2021: O – Mama in Photos… Out and About in Photos

2021: O – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

O… Out and About in Photos

Out and About checking all the scarecrows (that’s what they called them) in Hoschton, Georgia… who were vying for the most scarecrows in The Guinesses Book of World Records… and believe me, they were everywhere! Here’s mama with all the gunslingers in town… and she roped in her granddaughter Rose for a photo. The 1,700 real residents of Hoschton had hoped to nearly triple their population with 4,000 scarecrows and break the Guinness World Record for “Most Scarecrows in One Location.” (Sadly they didn’t make the book, but everyone had fun!)

Mama couldn’t decide who her favorites were! Personally I think she was partial to the man in black!

While in Athens, Georgia for lunch… mama spied the “big” Georgia Dawg… and quickly posed for a photo. Everything in Athens is all about the “Dawg”… and they are everywhere you turn.

We were heading inside to rummage through one of the many antique shops in mama’s hometown… but not before she pretended to admire the flowers… LOL… mama was really trying to decide what she was going to break a piece off… on the way out. And I bet she did just that! Granddaughter, Melissa, was her accomplice that day.

Out and about with my Ga “Sis” Donna on this day… enjoying lunch at The Blue Willow Inn, located in Social Circle, Ga. The restaurant is set inside a southern antebellum home… and on Sunday afternoons, you’ll find men and women dressed in the period of dress, so possibly a Southern Belle or a Southern Gentleman might offer you a glass of sweet tea to sip on the veranda while rocking and waiting for your table… unfortunately we chose the wrong day and missed them! The front porch is full of large rockers… for you to your southern sweet tea… what could be better! It was one of the most popular restaurants in the area… but sadly has now closed after years. (Not sure why mama was making this face, but I vaguely remember her saying something like, “should I look like this?” I think my son was taking the photo… and caught her off guard, but it’s a keeper!

L. to R. rocking… my son Steve, Mama, Rose (daughter in law), Anna (Rose’s mom) and my daughter Melissa!

The Blue Willow Inn

The Georgia Dawg “scarecrow” football team, complete with onlookers…

Looked more like the walking dead along the road… Mama pushed grandson, Steve, to get in on some of the action… not sure why she didn’t want to get roped that day… guess she was sharing the fun!

Mama (2006) at grandson Stephen’s wedding… she couldn’t resist a photo with the wedding car… if the keys had been in, she might have taken it for a spin! Have to keep your eye on her every minute…

… and before I could blink, she wangled the driver to pose with her!

Here was the “real” wedding couple of the day… mama’s grandson Steve and new granddaughter Rose! It was a fairy tale wedding day… and so glad Mama was able to come and enjoy their day!

And a few years later… Mama was chasing granddaughter Ella down a Georgia street… in her flip flops!

We sure had lots of fun on our “Out and About” days with you Mama… Thank You for spending so much time with us… we made lots of memories!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: N – Mama in Photos… Nickname is Angel

2021: N – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

N… Nickname is Angel

I bought this stained glass frame for mama one year… anytime I found something with Angel on it, I often bought. We always arrived with birthday gifts as we usually visited in April… Mama was born on April 6, 1930.

My mother’s real name is Helen Rebecca McKinley… and was always called Helen until she began working at The Holiday Inn as a bartender. Her “bestie” worked there also as a waitress. As she often travelled late at night in going home, she bought herself a CB radio for the car. Her handle quickly became “the 1 Angel”… and the nickname of Angel soon started right after. It may have been the truckers who gave her that name… as she looked after them in the bar, keeping them out of trouble and they looked after her on the way home.

Mama often talked about how she kept order in the lounge and was always able to talk someone into leaving who’d had too much to drink. It’s not easy managing people, but she always had a way of talking to them. Of course, it was like old times with her bestie, Willie Mae, also working there… even having a few tete a tete issues… but their rumpus never lasted. They were friends to the end!

The truckers dominated the late night hours on I-20 with their CB’s… and often chatted with mama all the way home… making sure she was safe off the highway in the late-night hours. In those days, no one had a phone, so unless you had a CB… you had no contact for help unless someone stopped to help you.

Mama’s grandchildren never called her grandma, or any other name except for Angel… my son would tell people… “she’s not my grandmother, she’s my “Angel.”

I brought this beautiful Angel home from Mama’s on a previous trip… she was sitting alone in a corner… I wonder where this one came from?

Mama became obsessed with angel statues… and she scattered them throughout her house and gardens… they seemed to just come her way; we always brought a new one when we came. As I walked through her gardens for the last time, I packed up a few to bring home, but sadly many had broken through the years. (more pictures to follow of the ones packed in the car at present)

I have no clue where mama picked up this cute little angel… but she hung it up. I don’t know where I’ll hang it, but I rescued her to bring home… she will be my guardian angel.

I cleaned up this sign I found outside at mama’s… I’ll hang it on my fence in her memory. Mama always believed someone was watching over her… she said her father was always there keeping her safe. She felt him strongly when she lived on his farm… sometimes at night his favorite rocking chair would suddenly begin rocking… and while that scared her bestie, Willie Mae, she never felt scared to think of him nearby.

Mama loved hanging her favorite signs on the screen door!

