third addendum to Elnora at eight

Evangelist Armstrong always told us many parables. One that I cannot forget is the story of the “Stupid King”. The King was not only stupid, he was greedy. The king sent his maid to the goose house to collect eggs. She would bring back a golden egg each day. The King asks his maid to find out how the goose did that. As hard as she tried, she could not ascertain how the goose did that. The foolish King decided to kill the goose and dissect her to discover how she laid the golden egg. The goose was killed, the goose was eaten but nonetheless, the King could not get more golden eggs. Evangelist Armstrong said he experienced a situation similar to that in a community he serviced. A young man wanted to get some money from his mother. She would not give it to him. He decided to kill his mother; however, she suspected what he wanted to do. She changed all of her insurances, her CD’s, her Annuities, and all of her checking accounts, saving accounts and whatever else she had and he got nothing! His message, “Don’t kill the goose who lays the golden egg”, never left my memory.


After the two week revival, the deacons host a going-away party for Pastor Hill and his wife at our home. Mrs. Tibb and Evangelist Armstrong and his wife were invited as well. Mark was head of the Deacon Board at the time but he couldn’t be there. At the time he was pledging Alpha. He could not talk for six weeks. I tried to get Mark to talk but he wouldn’t. I heard him talking to his parents. His father said the Alpha Fraternity didn’t have x-ray vision and they couldn’t see what was going on in his house. Subsequently during Hell Week, Mark had to stay on campus. I heard him say, he was pledging Alpha. At the time, the only thing I knew was Campbell’s Alphabet soup. I told Peggy, Mark would not be there because he had to go to the soup meeting.
It was summertime and Evangelist Armstrong played ball with the deacons. Mrs. Tibb, Mrs. Armstrong, Pastor& Mrs. Hill sat on the porch with the women folk who were not in the kitchen. Mrs. Hill said; the church never did forget Pastor Tibb. They were accustomed to youth and vitality. They forgot they had wisdom, good judgment, prudence, understanding and advisability. It is a shame the way some of the folk have treated you folk expressed Mrs. Armstrong without hesitation. Mrs. Hill said; I hear they are thinking about getting your husband to fill the position. Watch out! You’re no spring chicken, my dear. Mrs. Armstrong was a little offended. Mrs. Armstrong said; yes, I’m proud of getting older. When I get your age, I sure I’ll be even prouder. Mrs. Tibb first cleared her throat and articulated in a very expressive tone: Aren’t we having beautiful weather? Your son and his wife are fortunate to have you come to welcome the new life into their lives. Why didn’t she invite her parents to come? Mrs. Hill answered; she did, they could not afford to go.
Aunt Katherine yelled from the kitchen. Don’t go over there bossing everyone around. You could mess up their lives so badly. Some families get so entangled with in-laws that only God alone can solve their problems. Mrs. Hill replied; I have a good son, I don’t think there will be any problems. Yes, recounted Aunt Katherine, but you didn’t mention if you have a good daughter-in-law. Will she allow you to push her around? Of course not, Mrs. Hill retorted, I love that girl, even though Betty does have a mind of her own. OK, said Aunt Kat, but you know you can take sweetening out of sugar. All I am saying; be careful while you are over there. Don’t hurt your daughter-in-law’s feelings and don’t get yours hurt. Mrs. Armstrong went into the house to use the bathroom. While she was gone, Mrs. Hill said: If she hopes to become a Pastor’s wife, she needs to get her “butt” off of her shoulders.
I hated Mrs. Tibb ask “Aren’t we having beautiful weather?” I wanted to see Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Armstrong get into a “cat” fight. Just like trashy girl said: “I wanted to see them get it on!” Then I remembered Momma saying from Galatians 5: 24-26. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Lemon came and helped churn ice-cream. At the end of August came September. School would start again after Labor Day and I was nine. One more year and Little Earl would start school. I would be a big girl. I would show Little Earl all the ropes. I would be large and in charge. Just wait until next year! You’ll see!

