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A Walk Down Memory Lane

Grandma Tootsie


              As children growing up, we were often chastised for little things. There were times when we were called to task for something considered a major infraction within our scope of permissibility. It was those times when we were made to understand “our place.” Not only did we receive corporal punishment but we received a lecture before the actual reprimand.


              It was during those lectures that we first heard words such as Bo-Sho,  Au-lon, Pu-say, and received advice in the form of "Words of Wisdom." We often mimicked those phrases (behind our grandmother's back of course) but we retained the message in those words and phrases. Not only did many of us remember the words but, we chose to live by them.


              At a family gathering in 2008, we began to recall many of the sayings. It was then that my niece, Judith Malveaux began writing them down. She has garnered quite a collection. We invite you to join us as we travel down memory lane and relive our days as spectators to one of these infamous lectures.

               Grandma was the first voice of reason when it came to matters of the heart. She counseled her grandchildren before they married. Anyone wishing to become a part of the family would have to pass her inspection. She may not have always approved of the person chosen but she was fair in her assessment. She expressed herself freely and openly; often aiming criticism toward some of her own grandchildren as she considered some of them to be "marrying out of your class."

                There was something else peculiar about grandma. She had special grandchildren she considered her favorites. No one was allowed to speak of the chosen few, in a disparaging manner. While on the other hand, she seem to seek out the smallest flaw in other grandchildren. In spite of her idiosyncrasies she was still loved.

                 She often spoke of the "generations yet unborn." She offered prayers for those of us living and for our children and grandchildren. Her favorite hymn was "Father I stretch My Hands To Thee."  She never went "out in the deep" when she prayed and she loved her "peppermint sticks."


Papa - Grandpa

               Grandpa often taught Sunday School at Second Baptist Church in Highland. He was very animated. He was deeply concerned for the welfare of the young soldiers who had enlisted in the Armed Services during WWII.  This was understandable because he had three sons serving at the time. One particular Sunday, the lesson was about David fighting Goliath. He made comparisons as he told how David raised his weapon in battle and how the young men serving their country were raising their weapons in battle in defense of justice for all mankind. He also provided us with our own sound effects as he raised his hands imitating the firing of machine guns.


                 I can recall fond memories of the first "Children's Day" at Second Baptist Church. Grandpa  and Mama (Ellen) decided they would like to do something for the children of the community. So, we did not have Sunday School that Sunday but instead, we all met at the church and they served us cups of ice cream and cookies they had purchased from Melba Ice Cream Company. We were allowed all the ice cream and cookies we could eat and every child was invited to share with us. This brought the community together Black and White, and also opened the door as an invitation to join us in Sunday School and Sunday Services.

                  If you never had the opportunity to ride in a Model T Ford, you've missed a treat. I enjoyed the trips to Jordahville to visit with Aunt Hannah Joseph. Grandpa would bring her communion. The time spent with grandpa was wonderful. When we returned home grandma would make lunch for us and they would sit and talk and I would play in the backyard.

                  Grandpa and grandma lived in a shotgun house beside the church in Highland.  Mr. Caluda provided it for them to serve as a parsonage. The door to their home was always open to all who cared to visit, and they would be served coffee and a sandwich. The table always held a vase with some fresh cut flowers and an open Bible.


                  We loved to visit so we could sit on the parson bench under the window in the kitchen. We often saw grandpa open the seat and take out a ledger, make an entry and place it back under the seat. We were never allowed to open it or read what he had written. That book was his journal.

                  Upon grandpa's death,  the book and many other papers of importance were carefully stored away. His Bible was given to my mother and passed down to me. I inherited the book many years later. I have cherished the fact that he kept a meticulous record of events. He documented every detail of his life and his frame of mind at the time.  Many years later, I inherited the parson bench. It was a constant reminder of happy childhood days spent with my grandparents in the little shotgun house in HiLan.



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