Posts Tagged ‘Elnora’

Elnora at fourteen

Elnora at fourteen
My first year at high school was exciting. The seniors gave the freshmen a welcoming party. At our party they played all of the Top songs of the day. We danced to the Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley, Banana Boat song, Harry Belafonte, Blueberry Hill, Fats Domino, Goody Goody, Frankie Lymon, Chances Are, Johnny Mathis, Tammy, Debbie Reynolds, All Shook Up, Elvis Presley, Come and Go with me, The Del-Vikings, Searching, The Coasters, You send Me, Sam Cooke, Silhouettes, The Rays and many, many more. It was a great party. The seniors behaved as if they were genuine glad to see us.
Kenneth was in the eleventh grade. He had friends that were seniors and they made sure I got all the refreshments I wanted. He was a friend of the DJ and they played SAVED THE LAST DANCE FOR ME. Kenneth came in to help his friend put everything away. While he was there, he danced to “Save the Last Dance for Me” with me. I even started to like Samuetta again.

Lemon happily lived with his Mom. He played on the basketball team at his High School after shooting ball over the summer for the first time. I heard he was awesome. Lemon could score from half court. Daddy even said “Look out, Bill Russell. Lemon Pettaway is on the court”.
We listened to his games on our radio because no station played Negro High School Games on TV at that time. That year Lemon led his team to victory. Everyone took notice. He was only a freshman with three more years to go. Under his leadership, his school became state champions. Mr. Pettaway would even be friends with daddy during basketball season. My uncles would come by the house and listen to the games with daddy.
One day after a game, the announcer called Lemon over. He said you know you are a triple threat. You are a freshman captain of your school’s debating team, you are an honor roll student, and you are captain of your basketball team. Where can you go from here? Will you go to college when you finish high school? You don’t have to go. The NBA will make you a first draft. If you keep going the way you are going, they will be crazy to let you slip out of their hands. Mr. Pettaway screamed: Yo, that’s my boy!
Momma said: What happens if he gets hurt? Uncle Bob shouted: She is right. The boy needs an education. The first time I ever heard daddy disagree with Momma. Daddy said: If he doesn’t get hurt, he is going to be a very rich man. He is my Hometown boy. From that day on my daddy, my uncles the church and even Mr. Pettaway called Lemon “Hometown”. The name “Hometown” stuck and even the radio announcers called him
Kenneth and I went all over the state speaking with confidence until one day we went to Lemon’s mother hometown. Kenneth spoke to the boys and I spoke to the girls. After we were finished speaking, we asked the participants to come sign the pledge. I looked over at Kenneth and there stood Lemon. I walked over and asked Lemon was he there to sign. He said no. He and his girlfriend only came to see what the commitment was all about. Lemon turned around and looked at a very pretty girl. I asked Lemon if that was the girl he was going to marry. He said no. It would not be fair to me. He had always loved me and if I had not married when we finished school we would have to marry each other. It was obvious I was shaking, Kenneth put his arms around me and said: Don’t talk to him; he can sell fire to the devil. I didn’t know what to say so I told Lemon to his family I said hello. I could see the disappointment in Kenneth’s eyes. I was so obviously shaken I told the girl with me to close up by herself.

Addendum to age thirteen

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Addendum to Elnora thirteen

Many of the kids, especially boys, were teased for being a member of our team. Some of the girls who still believed in our message were teased to the point they could not stand the pressure. Our group grew smaller but stronger. No one ever teased me. I suppose they all knew I took karate. They knew better.
Mother had to stop traveling with us to go to Montana. Her mother passed away. She and daddy had to find someone to keep us. Janie had something important she wanted to do. She asked if she could stay with Carlene. Samuel was on the football team. They were having practice that summer. He told Mom, he was very sorry her Mom passed away, but he did not want to miss practice because he was the starting quarterback. He was afraid if he left; coach would place someone else in his position. Samuetta was best friends with Peggy. Samuetta decided it would be best for her and Samuel to stay at Peggy’s house. Little Earl and I stayed at Aunt Mable’s house. The only one left was Bernice. They took Bernice with them. Momma said it was such a long trip; Bernice could help drive. I think Bernice didn’t want Momma to leave her.
I was a little happy to be back with Aunt Mable. Little Earl was nine years old but he still loved bedtime stories. Aunt Mable read us a story called “Uncle Tom Cabin” by a lady name Harriet Beecher Stowe. Mrs. Stowe started to name her story “Life among the Lowly”. However, she settled on the name “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
Momma had to stay for two weeks to help her sisters and brothers assist their father. That gave Aunt Mable a chance to read most of the book. Momma’s brothers and sisters decided their father should no longer live alone. Each sister or brother would keep him for a year. Mom decided to take him for the first year. They came home with Grandpa. Even thou Little Earl was nine years old, he still had an impetuous spark. He asks grandpa did he have any wrens in his beard. Grandpa said no. Why did he ask such a foolish question? Little Earl told him he knew an old man with a beard. He had four larks and a wren and they had all built their nest in his beard. Grandpa didn’t seem amused by Little Earl’s inquiry. He acted as though he had always lived there. He simply said: Un-hum.
Some days Gramps was alright and some days he wasn’t. He told little Earl to get on Brown Pony and catch the Greyhound Bus for him. Every day, near the same time, that bus came by and a little greyhound dog followed. Gramps thought the dog was trying to catch his master. Gramps told Little Earl, if they ever mated that dog, he wanted one of those puppies. That’s the fastest dog he had ever seen.
Gramps would not go to church with us. Gramps said Pastor Dykes couldn’t preach. I soon discovered Gramps said whatever came to his mind at that moment.
Daddy showed me three tickets to The Greatest Show on Earth. Evidently Daddy lived on Mars. He showed me three tickets. They were for Gramps, Little Earl and me. However, I went into Momma’s room to get a comb and I saw another ticket. Momma couldn’t go because she had a missionary meeting. I’m sure that ticket was for Dad. He took us and came back for us but he missed The Greatest Show on Earth.
It was a regular year. Little Earl gave all of his teacher’s grief. His homeroom teacher, his P. E. teacher, his Art teacher and his Music teacher, all said Little Earl knew exactly what he was doing. He would ask questions no one could answer. He loved tricking his teachers. They would just send him to the office. The office manager used him to run errands for her and then she would send him back to his class. He became known as the office boy. I think Little Earl really liked that. Often times, he and Daddy were invited on fishing trips in the principal’s big boat.
Samuetta thought she was a big shot. Samuetta was voted as school queen by the entire student body.
After my fourteenth birthday, Pauline, one of my mom’s sisters came and got grandpa.
To be continued

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.