The End

Elnora at Nine
I went to fourth grade, Bay Brother and Peggy went to another school. I missed them. Lemon tried to be my friend but I could never quite forgive him for embarrassing me in front of my relatives and friends. Not only could I not forgive him for that but also for stealing a kiss. He was supposed to be my best friend at school. Finally, Lemon found a girl who kissed him back. I don’t know why, but that made me mad too. He was supposed to be my best friend. What was Lemon doing kissing another girl? Aunt Mable said one day it would all come clear to me. One day Lemon asks if he could be my boyfriend. I told Lemon NO. He could not be my boyfriend not now or ever. That did not deter Lemon from being best friends with Bay Brother. They went fishing and out of Bay Brother’s allowance, he paid for Lemon to go to weekend camp. That was Bay Brother’s business. I didn’t care!
I buried myself in school. I didn’t care what Lemon did. However, I discovered Lemon was smart. The teachers and all the girls like Lemon. Some of the girls said he was cute. They didn’t know what messy family life Lemon had. Looking back now, I don’t suppose it mattered. Lemon was so popular; he became school student council president. I was the president of our class. Whenever Lemon called for a meeting, I was there. Sometimes there was a tie vote. I broke the tie for Lemon. On the first day of school that year, we had a new teacher. She called the roll. She called Lemon Pettaway. The teacher thought someone was trying to punk her. The teacher asked if Lemon was a real name. He said: yes, but he did have a nick name. The entire class was surprised. We didn’t know Lemon had a nick name. He told the teacher, only his mother and his brothers and sisters called him by his nick name. The teacher asked Lemon what was his nick name. In a very low almost inaudible voice, Lemon said “Do Do” The teacher said: Sir, what did you say? One of our loud mouth classmates said: He said Do Do! All of the children burst out laughing. I stood up and told them if I caught anyone laughing, they would have to see me. The teacher said: And me! From that day to this Lemon has never given anyone his nick name.
That afternoon I was deliberately late getting on the bus. Usually, Lemon sat by me going home. That afternoon I wanted a seat behind Lemon so I could study him. Lemon was black as tar. However, he had keen facial features and straight black hair. None of the other members of his family looked like him. Mr. Pettaway was a light brown man. He was probably what the grown up women folk called good-looking when he was young. Lemon’s mother was a pretty light brown skin woman with hair that did not call for a straightening comb. Mr. Pettaway’s wife looked like a white woman; her hair looked like a white woman’s hair. The only exception; she had Negroid features. I suppose when Lemon was born, he looked like a little black turd. That afternoon, the little girl who let Lemon kiss her, parents couldn’t come for her, she had to ride our bus. She leaned over to give Lemon a little kiss. Out of the corner of his eye, he looked at me. I turned my head so I wouldn’t have to look at that mess. When we got home Lemon came to our house looking for Bay Brother, but his bus had not come yet. Lemon then asks Mom if I was at home. When I came to the door, Lemon apologized. I asked what he was apologizing for. He said he should have saved my seat on the bus.
After Christmas, Lemon announced to the class his family was moving. His mother found a job in another town. Lemon promised when they got a telephone, he would call. I looked forward to my first long distance call. I imagined they never got settled or they never got a telephone. Lemon never called. I told Aunt Mable I missed Lemon. Aunt Mable said: You never miss your water until your well run dry. Aunt Mable always spoke in riddles. I knew her .next sentence would be, “One day you will understand.”
CHURCH
Pastor Hill had been gone six months and the church had not found a pastor. Evangelist Armstrong didn’t want the position but his wife did. The church needed money. Therefore, she put on a play she had written called The Devil’s funeral. Mrs. Armstrong had become good friends with Brother Crosby’s wife. Brother Crosby owned the local funeral home in town. He let Mrs. Armstrong borrow a casket for the play. Joe L, Anthony, Chester, Robert, Peggy, Bay Brother, Bernice, Janie and I were in the play. Chester gave the eulogy and Robert read the obituary. Bernice read a poem. Joe L and Anthony served as the undertakers. After the mark funeral, Joe L and Anthony called for the audience to view the body. They open the casket and asked each row to come take a look. Inside the casket, Mrs. Armstrong had a body length mirror. Some of the men on the deacon board didn’t like the play because they knew they were the Devil.
