Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another memory jogged...

I received an email from Mary, a long-time friend from Denton, shaman, herbalist extra-ordinaire, and sometime FEMA employee, who has her own memories of the days of segregation. She shared a few of them with me.

Texas Cotton Field
"There was a black family who worked for my mom and dad on the farm. Sadie, aka 'Nigger Sadie', helped my mom around the house and with my brother and sister when she (and sometimes my mom) wasn't out picking cotton or corn or tending the animals. These two women worked side by side. Pappy, Sadie's man, helped my dad. I never knew his given name, and I knew him throughout my childhood and into my early twenties.

Later, when I was born, Sadie helped take care of me while my mom would be tending to some of the older members of the family. Then, when I was about 4 years old, my dad sold his farm. Of course, we all moved to town, and Sadie and Pappy moved to the side of town across from the tracks. They continued to work for us and other people as well.

I remember when Sadie and I rode the bus, she could sit anywhere she wanted when I was with her. I always wanted to sit at the back because that was where a lot of her friends were, and I knew them.  

Growing up in a smallish town was a blessing for me. I knew a lot of black people and had no fear of them. When I married Stephen, who was originally from Illinois and Indiana, he thought it weird that I knew so many blacks and had no fear. I thought of them as friends and felt welcome in their homes. It took years for me to break down those walls he had built up around himself concerning black people.

I went to TWU the first year it was integrated, and I thought it strange that such a to-do was made of it -- even though I had never gone to school at home with a black person. It was during that time that TWU also was letting an occasional male take classes there!"

Editor: Maybe that was true integration, Mary!


On another note, grandson Travis is doing well at pitching in Little League this year. Sure makes his dad proud. And this Grandmommy as well! He not only plays baseball, but is making the Honor Roll in school as well. That's what I call a well-rounded boy!


My two oldest grandchildren will both graduate from college in May. Audrey and Cameron are going to be treated to a big celebration in Dallas. Lots of family and friends. I plan to take plenty of photos, and get some first-hand information about their plans for the coming year. I already have an inkling about both, but want to hear it from their own mouths! Two beautiful, talented young people I expect to make a mark in the world.

Peace and love,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post Script to "I remember.."

A long-time friend of mine from Albuquerque, Ruth (an American physician), spent her childhood in India -- with a missionary minister father and physician mother.  She had this to say about an experience she had as a child:
"Hard to believe you were around then.  I was too, but half way around the world. I remember an incident on the drive to Mobile, Alabama from Indiana to catch the ship [freighter] back to India after the war.   We were already crowded into a small jeep, but Dad stopped and offered an old gentleman [negro as we called them in those days] a ride.   He tipped his hat, thanked us kindly and said he was fine walking.  He would have been lynched or beaten if he had taken us up on the ride.   

When we got to town we stopped at the bus depot to use their toilets. Instead of going to the white section, my folks went thru the black waiting room to the toilets.   Someone [a black] kindly pointed out that the white section was 'over there’.   And my mother replied we were just fine where we were [or some such]!  I’m sure we [those damn northerners] were followed out of town by the sheriff, to make sure we were just passing thru and not there to make trouble.   I’m not sure how my parents explained it to us re the bathrooms other than to say the blacks were made to use their 'own toilets', but they did say the old gentleman would have been in trouble if he had accepted our offer for the ride.   Since we were usually the only whites for several miles around, among all those Indians, I never thought anything re being with colored folk. 

And I even remember offering a man [German] my candy bar on a train, and he declined as the person spoke up who was escorting them to some camp.   I surely didn’t think my mother’s explanation indicated the necessity of them having to go to special camps, and nor did she.  And that he couldn’t accept my candy bar was the height of stupidity on the part of Americans!!"

Her story reminds me of a friend I had in Waco back in the 50s telling me that her family lived in East Texas, and that during WWII there was a German POW camp near their home. She said that the German prisoners frequently escaped and came through their country property. Once, one knocked on the door and her mother gave him some food. He was so young, her mothering instincts kicked in. Kindness knows no color or nationality.

Mea culpa! I reported in my last blog that yesterday was Earth Day. I wondered why I saw nothing on the news of people celebrating the Earth yesterday! It's because it's today! This morning I read one of my favorite blogs by a minister in the Appalachians.  She happens to be on vacation in Scotland at this time, but manages to get a brief blog post out every day. This one is such a unique thought that I want to share it with you.  The name of her blog is "If Beth had a blog..": I think she pleases God with her poetry, her sense of humor, and her keen understanding of what it is to be human on this planet.

