Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Grandparents

Here is a photo of my grandparents, not to long after they married. The photo was taken in front of their home. She was twenty-seven and he was forty-seven. When I look at this photo, I try to imagine what they must have felt and thought about the life they planned together. I am sure they were thinking they would have many years ahead of them.

It has been brought to my attention that my post about My Grandma may be inaccurate. It is suggested that she was given the middle name of Ethel. If this was the case, my grandma denied it. She always said that she didn't have a middle name and one cannot be found on any documentation that we have. Even her social security card says Erette O. Gibson. So she used the initial of her maiden name O'neal when writing her name. As for as the spelling of Erette, I haven't seen a copy of her birth records, so I don't know what the official spelling was in 1912, but as far as what my grandma used, she spelled it Erette. So I have always known her as Erette O'neal Gibson or Mrs. H. M. Gibson.
If someone has a copy of her birth records, I would love to see them. I am very interested in all things family history related. But as with my own name, the spelling of a name is subject to interpretation. My birth certificate spelled my name with an extra r and an a on the end. But when I became an adult the spelling was changed to the current form, and it is written as such on all of my records and business documents with an e on the end. The same as with my grandma. So, the grandma that I knew referred to herself as Erette and with no middle name. As a child I even inquired about why she had no middle name, and she always responded the same way. She didn't know why she didn't have a middle name, she supposed they couldn't find something to go with her first name.

Whatever the case, she was best known to me as Mawmaw. And I remember many, many wonderful moments spent with her.

Many of my favorite memories revolve around being in the kitchen with her. I can recall when I lived down the road from her as a child, waking up early on Saturday mornings and riding my bike up to her house, or sometimes cutting through the field on foot. She would be in the kitchen making biscuits. She would always pinch off some dough and give it to me to roll my own biscuit. She would get an old tin pie plate and let me cook my biscuit in it. Although my biscuits always turned out lumpy and a little hard, hers were always perfect. When she would pull them out of the oven in that cast iron pan she cooked them in, they were devine.

The best thing in the world with Mawmaw's homemade biscuits was Steen's cane syrup. I would pour a puddle of that thick, sweet goodness into the middle of a plate and break up the biscuit into pieces around the syrup.
When I was very young, my great grandma O'neal would do that and she would ball up pieces of biscuit and make a "fence" around the syrup. Then we would drag a piece of biscuit through the syrup and eat it up. Wow! makes me hungry for some now.

There are so many other memories that give me that warm fuzzy feeling of home. My grandma had a little song that she taught me and my children. When I asked around no one else could remember it, but it went like this:

Have you ever been a fishin
on a warm sunny day
Have you ever seen those fishes
swim and play?
With your hands in your pockets
and your pockets on your pants
have you ever seen the fishes
do the hoochie coochie dance?
My grandma was a very special lady, that I miss dearly. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to have her in my life for forty years. I am thankful that all three of my children were able to see and know her. Even though Noah was two when she died, he had the chance to be loved by her.


Anonymous said...

I have those same memories of eating biscuits and syrup with Grandma O'Neal and Aunt Erette.
I haven't tasted biscuits like that anywhere else. They were special. I loved being there when it was cold, eating biscuits while smelling the coffee brewing and the fire place burning. Thank you for reminding me of such wonderful memories. They are comforting.
Love you,

cd said...

I always had to save mine for the cows. After putting Steen's on it I would take it to the front gate (those cows were always there in the morning!) and try to give it to "Muley" (how do you spell that anyway?). The trick was keeping it away from Mr. Red. I was scared of that cow.


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