Life in Hawaii was good!
BUT…… there was never any money to buy plane tickets home for a visit.
That is when my Grandmother would step up and buy us our tickets. Mostly in the summer when school was out. But before Veronica and Brodie attended school we would usually fly home around Easter. Georgia was always beautiful in the spring. Never go in the summer! Everything is brown and dead. But in the spring everything is the most beautiful green and with all the flowers everywhere. It really is lovely.
Usually it was always my parents picking us up from the airport in Atlanta when we would fly from Honolulu to Atlanta via Delta Airlines. But it was usually my Grandmother and her friends that would take us (Me, Veronica and Brodie) to Atlanta for our flight home. It was this one particular time that my Grandmother’s friend Edna drove us to the airport. Edna was my grandmother’s friend. She lived out in Berry College in some boys dormitory as some house mom. She loved it and apparently the boys loved it too. She would sew on their lost buttons, hem their pants, help them with whatever problems they had, and she also had important ties to Chick Fil A. The best damn chicken sandwich in the world but owned by a huge bigot. In some ways I guess that sums up the south. Edna was always giving us certificates for free Chick Fil A sandwiches which we would always cash in and enjoy. But Edna was the WORST driver in the state of Georgia! So, when I asked my Grandmother who would be driving us to the airport……..and she would reply EDNA! THAT was a cause to be upset!
Edna drove a station wagon. All of our luggage was in the back while my grandmother and her friend Lorene with little Veronica were in the backseat, and Edna and I were in the front seats.
How we got from Rome to Atlanta without being killed is a mystery to me!
Edna is one of the WORST drivers I have ever ridden with! She takes up two lanes while driving and she rarely looks at the road! At one point I have my hands on the dashboard while Edna is avoiding looking at the road and turns to me and says, “Your scared, aren’t you? Are you scared Julie? You needn’t be.
And me, being raised in the south to never say a bad word to anyone especially a senior citizen, I just gripped the dashboard and said, “No, I’m not scared.”
I would always ask my Grandmother why she and her friends always have Edna drive and she would always answer, “Because she is the youngest.” I would then ask, “What does that matter?” To which my Grandmother would reply, “Because she is the youngest.”
Seeing as how my Grandmother is usually in the backseat running her mouth to her friends, of course she is going to be oblivious to what is going on in the front seat. We did make it to the airport, luckily! I know I would always thank my lucky stars that we made it there in one piece.
Edna has since passed, along with my Grandmother and all of her friends but I will always remember them fondly. Even those that scared the hell out of us!
My grandmother died on January 20, 2000 of a second heart attack. Her heart exploded inside of her. She was 87.
It wasn’t until about 6 months later that my mother and I went through her possessions in her house. With my mother being the only child of Nell and Frank Haskin, she inherited everything. My mother didn’t want to go through everything until some time had passed. She also wanted me to be there with her to go through all of her things and to decide what to do with them. Therefore, with us living in Maryland at the time I had to wait until summer when school was out for us to travel to Georgia to go through everything. I had Veronica and Brodie’s school schedule to think about.
I stayed at Grandma Nell’s house by myself. Gordon was working in Maryland and Veronica, Brodie and Veronica’s friend Brittany were staying with my mother and step-father at their house. It was very surreal for me to be in her house with all of her possessions left just as they were before she died. All of her clothes were in her closet. Her bed was made and hadn’t been disturbed in 6 months. Her toiletries were all sitting in her bathroom just as she had left them. Towards the end of her life she developed this love of swan’s for some reason and swan’s were everywhere.
I loved staying at her house all by myself. Looking through her things. Touching them, feeling her presence in them. Picking through things that I wanted to take home with me. Also, my mother and myself were going to put some of her things on Ebay for auction. I was also photographing those things that we wanted to put on Ebay to sell. I had set up a little section of her house with a table and a place for me to photograph them. My mother would come over during the day and we would go through her clothes and her shoes. My mother had insisted that she wanted my grandmother’s things donated to black churches in Rome. She knew as I did that most of the white women would view my grandmother’s clothing as not being very nice or desirable because there were no designer labels in her closet. Oh, she had very lovely clothing just nothing expensive or trendy that would appeal to those kinds of people. I do like that my mother wanted my grandmother’s clothing to be appreciated and not overlooked. She knew the African-American church community would appreciate them.
