Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #48

Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #48

Me as Nancy Drew 1

Me, wearing one of the many dresses mama sewed – Mama started me on my love for Nancy Drew!

Lost posts… out of time sequence:

October 19, 2017: While watching Leave it to Beaver I made fun of June Cleaver with her pearls on, and mama said, “my mama didn’t have any pearls, the first thing she did every morning was go in the kitchen and put on her apron. If it was wash day, then she immediately went outside and started toting water to fill the wash pots.”

I later asked mama if  she was going to watch the Presidential debate tonight, she didn’t hesitate with, “I sure am, they’re going to put on a show tonight and go all out.” If I lived there, I’d drag her to vote in November… she want go by herself; it’s been a long time since she’s voted, and that probably was for John F. Kennedy. And if you’re wondering, she’s a Trump fan!

October 20, 2017:  We left Monroe with mama today to head down to Siloam, as we rode by fields, mama said… “those are sugar cane, the type grown to feed the cows, not what you eat.” In getting closer to Bostwick, cotton country… “I don’t know why they haven’t picked the cotton yet, those clouds look like rain.”  Outside of Greensboro, we saw another dead armadillo on the side of the road, and mama said “we never had those rodents around here when I lived in Greene County, daddy would have been out in the field shooting them with the shotgun! We even have them in Monroe.”

As we headed to Siloam today, we thought we’d take a chance to catch the owners of the McKinley old farmhouse at home, and we did. They were gracious enough to let us walk through the farmhouse… it’s in the process of renovations for their son to move into soon. Mama really enjoyed going in and seeing the inside probably for the last time of what she will recognize as once her family home. I had to shush her a couple of times… as she started to tell how she felt her father’s ghost was still walking the farm… while she enjoys telling that, not everyone likes to think ghosts are walking on their property! But I bet he is still there… he loved that land! I was thrilled that the owners gave me a couple of kitchen cabinets from Grandmamma’s kitchen… what a treasure!

After leaving, we rode by Slip Rock… “daddy used to bring me here often on a late hot afternoon. It once used to be so nice, but now the Kendrick family finally closed it off as people came here and trashed it… leaving broken glass all around on the rocks and in the water.” In leaving Siloam, we noticed that Johnson Pharmacy in town is now boarded up… last year I took pictures through the glass front windows.

November 17, 2018: Hubby and I were on the lookout for an Armadillo while out today … they seem to be plentiful in Georgia now, especially around mama’s area, and quite destructive I’m told. We finally spotted one as road kill, but by the time we came back by, it was no longer picture worthy!

November 18, 2017: While coming back from Hancock County… as we neared White Plains, mama said. “I know where we are now, this road comes into White Plains. My grandfather, Lawson McKinley, lived just outside of town and is buried over in the White Plains  Baptist Ch. Cemetery.” As hubby stopped for gas, I noticed a building that had the name, White Plains Logging Co. on it, and I asked mama. “That’s the logging company who I sold my farm too. They came in and cut all the timber and then sold the land  in lots.” I had really never known exactly who she had sold it to… learned something new!

Then we passed a house that had partially burned down, and mama said. “That’s the old Lewis house, that’s who my father bought the oak table and chairs you have today. It was just sitting out in their yard one day when we rode past; it had several coats of many colors of paint on it. Daddy bought it for about ten dollars and stripped it down to bring it back to its original oak finish.” We somehow had missed lunch today, so by the time we arrived in Greensboro we stopped at our favorite ice cream spot… that was lunch. Mama got her usual chocolate and I had Butter Pecan… my favorite when in Georgia.


May 19, 2018: Called Mama today at Park Place (rehab); she sounded pretty good, but anxious to come home. At least today the phone had a better connection and she was able to hear me. So when I asked what she was doing… “I’m just laying here watching TV, the Royal Wedding is on. I really wish I could have a new room with a different roommate, this woman really annoys me… she thinks she owns the entire room, and when she’s finished watching TV, she just turns it off. Every time she rolls past me, she gives me a glare, and I just give her back a smile, but not really meaning it!” (Mama is in rehab from a fall, where she broke two ribs, then ended up with pneumonia… wasn’t walking well, so they thought she should go to rehab… and believe me it was against her will!)

“I’m alright here, but I don’t really like this food. I”ll eat when I get out of here. If someone would bring me some Brunswick Stew and loaf bread, I’d eat it all up. (I have some in the freezer down there, so hopefully, I can get Donna to take it to her this week, and we’ll see if she eats it) Carolyn and Johnny came the other day, maybe my friend Jo will roll in today and give me a laugh, she’s funny. I hope you’re coming down soon, as I really want out of here, I can exercise just as well at home.”

May 21, 2018: I called Mama at Park Place today, and immediately told me… “They moved me to a new room, I just couldn’t take it in there with that woman any more. She yelled at me today and that was it, I told them I wanted out of this room today! I’m still on the same hall, but now I can see outside and see the road. Hope this roommate is nicer than the last one, that only wanted to spend her day in the bathroom. If I’d known what they make you do here (exercise), I’d have never consented to come. When are you coming down, I want out of here. I can do all this at home just as well as here. I can go to the center, and they’ll pick me up. I drink everything they bring me, but I just don’t like this food.” I told her that Donna will bring her the Brunswick Stew this week. “I can’t wait, I’ll eat that.” I need to call them tomorrow as they never called to tell me of the room change, and I have a few more questions.

