UNION GRADE SCHOOL: Some of my early memories took place at Union Grade School. It had one room, one teacher, and I attended my first six years there. I was in fourth grade before I had a non-family member for a teacher. My first three grades were taught by either my sister-in-law Gladys (Miss Gladys) or my sister Elva (Miss Hampton). Juanita, Georgia Mae, Clemons, Charlotte, and Wilda were also students at Union during some of those years. During my first year I shared a double desk with Juanita, who was in seventh grade. I remember that giving me a secure feeling.
MOM AND DAD: Mom and Dad always supported our school activities. They were always attending the special meetings, plays, spelling bees and programs. Sometimes they were the only parents there. I have fond memories of Union and some sad ones also. One day Gladys heard someone yelling. We went outside and found Ellis under an overturned tractor. Another day our teacher gave Clemons, me and several other students a ride home. Her brakes failed and we went over a hill. Several of us had scratches and bruises and one girl was seriously injured. I remember Mom and Dad taking me to court to testify about the accident.
TELEVISION AND POPCORN: We were one of the first families in the neighborhood to own a television. The neighborhood kids came almost every evening to watch it. Mom popped huge bowls of popcorn, and we watched many westerns in those days.
WEANING HOUSE: I remember looking forward to my married brothers and sisters coming for week-ends. I also remember some of them living in the small house on the farm that Mom referred to as the "Weaning House." Ellis always seemed to have something new and exciting to share with us. He brought the first tape recorder we had ever seen and we had such fun recording our voices for the first time. Doug was so excited he told everyone who came that Uncle Ellis had something that "catches the talk."
CHRISTMAS TREE FROM THE FARM: Christmas was exciting. We were able to pick our own tree from the farm. We put a box under the tree on Christmas Eve and always received apples, oranges, nuts, candy and one toy. I always asked for a doll. One Christmas Juanita tried to talk me into asking for a dress. I guess she saw the need, but I wanted a doll.
BIG RED FARM TRUCK: Family trips were an adventure. We had a big red farm truck. Mom and Dad rode in the front and we all rode in the bed. We waved at everybody we saw and had a good time. When it rained Dad would pull into the nearest open barn until it stopped.
SHE CALLED ME "GIRL": Mom and Dad invited Ashlie and me to live with them for a year when Gary was in Southeast Asia. Mammy was living with them too, so poor ol' Dad spent a year living with four generations of women! It was a wonderful experience for Ashlie with all those doting grandparents and aunts and uncles who lived nearby. Mammy became ill that year and had difficulty remembering names, so she called me "Girl". She seemed to enjoy having a toddler around even when Ashlie took her things and ran away with them. Ashlie normally took items like her walking cane, pipe, or handkerchief and Mammy would yell, "Hey Girl, she's got my pipe" or whatever it happened to be. One day I heard her chuckle and yell, "Hey Girl, she's got my teeth!"
DAD BROUGHT BREAKFAST: Dad was often foot-loose and fancy-free, singing and joking. He sometimes awakened us in the morning with a chant, "Breakfast time and breakfast ready, last call for breakfast." He worked very hard on the farm but was never very handy around the house. Once, after I had left to spend the night at Gene and Ruby's house, Mom fell down the steps and broke her foot. No one called us, so I didn't go back home until late the next morning. I found Mom and Mammy in their beds, neither able to get up and Dad was out working. I started to fix breakfast before Mom told me Dad had already brought them breakfast. When I asked her what he had prepared she smiled and said he brought them rhubarb pie and tossed salad left over from the night before. That was the only meal I recall him preparing.
MOM'S QUIET HUMOR: I always enjoyed Mom's quiet sense of humor. She used it very effectively to make life easier for us. Sometimes she used it to keep us in line. One time we took Mom and Dad to see Charlotte and Barry. They had not been able to visit Barry since the accident and they were eager to visit. While we were sitting and talking with them Dad fell asleep. With a grin on her face Mom reached across several of us from an adjacent couch and gently poked him with her cane to wake him up. I guess she didn't think he was being very polite.
SNOWBOUND IN 1993: Gary and I were snowbound with Dad on March 12, 13 and 14,1993 with 24 inches of snow. I'm really grateful for that time with him. Even though he was unhappy being so restricted it was a great sharing time and our last time together.