Because we went through my grandmother’s possessions 6 months after she died was actually easier than had we done it right after she died. The raw feelings that we had of her death were gone and it was actually more fun plowing through drawers of her giant underwear. I seem to remember remarking when I saw my grandmother’s giant underwear, “I never knew she was Mormon?” 🙂
Also, the BIBLE’S! My God that woman had Bible’s!
Another Bible? What’s the tally on that now? Aren’t we up to 7? How many Bible’s does one need?
And as my mother suggested, “She was extremely religious. She just wasn’t in your face about it like so many other churches are.”
That is very true.
We did grow up in the First Christian Church of Rome, Georgia.
This was the church I grew up in. It was a beautiful white stone church. My grandfather is partly responsible for it being built with the white stones. His friend Mr. Witt managed to get the stones donated freely so the church could be built.
I loved that church, I still do. So many happy memories.
The people were wonderful. The Fellowship was wonderful!
We didn’t grow up hating other religions like so many southern churches do. I remember learning about Jews and Muslims but not in a hateful way. It was in a educational way.
However, I do have to say that because of this church I have never seen the last 20 minutes of any episode of Lost In Space, EVER!
Do you remember the t.v. series Lost In Space? It starred June Lockhart, Guy Williams, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristin, Angela Cartwright, and Bill Mumy. And also Dr. Smith, Johnathan Harris.
The show came on every Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and we would always leave for church at 9:40 so I have never seen an episode go through it’s entirety. I adored Angela Cartwright and loved her character. I loved this series but have never seen an entire episode in my life. Perhaps someday I will remedy that.
May the Force be with You!
Why I Moved Back to Rome, Georgia in 1983
I was living between Rockingham, and Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 80’s. My family was in Rockingham and my then boyfriend, Gordon, was living in Charlotte with his family. I had also been living off and on with my modeling agent and her family at her house in Charlotte. I was doing some modeling but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills. The jobs were few and far between, nothing particularly steady. I needed something steady to support myself and I was hoping to do modeling on the side to enhance my steady income. Problem was, I couldn’t find a job in order to have a steady income. I came from The American, Business, and Fashion Institute of Charlotte hoping to find something in retail. But not just in sales. I wanted something on the management side of the fashion industry. Well, this was all during the Reagan years when the American economy was not very strong. Whenever I would go to an interview I was always passed over for someone willing to work for minimum wage and not for a salary that was “negotiable.” I was becoming so distraught and disappointed at not being able to find a job that I decided to go and visit with my Grandmother in Rome. I believe it was during the spring.
It was while I was out shopping with her one day that she wanted to stop into Miller’s Department Store and pay her bill. My Grandmother never liked mailing her bills through the Post Office, even though her late husband was a Postmaster. She preferred to pay her bills in person. I suppose that gave her a reason to paint her face and put on something pretty and leave the house with a purpose. It was while I was with her in customer service at Miller’s that I was spotted by the ladies there and they offered me a job. I was thrilled to finally have someone interested in hiring me. But it wasn’t the job that I wanted. They told me I would start out part-time as a contingent for just a few months and then I would be made full time with benefits. I told them that I probably couldn’t start for a few months as I had obligations back in Charlotte and I would have to move down to Rome. They assured me that would be fine. So, seeing as how I had no permanent prospects in Charlotte, I decided to move to Rome and live with my Grandmother. But sadly, first we had to clear it with my parents.
If you know anything about me, you know my relationship with my abusive parents. They had always been very controlling. They did not want me living with my Grandmother. Oh, they gave reasons of ‘we’re afraid Julie will be too much for you to handle Mama. And, ‘we don’t want Julie upsetting you with her wild imagination. You know how much trouble Julie can be.’
That was their way of saying that they did not want me telling my Grandmother about how my step-father sexual abused me for years in my youth.
AND FYI: I never did tell her. I never wanted to upset and hurt my Grandmother so I always kept that from her.
