I “remember” early events because they are antidotes that I’ve heard so many times, they are embedded in my memory. I’m sure I don’t stray too much from the words I heard from my mother and my granny.
I was born February 25, 1940 in Dexter, Missouri. My granny lived with us in a two-story white frame house. My mom and dad worked at the shirt factory. This is where I gave my panties to my dog so he wouldn’t tug on them as I was swinging. Mother told me granny doted on me, the first female grandchild, and allowed such misbehavior as eating the meringue from the pies she baked for our suppers. I wore dresses sewn from flour sack material, created by both mother and granny. They were both excellent seamstresses.
Mike was born April 24, 1943 in the same white frame house. His birth was attended by a doctor. I’m not sure of the cause, perhaps an umbilical cord mishap, but Mike was not breathing when he entered the world. There were pans of hot water and cold water provided, post haste. Mike was dipped from one pan to the other and his little bum spanked until, to the great relief of all present, he let out his first wail.
We moved to McMinnville when Mike was about a year old. We lived in a rural area. A neighbor boy came to play with me in our drive way at the top the hill. It was there that I committed the grievous error, in a fit of anger, I pushed the boy down the hill, causing an injury that required a visit to a doctor for stitches. I vehemently denied guilt. My cousin Tom was living with us at the time. He took me from my mother and carried me around the yard, speaking softly, drying my tears, until he elicited a confession.
McMinnville was our home while daddy trained at a Washington Dee Cee pants factory. Within a few months, we moved on to Cookeville to another factory to complete his training before moving on to Lebanon, where daddy would supervise his own factory.
Joe Raider was daddy’s mentor. The families became good friends. Joe and Reba had 2 daughters, Geraldine and Sharon. Sharon was a year older than me and I idolized her. I was so proud of the hand-me-down clothes I got from her. I still can see a beautiful chocolate-brown corduroy, with felt flowers of different colors attached with buttons along the hem of the dress.
You know the old joke of dropping the baby on his head? That might be my brother. I remember this vividly. Mother is in the driver’s seat taking Dad back to work after lunch at home. Umm, cornbread, white beans and pork steak, I digress. Mike and are in the back seat. We are only a few blocks from home when Mike’s door is open and he’s falling out of the car. Dad, hoping Mother wouldn’t panic, quietly asks her to pull over. He retrieves a bloody, bruised brother to the car, and we’re off to the hospital instead of the garment factory. Around that same time, he takes a ‘humpty-dumpty’ fall from fall from a window. Oh yes, there’s the time I swung my bat and, you guessed it, hit Mike in the head.
To be continued….