May 22, 2018: Called mama at Park Place this evening, immediately I knew something was wrong as she sounded very lethargic when she answered. I asked her what was wrong…. “I don’t know what’s wrong, I just don’t feel good.” At the same time, as I was talking to her, Park Place was calling me, so I called them back after hanging up. They said she had a high pulse rate and not feeling well.. Dr. had said for them to watch her closely over the weekend. Being 1000 miles away, that didn’t give me a good feeling.

May 25, 2018: Had an early Memorial Day phone call from Park Place… mama was en- route to the Monroe Hospital. We began packing the car for an early Tuesday leave to head to Georgia. I’d only been home three weeks from the last trip there, so my to-go bags were still packed; we’d plan to go the week after Memorial Day. Later in talking to the hospital to let them know I would be coming, they told me she arrived at the hospital with acute heart failure, pneumonia another UTI… here we go again!

May 28, 2018: We finally arrived at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon, Steve dropped me off while he went to the house to unpack the car. She looked pretty good when I arrived, and immediately wanted to go home… much to me not wanting that. I was hoping to talk her into going back to Park Place to finish more rehab. The Dr. wasn’t helpful, standing behind me, saying… “I can’t tell her she has to go back there, she clearly wants to go home.” What’s the matter with these doctors, don’t they see that she isn’t thinking clearly? While she still has much of her faculties, she doesn’t have good judgment now, isn’t eating… only drinking those Boost/Ensure drinks and doesn’t have good short-term memory at times. I don’t want her in a home… as it would just push her over the edge, but she fights me every step I try to put in place.

May 31, 2018: I told mama tonight that I wrote a new blog post called… “My Mother was Nancy Drew, well maybe!” She laughed and said, “did I ever tell you that me and Willie Mae wanted to be private eyes. We used to read stories about them in all the magazines. I read many Nancy Drew books but Willie didn’t… she wasn’t a big reader like I was.”

Me – Do you remember when the physical therapy guy came to your house after your heart surgery? “Yes, he was a young cute guy, he’d walk around with me outside and put his arms around me and make the neighbors jealous. He’d tell me that we would dance when I got better.”

When I told mama about how Steve’s father took old nails, straightened them out, and used them in building his house… mama said, “my daddy had buckets under the car shelter full of old nails. He threw nothing out!”

June 15, 2018: When I called… “It’s not hot, hot, but it hasn’t been cold, cold either! It must be hot, as I’m laying her necked as a jaybird! Boo is in the kitchen laying on the kitchen floor.”

June 24, 2018: I called mama tonight and immediately knew something was wrong… “Boo is gone, he must have gotten out when I went to the mailbox.” After I mentioned about putting food out near the open porch screen door, she said… “There he is, he’s eating by his bowl.” I hung up and dropped in on her Alexa and saw that he was now on the bed by her… so I knew he was really there. She would be so lost if Boo disappeared. While he can be quite the one in leaving little “presents” around the house, when he clearly has a clean litter box, he is all she has there for life support and company every day, and she loves him so much! I don’t know how she would survive without him. In as much as she drives us crazy when we are there, at all hours of the day, in calling his name and looking for him he’s not on the bed… he keeps her going!

June 27, 2018: Called mama tonight and after a few minutes, I asked about Boo, and “I don’t know, I guess he’s done got out. Haven’t seen him since this morning.” Here we go again, I think this is going to be an everyday occurrence… and he’s there all along, just being a cat… not coming when you call! She’s getting hard to have a conversation with, I feel like she doesn’t listen at all, but she knows how to tell me that she laid in the bed all day and didn’t want to go to the center. I told her about taking McKinley and Grace to get ice cream on McKinley’s last day of kindergarten… now she’s a 1st grader. As we headed to the farm for ice cream I asked them, can you guess which farm we’re going to? Grace says… “it’s either the farm where the doggies (B&B Farm) are or where the big swing is (Lavender Farm) or where the tractor is (Rose’s Farm)… yes, Gracie, it’s where the tractor is! “Oh Boy.”

July 5, 2018: I called mama and she immediately told me… “I’m watching Lets Make a Deal and Boo’s walking around like an old man.” OK… LOL  Mama hasn’t been in much of a talkative mood and it often turns to her telling me I’m being bossy and telling her what to do… so I end the conversation and get off the phone.

July 14, 2018: Mama immediately remembered to ask me how my trip was today… we had gone whale watching on the 12th. When I first told her I was going, she said, “I’d just open a book if I wanted to see a whale.”