My parents did end up “allowing” me to move to Rome and live with her because they knew I wasn’t finding a steady job in Charlotte, and that I did not want to live in Rockingham as prospects there were no better. It was then that I loaded all my possessions into my blue 1980 Datsun 310 and off I went to Rome.
My Grandmother was very excited to have me live with her. She fixed me up the bedroom downstairs in her house that also had an adjoining bathroom. I had my very own outside porch with this lovely glider and a few chairs. It faced a hillside with beautiful foliage. I was told that the reason that hillside was so beautiful is because my Great-Grandmother Honnie would throw the coffee grounds over the above outside stairs every morning. All those years of coffee grounds cultivating that soil created that beautiful view.
I also had a living room downstairs with a stone wall that spread across the length of the room. Although at the time I wasn’t that impressed with it. It would be seen as magnificent now.
There was a door that led to the garage. It was a big garage where my Grandmother would park her car at night. It also had room for lots of storage. If my Grandmother had lots of errands to do in a day, she would park her car in front of her house where she could come and go easily. But at night she would drive down her driveway to the back of her house and park in the garage. I would park in back of the house on her carport at night.
I suppose you are wondering about Gordon and how he feels about my moving to Rome, Georgia and leaving him? Well, he was in high school, a senior, at the time. I am 4 years older than he is. So, I got settled in Rome and Gordon moved down to Rome the day after he graduated from high school. My Great-Aunt and Uncle lived down the block from my Grandmother and they had a garage apartment. Luckily, they were between renters at the time and Gordon needed a place to live, so….. he moved in!
Now, he’s the one that needs to find a job.
A Yankee trying to find a job in the small town of Rome wasn’t easy but he did find something fairly quickly, at a printing press. He didn’t last past a few months there as Gordon is very meticulous and a perfectionist and they wanted things quickly printed and sent on their way. I believe he had some argument with the owner’s so he quit.
Meanwhile, over at Miller’s Department Store……..
My 2-3 months as a “contingent” came and went. I started to wonder when I will be made full time? I did inquire about it only to be told that there were no full time slots available but that something would open up eventually. They had me work all over that store in every single department. Men’s, Women’s, Children’s Lingerie…..
I heard there was an opening for a full time employee in cosmetics. I was excited because I had always wanted to work in cosmetics. Standing behind that bay, greeting your customer’s and helping them pick out which color lipstick would look good on them and helping them to choose an eye shadow to match that dress to be worn for some special occasion. So, I walked into Mrs. Rose’s office and asked if I could be given the job only to be told that they had already hired someone. My heart sank! Once again I was passed over. I had been at that store for about 7-8 months and every time a full-time position came up they would give it to someone else. The problem with me is that I am loyal and I continued to stay at that job with the hope that I would be given something soon. After all, I was used to being treated badly by my parents, so being miserable was something I was used to.
Gordon did find another job, full time, at Rome Coca-Cola. Where he stayed until we got married and moved.
But for now…….
I was still working part time at Miller’s. I was miserable. Constantly being passed over. I felt like they just didn’t like me. I tend to think differently from the majority of people in the south even though I am from the south. All you have to do is look at the political climate and the differences between Republican’s and Democrat’s today. It always was this way, it’s just finally become obvious to everyone. But back in the 80’s at Miller’s Department Store it was just more subtle.
I started to get the feeling that they wanted me gone. It was at that time that I tried out for the Rome, Georgia Police Department. The whole process takes months of tests, interviews, so I kept my job at Miller’s while I tried out for the police department. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to become a cop, I wanted to become a detective. But, you do have to be a cop for 2 years before you can take the exam and even then you have to wait for an opening.
I am proud to say that out of the 250 applicants I did get down to the top 20. They were hiring 11 people. 9 men and 2 women. This was during the Affirmative Action days and the jobs went to 2 black women. I was told to try out again next year but I was just so disappointed because that meant that I was still stuck at Miller’s.