Mama always said she wanted a white rose laid on her gravestone… so I left two… one for her, and one for Boo. I also left a few of her garden treasures… the little kitty was for Boo; hope they are there when I go back. I wish I could have planted a white rose bush at her grave, but I’ll plant one in my garden and put her Angel statue by it. (photo forthcoming)

Missing you Mama! Hope you’re watching over my shoulder and laughing at all your photos I’m posting… but I have one question… what made you really cut them all up? There’s so much information in the backgrounds that I’m missing! I’ll be thinking of you always… especially when I see a rainbow, as I know you’re in heaven at the other end!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: M – Mama in Photos… More Photos Around Town

2021: M – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

M… More Photos Around Town

I have many photos shot around Siloam, where mama was born and grew up… and in Union Point, where her best friend, Willie Mae, lived… it was also where we lived after they married. Developing photos was expensive in those days… and thought wasteful by many. Even though mama won a camera once… she said after that roll was developed, she knew her father wasn’t going to buy her anymore film… and definitely not pay for developing. I guess she took advantage of that roll of film and why I have so many “posed” photos.

I believe this photo to be taken in front of the City Hotel in Union Point… owned by Willie Mae’s (mama’s best friend) parents. Mama often spent the weekend there with her best friend… and spent the entire weekend getting into trouble!

And here’s mama again in the same clothes… that’s why I feel those two spent the entire day traipsing around Union Point… taking posed photographs! She is sitting on top of the tunnel built under the railroad, and known to the locals as the “rat hole.” Notice the train behind her… I’m thinking it’s stopped, as it probably would have blurred in an older film camera. The reason for the tunnel was… that when the train stopped, the workers could still cross underneath to get to work at the hosiery mill, which was just across from the “rat hole.” And it’s still there! When I first saw the photo, mama just referred to it as a tunnel, but it was Willie Mae who yelled out, “that’s the rat hole.” She crossed under it every day on the way to school!

The “Rat Hole” today!

Mama posin’ by the war memorial… just outside the hosiery mill gate in Union Point. I guess she and Willie Mae were making the rounds… trying to use up the film. Just two silly girls out and about on a Saturday afternoon!

Mama always took a good photo!

Top left photo has mama posing on another day… leaning on the war memorial… the two photos to the left, I’m assuming to again be at the City Hotel. Mama did tell me that she was sitting on the backstairs at the City Hotel. The bottom left has mama again in her plaid shirt, rolled up denim jeans and saddle shoes… I’m not sure where this photo was, but I think it was near town. The middle bottom photo looks to have the hosiery mill in the background… maybe she was posing for a photo to send her boyfriend… my father. The bottom right of mama and a friend eating ice cream, also looks to be by one of the hosiery mill buildings… and I just bet they bought those cones uptown at Rhodes Drugstore. I never did get a chance to show her this photo to see if she remembered the other girl, and I’ve yet to find anyone who recognizes her.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: L – Mama in Photos… Look, Mama makes Biscuits

2021: L – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

L… Look, Mama makes Biscuits

Mama made the best biscuits… and when watching her… she always made it look so easy… but it wasn’t in the beginning!

Whenever we arrived at mama’s… we knew that biscuits would be served at the breakfast table… and we couldn’t wait for breakfast. Mama would have crispy bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and… biscuits! It often became a fight at the end of breakfast for the last one… but it was usually my son who won that battle! He always made sure there were no leftovers on the biscuit pan.

Mama made biscuits just like her mother… there was no rolling out… and there were no cutters… biscuits made with just her two hands. The biscuit dough went directly from her bread bowl to the biscuit pan… and for the longest, I thought that was the only way you made biscuits! It took me a couple weeks to master her technique, but not quite entirely as she made them… but if I do say so… I make a pretty good biscuit! Mama’s biscuits were never rolled out, but instead, a small amount of dough was pinched off… rolled slowly in her hands into a ball… then laid on the old darkened baking sheet… and finally pressing down lightly with her fingers… hence the imprints on the biscuits you see.

The one thing I never liked in mixing the butter into the milk and flour was that your fingers were covered with sticky dough… but mama never minded. She just stopped… scraped off the dough and kept going. Me, I use a fork for the beginning part before diving in with my hands. Maybe the secret key was… to just plow on and eventually the sticky would disappear.

The summer I decided that I was going to finally learn how… was not at mama’s… I was too intimidated to try in front of the master! Upon returning home, I made biscuits every day for almost two weeks, until I finally felt as if I had mastered the art of biscuits 101! It took that long, because if I’d waited too far inbetween, I would have forgotten the feel of the dough that I needed to learn. That’s why our grandmothers didn’t cook with recipes… they knew what the final product would feel or taste like… and that’s how they cooked. My grandmother certainly had no written recipes… and mama said, “my mother probably didn’t even know what a recipe was, she just knew how to cook… and was one of the best cooks around. Everyone wanted to put their feet under her table for Sunday dinner. I didn’t like all the family coming, as it often meant not much left over for the kids, as the adults ate first. One Sunday, I snuck in mama’s kitchen and hid a chicken breast in the cupboard… and I got a switching for it, but I ate a piece of mama’s chicken that day… it was worth it.”

The one thing I could never master, and maybe just didn’t want to, was the art of making the biscuit dough in the actual bread bowl… directly on top of the flour. Are you confused yet! Mama first scooped up the top flour and sifted… throwing out any hard particles left over from previous biscuit making. Then she proceeded to make a well in the flour while patting down the flour to make it more dense… then adding softened butter and milk. She had no measurements to tell me… a pinch of this, enough liquid to stir and blend into the flour… and stop when the dough feels soft to the touch. Did you get all that?? It took me years before I braved to make biscuits, but I felt confident as mama said, “the first time I made biscuits, you could have fought a war with them.” I didn’t feel so bad then, as if she started out that bad… and ended up this good… well, I felt like I had a chance to succeed!

