Archive for the ‘Stories of Elnora’ Category

Last addendum to Elnora (age six)

Monday after Spring Break
The day after Spring Break we returned to school. That evening an exceptionally terrifying thing happened to Peggy and me. Bay Brother told us to come on home with him, but Peggy didn’t want to listen and I wanted to do anything Peggy said. The sky turned a bunch of weird colors. Then it turned a bright orange color. The color of the sky made the flowers in an empty field strikingly beautiful, we just had to pick some of those flowers. Finally it started to rain. Just a few drops at first then it poured down. George’s dad, Uncle Hosea, became worried and sat out to look for us. When it started to rain hard, Peggy and I scurried home. The newscaster said it was a spring tornado. Unfortunately, we never heard from George’s Dad again. The family examined thoroughly every corner. We searched and searched carefully every ditch and valley possible. At first, we hoped to come across Uncle Hosea alive, as weeks turned into months, we wanted to find his body so the family could bury it. Nevertheless, we found nothing. Aunt Ruby (his wife) never said anything to us about the incident, but we felt she never forgave us. Dad said he believed his brother was alive somewhere with amnesia. Mom said either that or he just got tired of living with so many children.

We had to go to school
At school, we always had a snack after naptime. When we woke, the teacher gave us an apple and a box of cow’s milk. At first. I would give my cow’s milk away because Daddy told me cow’s milk did not taste good. That is what Daddy had taught us to believe. One day, I taste the cow’s milk. It was actually good and delicious too. I went home and told daddy he lied. Papa sent me to get a limb from the tree. Mother did not approve of what daddy was about to do. After all, he had lied. Children should acquiesce to their parents but parents should not provoke their children. It says so in the Bible. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instructions of the Lord. However in Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. Daddy should have said: We have goats and goat’s milk taste good to me. Instead of a whipping, we had a long talk. Eventually Daddy said: Elnora, when you know you are right, don’t let anybody talk you into a wrong opinion. Be a person people can trust. Don’t cry wolf, wolf when there is no wolf around. That lesson I will always remember.
School was ending and summer was beginning. Little Peggy was off to summer camp. I ask my Mom if I could go with Peggy. Momma said no. My teacher said if it was money keeping me from going, she would pay. I don’t know why Momma said no. I was scared for life. Momma still said no. That did not stop my creative mind. I went out in the woods and found a frog. I kept him until near the end of the school year. Later I found a little black snake. Mom made me get rid of the frog and the snake.
The last day of school a puppy followed me home. Mother allowed him to stay. However I was told if someone came looking for him, I had to let him go. I named him Lucky. Luckily, no one came. It was scorching hot again in Alabama. Over the Summer I turned seven. Being a six year old Black Girl in Alabama wasn’t that bad. I was looking forward to becoming seven. P.S. I can tell how that puppy just happens to follow me home. I threw bits of my lunch on the trail to my house.
To Be continued–

addendum to Elnora (age six)