NOTE: I just want to say that I am a supporter of Affirmative Action. Looking back I am very glad that I didn’t make it. I’m glad the jobs went to 2 black women. I don’t think I would have survived in a department full of racist and bigoted men. Especially knowing the mentality of the police officer’s in our country right now. I’m sure there are some very good and honorable cops, I just think the bad ones outweigh the good ones. But I was very upset at not making the police force at the time.
But, life goes on and I did have a nice life with my Grandmother, and Gordon, and my other family members that were in Rome. I was lucky that I didn’t have to pay my Grandmother any rent or money for utilities. I also never had to buy any food, unless it was something from a drive through window. She did all the cooking and she enjoyed it. I would come home for lunch every day and she would have something waiting for me. She also cooked for Gordon and myself quite a bit for dinner’s and on the weekends. I was very happy in my life with her, just not at work.
It was one day a former employee whose name was Julie came into the store and wanted to buy a dress but she was short on money. She asked me if I would buy it for her and then she would meet me outside the store the following day and pay me back. The thing is that as an employee of Miller’s we had to make all of our purchases with our Miller’s credit card. Also, there were so many restrictions and conditions in using our credit cards. So, when Julie asked me to buy her that dress and she would pay me back the following day that was an illegal purchase on my part because by my buying her that dress I was giving her my discount. I didn’t realize this at the time. I thought I was doing someone I used to know a favor. So, I drove to work the following day, met Julie in the parking lot, she gave me the money for the dress I had bought for her and then we went our separate ways. I clocked in and while I was on the floor working Mrs. Rose approached me and asked me if I had made a purchase for Julie yesterday? I immediately told her yes. She looked shocked. I wondered why? She then said that she didn’t expect me to tell the truth. I remember thinking, why wouldn’t I tell the truth?
It was then that Mrs. Rose told me that what I did were grounds for dismissal and that she had reported me to headquarters yesterday after I had made that purchase for Julie and that she was awaiting a response from them to determine my punishment. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing? To me it was something innocent but to Miller’s it was a serious crime.
Miller’s was a very strict company to work for. Their headquarters were in Knoxville, Tennessee. They would even control our store’s temperature from there. So, we were either sweating and burning up, or freezing and miserable. Our temps were controlled based on the weather in Knoxville. Also, our bags were searched every night when we would leave the store to make sure we weren’t stealing anything. It really was a horrible environment to work in. Most of the employees were miserable there and they complained constantly but that was the working environment and if you wanted that job then you put up with it.
Anyway, I went home that night thinking that things would turn out o.k. after all I did apologize and I promised never to do it again so when I came in to work the following day to clock in only to be barred from doing so by one of the ladies in the office who told me that Mrs. Rose was waiting to see me. So, I went into her office and was told to sit down and sitting there in front of me was a pink slip. A PINK SLIP!
I was being FIRED!
I was shocked! Only nasty, rotten people get fired! Not me! I’m a good person! What is happening????
I immediately started crying. Actually, it was more like balling. As in balling my eyes out! Sobbing hysterically! I guess you get the picture. I found out later on that they could hear me throughout the store.
Mrs. Rose tried to calm me down. Handing me tissue, after tissue. She did try and comfort me which was something of a surprise to me seeing as how I never thought she actually liked me. She told me to go down to Belk-Rhodes and apply for a job there. I told her that no one is going to hire me because I’ve been fired. No one hires people who have been fired. She then told me that if Belk’s or any business calls her to ask about my working there that all she is required to tell them by law was that I started on this date, and left on that date. That’s all.
I then signed my PINK SLIP and left her office having to of course, walk through all of Customer Service as all those ladies in that office did their best not to make eye contact with me. I hurried to my car and wondered where in the world that I can go now? I’m crying too much to go home. I don’t want to tell my Grandmother yet. I figured that she would call my parents and tell them and then they would make me move back home to Rockingham. I also didn’t want to hear all the insults that they were sure to hail at me when they found out. I was feeling bad enough, I just couldn’t handle anymore upset at me. It was then that I decided to drive out to Berry College to see my half-sister’s mother, Dot. She managed the cafeteria at the college and she was also very good to me at that time and I knew I needed someone to talk to that was friendly. She listened sympathetically and then told me that I look good and to go straight to Belk’s and apply there. Do it today! So, I did.
