by Estelle Graham Hamner
There was always something to eat in the old sideboard drawer in the dining room. She made jelly rolls and fruit cakes. When Wilburn was in the Navy, I went to Baltimore to be with him before he went to California. I only got to be with him on weekends.
It was Christmastime and I was lonesome for home. I had never been away from home before. Mama sent me a chicken already fried and one of her homemade fruit cakes. Boy, were they good. It was a part of home.
One time during a revival at our church, the preacher ate dinner at our house. The visiting preacher was Dr. Powhatan James, son-in-law of famed Dr. George Truett, the great evangelist. Mama had a wonderful dinner, but did not have any butter on the table. Papa asked for the butter, and Mama was embarrassed, because she had just taken it out of the churn and had not worked the milk out. It didn’t matter to Papa so she brought it out. Brother James loved it. He was real nice and he and Papa began telling jokes at the table.
By the way Mama never did know why she never had much cream on top of her milk. She didn’t find out until years later that I had skimmed the cream off the top of the milk and ate it.
When Mama had her stroke in 1963 it affected her walking and her speech. She tried so hard to talk and when we managed to understand what she was trying to say she was pleased. Tears would come into her eyes and she’d say, ”yes, yes.” Mama couldn’t walk by herself we thought , but one time she was seated across the from her bed. Annice had to go out on the porch for something and when she returned, Mama was in bed. She could pull up to do things and stand pretty good so evidently she reached from one thing to another until she reached the bed
Another time I was down there, Viola, her sitter and I were in the kitchen and heard a noise. When we reached the bedroom she was sitting on the floor against the wall. “Mama, how did you get there?’ I said. She laughed and motioned toward the bed and showed us that she had climbed over the side railsof the hospital bed. That tickled her to death. She giggled. She thought she had done something cute
Thank goodness, she wasn’t hurt. Mama had to help “birth” babies a lot of times. Some were white, some were black. She always went and helped when she was called on. She also helped her children when their children were born. Most of her grandchildren were born in a hospital, but Mama always packed her suitcase and was ready to go home with them and help out for a week or so until the new Mama could take over.
Uncle Jesse and his family were always very close to us. Maa and Papa raised him after his parents died. When Mama died Uncle Jesse said with tears in his eyes, “She was the only mother I ever knew”
/ Mama wasn’t much older than he was because she married so young. Papa had been married before and had two young children when they married. They always seemed to feel that Mama was truly their mother. She loved them as much as her own children.
We were always a big happy family and Mama and Papa were the reasons for that.