Some of the congregation thought Pastor Armstrong was a pretty good preacher. I thought he was ok. However, I do remember the story he told us about the two little bad boys. I cannot remember the sermon however. I do remember the story about the three little boys. One was good and two were bad boys. The good little boy was invited to the palace to see the king. On his way to the palace, one of the bad boys asks him where he was going. He told the bad boy, he had been invited to the palace by the king to get a gift. The bad boy told him he couldn’t go unless he promised to give him half of whatever the King gave him. To make sure the good little boy kept his promise, the bad little boy decided he would go with him. The good little boy set off on down the road. Eventually, he met the other bad boy who told him the same thing. All friends went to the palace. The King would only let the good boy inside the gates. The king said, now that you are here, what can I give you? You can have anything you want. Remember. You must ask for it. The good little boy said I want a sound beating. The king said: Surely you don’t want a beating. Remember, you can have anything you want. You just need to ask for it. The good little boy said NO. Give me a good sound beating. Being the king was a man of his word, he sent for his whipping servants. Just as they were about to whip the good little boy, he said wait! I have two friends outside. They each told me they wanted one half of anything I got. Give one half of my beating to one friend and the other half of the beating to the other friend.
They were going to give Evangelist Armstrong one more chance. Mrs. Armstrong put on another play she had written. This time it was an Easter Play. The play centered on the crucifixions of Christ. Evidently, Mrs. Armstrong believed in realism. She had a girl with long hair play the part of Jesus. Underneath her robe she had a balloon filled with red cool aid. Red cool aid drip down the robe as the Roman Soldiers pierced her side. Some of the ladies thought she had really killed the girl. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The deacons voted to look for another pastor.
After that incident, a series of ministers visited our church. There were young men, old men, middle age men, some ugly and some good looking. In addition there were even women ministers as well. Every minister this side of the Missouri and beyond came to our church. They hoop, they hollered, some preached until sweat ran down their face. Then one Sunday Pastor Dykes came. He didn’t catch my eye because he was good looking. There had been good looking men there before. There was something special about Pastor William Dykes. He caught everyone’s attention. Both old and young paid attention to his message. Before, I brought my new toy to church and played tic tack toe with my friends. I had an erasable board that I could use. We drew the tic tack toe on my erasable board and erased it when we finished the game by taking the top sheet up. That day we did not play. When he stood up, he admonished us to lay aside everything. Children were playing games, some of the younger women were gossiping about the week end. Some of the older generation was reading the Bible. There were people there doing all sorts of things. He warned us, just as we had learned a few things about him before his arrival; he too heard a few things about us. One criticism he had for us, we had to listen. If we were not going to listen he was not going to preach. Everyone stopped what they were doing and sat up straight and tall. He spoke on the subject “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart.” When he finished teaching, he read this poem.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart: Wean it from earth, through all its puls –es move;
Stoop to my weak-ness, might-y as Thou art, and make me love Thee as I ought to love.
Hast thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?
And, all thine own-soul, heart, and strength and mind. I see Thy cross-there
Teach my heart to cling: Oh, let me seek Thee, and oh, let me find
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, No sudden rending of
The veil of clay. No an-gel vis it ant, No o p’ning skies: But take the dim ness of my soul a way
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the ris-ing doubt, the reb el sigh; Teach me the pa-tience of un-an-swered prayer.
He spoke with authority. He spoke like a man who had not memorized words in seminary school or someone who had learn to recite some jargon from a theology class but a child who was personally acquainted with the Lord. We were all amazed with the charisma of this man. Word spread. At Lilly Grove Baptist Church, there is a man who is personally acquainted with Jesus.
Dinner was all abuzz. It was the first Sunday and all of us attended church that Sunday. We ate a little later than usual. I was nine and I could help out in the kitchen. I was asked to go out to the flower bed and find pretty flowers for the table. Afterwards, I placed plates, glasses, knives, spoons and forks on the table. Samuetta thought she was a big girl and she tried to instruct me where to place the knives, spoons and forks. I told Samuetta: You are not the boss of me. Momma said: Boo boo diddly mia wa ton shu. So I let Samuetta show me where to place the utensils, but I still think she didn’t know what she was talking about.
The women could not contain themselves concerning the sermon. They were all mesmerized by this young man. He appealed not only to the women but to the men as well. He had captivated the hearts of the older men and women. They stopped reading their Bibles and started paying attention. Young single women found him fascinating. He had even captivated the young boys. Latter that first Sunday afternoon, they met at the church for a game of basketball. I knew there was something special about Pastor Dykes but I couldn’t concentrate on him because I was waiting for a telephone call from Lemon.