Mama even dressed with earrings as she makes biscuits!

I took this photo many years ago with my film camera… hence the working motion didn’t capture well, but the motion tells the story. Mama mixed her biscuit dough with only her hands… telling me you need to feel the texture of the dough… it needs to be all worked together, but the dough should be soft to the feel. If it’s soft, you’ve mixed all the ingredients with the correct amounts… if the dough feels thick and hard… well guess what… your biscuits will taste the same! Not all of mine have been perfect, but once I learned the feel of the dough, that gave me my knowledge and what I needed to know to finally be able to make a biscuit that was as close to mama’s as I could get. Click HERE for photos of my biscuits and baking.

Mama’s bread bowl grew in later years with this large bucket that held her five pound of flour, plus giving her room to work. The small yellow cup was what she used for measuring… and it sits in my cabinet today. I still reach for it to use even though I know it measures a 2/3 of a cup. Sometimes you feel jinxed when you don’t use certain things. Mama’s old blackened cooking pan cooked the best biscuits… not sure what happened to it.

So many memories flood back in viewing this photo… Mama’s “Minnie Pearl” hat hanging on the door (I’ll tell you in another post), the new “high” table and stools I hated, seeing many of mama’s “chatzies” in the background, all the plastic tubs she saved from the chocolate ice cream she ate every night, and those bacon, eggs, and biscuits are making me so hungry right now. What I wouldn’t give to be able to wish myself back at this table… just one more time… and I wouldn’t even complain about sitting on those high stools!

One of my favorite ways to eat a biscuit after finishing my eggs, was to dunk the biscuit in a mixture of butter and syrup… place a dollop of soft butter on your plate, then pour syrup over it… mixing into a semi-thick paste with your fork… then dunk your biscuit in… yummm! It quickly became a hit with my son… no biscuit went to waste with us. She always tried to make a few more each time… but no matter how many she made… there was never enough! I don’t think we ever ate lunch on those big breakfast days… it was enough fuel to last us till dinner… unless we passed a BBQ place… and then we wanted a sandwich! No sooner was breakfast over… we were headed out somewhere… we never stayed in the house… as mama would say… “we were in the road all day.

Thank You for the memories Mama!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

2021: K – Mama in Photos… Keepsake Photos

2021: K – Mama in Photos…

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

K… Keepsake Photos

Love this early photo of my parents with me… I look to be maybe a year old. Wish I had more memories of them together… but they’re just not there. My mother looked so unhappy here… just looking in her eyes… actually both looked somber. Maybe their relationship was already on the rocks. Mama always said they were the happiest when daddy was in the Navy and they lived in Memphis, Tennessee… maybe they never should have returned to their hometown.

I love being the keeper of the family photos… and often have a hard time parting with them. My mother gave me all her family photographs many years ago and I’ve treasured them through the years. Later, as I became interested in our family history, they became even more interesting and precious to me… and then as I began to blog stories, I began looking at them in an entirely different way.

Every photograph tells a story… and it’s often the beholder… whose job it becomes to tell that story! Even though I asked my mother hundreds of questions through the years on many of the photos… I wish I had went page by page with her to ask questions. And now… I have no one to ask any more questions of… hope you’ll give me a sign mama on questions I now have!

This would be our last 4-generation photo taken in 2012 with Miss McKinley. Mama’s second granddaughter was given mama’s maiden name to carry the name on… it really made her day when my daughter announced she was naming her daughter McKinley. We took this photo on the steps of the Nolan home… a cotton plantation built around 1905. For some reason, I fell in love… or more obsessed over this house from my first sighting. On every trip to Georgia, it was a must to visit and take photos… even though mama would say, “you’ve been here a thousand times, why stop again.” Why… because I just want to walk up and take another photo!

Mama looked more like my sister here, than my mother. Not sure what I was wearing, but I do see my favorite black and white shoes… Bebops we called them. Mama was definitely not dressed as a mother normally dresses.. as she’s wearing a short skirt and boots… but my mother never dressed to please anyone except herself. Even though I never approved… and sometimes embarrassed, I never said anything to her.

This was our last photo of just mama and me… taken at Wolf Mountain Vineyards, just outside of Dahlonega, Georgia. My daughter and son in law was with us… and it was probably my daughter who insisted on taking this photo. I’ve always wished for more photos of us, but I’ve just never been one to be comfortable in front of the camera. Point a camera in my direction and I panic! (If you are ever in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia… do check out this winery)

While it isn’t mama in this photo, but instead her best friend, Willie Mae (Walker) Sisson… it’s what I discovered in this photo that’s important to me. Mama took several small photos with a camera she won on a punch board as a young girl. All the photographs are only about two inches in size…. but even though so small, they gave me something I’ve always wished for… in the background in this photo is a barn… my grandfather’s barn! Possibly only a family researcher might understand my excitement that overwhelmed me when I blew up the photo online… and there it was… granddaddy McKinley’s barn. If only I could have “pinched” the photo to enlarge and not distort. That was the barn where he milked the cows morning and evening… that was the barn that mama rode Bessie the cow to… that was the barn where Pat the horse was housed… that was the barn where granddaddy housed his cotton bales… that was the barn that could tell so many stories! Yes, I saw that barn along with his new barn many times in growing up… often playing in them, but I wasn’t paying attention! The only thing I paid attention to was how much corn I could put through his hand cranked corn sheller… and watch the kernels fall all over the barn floor… I kept the barn mice well fed! If only I had taken my own photos or became interested in family history at that time… If!