The last night was fish night. Regardless of the weather, unless it rained, we always cooked our fish outside in a big black pot. The pot would always be filled with sizzling hot lard and there would be a blistering hot fire underneath. A grownup, wearing thick gloves, would place the fish in an iron filter with a long iron handle that was wood on the end. After the fish cooked, it would be brought up to drain and placed on a plat
Uncle Jerry drop by to get some fish. His girlfriend went on a bus trip to New Orleans to gamble and he was hungry. Uncle Jerry did not attend any services, nevertheless, he wanted to know how Evangelist Woo found his stay in our home. Dad walked by and told Evangelist Woo to ignore anything his baby brother had to say because everything that came out of his mouth was a lie. Uncle Jerry had been drinking and the smell of alcohol lit up the entire yard. Uncle Jerry retorted, well, sometimes I do tend to stretch the truth. However, I tell you for a truth something my father told me. Now, if I’m lying, I’m flying, and I haven’t flapped a wing all day. Uncle Jerry declared his father told him back in “the day” many colored folk couldn’t read. The church had line readers who read a line of a hymnal and collectively the people would sing what the leader allegedly read.
One night he left his eyeglasses at home. At that time people called them spectacles. His grandfather revealed to the congregation: My eye are dim, I can not see, I’ve left my specks at home. The people started singing “My -a-eyes–a-eyes are dim- e-dim- . I can-not seeeeee. I’ve left- my specks -eks at hommmmme”. Grandpapa tried to stop them. He cried, No. No, I’ve really left my specks at home. The people went right on singing “No, noooo, I’ve real-y left my specks at hommmme. Grandpapa was so disgusted, he said, Aw shucks, and sat down. After church, that pastor told him to be careful what he said in church. The way he said shucks could be mistaken for a cuss word and some of the women may be offended. Gramps said he said, Aw shucks Pastor, You’ve got to be kidding. At that point, the pastor asks him to leave the church and never return. Later he received a letter stating he was formally dis-fellowshipped. Daddy exclaimed: He’s lying! Uncle Jerry quietly stated: Explain to me why Daddy and none of the other Chambers in our family never go to Saint John Baptist Church. Daddy walked away mumbling, he’s lying.
Uncle Jerry turned to Evangelist Woo and said, I can tell you about a friend of mine called Buffalo. Aunt Mable said: Don’t tell him that story. Uncle Jerry said why. You’ve not stopped me from telling it before! Uncle Jerry turned back to Evangelist Woo and started again. Here is the story. One day my friend Buffalo and me went to the state fair. We rode everything we could and when we were near exhaustion, Buff saw a man doing tricks. The magician was standing there talking to a crowd of people. Buff wanted to go over and watch the man. I said no Buff, let’s go home. Nevertheless, Buff persevered, so we went in a little closer. The magician asked a man for his watch. The illusionist amazed the crowd when he got the watch from a lady’s ear. They were even more astonished when another man volunteered his watch and did not get it back. The magician told him: That was the mess he had to watch at a state fair. The magician asked for another volunteer. Buff had just that day bought a new expensive watch. I begged Buff not to fool with that illusionist. However, Buff wouldn’t listen. He gave his brand new expensive watch to that magician. The Magician swallowed Buff’s brand new expensive watch. Buff waited for him to give it back. However, he did not. He told Buff: That’s the mess at a fair you have to watch. Buff pulled out his new 44 and pointed it at the magician head and said: No, that’s the watch you had better mess at this-hear fair or you will find your brains on these-here grounds. The Police came and got poor Buff and I never heard from Buff or that magician again. Now that’s the truth.
Aunt Mable said, un hum. Here’s your fish sandwich, some slaw and chips. Now go home with your drunk, lying self. You are a lazy, worthless, lying, idle, son of….Uncle Jerry interrupts her in mid sentence and said: Watch yourself. Evangelist Woo is about to see the real you come out. Uncle Jerry said un-hum as he walked away with a duck like gait. That is a Christian for you. Uncle Jerry told Aunt Mable: When you get to heaven, I bet you get a rusty old halo, a skinny white cloud, some second hand wings full of patches. Aunt Mable snapped: Yea! I bet you don’t even get to heaven. She then twirled around and walked into the house as she said: I hate that black, horny, lying, drunk man. Uncle Jerry replied: Un-hum, that’s a church loving, preach-eer loving woman for you! As Uncle Jerry continued to walk away, Evangelist Woo asked: What’s wrong with loving your church or your preacher? Uncle Jerry answered: I love my dog. Evangelist Woo said: I have a dog and I love him too. What is wrong with that? Uncle Jerry asked: Do you love him more than your wife? Evangelist Woo said, I don’t have a wife. My family will find one for me before I go home. Here in America you have an interesting custom of selecting your own mates based on love. Yet, you have the highest rate of divorces in the world. Is that really working? Uncle Jerry turned his head to the side, put his finger to his head, thought for a moment, then said: I don’t really know. You are just like Chester. How is that, questioned Evangelist Woo. Old Chester had many questions concerning pretty girls. Evangelist Woo told Uncle Jerry: As I have said repeatedly, women’s faces are covered in my country. In that way, men are not tempted to commit adultery. Uncle Jerry said speaking of adultery, come a little closer. I moved a little closer behind a tree so I could hear. Uncle Jerry told him a tale about his father’s father. He said Grandpa Chamber was Nigger Rich. That was an expression acceptable in “that day”. He owned a Tobacco Plantation up in North Carolina. A few Negros were free to own land and have a business. All of his workers lived in the shotgun houses owned by Grandpa Chamber free of charged. Grandpa Chamber had a girlfriend too. Grandma Rosa Lee (his wife) did not know about the girlfriend until after his death. One Sunday afternoon, after Grandpa Chamber’s death, Grandma Rosa Lee was lonely. Bubo, one of her sons decided to take out old Betsy and the carriage to take his mother for a little buggy ride. They went all around the plantation visiting all of the workers until Rosa Lee got tired. They headed home. Bubo was a little tired too so he turned the reins a loose, climbed in the buggy with his mother and told Old Betsey take us home. They both went to sleep. When they woke up, they were under the Apple Tree outside Grandpa’s girlfriend house. Grandma Rosa Lee asks Bubo was this some kind of a crazy, sick joke. If so, it was not very funny. Bo said: No Ma! Papa came here all the time. We were so close, Old Betsey thought this is where we wanted to go.
Evangelist Woo said: Yes, this is why women’s faces are covered. men are not tempted to commit adultery. Uncle Jerry said: Yes, but that would not work here in America, especially with Black Women. We can not do that. We are not that far away from slavery. Our women are skeptical of anyone who wants them cover their face. Then Uncle Jerry said: I have enjoyed talking to you. When you come back to America and you are in Alabama, look me up. Evangelist Woo said I will do just that. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace until we meet again. they shook hands and Uncle Jerry went home.