I was so disappointed that I had not heard anything; I climb the tree in our front yard. It was the same tree Lemon would climb when he would come to visit. It is true, on a clear day, you can see forever. When I climbed the tree I could see a car turning over dirt coming to our house. Since our house was out by itself, I knew they were coming to our house. While I was in the tree, Uncle Bob announced he and his family was moving into town. Since he and Aunt Katherine were the parents of Peggy and Bay Brother, that meant they were moving as well. I wanted to screamed, why everyone wanted to desert me! I ran in the house to tell Momma company was headed to our house. For being a lookout I received that kind of news. To the families, I said: Thanks a lot!
I went back to my tree and sat in one of the swings, Lemon and Bay Brother made out of old car tires and cried. Aunt Mable came outside to comfort me. She sat in the other swing that Lemon and Bay Brother made. Aunt Mable disclosed affectionately: Baby Dew, sometimes people have a short season in our lives. When we miss them the most look up at the sky, it’s the same sky that they see. If it is day, look toward the sun, they see the same sun you see. If it is night, look at the moon and the stars. They see the same moon and stars you see. Feel the wind; it is the same wind they feel. Blow a kiss at the wind; it is the same wind that kissed them. Everything works out good for those who love the Lord. She patted me on the back and walked back inside the house.
When the car got closer, I could see it was a 1953 Lincoln Ford. It was the sharpest thing I had ever seen. Inside I could see Pastor Dykes and a beautiful young woman. He got out, walked around and opens the door for her. I thought she would never stop standing up. She was a tall, Ex Ebony Magazine Model. He brought her by our house because all of the men in our house were deacons with great influence in the church. Momma said: there goes the daydreams of many a young woman. The following Sunday, he introduce his fiancée to the church. She knew the word too. Her father was a minister. She had been brought up in the church. Upon getting engaged, she decided to give up her career as a model and focus on becoming a minister’s wife. They didn’t need her income. He had been a writer for a Christian Magazine. His articles would run for the next ten years. This meant he had a residual income from those articles. The next Sunday, all the visiting young women were gone.
The next week I was very happy! Peggy invited me to spend the weekend in her new home. I was as happy as a chicken wearing a dress. Together like old times. What could go wrong? Peggy and me, just like old times, yes? No! When I got there, Peggy was acting all grown up with her friends from her new school. They were putting on makeup and painting their fingernails looking like late Saturday night or early Sunday morning Clowns. Peggy and her new friends just made me sick. I told Aunt Kat I was sick and I needed to go home. Robert asks me not to go home. He asks me to go to his room and watch TV. That was a novelty for me. We had a TV room. But we did not have TVs in our bedrooms. We ate popcorn and watched “Gun smoke” I like that show. Afterwards we watched “Rawhide”. By that time, Peggy’s friends had gone home and she acted like her old self. From that time on I told Momma if Peggy wanted to see me she would have to come to our house. Peggy came regularly because her pony was still on the farm. There was no place to keep it in town. I guess Peggy had her butt on her shoulders because they had two and a half baths. There was a Master bath for the parents. They had a bathroom for the children and a half bath for guess. I guess that made them special.
Next, you guess right, Aunt Mable and Uncle Paul built a house and moved a couple of lots down from us. Now, with the exception of our family, our house was empty. No more laughter. We had no more fun and games. We were all alone. A chair was just a chair. Our house was not a home. When I climbed the stairs, Aunt Mable was not there to read me a chapter book. I was a child without direction. I could tell Momma missed everybody as well. She had to do all of the woman’s work alone. We grew up fast. We had to. Now there was more responsibility. We only saw our relatives a few hours on weekends. Some weekends they all didn’t come. Work, school or other engagements kept them from coming. Times were sad, sad and sadder. I asked Daddy if we could get another bath since we had so many empty rooms. Daddy remarked we really didn’t need another bath with everybody gone. I distinguishably augured, we did! Our relatives came to visit and they had no place to use the bathroom. Momma observed I was right. We got a bath and a half. Now – just like Peggy, I had two baths and a half. In fact including the outhouse, we had more places to use the toilet than Peggy. No more washing on the back porch with a ringer washer. A ringer washer washes your clothes electrically, but you had to take them out and manually place them in the ringer on top. Next, we put them in a number three tub to rinse them. Last, in another number three tub we added bluing to the water and rinse them again and hung them on the clothes line to dry. We now had a washroom. We had a washer and dryer and a new ironing board and iron. Before, Momma ironed with a heavy metal iron that had to be continually placed on fire. While all the construction was going on, we were a little cramped. As it turned out, it was all worth it. We were now officially rich.