Today the conversation turned to the heat… “When daddy went to the field, he’d pour a bucket of water over him. He also believed in putting on more clothes than less, when hot out. My mama made all his underwear out of some type of cloth sacks that something had come in… nothing was ever thrown away. Mama bleached them first before sewing. He only wanted long ones, down to his ankles; they had a drawstring around the ankles and the waist… he wore them year round. When he went to the field he always wore two pairs of overalls, with that long underwear and one or two shirts. Mama even made her own underwear, as well as mine; they had elastic in the waist and legs. I don’t think mama ever had bought underwear, but I did… much later on though!”

“Mama and Daddy had everything they needed at the farm, and probably happier than we are today. After cleaning the supper dishes, we’d go out on the front porch until bedtime… where it was cool. Later, when they had a TV, they’d watch it after supper… rather daddy would as he liked watching wrestling… mama probably sat there piecing quilts… that made her happy. I liked to lay on my bed propped up and read a book, probably a Nancy Drew book if I happened to have a new one borrowed from my friend in town.”

July 17, 2018: In calling mama, after several rings, she finally answered with a really loud… “Hey!” Naturally, I said, “hay is for horses.” Mama came back with, “I don’t have a horse! I was sleeping (yawn, yawn)…  I went to the center today (yawn).” “No wonder it stormed here today, you actually went out!” “Carolyn, (yawn) had pestered me to come so I made up my mind I’d go… (yawn)! I probably stirred my food around (yawn), not sure what (yawn) was even on the plate now.” Me… “I think I’ll let you go back to sleep.”

July 20, 2018: I told mama that Ana lost her first tooth on the 19th! She had been wiggling and wiggling it when suddenly it just fell out in the tissue she was using. Steve said she screamed bloody murder! Mama said, “I would have too!” Nina will be the next one to lose a tooth and Grace will be last.

July 31, 2018: I’d been trying to call mama all morning… finally she answered. “I had gone to the center, and just got in the door, but you don’t sound like yourself”, she said to me. “Surely the sky is gonna fall… you went to the center twice in one week.” “I didn’t want to go, but I promised Carolyn, so I went… now, I’m give out! I found you an old glass bowl down there, the kind you put fruit in. Mama used to have one like it and she always had fruit in it. We had a cold plate dinner today… slaw, fruit salad, and I don’t remember what else, but I’d rather have that than when they cook. They don’t know how to cook. It’s not too hot today, it’s just comfortable. Johnny came today to cut the grass. I was laying here in the bed when I heard him outside.”

August 5, 2018: When mama asked where we went today, I told her about finding the tall flagpole. Then mama said… “Boo just came running through here like something was chasing him, with his ears all slick back and eyes as big as saucers. I don’t know what he saw, but I didn’t see it!”

August 6, 2018: When I called, mama said… “I didn’t go to the center today, woke up but decided to just roll back over and go back to sleep… no one here to tell me I have to go; Boo was happy to lay on the kitchen floor all day. I never even went outside to see if it was hot, the air is on, so I’m comfortable. I’ve just been watching TV and reading.” Me, “what are you reading?” “I brought home one of those Reader Digest books that have two stories. I picked it up at the center last week… it looked interesting. It’s a story about a girl teaching animals. I think I’ve got about a couple more days of reading. If you don’t want to read it, I’ll take it back to the center and just lay it down where I picked it up from.”

August 8, 2018: I called to ask mama if it was raining… “It’s thundering and lightning out but I didn’t hear any rain. It if rained, I’d hear it as I have a piece of tin just outside my window… and I’d hear it.”

“I’m just an old 88-year-old woman now.” I said, “but, you’re the same age as Nancy Drew and she’s still driving her roadster.” “Well, I’m not driving a roadster, but I bet I’ve driven down as many dirt roads as Nancy Drew did. I grew up reading her and wanting to be just like her, both me and Willie Mae.”

October 4, 2018: While talking to mama tonight, I told her about seeing all the potato fields in Maine on our vacation, and she said. “Daddy grew potatoes, both regular and sweet potatoes. He’d bury them under big hills of dirt and sawdust after he dug them up. When we wanted some, we would just dig into the hill and take them out. They’d stay all winter there; he had two different hills.”

“He bought ice, as we had no refrigerator… he’d take the ice and put it in a croaker sack and bury it under the sawdust pile. Daddy kept the big sawdust pile away from the house as he always told me sometimes they burn hot at the center and could start a fire. He would warn me to never play in a sawdust pile as I could fall in and smother or be burned.”

“I went to the center today, but there was hardly anyone there as they all had gone on a trip. I brought my food home, I’ll eat it later.”

“I used to shimmy –up pine trees with no limbs when I was young. You used your feet and arms to pull yourself up, and wrap your legs around the tree… digging your feet in. I used to do all that while Daddy plowed with the mule. He’d yell over, “you’re gonna fall.” “I never fell! I’d do anything to get out of being in the house around mama because she would make me do housework or churn. I hated churning… going up and down with that stick! Mama was happier to have my brother around, I was daddy’s girl!”


Like to read more… click on  Conversations with Mama and more

© 2018, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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2 Responses to Conversations with Mama: You never know what she will say and more… #48

  1. Anne Young says:

    Terrific memories you are documenting of very different times.

    Liked by 1 person

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