I composed myself and drove back to the mall but this time going to the opposite end of the mall, where Belk-Rhodes was. Miller’s was on the other side of the mall. I walked into customer service and asked if I could have an application to fill out. The secretary told me to have a seat and she made a call to whom I assume was the personnel manager. I could hear her say, ‘yeah, this one looks good. Really good!’ A minute or so later I’m greeted by the personnel manager who led me to a table and chair and gave me an application. I filled it out having placed on my application that I was only interested in cosmetics. I don’t know why I did that? After all, I was desperate for a job, any full time job and here I was placing a stipulation on my application. I then left. She did tell me that it might be 2 weeks until I hear something. It was then that I drove home telling my Grandmother that I had gotten off early from work. I still couldn’t tell her, not yet.
When Gordon got off work and came up to the house I told him what happened that day. He was upset for me. But he is such a positive person, (the opposite of me) and he told me not to worry because something will turn up.
The next day I got up and got ready for “work.” I just couldn’t tell me Grandmother the truth yet, and besides, I had just purchased about $200.00 worth of things on my Miller’s credit card and seeing as how I was just fired I needed to return all of it. Walking in to that store after being fired the previous day was humiliating. Everyone had heard the big news. And here I was walking back into the store. It was while I was in the ladies department getting my refund that I was approached by the female security guard. She never liked me but she came up to me and told me that she was sorry about what happened. It was then that I started crying again. I returned everything and then stopped off at customer service to inquire as to when I would be getting my last paycheck? I was told that I will not be getting a paycheck as long as I owe money on my Miller’s credit card. I then informed the woman helping me that I had just returned everything so my credit card is clear. She said it would take a few weeks then to straighten out.
With no job, no money, and no where to go but home, I decided to go to Gordon’s place and wait for him to get off work. I had a key after all. Even though he lived above my Great-Aunt and Uncle’s garage in that apartment I knew I could go there without being seen. Uncle Ray played golf every day, and Aunt Margie slept all day because she was a nurse on the night shift at the hospital. For the next 2 days I would get up in the morning, get dressed as if I was going into work, tell my Grandmother goodbye, and then go to Gordon’s apartment and work out to video’s and music. Those were the Jane Fonda work out day’s btw.
It was on the 3rd. day of my pretending I had a job since I was fired that I decided to tell my Grandmother what had happened. She was upset at me, upset for me, mad at me, mad at Miller’s……and that is when the phone rang. It was Julie. You know, the one that asked me to buy her that dress that got me fired? My Grandmother had answered the phone not knowing it was her. Julie asked to speak to me and my Grandmother passed me the phone. I can’t exactly remember all that she said to me but she didn’t call me to apologize. She was sort of lecturing me, blaming me, even a bit mad at me although I can’t imagine why? I was upset and told her that I don’t want to talk to her as I have nothing to say to her. My Grandmother, realizing it was that Julie, grabbed the phone out of my hand and chewed her out good! The last thing I heard Julie say to me was that ‘they wanted you gone anyway.’
How did she know that they wanted me gone? Here’s what I think happened. I believe that Mrs. Rose and the female security guard hatched out a plan to get me fired. They then enlisted former employee Julie to get me to buy that dress for her using my discounted credit card just so they would have grounds to dismiss me. But, I think once they enacted their plan I didn’t react how they figured that I would react. I was honest when asked if I had bought Julie that dress. I balled my eyes out making them feel badly for what they had done to me and I think there were people that got mad at Julie for getting me fired. After all, she used to work there knowing the rules and regulations pertaining to how we can and can’t make purchases. I think that is why she was a bit mad at me when she called me up. Because people were mad at her.
I did go on to get hired at Belk-Rhodes exactly 2 weeks after I was fired from Miller’s. I got full time, benefits, AND Cosmetics! I got everything that I wanted. And not only that but commission on top of a full time paycheck. I made some good friends. I was happy! And Mrs. Rose would always come through Belk’s to do her shopping always stopping by my counter to tell me hello and to ask how I am doing?