Momma had no more time to work outside the home. She was our mom and our mom alone. I think dad was glad to have a stay at home wife. I heard him say: finally you listen to me. Aren’t you glad to be a stay at home wife? Mother replied: Yes I am, but there were things the children needed you wouldn’t get them. Now I have my own bank account. That makes me happy. If there is anything the kids need I can’t afford to get, Carlene, Chester, Brenda and Bernice when she finds a job will get for me. Daddy said: un hum, I hope Bernice finds a job real soon. I didn’t send that girl to school for nothing. Momma said: don’t worry, you didn’t send her to school. Her scholarship money sent her to school. You didn’t think it cost so little to send a girl to school?
.
School Ends
The end of fourth grade eventually comes. We attended the fifth grade graduation. The fifth graders willed me the desire to keep my big mouth closed at times I shouldn’t say anything. Again they march in and out on God of our Father. Most of my family came. I hope next year, when I do graduate, they all will be there.
The End
each

Evangelist Armstrong always told us many parables. One that I cannot forget is the story of the “Stupid King”. The King was not only stupid, he was greedy. The king sent his maid to the goose house to collect eggs. She would bring back a golden egg each day. The King asks his maid to find out how the goose did that. As hard as she tried, she could not ascertain how the goose did that. The foolish King decided to kill the goose and dissect her to discover how she laid the golden egg. The goose was killed, the goose was eaten but nonetheless, the King could not get more golden eggs. Evangelist Armstrong said he experienced a situation similar to that in a community he serviced. A young man wanted to get some money from his mother. She would not give it to him. He decided to kill his mother; however, she suspected what he wanted to do. She changed all of her insurances, her CD’s, her Annuities, and all of her checking accounts, saving accounts and whatever else she had and he got nothing! His message, “Don’t kill the goose who lays the golden egg”, never left my memory.
After the two week revival, the deacons host a going-away party for Pastor Hill and his wife at our home. Mrs. Tibb and Evangelist Armstrong and his wife were invited as well. Mark was head of the Deacon Board at the time but he couldn’t be there. At the time he was pledging Alpha. He could not talk for six weeks. I tried to get Mark to talk but he wouldn’t. I heard him talking to his parents. His father said the Alpha Fraternity didn’t have x-ray vision and they couldn’t see what was going on in his house. Subsequently during Hell Week, Mark had to stay on campus. I heard him say, he was pledging Alpha. At the time, the only thing I knew was Campbell’s Alphabet soup. I told Peggy, Mark would not be there because he had to go to the soup meeting.
It was summertime and Evangelist Armstrong played ball with the deacons. Mrs. Tibb, Mrs. Armstrong, Pastor& Mrs. Hill sat on the porch with the women folk who were not in the kitchen. Mrs. Hill said; the church never did forget Pastor Tibb. They were accustomed to youth and vitality. They forgot they had wisdom, good judgment, prudence, understanding and advisability. It is a shame the way some of the folk have treated you folk expressed Mrs. Armstrong without hesitation. Mrs. Hill said; I hear they are thinking about getting your husband to fill the position. Watch out! You’re no spring chicken, my dear. Mrs. Armstrong was a little offended. Mrs. Armstrong said; yes, I’m proud of getting older. When I get your age, I sure I’ll be even prouder. Mrs. Tibb first cleared her throat and articulated in a very expressive tone: Aren’t we having beautiful weather? Your son and his wife are fortunate to have you come to welcome the new life into their lives. Why didn’t she invite her parents to come? Mrs. Hill answered; she did, they could not afford to go.
