Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #35
I call my mother almost nightly to chat, hear how her day went, and as always, enjoy her stories. Several years back, I began scribbling on paper those nightly musings. Later I started a journal on my computer and began Conversations with Mama, and just recently last year began compiling them here on my blog. On my last visit to mom, I gifted her a book of all I had so far – she had never saw them. Mama was thrilled with the book and took it to the senior center to show everyone. Thank You mama for your nightly conversations, they truly make my night!
September 6, 2016: In telling mama tonight that McKinley, Ana and Ella were taking ballet classes, she said…. “I used to be able to put my leg up on the bar and lay my body down on my leg flat. I might could do that now, but someone would probably have to push my head down toward my knee and I’d probably hear a crack (laughing), but I might could still do it. (All I could picture in my head was the Lucy episode where she got her foot stuck on top of the bar and couldn’t get loose). I was very limber, and I could even stand on my head… you have a picture of me doing that. Too bad we didn’t have a camera back then as one day when my father saw me, he just flipped down and stood on his head. Now that would have made a great picture!”
“Some of the girls took dancing lessons when I grew up, but it was only the city girls and their parents had money, the farm girls didn’t grow up with those luxuries. Daddy didn’t even want me to play basketball in high school, but I was determined to be on the team… so he gave in. My position on the team was guard, but it wasn’t what I wanted to play – I wanted to be a shooter – and I was good at hitting the basket. But when your parents were farmers, you weren’t picked to be the star team player. Whether they could shoot or not, they were the shooter, that’s the way it was… no farmer’s daughter was going to picked. I learned to shoot by nailing a metal rim on the car shed and using some piece of ball I had…. It had no bounce! If I had had a real ball and goal hoop, I’d have thought I was uptown!”
“I played in all the ball games, we often played Union Point. Our coach was Mr. Burke, the principal at the Greensboro high school. My parents came to all the games because they had to bring me.”
“I hope more jewelry comes in down at the center like last week when all that costume jewelry came in. I need to find my pearls I wore the other day. I do have a real pair of pearls that your father gave me one Xmas.” (I told mama about how St. Anthony helps to find lost things. She told me to say the prayer tonight to help her find them. The prayer is… “St. Anthony, look around, something is lost and must be found.” (I never knew mama had pearls saved that daddy gave her. I hope that St. Anthony helps her to find them. I just recently came across an older photo of mama wearing pearls – maybe those are the ones.)
September 11, 2016: When I called tonight, I asked mama about my BB gun I had at the farm and if she ever shot a BB gun when she was young… “Yes I shot Leroy’s BB gun at the farm… I remember shooting the eyes out of the doll I had. I really should have been a boy, whatever Leroy did, I wanted to do.” Then I asked about birthdays… “My parents never mentioned anything about birthdays, they were never mentioned and there was never a cake. It was just another day. I never gave much thought to when my birthday even was, usually in school nothing was said either. Some kids had parties, but more the city kids, whose parents had money.”
“The Model A daddy had was a dark maroon, before that was a Model T. It sat under the car shelter for years until he sold it for scrap, for fifteen dollars’ Leroy and I used to play in it. The only brand new car daddy ever bought was that Flat-Head Ford, maybe about 1955. It was referred to as a strip car – meaning it didn’t come with any extras. It had no clock or cigarette lighter.” (I remember riding to town with granddaddy in that car)”
I mentioned McKinley went to ballet class today and… “I can still stand on my toes… I remember doing that when I was young. I bet I can still do it now, I’m still a tough old bird. I’m going to have to try that one day.” (I told her to please hold on to something when she tried or she might break her other foot)
September 13, 2016: When I called, she said… “I’m just watching some program about the Democrats and Republicans; this world is a mess. I don’t know if anybody can do anything to ever fix it. I believe Steve is my grandfather reincarnated. He was a funny kind of a person. I didn’t like that he had favorite grandchildren though, and I wasn’t a favorite. He paid no mind to me, but I was daddy’s girl.”
“I was thinking about Flat Rock from the other night. Yes there was a spring there. I remember hearing my cousin Kennith talk about it. I never seen it, but he used to go swimming there with some of the guys. I probably wouldn’t have jumped in, thinking there would have been snakes around. Too bad they didn’t make Flat Rock into a resort. It was something to see, you could just walk around and see nothing but flat rocks. I never knew who owned it back then, but everyone went there to have picnics. Daddy used to even go fox hunting down there. The dogs would track the foxes over the flat rocks while the men sat and probably had a few cigarettes, listening to them bark and howl.”
I told mama about the video of Grace with her hand on her hip and dancing, and… “There was this young girl who mama sometimes kept and one day she asked my daddy if he could do the Boogie Woogie? I don’t know what daddy said, but the little girl said “you just put your hands on your hip and go on down to the floor; she was probably about five years old.”
I saw something on Facebook about sleeping in the buff, so I told mama… “See, I told you that sleeping in the buff was good for your body, you skin needs to breathe. I can’t stand any clothes all twisting around on me when I’m trying to sleep.”
September 15, 2016: Mama called me tonight… “Guess what I brought home for you today… a bag of yarn I got at the center. Someone brought in a big bag of yarn and I thought you might like to go through it. I’ve just been sitting here in the bed brushing my hair tonight. I love this brush with the plastic ball ends, it feels good on my scalp; it’s like a massage. Tomorrow I’m going down with Johnny and Carolyn to get some stew; he cut my grass the other day so now he’s ready to go eat. I’m all out so I need to fill up the fridge again – it’s all I want.”
I asked mama about the picture I found of grandmamma on the horse… “That was Leroy’s horse, his name was Pat. I remember the day that picture was taken, I dressed mama up in that outfit and put a hat on her; she would have never done that by herself. Mama had a horse on their farm also when she was young and the only way you could get it to come to you was to sit down and pretend to cry, then it came to you.”
September 17, 2016: When I called tonight about 6:30 p.m…. “I was sleeping and having a good dream. I was happy in my dream, but I don’t remember what it was about. I’m just bored, but there’s nothing I know that I want to do. I need to clean this house, but I’m not interested in doing that. We went to Holcomb’s yesterday for BBQ and Stew and I brought home about four or five quarts of stew; that will last me for awhile. It’s clouding up out there now, but it’s not going to rain… it never rains here.”
I asked mama if she liked to fish, and… “Fishing is not for me, you have to sit too still and too quiet, and I can’t do that. I used to go with your daddy, but I’d do other things like catch bugs or dig worms. One time I went fishing with him and Bobby out at their farm, but I decided to sunbathe instead, and took a blanket to lay down out in the field. All of a sudden I heard grunting noises and looked up to find myself circled by the pigs, they had discovered me. I jumped up and ran back down to the lake, afraid that they might eat me.”
“My father never fished or ate fish; he’d say that he didn’t want anything with all those bones to pick through. He only wanted to fox hunt, then go to town on Saturday and argue over who’s dog had been in the lead on Friday night. He’d always say that he knew it was Smoker, (his dog); that he knew his bark and holler when he was in the lead of the pack. Talking politics and fox hunting was what he loved.”
To be continued…
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© 2016, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved.
Your mama is a lot younger than my mother (who is gone now) but they had a lot in common. My mother worshipped her older brother. Even started school a year early because when he went to school, she insisted on going too, and finally they just let her. Also, she loved sports and even was a basketball coach when she was a high school teacher. Love these stories!
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Yes mama loved her older brother. His death in WWII left her as an only child. Thanks for reading!
Your photographs are always great! No one in my family does head stands!
And as Mama says, ‘I bet I can still stand on my head” and me…”let’s don’t try, you might break something”.