I never would have gone on to find what I was looking for if I hadn’t been fired. I needed to be pushed out of that place in order to find a better life. So, whatever plan that Mrs. Rose, that security guard, and that Julie had cooked up for me, THANK YOU!!!!!!
p.s. A few years ago I was talking to my mother about something and I reminded her that I was fired from Miller’s. She was amazed and told me that she didn’t know that? I suggested that surely Grandma told her? She hadn’t. My Grandmother knew that they would have been horrible to me if they found out and that is why she never told them. So was protecting me.
p.s.s. And as for my final paycheck from Miller’s? I marched in there 2 weeks later and asked for my paycheck. I was told that I wasn’t getting a paycheck but that they were giving me instead a store credit to spend there.
WHAT???? I then demanded that I be paid what I am owed and there will be no store credit as I will never shop there ever again!
I got my paycheck!
And, that was the beginning of me being more bold and sticking up for myself. I learned a lot about me from that experience and I came out of it a better person. 🙂
I Just Wanted to Add Something to This
Even though my year of working at that horrible Miller’s Department Store was very stressful at times, because of them I moved back to Rome. If they hadn’t have offered me a job I would have still been in Charlotte/Rockingham. After having such a horrible few years in Rockingham, North Carolina, and not being able to find something permanent in Charlotte, I needed to move back home to be with my Grandmother and the people that I knew growing up there. I needed to be around people that cared about me. People that were nice to me. People who knew me from birth on up. I needed that time to reconnect to nice people that I had known for so many years growing up. I went to church with my Grandmother, both Gordon and myself. The fellowship of the church was something that I needed. Having people see me and greet me so warmly. Going to all those Fellowship Supper’s and picnic’s and eating all that good food and having such charming conversations with the southern ladies and gentlemen. Oh, I don’t think there are that many left anymore. Most now are just rednecks.
All that we take with us in life are our memories and I am happy that I have those memories. The good ones, and the bad. I just don’t cherish the bad ones. Belk-Rhodes had 11 former Miller’s employees working there and Miller’s only had 1 former Belk employee. That says something right there.
I also write above that I didn’t really know The Meaning of Mother’s Day and that I hoped to explore it as I write all down this page. Well, I believe that I am. When my Grandmother took the phone out of my hand and yelled at that Julie person, she was sticking up for me, protecting me, no one had ever done that before. Especially not my own mother. If some stranger were to walk up to my mother right now and tell her something terrible about me she would believe them instantly! Because my mother has always thought the worst of me even when there was no reason to. But my Grandmother, although upset with me for putting myself in that position, defended me because she knew I was a nice person and didn’t deserve what they had done to me.
She also never told my mother that I was fired from Miller’s because she knew how my mother would then treat me, so she protected me. Just like a mother does for their child. 🙂
I miss you so much Grammaw!
Stella Whitener: “Nell, there’s a MAN prowling around your house!”
Gordon in My Bedroom Playing Video Games
Stella Whitener lived across the street from my Grandmother’s house, not directly across the street, but one house down from that. My Grandmother never really liked Stella but she was very friendly and neighborly to her, and Stella would occasionally go out to lunch or dinner with me and my Grandmother. I remember this one time we had all gone out to eat dinner and my Grandmother was driving us home and Stella really had to go to the bathroom BAD! My Grandmother drove so slow. Stella kept begging her to drive quicker but she never did. In her calmest voice my Grandmother would say, ‘I am Stella. I’m hurrying. Just hang on. We’ll be home soon.’ I remember looking at my grandmother and realizing that she was driving slow on purpose and enjoying the hell out of it. (Glad I was her favorite.) 🙂
But Stella, like most widowed women, had nothing better to do than to look out her windows and watch her neighbors. And she had a great view as her house sat higher on a hill than my Grandmother’s did.
Many an evening, or early morning Stella would call my Grandmother and say, “Nell, there’s a man prowling around your house!”
I would then hear my Grandmother start the slow decent down the creaky stairs only to finally reach the bottom and burst through my closed bedroom door, usually waking me up from a “sound” sleep only to inquire if I was alone?
