by Soul sister
My life growing up in Alabama.
| NOTE: THIS PIECE IS UNFINISHED AND IN THE VERY RAW STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT! I HAVEN'T EVEN PROOFREAD IT YET! I ADD TO IT AS TIME ALLOWS.
My very first memory is from around the age of two years old. I remember waking up in a brown wooden crib and seeing a white painted bunny on the footboard. I was feeling happy just laying in my crib. I did not seem to know where or who I was at this time. This is a very distint memory, I remember feeling. I remember thinking of not knowing who anyone was but that someone needed to know I was awake. I have never forgot the feeling of happiness when my mom came in. I had not remembered what she looked liked until she came in. It is as my awareness in life started at that moment. I remember seeing two twin beds across the room They each had on red bedspreads with raised lines in the fabric. I knew what a bed was because I asked Mama whose beds they were. She told me they belonged to my brother, Glenn and she would have to get me a big bed soon. I remember not knowing who she was talking about and asking again and again about the beds. I wanted to sleep in one of the beds. Mama stayed in the room with a broom, sweeping a tan carpet. I remember there was a lot of dust in the room as she swept and talked to me. The broom made a scratching noise as she swept it clean. When she left the room, I cried loudly for her to come back. She was gone only a few minutes and I decided to climb over the rail of my crib. As I did so, I broke the crib and it made a loud thud as it hit the floor. I was not hurt, but it got my mom back into the room. That night I slept in one of the twin beds with the red bedspread. I remember my brother in the opposite twin bed talking to me about how big of a girl I was now that I was in a big bed. I remember having this wonderful feeling of being safe and loved by my brother that first night in my new bed. It is the first memory I have of my brother.
I have a brief memory of Mama putting on my night gown at a very young age. Also around two, my older brother dressed as Bugs Bunny (he was 9) for Halloween and looked through the front windows of our house. I remember being so scared. I cried and cried and couldn't even tell my mom what was wrong for crying so hard. Once she figured it out, my mom tried to take my mind off of Bugs Bunny by playing a board game with me. She told my brother not to come around me with his mask on. I didn't know who Bugs was at the time, but I remember thinking of him as this live moving animal that was looking in the windows. I could not keep my eyes off of those windows, even though Bugs did not come back that night.
My mom thinks I may have even been 18 months when I remember the crib incident. I do know I was very young.
I was born in 1965. My brother was 7 years old at the time. I loved spending time with him.
Lucky for me, he seemed to enjoy spending time with me too.
Mama and Daddy had married in 1957. The next year Glenn was born. Daddy worked full time at Royal Crown Cola. When we were little, he put in long hours driving a route. Daddy and Mama also had a farm. We always had a herd of cattle and to this day, my Daddy still does. At various times in my life we also had other animals as well.
My parents still live in the same house that they bought me home to. When I was born it was just a small wooden house. When I waa three, it went through a major remodeling and room additions. I can remember how exciting that was as we still lived in the home as contractors worked around our daily lives. My favorite thing to do was ride my red tricycle around the house. I soon became a favorite among some of the workers. I vividly remember getting my big toe stuck in one of the spokes of my tricycle and one of them helping me.
My brother and I also played in the sand pile that was used to make the concrete for putting between the bricks as they covered the wooden home. Another memory of this time is of the front porch being built and we had a plank to walk over the dug out trench that would soon be filled with concrete making our porch's floor. I remember thinking it was a million miles down if I fell off the plank. In actuality it probaly was only three or four feet. I can remember my brother and I walking over it to go to the car and Mama being kind of nervous and telling us not to play around the porch.
Once the home was remodeled and additions made, we had a much bigger home. I lived in it all my life until I married.
Daddy worked hard. He got up at 6:00 every morning and Mama would cook his breakfast. I remember I would hear them in the kitchen and think how 6:00 was the middle of the night because I was so sleepy. I could not imagine how they could get up so early. I think that same feeling as never left my subconsious to this day. I hate getting up early even though I have to.
Daddy would work until his route was finished delivering soft drinks. Some times it was nine, ten and even eleven o'clock before he came in. As I got older, I do remember his hours seemed better. Later, Daddy changed positions in the company and was usually home around five.
My Dad worked hard. Some of my fondest memories are of riding on the tractor beside him as he farmed. He was always doing something different and exciting and I wanted to be a part of it. Daddy has always had cows as long as I have been born. At some times, he had hogs. We also had chickens, a goat and a horse. Of course, a home can not be without a bunch of dogs and cats. We also grew at least one garden and sometimes two. As a child I am sure I was more in the way than help, but I never felt that way with my family.
Spraying day was one of my favorite. We would as a family have the whole herd of cattle go into a holding pen. Then a few at a time were put in a shed where Daddy would spray them. Then, one by one they would be ran through a narrow shute and their heads put between a couple of two by fours pulled together with a rope. This did not hurt the cattle but someone had to hold the rope as Daddy for worming and whatever else needed to be done. I can remember my mama didn't like her job of holding the rope as Daddy administered the medicine. Sometimes, my brother or I could hold the rope if Daddy needed Mama to help him. Then one of us would open the gate and we would let the rope go and the cow would run into another pen. This was done with many heads of cattle and took all day.
Feeding time was another time I loved. In my very early years when we had hogs, Daddy would be at work and my brother and I or Mama would fill buckets with hog feed or what we called slop and take it to the hogs. Later, Daddy had a bigger hog operation and it took a lot more work to get the hogs fed. Daddy actually had to grind the corn into feed for them with a big machine that hooked up to the tractor.
