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Wondrous meals on the farm

Life Story Club Contributor

I guess one of the most outstanding things that I ever enjoyed was during my childhood, when we used to visit my relatives who lived in rural Virginia. Everybody a little farm, little garden, pigs, chickens and vegetables. And I lived in the city all my life, like I have for 90 years, living in Baltimore City. So when I used to go, there so many things to see. To me, that was so unusual and it was wonderful to be with relatives and friends, and participate in those things.

I remember my grandmother had chickens and they ran around the yard, and she fed them. Sometimes they would come in to roost, but they would be out a lot. I guess they would call it free roaming, I guess that’s what they would call it today. The chicken was delicious. We ate a lot of chicken while we were there. I also liked the fact that, it was just very different living because everybody in the whole area was a relative, and everybody looked after all the children. So you weren’t held down by the fact that you can only go to the corner or can’t cross the street, and you could go anywhere you wanted to because our relatives would receive us there and word spread around who was where whenever. The most exciting thing was to go to spend the night with one of my cousins who was my age. Because I like being at her house, it was a lovely house and they had a piano and my aunt made delicious meals and she had a dog, and I didn’t have one at home. And she had a cat. The cat’s name was Harry and the dog’s name Fritz, I believe. So Fritz and Harry were a good part of every story we ever wrote or talked about. We also lived within walking distance to the beach, so we could walk down to the beach and wade in the water. I wasn’t a swimmer, I would go in and wade and it was just wonderful. We would walk to church. It was down the road. We didn’t ride in vehicle most of the time. Even if anybody rode, it would be the adults, but the children would walk, and we walked in groups to wherever we had to go. Life was so easy and so free and so different from city life. Food was plentiful. They went to the store for some items but not many, they raised most of what they ate. And when we sat down to eat, it was just like of feast. There was a table and my uncle had seven children, we only had three at my house, so that was exciting. Also, we were three girls, but there were some boys there. So we had a wonderful time sitting down at the table. For breakfast you might have fried oysters, fried fish, they didn’t eat like we ate at home, cereal, eggs and milk you know. They had just any kind of food that you might want. You ate until you couldn’t eat anymore. And you got up, walked away and played some, and they’d say, “Come on in, it’s time to eat lunch now!” These people ate all the time. So that was a wonderful thing for me. When we went to church, we had a meal, we had ham there. Virginia’s noted for its Smithfield ham. Delicious hams, salads and all kinds of good music. It was just a wonderful experience. So I guess this was what I might call a spectacle because I can’t think of anything else right now. But that was a wonderful experience. Every time we ate it was a feast! We’d eat dinner, and then maybe go to church in the evening. And when we got back, they’d put out food again! When I went to bed there, my stomach so full, I could hardly sleep. That was the main thing they did, was eat.

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A Memorable Celebration

Life Story Club Contributor

Mar 10, 2020

Last May 13th, I celebrated my 90th birthday. Family, friends, business associates, church—everybody—gathered with me just to celebrate the occasion. And it was so beautiful. Especially delightful was the fact that some of my former students–I taught Elementary School in the community for 25 years–came and mentioned that they remembered me because I helped them when they needed help. And this made me feel well what my life is worth something because these people can remember me.

I had friends and family there. And one of the interesting things was my daughter passed away a couple years ago. I have two sons who are living, but I have lots of nieces and they came to make themselves available to help make that celebration the best. We had it in a recently renovated church hall. Most people said they had never seen the hall look that pretty. One of my nephews, who is a DJ, played the music for the party. And we just let people talk all they wanted to, and it was just a wonderful occasion for me. It was wonderful to know that I had lived all those years and I was leaving footprints.

A few of my students came back all grown. A couple of them are teachers. That makes me proud, knowing they’re out there now,helping young people and I know that they’ve got good wisdom because I gave it to them when they were with me. It always delights me to see students joining the teaching profession because the teaching goes on and on. The stuff that you taught them gets taught to others.

It was just marvelous to be surrounded by family and friends. It was one of those things. One day when you pass away, everybody’s going to get together and they’re all going to say all kinds of things, but you won’t be able to share in it. I was able to share this.

So being 90 was glorious.

Another thing that helped make it very nice was that they gave me a lot of monetary gifts. I guess they didn’t know what to get me. So, I was able to go on cruise. And one of my nieces was so kind was to pay my aid’s way so she could go with me. I had someone there with me to help me go from place to place. I got a new motorized wheelchair just so I was able to go the ship. Now, with the way things are, I wouldn’t want to go on a cruise. It was perfect timing.

Childhood Friends

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 18, 2020

Well, I guess I’m like a lot of people. My first best friends were my sisters. We were three girls, no boys. And I met lots of friends throughout my life–always had friends from school where I went and some of them were very important to me. But I think my most important friends are my sisters.

We grew up and in those days, there wasn’t the television. There was radio. And you listen to the radio, you imagine in your mind what the people look like and what they were doing.

But then my older sister was seven years older than I, and the younger one was four years young than I. I was in the middle. And my older sister liked to write plays. She liked to write many things–she wrote poetry, stories, plays but her plays I remember, because she would write the play and my sister and I would have to act out the parts. We had more fun with these plays and her girlfriends would come sometimes and they would be in the plays. We had a lot of fun. We’d imagine all kinds of things.

We all loved schools. If we learned anything, we’d teach each other. That was another thing we did. I got to certain grades and I already knew what to expect because my sister went ahead of me.

I’ll never forget that I had measles and couldn’t go to school when they started long division so she taught me. I remember thinking what is this long division is all about. She was a wonderful sister. She died a couple of years ago when she was almost 95 years old. We used to talk on the phone every day. So I guess she ended up being my closest friend and my other sister, I have one sister now who’s still left. She’s 85.

Most of my friends have lost contact with through the years. And then I made a lot of friends a lot younger than I am from church activities and from jobs. I never said while they’re this age and I’m that age so we can’t be friends. Some of my friends are the same age as my daughter. I never associated with my daughter and her friends because people need to be free enough to be themselves but I met a lot of young people, some of them are still my good friends. I’m 90 and a lot of people I know or used to know are dead. I read about them in the paper.

But we had so much fun. We used to have a phonograph. One of those wind-up things. One of my aunts had died and left it to us with all her records. And we would play those records and sing along with them. Then when my sister got a little older, she would take to buy records from popular people like Mills Brothers and Ella Fitzgerald and all those people, then we would sing those songs. But apart from that, the music and plays and that kind of thing.

And all the friends I went to school with, went to the movies with, but my sisters were a big part of my life. No brothers.

My younger sister and I both ended up being elementary school teachers. My older sister worked for the federal government.

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