This photo would be mama’s favorite… as both her grandchildren with their spouses and family… all her five granddaughters are in one photo! If only I could turn back time here! Mama always said that even though she had no siblings now, and only one daughter… she was blessed with a large family!

There are more keepsake photos to follow in future posts… but they are all keepsake photos to me! The only drawback to many of my photos… is that mama to the scissors to them when she decided to crowd them all in one album… she didn’t care about the backgrounds as I do!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

2021: J – Mama in Photos… Jewelry, Jewelry and more Jewelry

2021: J – Mama in Photos

Jewelry, Jewelry… and more Jewelry

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

Mama’s last headboard she fell in love with… just because she could pin her jewelry on it! She loved looking at it all… not necessarily keeping it in a jewelry chest or drawers… she wanted it displayed like art!

J… Jewelry, Jewelry and more Jewelry

Besides jewelry pinned on the headboard, she liked to pin the granddaughters pictures!

I’m not sure how my mother accumulated so much jewelry over the years, but I’m thinking it might be from her many years of working in the clothes closet at the senior center. She was the one who sorted all the clothes and donations… and loved it… as it gave her first pickings! Mama never was one to want to buy new in a store… she would say, “why should I pay high store prices when I can pay a quarter… if you wait long enough, what you want will come in there.” For the most part, she was right!

When I began packing up mama’s jewelry… every time I thought I had found it all… suddenly I’d open a drawer or box… and discover more… as if it suddenly multiplied! In as many clothes as she had… she also had as much jewelry to match! There was jewelry in every drawer, hung on every hook and nail… and everywhere I cleaned. Then there was her headboard… she had to have… just so she could pin her earrings on… and I thought I’d never finish picking them all off!

I still haven’t photographed all the bags of jewelry I brought home… so guess I’ll have to add more photographs to this blog.

As I begin to sort mama’s jewelry… I’ll blog a show & tell!

Mama loved her jewelry and told me to be sure and take all her jewelry for the grandchildren to play with. I haven’t had time to go through… with all the running to Georgia to take care of her… and at times it was overwhelming as what was I going to do with it all. I have gone through some of it, separating all the decorative pins… hoping to make a framed arrangement of them one day. Pinterest has some awesome ideas… and maybe one will jump out at me.

Pretty much every photograph mama is in, she’s decked out in jewelry. At one time her hair was short, only covering her ear on one side, while the other side was swept back… and at that time she only wore one earring… just because she liked to be different… it became her trademark!

We often dragged mama along to antique stores when we visited… but she didn’t really mind as often she’d find a large basket of jewelry to rummage through… and if the price was right, she’d buy. Usually you’d find a huge basket of costume jewelry in the beginning of those stores… so I knew I always had time to ramble as she looked through all the pretties She never really liked gold or expensive jewelry… saying how she’d probably lose it… she was a costume girl!

Just as having her hair always perfectly styled… she also had to have her jewelry on before she was ready to go… and she enjoyed having “lots” to choose from. Mama could never have enough… there was never any such thing as “too much“!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

signature-blog-card

For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

2021: I – Mama in Photos… I Have a Cat named Boo

2021: I – Mama in Photos

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

I… I Have a Cat named Boo

Boo sitting on his perch Mama made for him at the window… whatever Boo wanted… Boo got!

Mama met “Boo” in 2007 after her cat, Blackie, died suddenly. A woman at the senior center had found him in her yard one morning crying… and knew exactly who would give him a home… and she was right! He became so attached to mama… following every step she took. He loved to sleep right alongside of her… often even under the covers… and whenever she’d say his name, the tail would start flopping. Everyone knew who “Boo” was, because he was all mama talked about… he was her lifeline! It was funny whenever she ended up in the ER for some reason… they all heard about Boo… and she’d tell them that she had to hurry home to see Boo… he became quite famous and well known through the years!

When we first saw Boo, he was the tiniest little kitten I’d ever seen… I think he was only like 5 weeks old… but super energetic… running all over the house. Melissa fell in love with him immediately and really wanted to bring him home… but we already had two cats at home… so Boo stayed with Mama. We never had a cat when I was little, only our chihuahua, Teddy Bear, but there were plenty of cats at my granddaddy McKinley’s farm… they were outside feral cats. He kept them there to control rodents around the farm… they weren’t for pets, although I spent my fair share of chasing them down.

Boo meets purse….

Boo quickly became the hit of our vacation… I’m surprised Melissa didn’t try and take him everywhere we went as he fit perfect in her purse! He loved being the center of attention! While he was super tiny in size… he acted more like an older cat… he wasn’t shy!

When Mama moved back to the farm after her divorce, she somehow acquired her first cat named Buffy… but I never knew how or even why she had gotten her as we never had a cat when I was growing up… and since Buffy, she’s always had a cat. It was Blackie next, and then Boo. All her cats are buried in her gardens except for Boo… he was cremated and his ashes were put with mama’s… that was her wish… to be reunited with him.

Mama fell in love with this in a store… reminding her of Boo!

A few remembrances from nightly phone calls…

“About 3 p.m. today Boo went crazy running all around like a mad cat. He was running like he was spooked – even trying to climb the window by the table and then running under the table. I finally got him calmed down. Maybe he saw a ghost!!! Even his tail was quivering – it’s always hard and stiff. He gets these spells sometimes, then he’ll get under me and get as close as possible… or sit on me and make biscuits with his paws.” Mama always called it “making biscuits” when Boo would sit on her and push and pull his paws on her like he was kneading.