I would always rub my eyes and in a very annoyed voice tell her that of course I am alone! To which she would look around a bit, sometimes walking into my bathroom to take a peek to see if anyone was in there. When she was satisfied she would start the slow climb up the creaky steps to her own bedroom to go back to sleep.
It was then that I would signal Gordon that he can come out of my closet now. 🙂
Yes, Stella was always right! There was always a man prowling around my Grandmother’s house and it was Gordon! Usually coming in through my bedroom window. 🙂
Thank God for those creaky stairs!!!
There was this one time though where she almost caught us. I think we were both in a very sound sleep and woke up just before she was about to burst through my bedroom door. I knew there was no time for Gordon to jump out of bed without her seeing him so he plastered his body as close to mine as he could and lay perfectly still while my Grandmother went through her nightly inspection of my room. Once satisfied she made the ascent to the top of the stairs to her own bedroom to go back to sleep while Gordon and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief!
As I constantly tell my children, ‘ You have no idea what all we had to go through while dating. And to thank their lucky stars that they have us for parents.’ 🙂
It was year’s later on a visit to Rome after my Grandmother had died, and after my Uncle Ray had passed as well, that we went to visit Aunt Margie. I believe it was at the same time we are visiting graveyards in the photos above. We were at her house and sitting in her den when my mother and Veronica, Brodie and Joseph went into the kitchen for something and she turned me and said, ‘We knew Gordon was climbing in and out of your bedroom when you were living with Nell and Gordon was living in our garage apartment at the Glover Street house. (She had since moved out to Garden Lakes and no longer lived at the bottom of the hill on Morningside Drive.) But, I believe that I sat there stunned! I didn’t know what to say? I’m sure I had a look a shock on my face with my mouth hanging open but she just patted me on the knee and told me that they were o.k. with it because they knew we would be getting married. Then she got up and went to the kitchen to join my mother and everyone else while I sat there stunned.
This was my era of living in the south. I have never had so many senior citizens so interested in my sex life. Which is probably why I gave myself a promise that as I aged I would find constructive things to do with my time and my life and not care what my neighbors are up to. And so far, I’ve kept that promise. 🙂
To the Left of this Photo are the Creaky Stairs 🙂
Gone With The Wind
Watching Scarlett flirt and act as she did reminded me so much of my Grandmother and her mannerisms. Southern women were extremely flirty, even with each other.
Is this racist? Our Fried Chicken and my Cotton Together?
Mackenzie, our son’s girlfriend who has been living here in lockdown with us during the Coronavirus Pandemic, has never seen Gone With The Wind so last night we all sat down to watch it together. Me, Gordon, Brodie and Mackenzie. We ordered food from 2 different grocery stores to be delivered and proceeded to cook this excellent meal. Oh, we didn’t cook the chicken ourselves, the grocery store did and it was wonderful!!!! But, it was my idea to eat something southern while we watched the movie. Sweet Potatoes, regular and purple, were also on our menu as well as some Glazed Carrots. Yum, yum, yummy!
Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind
GWTW is a favorite movie of mine and Scarlett O’Hara is probably the greatest film heroine of all time. I just thought the chicken and the cotton belonged together here. I suppose it can be construed as racist but I don’t mean it in that way. My step-grandfather out in Texas, Papa Carlton was a cotton farmer. He had lots of land. A few years ago my mother sent me some copies of photos she had taken of us out in Texas and with me as a young girl in his field picking cotton from his crops. Actually, I wasn’t really ‘picking cotton’ as I was picking it up off the ground and putting it into a paper bag as my souvenir to take back to Georgia.
I would post the photo here except that I threw it away. I threw all those Texas photos my mother sent me away. They were copies of her photos and not originals. I do wish that I had saved that one photo though. Of me, Miss Julie, “picking cotton.”
The south is extremely slow to change and as I told Mackenzie, I was referred to as Miss Julie growing up and there are people still alive that would call me that right now if I were to see them. My mother’s friend Elissha, for one.
We’ll see y’all later now, ya hear?
I’m Taking a Congealed Salad
For my other Mother’s Day posts see:
To all those good mother’s out there.
Thank you for caring enough about your children and grand-children, and any children that you may parent, to be the special women that you are.
I appreciate you!