Two nails have had their heads nicked this week by that ever present thinking machine between my ears. It never shuts off.
I have opportunity to have conversation with a very old woman, Georgia, a couple times a month and we usually have an identical circular conversation each time. She always asks the same questions of me, my lineage and any mutual acquaintances we may have. Last week when I saw her she broke stride and began telling me stories about her younger years and we had some laughs together. A small light bulb turned on.
One evening on the porch while indulging in my obligatory smoke, I found myself thinking about my Mother. She is the last of 6 children. The family moved here in the early 50’s from Arizona into an old log house without any chink and with a creek to bath in. Don’t think for a minute that was all the amenities, there were more! I realized at that moment when she is no longer with us those stories will be but faint ideas of memories in my mind… hardly enough info to put to pen and paper (or to the computer screen).
I called my Mom, who now lives in Utah with my Dad in their dream home, and asked her I she would tell me some stories. About times gone by. She was hesitant. She’s not really a story teller and tends to nod of at any opportunity, her being a victim of narcolepsy like so many others in the family. My granddad was almost prematurely buried because of an ill-diagnosed death, but that’s another story I’m sure.
So, now I’m patiently waiting to see if she will help me out here or if I need to do some creative coaxing and pry the info out of her.
I’m hoping to hear tales of them moving here after having been in Arizona and California those 2 generations. My great-grandmother Lydia Boren had crossed the continent with a wagon train to get from the east coast to California when she was a young woman, and raised how many I don’t know children. My Mom knows.
I want to hear about my grandfather,Ed, who was half Cherokee, and him leaving his family here to return to Arizona to try and earn enough to feed them all as Arkansas was so much more poor than they could have imagined. He died while away from heart problems without ever having seen his family again. I found the last letter he wrote to his wife, Grandma Dall, (the only name I ever knew her by). I had that letter set aside with some other memorabilia I found when my husband and I brought our small son here to seek the good life Arkansas had to offer. We moved into that same log cabin. It now had chink and indoor plumbing. The letter vanished, and that is another story also.
I want to hear about the summer the temperatures never went beyond the 60’s and they almost starved to death for not being able to grow a garden. My aged companion storyteller, Georgia, has confirmed the summer of cool temps.
I want to hear about the dirt roads to town, the long trip around the lake to get to that town, and about the neighbors who were horrified to spy Thelma (Grandma Dall) working in the fields on a tractor wearing jeans, and at her girl children wearing scandalous swim suites and swimming! in the lake. Folks around here just went in clothes and all and took a dip to cool off. And wash their clothes I suspect.
I’d like to know more about the original Dr. Grasse, who is still alive by the way. He delivered me and my brother and his deceased twin. I know he started a 2 bed hospital in Melbourne where I was born in 56.
I may just have to ask questions and jot down the answers one at a time and piece it together. We are nothing to acquaintances, but the stories we share with them and I have reached a point in my life where I’m ready to share those stories. I’ll take what I can get.