“Today me and Boo slept all day – wasn’t anything on TV to watch. I want to come back in my next life as a black cat, preferably a black panther. I’d like to climb up on buildings and jump down on people; I guess Boo will have to teach me how to snarl! What would people say if I dressed up as a black cat at nighttime and went walking around!” Mama was funny on many of our phone calls… maybe her and Boo are prowling around the farm now!

“Did I tell you that Boo has a little friend? There’s a little grey squirrel that comes up to the window in the bedroom… he sits outside the window, on the ledge. There is a flower pot on a stand and he come up to sit and look in. Boo goes all to pieces – trying to climb up the window and crying. I don’t know what he thinks he could with that squirrel if he caught him.”

Mama told me today about the antibiotic pills Boo has to take and how hard it is for her to give them to him. She tried putting them in his food, but he wasn’t eating it, and now she can’t get him to take them at all. Then she began telling me… “I could never give you pills when you were small either. Willie Mae never had any trouble giving Pat and Karen their medicine, but I could never get you to swallow pills by putting them in your mouth. The only way I made you take pills was to sit you up on a high counter in the kitchen and tell you that if you didn’t take your pills, I was going to leave you sitting there. You didn’t like heights, and I guess you believed me, because you quickly opened your mouth like a little bird – and down they’d go. I don’t know why I had such a hard time with you; I’ve never been able to even give any of my other cats pills either.”  Whenever we chatted… one thing would lead somewhere and I’d hear stories that I never heard before… that was why I journaled most of our conversations. Whenever I read them now, I hear her telling those tales… she was a great storyteller, especially the Clyde the alligator story… check it out over HERE.

Wherever Mama laid… Boo was going to lay on her. He would never come to me… I was only lucky enough to get a quick sniff as he walked by. He was definitely a one-woman cat! He never even gave hubby even a sniff… mama always said he didn’t like men, so guess it was true!

If the living room door was open… Boo was right there enjoying the air… that was his spot! Mama would always tell us, “watch out for Boo, don’t let him out.” She never forgot her worrying about Boo getting out… saying, “he doesn’t know about outside, even though he wants to get out.” She was so worried he’d get out and get hit in the street. There were a few times when he did escape, but it was never on our watch. She’d call me up all upset that Boo got out and she couldn’t get him back in. I often worried about her being outside in her later years as she tried to run him down. She always managed to get him back in though, but sometimes it left her quite exasperated. There were many times I’d call the neighbor to ask if they’d go over to help or check on her. Sometimes Boo gave me more worries than worrying about Mama… she would have had a total meltdown if that cat had gotten killed in the street. Boo was her baby and kept her company… she couldn’t have lived without him… he was her security blanket!

I can still hear her saying… “Boo loves his Mama.”

I placed cameras in mama’s house in the past few years so I could talk to her if needed, or see if she fell… as she would have nothing to do with one of the life alert necklaces… saying, “those are for old people“… she was funny… and 90 at that time! Mama was determined in her later years to keep all her “stuff”… on the bed… at arm’s reach. Anytime I’d try to straighten up, she’d fuss saying, “there’s no one here but me, who cares.” There was no fighting her on change… and I’ll probably be the same way!

Mama certainly spoiled Boo through the years… like letting him drink water from the bathroom sink… leaving it running slowly during the day. Whenever I was there, I’d always turn it off and give him a bowl of water, telling her… “your going to have a big water bill.” Her reply was always, “I don’t care, he only will drink from the sink.” It was always… All about Boo, and what he wanted!

Whenever mama wasn’t home… Boo always watched for her!

Thank You “Boo” for keeping mama safe for over 14 years… now you two are once again roaming free together.

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: H – Mama in Photos… Hairstyles Through the Years

2021: H – Mama in Photos

Hairstyles Through the Years

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

H… Hairstyles Through the Years

Mama’s hair has gone through many hairstyles over the years… as well as colors. She was always fussy about her hair, even from a young girl. If she was having a “bad” hair day… the bus driver was punished… as he had to wait for her. In the afternoon, he often paid her back by making her sit in the hot bus while he stopped to chat. When she graduated, he told her that was the best present ever… as he didn’t have to wait for her anymore in the mornings.

It wasn’t until mama reached around age 88, did she stop caring about her hair, or even wanting to keep it short. She used to tell me, “don’t ever let me grow my hair long and look like granny gurt.” I never knew any granny gurt… so I’m thinking it was just an old expression. But in her older years, she did grow her hair long, and there was nothing I could say to her, that would change her mind on cutting it. Mama was a beautician years ago and had always cut her own hair, keeping it short… and it confused me when she stopped cutting and caring about it. Finally I gave up, and said nothing else about hair cuts.

Mama in her graduation photo… which I’m assuming, as it was the photo she gave Daddy in the Navy before they married…. marrying right after graduation on May 29th, 1948.

I think this photograph was taken after she married in 1948… most likely in Memphis Tenn., as daddy was in the Navy and stationed at Millington Naval Base. Mama didn’t return with him immediately after marrying… telling me that they needed to save money before she could go. She lived with his parents and worked at the local mill, but hated it! She went back to live with her parents on the farm and it wasn’t long after, that her father gave her money to go to Tenn. Mama often talked about living in Memphis there… and how she’d take the bus and go into Memphis and walk around during the day as she was lonely when daddy was working. She always swore that she saw Elvis there once… strumming his guitar outside the Army-Navy store… who knows maybe it was him!

Within a few years of graduation, about 1953… looks like the hair went shorter. Maybe it became easier in chasing after me. I never cut my hair when I had children… it seemed to grow even longer… although many told me I should cut my hair… but I never listened! I never knew where this photograph was taken… as we all wore coats… so I’m assuming it wasn’t on a Florida vacation. At least I’m not the only one not smiling in this photo!