The little wren and her mate are busy, as they have a nest going in my wren house on the front porch. Put some birdseed out for the birds.. or catch a bug and feed a wren! It's not too late..  Happy Earth Day!

Peace and love,

Friday, April 20, 2012

I remember it well..

President Obama in Famous Rosa Parks Bus April '12
I saw this online this morning and wondered what the President must be thinking. He wasn't even born when Rosa Parks made her stand and refused to give up her seat on this bus to a white man. I remember it well, though. I was in high school. At the time of her famous ride, it brought to my mind the many years growing up in San Antonio, Texas that I rode the city buses. If there were a seat available, I would sit at the very back of the "white" section in order to listen to the African -Americans talk. I was fascinated by them individually and as a culture. As part of the time I spent doing this was in the late forties, a lot of the conversations were sprinkled with what was probably the "jive talk" of the day. To me it sounded like a foreign language. I thought they were an exotic race of people. And I loved the fact that most of the time they were laughing and enjoying each other's company. Looking back, I suspect their laughter might have been to keep from crying at such unfair, humiliating treatment.

I was very curious about the "special" treatment I thought that blacks were receiving -- I often would sneak a drink out of their water fountains that were labeled "Colored Only". Surely it must taste different than ours at the "Whites Only" fountain. Of course it didn't. As a young child I never ever thought of the real meaning behind segregation. Prejudice is not inherent in children.  We know that they must be taught to hate.

Rosa Parks 1913-2005
What a courageous, great lady Rosa Parks was. She is known as the "First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement".

I have known a few African-Americans personally in my lifetime. Most of them were just like me in their beliefs and dreams, and many were higher achievers than I. The first time I was in a school class with one was in California in the eighth grade. I tried to make friends with the young girl, but she rebuffed my offer of friendship. Looking back, I remember she seemed scared to even talk to me. What a shame that the treatment of parents of children during that time caused them so much suffering and fear. It took the likes of Rosa Parks, the brave Freedom Riders, and the first young teenagers who ventured into the white schools in Arkansas and Alabama during the early years of the civil rights movement to bring about the society of today when we are witnessing the first black President. How proud Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King (in the background of her photo) would be!

March 31, 2012
We recently observed Earth Hour. Every year more and more countries "turn out the lights" to encourage environmental consciousness. For one hour the lights went out! I read my library book for that hour by the light of my great-grandmother's kerosene lamp. The flash of my camera makes it appear to be much brighter than it was in reality. It is not easy on aging eyes! As I squinted at times, I remembered the tale of how young Abraham Lincoln often studied his law books by light from the fireplace. I don't know if that is just another legend, but I resisted the urge to stop reading and continued to do so for the whole hour. If he could, I could!

Tomorrow, April 21st, is Earth Day. If nothing else, why not go to your local nursery, if you haven't already, and pick up a few veggie or flower plants and stick them in our Mother Earth? One good thing that has happened in our small community just in time for Earth Day is the institution of a recycling program! Now that's a great way to honor the earth!


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Sitting by my breakfast area window, eating blueberry muffins fresh from the oven, and watching the gentle April shower fall on my resident Robin, who was ready to pounce on the earthworms that the rain surely would bring to the surface, I mused on the effects of a mild winter, good rains that soaked our drought-ridden Texas landscape, and the arrival of an early spring as a result. Flowers that bloom in my yard in April, May or June, started blooming profusely in March. The honeysuckle vine that normally doesn't bloom much at all because it is at the far side of my back yard and doesn't get watered very often, is full of fragrant blossoms. The star jasmine vines in my front yard have never bloomed earlier than June, and are heavy laden with the tiny "Confederate" stars. Their fragrance wafts over anyone who ventures past the vines.

I have always loved Vincent Van Gogh's painting, Blue Irises, and after several years of nurturing, and even transplanting them from my last home, I finally have a decent start to having my own living replica of that famous work of art. They, too, bloomed early and I was sad to see the last blossoms die last week.