Feeding the cows hay in the winter time was always fun for me. I always rode in the back of the truck and Daddy would load bales of hay on the back of the truck. Then we would go give out bales to the cattle. They knew Daddy's truck well and usually would come running as soon as he pulled into sight. People think I am so silly to this day, but I love cows. I guess a lot of it has to do with how I grew up. Cows are actually smarter than we give them credit for. Our cows would take turns babysitting each others calves. One cow would be on one side of the field with all the babies and all the moms would be on another side of the field. The next day the same thing would happen but it would be a new cow babysitting. If a calf started straying the cow would moo it back.
One of our pastures was right next to our home. I loved to go up to the fence and talk to the cows. I would pretend to be having a meeting or giving a speech to them. They would all look up at me like I was crazy and then slowly go back to what they were doing. I am sure they were amused by this little girl talking to them.
Glenn was in the second grade when I was born. Once I was old enough to understand, I wanted to be at school too. My uncle drove the school bus. Sometimes he would take me along to go pick up my brother and all the other kids. I thought I was hot stuff.
I would always be waiting for him as soon as he stepped off the bus. I can remember once standing in the window sill watching him walk down the driveway and being so excited that he was coming home.
My sister Jennifer was born in 1971. I remember the week she was born. I was six and Mama had gone to a neighbor's home to pick up a quilt. The baby wasn't due for a month. I remember waiting for her to come home and a man driving up in our driveway to tell Daddy that Mama was in a wreck. We immediately drove to the scene. Mama had been on her way home and was hit from behind as she waited to turn. I remember still seeing her in the red car. It was totaled if I remember right. I don't remember much of what happened after that. I know she came home later that day from the hospital and the baby was o.k. I remember Mama being so sore she could hardly walk. I remember someone helping her walk down the hallway from her room. Within the week I remember sitting on Mama's bed as she was taking a bath. We had company. It was an uncle and aunt and I can't remember who else. Mama came out into her bedroom and was getting dressed and told me she was going to go have the baby at the hospital. I remember thinking I didn't want her to leave. I remember my uncle coming in the room and telling me that my brother or sister would be here soon and it excited me so much that I didn't mind if Mama had to go away for a while.
My aunt kept us while Mama and Daddy were at the hospital. Daddy came home every night to see about us though. I can remember us also going to the hospital but having to wait in the car while he went in. Children were not allowed in at that time. The day Jennifer and Mamma came home is very clear in my mind. I can remember Mama getting in the car and unwrapping Jennifer from her blankets for my brother and I to see. She was asleep but streched her little hands and even seemed to give a half smile in her sleep.
Jennifer completed our family and we were very close. I don't recall ever going through a jelous phase as I think I was old enough just to enjoy her.
GOING TO SCHOOL
I had always wanted to go to school. I wanted to be big like my brother Glenn. I can remember watching him ride get off the bus in front of our house every afternoon. Lots of days I would stand in the window frame so I could see better. As soon as I saw him, I would run out and meet him and want to know about his day.
My uncle drove the bus. It was on several occasions he would take me along on his route. I thought I was something else to be riding the bus. I would sit in the seat behind my uncle and get special attention as all the school kids boarded the bus.
In the afternoons as my brother did his homework, I remember looking at his school books in awe. I thought that they were so important looking and I wanted to have some just like him. I often pretended to do homework like he did.
My brother was sent to a private school when he went to the seventh grade and I followed him the next year. I still remember the night before my first day. I remember not being able to sleep and standing in my nightgown looking into the den. My Daddy was talking up school to me and explained I had to go to sleep or I would be tired.
I had a love-hate relationship with school. I loved my kindergarten teacher however I was a nervous and shy student. It did not help that I had to ride the bus an hour and a half. While I had once envied others riding the bus, I know knew it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The bus driver smoked a cigar and listened to Paul Harvey. The heater on the bus was always too hot. Without fail, almost every morning I would throw up before we reached the school. My poor brother would be so stressed every morning waiting for me to get sick. "Are you o.k.?" He would ask. It took me years to figure out the heat and cigar smoke was what was making me sick. By then everyone was used to me throwing up and I even had my very own bucket to puke in.
In kindergarten I would arrive still green with nausea. I would cry and cry but I wasn't sure why. Many teachers at the school took turns walking with me and holding me. Usually, by the afternoon I was o.k.
We had some really fun times in kindergarten. There were eighteen or so of us and our teacher spoiled us rotten. Almost every afternoon we made a tunnel throughout the room with our desks and blankets. We would spend hours crawling in our tunnel. We learned in the mornings and played in the afternoons.
One thing I do remember about kindergarten was that my sister had been born the year I started. I often wanted to be home with Mama and my new baby sister. I can remember telling my teacher a dozen times that my mom had had a new baby. Never mind that my sister was several months old by then. She was still new to me.
I attended the same school all the way through the twelevth grade. Sixteen of us went from the kindergarten through twelveth together. We were the first kindergarten class to go all all the way through. There were over fifty of us in my graduating class. Many of my class mates had come to our school in the first and second grades. We were a close bunch.
The first time and one of the only times I got into trouble at school was in kindergarten. My teacher said we my table was missing a black crayon. I do not even think I am the one that lost it but I was the one blamed. I was made to crawl around on the floor and look for it. To my six year old mind, this was such humilation. However, I loved my dear teacher. She was very grandmotherly. Our favorite thing was to listen to her tell stories. She also taught us many songs.
When we graduated, the sixteen students had a picture of us just as we had posed in kindergarten. We invited her to a graduation party and presented her with a kindergarten and a 12th grade picture. We then sang a favorite song she had taught us. Tears rolled down her face. She still looked the same as she had all those years ago. ( TO BE CONTINUED)