Seems to have kept her shorter brown hair here…. I was around 5 when this photo was taken in Union Point.

It was after we moved to Perry (1957) that mama became a beautician… and the hair changed from brown to blonde… guess that came about in beauty school. After mama graduated from cosmetology school, she went to work at Clara’s Beauty Shop in Perry. She had always enjoyed working with hair… me, not so much! I remember having hissy fits in even trying to put rollers in my hair… as those little stick pins would never hold… I”d eventually yank them out to throw them across the room. I was never good or even liked styling my hair.

Mama always told lots of jokes to her clients as she styled their hair… she never forgot a joke! Years later, she’d still laugh over the joke a 90-plus year old woman told her once. As she washed her hair, laying back in the washing bowl, she asked mama, “did you ever see a one-eyed sex maniac?” About the time mama caught her breath in hearing that, the woman placed her hand over one eye! Mama just fell over on the counter laughing… as she had never expected this woman to tell that joke! I’m sure it was repeated to many clients!

My favorite memories of her working in the beauty shop was the many cakes and cookies that came home at Christmas. Almost everyone brought a tray of their favorite baked goodies as a gift when they came to have their hair styled… daddy and I definitely enjoyed. That was the first time I tasted the Southern favorite of Divinity with Georgia pecans… the best! Mama was a great cook, but never a baker.

Mama also brought home sign language cards from people who stopped in to pass out… and hoped for a donation. Every time she’d bring them home, I’d start back up trying to learn sign language… it always fascinated me how people communicated with their hands.

This photo above was taken in our house on Hillcrest Ave… and I’m assuming I took it. Love seeing the spinning wheel lamp, although I have no real memory of it. The art on the brick wall was made by mama… they are thread cones from the mill Granddaddy Bryan worked in. This might have been during her gold period… let me explain. I’ve always noticed that mama often painted things different colors through the years… seems gold might have been the first, then later black, then gray. I can just picture granddaddy stuffing his overalls with cones daily and walking home with them sticking out of his pockets; he lived just down the street from the mill and walked back and forth to work, as many locals did.

While the blonde hair remained… it soon became more puffy in teasing! Mama here with a friend on a trip to Texas. She always reminded me more of an airline stewardess in this photograph… which is something she always wanted to be later in life, but the rules hadn’t changed at that time to allow older women to fly. If rules had changed, she surely would have taken to the wild blue wonders of the sky!

Her hair might have been taken down a notch here… and for some reason her outfit here reminds me of a pantsuit I had years before this…. Hmm maybe she took it apart and revamped herself an outfit. I’m sure, wherever the fabric came from, she sewed it. I don’t remember mama ever buying clothes off the rack… as they never suited her!

Probably after the show “I Dream of Jeannie” first aired… mama’s hairstyle changed once again. The teased hair was then replaced with a high ponytail and a braid wrapped around… although the blonde color still remained. She kept this style for more years than I approved of, but I guess she was reliving her teen years she missed out on. In one way, I felt I had become the adult, and she the teenager. (photo taken on one of her few trips to Connecticut… she really hated leaving Ga. soil) Mama was saying goodbye to granddaughter Melissa at airport!

Mama in her “Jeannie” ponytail… in one of the few snows she saw in Georgia!

Mama must have had this photo taken in a studio as I have a large photo of it… taken during her “Jeannie” years. She had a beautiful complexion… only used Oil of Olay all her life.

On one of our yearly trips to visit Mama, we arrived to find her hair still short, but more flat… she decided she now didn’t want to fuss with hair anymore. This was taken on a trip to Helen, Georgia. She could never go anywhere without the earrings, necklace, bracelet and purse. I guess she didn’t feel dressed otherwise! (Mama with grandson Steve)

The blonde hair poofed up a little more later on. Me, I never changed my hairstyle too much through the years, it was always long and straight… although I can’t understand my curly hair when I was young. Mama always said that as it grew, the curls grew out. She often mentioned cutting my hair short one time, and saying that she only did that once… as I hated it so much that I cried and cried over how short it was…. she said afterward, that she’d never cut it again.

Mama at her “other daughter’s” house… which is what we’ve always called her best friend Donna… her other daughter. Donna and I refer to each other as Ct. sis and Ga. sis. She has always been there for my mother through the years, when I couldn’t be, and is still there for me. Most holidays, mama ate dinner with Donna and her family.

Did you notice that mama never wore a hat… she hated hats and probably the only one she ever wore was a decorative one I made when she went as Minnie Pearl to a Halloween party… stay tuned to see if I found a photo!

My last photo of Mama will be at the end of my A to Z posts!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2021: G – Mama in Photos… Gardening with Mama

2021: G – Mama in Photos

Gardening with Mama

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

G… Gardening with Mama

Mama adjusting a metal butterfly next to the butterfly sign I made her… every time I came I always brought something for her garden as she never wanted anything for the house. She only decorated her yard!

I brought mama the little fishing boy sitting on the rock and the angels… her nickname was “Angel”, so we always looked for new ones every year. I brought home a few I found in her gardens and also left a few at her gravesite. She had a few mailboxes spread throughout her gardens… but they weren’t for the mailman… they held her digging tools and gloves that she never wore! In the backyard, mama had the biggest Fig tree I’ve ever seen and when it produced fruit… it was loaded! She often talked about going out to the tree and eating until she was full… then the birds would enjoy the rest. Sadly, I never seemed to arrive in hot August to enjoy any!