The birds came early also, and have delighted me with their antics at the bird feeder and birdbaths in the back yard. I had flocks of goldfinches and cedar waxwings again, and even a few beautiful red wing blackbirds. A tiny wren is nesting in the small birdhouse beside my living room window. Unfortunately, I get caught up in spring fever, and I'm slow to reach for my camera. I even missed seeing the bald eagles feeding their young this year. My cranky auto, an aging Jeep, kept me from venturing along the back roads in the county, and I missed out seeing what I hear was an abundance of wildflowers as well. I was satisfied with the marching buttercups in my backyard, the tiny purple henbits and oxalis that bloomed all over my and my neighbor's yards. I would like to plant bluebonnets, however, the birds would love that I'm sure! They would eat the scattered seeds before they ever had a chance to take root.
The Abominable Snow Cat
The bird feeder and the water I put out for them happen to be a magnet for neighborhood and stray cats alike. I usually just watch the cats sneak into the yard for a drink. If I see one who seems to be lurking and ready to pounce on an unsuspecting bird, I will rap on the window and most will quickly vacate the yard. Except for the one above, whom I call "Yeti Kitty", due to the fact that he is so huge and so illusive when I try to take his photo. I say "he" because the one time I saw him up close through the chain link fence, I noticed his jowls are wide and scarred from many fights. I think he is a stray because his beautiful coat is matted and dirty. Yeti Kitty only shows himself occasionally at dusk. Sometimes I think he might be sleeping days under my house and ventures out to drink the water before going hunting at night. This photo was taken through my kitchen window with the zoom feature. If I make a noise, he will look my way, then mosey out of the yard at his own pace.
I'm sure you wonder why on earth I'm talking about a "fat angel". Lately, a funny story popped into my head I wanted to share with you. Years ago, a good friend of mine was working at a health club in Houston. Part of her job was to show new people around the club and let them try its equipment. The first visit was free. Then, the employees were expected to "sell" the customer a membership. There was a small room set aside for this consultation, complete with a two-way mirror, so the supervisors could check in from time to time to see how the employee performed. Now Jane was a dynamic little blond with a gift of gab. She went through the whole spiel, and was taken aback by the chubby young woman's response. It seems the woman was a member of a particular religious sect whose members believed the "end of the world" was imminent and, therefore, she wouldn't be here to take advantage of even a six month membership. Ever resourceful, Jane hesitated only a minute, then came back with, "Well, now, you don't want to be a fat angel, do you?"  Gales of laughter could be heard through the walls as Jane's superiors collapsed. (She obviously didn't make the sale!)

May your spring put more than a spring in your step!

Peace and love,

Friday, April 13, 2012


This was on a Russian online news site recently... The way the world views us?

Glocked and loaded?  It is more than a little scary to me that my 93-year-old father who is starting to have serious lapses of memory, told me recently that he keeps his loaded pistol right by him, and will shoot any "intruder" who comes into his home.  When I said to him that he didn't want to end up in jail at his age, he responded, "I won't go to jail - it's not illegal to shoot an intruder."  I might add that he is an avid fan of FOXNews.


  • To the Special Prosecutor in Sanford, Florida for arresting George Zimmerman for shooting the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

  • To the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey for rushing into a burning house and rescuing a neighbor woman.
More Peace and heroism!

Monday, April 2, 2012


The training wheels come off!

The next Danica Patrick?

Kelly is not all tomboy, even though she loves to do much the same things as big brother Travis. For instance, she did a little "rock" climbing with him recently. (She is very brave indeed!) She still loves to play all the girly things, such as Barbie dolls. Besides being so adorable to look at, and making excellent grades in kindergarten, Kelly loves to sing along with some of the latest pop songs. I keep hoping for a good video of her doing this. I heard her sing along with her iPod in the car once, and it was adorable. Her mom told me that she is getting a little camera shy in her "old" age, so it's a little harder now to get her to perform. 
Speaking of big brother Travis, the last time I visited their home I noticed two colorful paintings. When I discovered that Travis had done them, I was thrilled! We have singers, a dancer, and musicians galore in our family. Now we have a budding artist. The large parrot painting is done in watercolor.

By Travis

This poinsettia was done on foil with paint markers. I think he may have a terrific talent for a nine year old. I'm just sayin'.... as a proud grandmother.

What did we mothers and grandmothers do before the Internet? Why, we pulled out our billfolds or small photo albums whenever we could capture someone's attention. No matter how tight money was, we had copies made of all our Kodak moments to send to relatives. I cannot tell you how many of these I am getting returned to me as the older members of my family are "giving up the ghost"! Even if all the members on my blog email list do not open the blog and see these photos, I have the satisfaction of knowing (from my statistics counter provided by Blogger) that someone out there somewhere sees them.. and often reads my "bragging" accounts as well.

I would love to hear about your grandchildren's latest exploits. I might even put them on the blog!

Lights, camera, and Peace,