The Sunday after Evangelist Woo left, again it was my turn to take a bath. I took too long and mother came in to hurry me along so the household could stay on schedule. Mother asked if I had washed everywhere. I told Mom I had washed up as far as Possible and I had washed down as far as possible. Aunt Katherine asked if I had washed possible. I told Mom I didn’t understand the question. Momma came in washed my hair, face, under arms, bottom (front & back) legs and feet (even between my toes). As she cleaned me, she said I do not want you to smell like Momma Lucy. Momma Lucy was her mother-in-law and our grandmother who had died before I was born. All of her children, grandchildren and neighbors’ children called her Momma Lucy. Mom told me early in her marriage, Momma Lucy went in the kitchen to cook breakfast when she smelled a foul odor. Momma Lucy looked down near the sink for the odor, but she couldn’t find it. She looked up in the kitchen cabinets, but she still couldn’t locate it’s origin. Momma Lucy told everybody she could not find the odor but it was getting louder near the sink. Momma Lucy stoop down to get a better sniff when she recognized the odor came from her. Momma Lucy screamed: Lawdy, Lawdy, it’s me! Oh, Lawdy, Lawdy! I got out of the bathtub and Momma wiped me off. She told me to go to my room and put on my Sunday slip, Sunday under ware, Sunday dress and Sunday socks & shoes. Later Momma came in and combed my hair and put me on Sunday Ribbons. Everybody said I looked cute in all of my Sunday stuff.

About Me

PROLOGUE:  The story about Elnora
By: Carrie Bennett Foxx Ware

I am Carrie Bennette Foxx Ware. My husband, now deceased was Richard Lee Ware. I am the mother of two boys. The eldest, now deceased.  Richard Dishon Ware and his brother Gerald DeVaughn Ware were born one year and two months apart.
I am a true child of God. It is sometimes easy for women my age to say they have lived godly lives. At seventy-one people expect you to say: I have done everything out there to do. Now I will live for Christ. That is not my testimony. I was born into a Christian home. Both parents were Christians. I am not perfect but I have always endeavored towards the mark of high calling. I cannot say I have arrived there yet. But, I am striving toward the mark of high calling. I can truthfully say it is the free gift of our Lord that has allowed me to be a witness for him.

There are those who maintain the theory that one can pray all they desire to, but when it comes down to the truth, the world has the upper hand. Not so, reading the Bible daily will place your will in the hands of God’s will. I guarantee His “will” will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Many things I said and did as a child and as an adult, I wish I had not said or done.

I am glad I serve a God that does not force us to behave a certain way. I am glad that religion is not a thing that money can buy. If so, like Peter, Paul and Mary once sang, “If religion was a thing that money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die” It gives me great privilege to say, my soul anchors in the Lord.
When I started writing the Story of Elnora, it was not for sharing. The story of Elnora is not a religious story. In spite of the fact her mother and father insisted she attend church every Sunday, It was only common practice for people of that generation who wanted a better life to get it by attending church. The story of Elnora gives a glimpse of life for Black folk during the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s Many young Blacks do not know what life for Blacks was actually like. I can say that as a matter of fact by the questions I am asked by some of our young visitors at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. All of us did not have the same experiences. Some Blacks during that area were people of wealth, some were poor and some were middle class.
The story of Elnora tells a tale about a little ordinary Colored girl whose formative years were formed just before the civil rights movement kicks off. Our lives as a race of people did not abruptly terminate with slavery nor did it abruptly commence in the sixties with the Active Civil Rights Movement. Most of what I have written about Elnora is make believe. However, Elnora is also the actual experiences of my own and other people. Just as Elnora, I too was a nosey little girl. I was often getting myself in trouble due to my inability to control my thoughts and behavior.
I have been told one’s thoughts control everything about you. It controls our physical as well as our spiritual and social well-being. As a man thinketh so is he. You may be as wise as Solomon, but we must not lean to our own understanding. We must study the word of God. For those who don’t believe, (Elnora is not just for believers) there is a God. His way is the way of truth. Read the story of Elnora and share some of your stories with me.

The trials and Tribulations of Elnora (age six)

It was a regular hot, fall, Sunday afternoon in Alabama. The year was 1949 and the women were inside frying chicken on an old Coal Stove. The children were outside playing hopscotch. One of the games children often played during that era. There was no cost. Someone simply drew the board in the dirt and all the children played. Others jumped rope or played fiddle sticks. Fiddle sticks was a game actually played with wooden sticks by holding them in one hand and letting them drop on the table. Once they dropped, the one dropping them had to pick them up one at a time without touching any of the other sticks. They were color-coded. The player received different points, corresponding to the the number of sticks and colors picked up. When a stick was touched, it was another child’s turn. Children had fun in those days that did not cost their parents an arm and a leg.

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