Mama and grandson, Stephen, enjoying a rest after lugging all those railroad ties to outline the garden. We arrived one summer, just in time, to help lug them home… the railroad track was just behind the house across the street… and we lugged several wheelbarrow loads back to her house one hot afternoon. The following summer we arrived to find them all gone… she had decided that she then wanted to outline her gardens with rocks instead. Thankfully, she lugged home most of them before we arrived! She’s always loved rocks and never went anywhere without bringing a few home.

When mama’s Hydrangeas bloomed,they were beautiful as they pretty much surrounded her house!

The side brick patio area she built was always so inviting… in the top left of the photo you can see her black Hollyhocks… those were her prized ones as they had been hard to acquire. They never grew for me!

I never knew where the wheel came from, but the plow was granddaddy’s… bringing it there from the farm. I even took one home to Connecticut with me… but sadly they both are long gone. The wheel was later moved to the garden that divided the neighbors yard, and was too wedged in for me to dig out on this last trip… hubby kept telling me that it wasn’t going to fit in the car… so I finally gave up and left it to hopefully remain in her gardens!

Everytime we arrived at Mama’s, we always found new additions or changes to her gardens. I laughed when I began going back through photos and saw the alligator and lizard on her trees… I have no clue what happened to them, but I did bring home the round garden wheel leaning against the tree. I was amazed to find the tall pole with several birdhouses on them one year… a nice neighbor put that up for her, but she climbed the ladder to hang the birdhouses. I can just see her lugging home that pole! Mama made many of the birdhouses around the yard… she was handy with a hammer and saw… and never tell her she couldn’t make something!

It was also never unusual for mama to stop and pick up items put out for trash… the old saying of “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”… definitely applied to her. Several years ago she stopped to pick up huge heavy cement urns someone threw out… the man disposing of them even offered to put them in her car. A big problem happened when she thought she could just slowly roll them out of the car… they rolled all right… right on her foot! Two weeks later she finally told me that she couldn’t walk on her foot and had been crawling alongside the cat in the house… I managed to get someone to take her to the foot doctor where he operated and put a pin in. It originally was a fracture, but by her continuing to walk on it, she eventually broke the top bone. As stubborn as she was, she wouldn’t even wear the boot he sent her home in… saying it made her walk lopsided! Somehow she healed and survived… but she never listened to us on what type of things she shouldn’t do. My mother was the mother stubbornest person I’ve ever known… it was always her way or the highway!

Whenever she saw me out with the camera, she’d turn away to work in the garden, as she never liked to look directly at the camera… then she’d fuss that I took backside photos of her… well stop bending over!

Thank You Mama for all the fun times we had in your gardens… they were beautiful!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

Posted in 2021: A to Z - Mama in Photos, Daily Writings and funnies... | Tagged , | 8 Comments

2021: F – Mama in Photos… Flowers Flowers Everywhere

2021: F – Mama in Photos

I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but after losing my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.

I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!

One of the last flower bouquets I sent mama a few years ago when she went to rehab. She had fallen in the house, telling me weeks later. At that time she had seemed ok, but a few weeks later she called 911 one morning when she felt she couldn’t breathe well. From that fall she had fractured her back and it began pressing on her lungs… we persuaded her to go into rehab to get back to walking better. She fussed with them there, but one young man would chat with her during the day and eventually he’d talk her into therapy… she never lost of stubborness of doing only what she wanted to do… but I don’t think she ever could refuse a young mans attention!

F… Flowers Flowers Everywhere

I don’t remember my mother being much of a gardner in growing up, but there always seemed to be an Ola Lilly in our yard. Mama told me that she planted one at the back door of every house we lived in. It wasn’t until she left the farm to live in Monroe, that she seemed to take an interest in gardening. In asking her once, she said… “I became interested in gardening after I gave up smoking and coffee.”

Most everything planted in mama’s yard were taken from hijacked cuttings she somehow acquired or given to her. She was never bashful in asking for a cutting. I remember once we stopped at a nursery while out and she asked a young boy working there if she could cut a small flower branch off something she had spotted… that she didn’t have. While I felt a little embarrassed and walked away, he didn’t bat an eye in telling her “oh yes, no problem.” If that had been at a nursery up North, I doubt they would have been that nice and gracious. People are so very different in the South vs the North. They’ll hello whether they know you or not… and whenever you walk into their stores… you are immediately greeted and hear “nice weather today” or “boy is it hot out today.” They treat you like they know you! And if mama was with us… she kept that chat going!

Mama in front of the James Madison Hotel in Madison, Georgia… she had spotted this black Elephant Ear plant and so wanted a piece… and in her flip flops! If she had had her way, she would have thought nothing of going inside and asking is she could take a cutting, but that might have meant getting her shovel from the car and digging up a bulb… but she would have. I told her lets just take a photo instead… she gave him but wasn’t happy.

I loved mama’s Hydrangeas planted on the side of her house along the brick walkway she created. They were all rooted from just simply sticking a branch in her rich soil. She’d say, “just tamp a deep hole down and stick the branch in… and leave it alone.” As I dug up some Ola Lilies and Amaralysis to take to Stephen in Florida, I saw how rich her soil still was. Once a young boy knocked on her door around Mother’s Day and asked if he could pick flowers to give to his Mother… she told him “oh yes, pick her a nice bouquet.” He left skipping down the street headed to give his mother those flowers. I wonder what his mother thought when he suddenly appeared with all those flowers for her.

Several people have stopped to ask for flowers from her yard. At another time she had someone knock on the door asking if they could pick flowers to make a wedding bouquet… and as usual, the answer was always yes. I asked mama once, “why do they knock on your door all the time“… “because I’m the only one who seems to have flowers in their yard.” But the funniest story was when she came out one morning to discover holes in her flower gardens… someone had come late or early and dug up some of her flowers leaving very noticeable holes! She was so outraged that she called the police. I have to admit I did laugh when she told me, but she was still mad about it even by nighttime when I talked to her. I’m sure she bent that officers ear… and they knew she wouldn’t play games with whomever dug those holes. A couple of years ago on one of our nightly calls, she said… “well, I finally found out who stole my flowers. At the senior center this morning a woman happened to mention that her grandsons had brought home some plants one time that they thought was marijuana and how she had yelled at them for taking them from someone’s yard.” Well, it didn’t take long for mama to voice some words there… bringing her back to that day… still being mad. What they had stole was Cleome’s and I told her that when they are first growing, yes they do look like them. I’m glad mama didn’t know that when she talked to the police… as they might have rambled through her gardens looking for just that!

While in Georgia recently, I walked by a seed display and picked out some of mama’s favorites to take home to plant. One I bought, Zinnia’s, was never her favorite and I remember her telling me how she didn’t like them… saying how the old women called them “old maid plants”… makes me wonder why they said that!

I’ve never seen mama’s yard in full bloom and often asked her to take photos for me with one of those disposable cameras and mail to me… but I’d always hear, “just come down here when everything is in bloom, I can’t take pictures.” We usually were there by the first week in June but we always missed many of them.

Mama never forgot her mothers white rose… remembering it being the prettiest rose she’d ever seen when it bloomed. Someone had given it to my grandmother and she planted it alongside the driveway. It finally died out but not before mama said she picked the prettiest bloom the morning she buried her first daughter, who died as a baby. She took that bloom and laid it in Monica’s casket. I wish I could plant a white rose bush at her gravesite, but I will plant one in my garden and scatter a few of her ashes alongside… so she can watch over it.

I brought mama a Joseph’s Coat rose bush one year… bringing it all the way from Connecticut; she had mentioned she’d seen one in someone’s yard, so I knew she wanted one. It took some searching, but I finally found them, buying one for myself also. It was beautiful when it bloomed as the roses change colors in ageing… so at one time it wasn’t unusual to see several colors on the bush at one time. It didn’t take mama long before she rooted several more to place around her yard.

On one nightly conversation mama told me that a woman stopped by from the local woman’s garden club… asking if she would host her yard for a walk through. Mama was like, “just come anytime you want,” but she wasn’t interested in walking them around and discussing flowers. I always wondered if anyone came, but she never mentioned it again. In cleaning through her papers, I did find a certificate they awarded her on her gardens. Mama never minded anyone stopping and asking if they could look at her flowers… and they never left empty-handed. She enjoyed giving flowers to anyone who asked… out would came her shovel very quickly.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen flowers bloomed at the front door garden… notice the mailbox by the lattice… inside you’d find digging tools, seed packets and gloves… although she never wore gloves… she couldn’t be bothered in taking the time to put them on. I’d say to her how she should wear them, but she’d laugh and tell me, “they have soap and water to remedy dirty hands.”

One of mama’s favorite flowers was always Sweet Williams… but what she didn’t like was having to replant by seeds yearly to enjoy them. I used to tell her she could buy them as plants, but she always thought that a waste of money. She loved flowers, but she didn’t like having to replant yearly, she enjoyed them coming back by themselves… she wasn’t going to spend money every year to rebuy them. I was amazed the first time I realized that her Impatiens came back by themselves there… as in CT, I have to buy them yearly. I wish I had thought to take more pictures of mama’s flowers! My husband remembers how I’d always return home more energetic to plant flowers after returning from my visit, but I never had the love for gardening as she did. The neighbors told me how she would be outside early in the mornings when they left for work, and they’d return to see her still outside in her gardens. I’ve always told her how she has much more energy than I ever had… but that was her only hobby. Once she came in, she only wanted to lay in bed and watch TV. She was never one for sitting on a couch… and she’d quickly tell you that she wasn’t going to do that.

Mama had beautiful Hollyhocks of various colors in her yard…. and I was always so envious as mine didn’t often come back like hers. I did manage to grow some from seeds, but never as many as she did. This color of crimson red here was always my favorite. Their stalks could often grow as high as 6-feet tall.

In the center of the yard she grew her famous Angel Trumpets… they would droop with many many trumpets in full bloom. She’d laugh about how easy they were to grow…. saying, “in the fall when you cut the heavy stalks down, just take a 5-inch stalk cutting and dig a trench, and lay it in… and it will grow another plant in the spring.” She could never understand how anyone couldn’t follow her directions and grow flowers as she did! The yellow Black-eyed Susans were always one of my favorites.

I created this frame one year… it brings back many memories whenever I look at it.

I was stunned one year when I discovered this Amaryllis growing outside… I hope some of the ones I took to my son in Florida turn out to be this color.

Mama often talked to her plants, especially when they didn’t seem to grow… or grow as fast as she wanted! I remember her telling me how she’d bought more seeds, and after planting them she told them, “Dam You, now grow“… I’m sure some of those conversations had much stronger words! She probably is now telling God in Heaven what he’s doing wrong in his garden… she always felt that she was closest to God while working in the garden.

If only I could take one more walk with my camera through mama’s yard when it was in full bloom!

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My previous years of A to Z Challenges:

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For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!

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