Aunt Katherine yelled from the kitchen. Don’t go over there bossing everyone around. You could mess up their lives so badly. Some families get so entangled with in-laws that only God alone can solve their problems. Mrs. Hill replied; I have a good son, I don’t think there will be any problems. Yes, recounted Aunt Katherine, but you didn’t mention if you have a good daughter-in-law. Will she allow you to push her around? Of course not, Mrs. Hill retorted, I love the girl, even though Betty does have a mind of her own. OK, said Aunt Kat, but you know you can take sweetening out of sugar. All I am saying; be careful while you are over there. Don’t hurt your daughter-in-law’s feelings and don’t get yours hurt. Mrs. Armstrong went into the house to use the bathroom. While she was gone, Mrs. Hill said: if she hopes to become a Pastor’s wife, she needs to get her “butt” off of her shoulders.
I hated Mrs. Tibb ask “Aren’t we having beautiful weather?” I wanted to see Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Armstrong get into a “cat” fight. Just like trashy girl said: “I wanted to see them get it on!” Then I remembered momma saying from Galatians 5: 24-26. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Lemon came and helped churn ice-cream. At the end of August came September. School would start again after Labor Day and I was nine. One more year and Little Earl would start school. I would be a big girl. I would show Little Earl all the ropes. I would be large and in charge. Just wait until next year! You’ll see!

The End

Elnora at Nine
I went to fourth grade, Bay Brother and Peggy went to another school. I missed them. Lemon tried to be my friend but I could never quite forgive him for embarrassing me in front of my relatives and friends. Not only could I not forgive him for that but also for stealing a kiss. He was supposed to be my best friend at school. Finally, Lemon found a girl who kissed him back. I don’t know why, but that made me mad too. He was supposed to be my best friend. What was Lemon doing kissing another girl? Aunt Mable said one day it would all come clear to me. One day Lemon asks if he could be my boyfriend. I told Lemon NO. He could not be my boyfriend not now or ever. That did not deter Lemon from being best friends with Bay Brother. They went fishing and out of Bay Brother’s allowance, he paid for Lemon to go to weekend camp. That was Bay Brother’s business. I didn’t care!
I buried myself in school. I didn’t care what Lemon did. However, I discovered Lemon was smart. The teachers and all the girls like Lemon. Some of the girls said he was cute. They didn’t know what messy family life Lemon had. Looking back now, I don’t suppose it mattered. Lemon was so popular; he became school student council president. I was the president of our class. Whenever Lemon called for a meeting, I was there. Sometimes there was a tie vote. I broke the tie for Lemon. On the first day of school that year, we had a new teacher. She called the roll. She called Lemon Pettaway. The teacher thought someone was trying to punk her. The teacher asked if Lemon was a real name. He said: yes, but he did have a nick name. The entire class was surprised. We didn’t know Lemon had a nick name. He told the teacher, only his mother and his brothers and sisters called him by his nick name. The teacher asked Lemon what was his nick name. In a very low almost inaudible voice, Lemon said “Do Do” The teacher said: Sir, what did you say? One of our loud mouth classmates said: He said Do Do! All of the children burst out laughing. I stood up and told them if I caught anyone laughing, they would have to see me. The teacher said: And me! From that day to this Lemon has never given anyone his nick name.
That afternoon I was deliberately late getting on the bus. Usually, Lemon sat by me going home. That afternoon I wanted a seat behind Lemon so I could study him. Lemon was black as tar. However, he had keen facial features and straight black hair. None of the other members of his family looked like him. Mr. Pettaway was a light brown man. He was probably what the grown up women folk called good-looking when he was young. Lemon’s mother was a pretty light brown skin woman with hair that did not call for a straightening comb. Mr. Pettaway’s wife looked like a white woman; her hair looked like a white woman’s hair. The only exception; she had Negroid features. I suppose when Lemon was born, he looked like a little black turd. That afternoon, the little girl who let Lemon kiss her, parents couldn’t come for he, she had to ride our bus. She leaned over to give Lemon a little kiss. Out of the corner of his eye, he looked at me. I turned my head so I wouldn’t have to look at that mess. When we got home Lemon came to our house looking for Bay Brother, but his bus had not come yet. Lemon then asks Mom if I was at home. When I came to the door, Lemon apologized. I asked what he was apologizing for. He said he should have saved my seat on the bus.
After Christmas, Lemon announced to the class his family was moving. His mother found a job in another town. Lemon promised when they got a telephone, he would call. I looked forward to my first long distance call. I imagined they never got settled or they never got a telephone. Lemon never called. I told Aunt Mable I missed Lemon. Aunt Mable said: You never miss your water until your well run dry. Aunt Mable always spoke in riddles. I knew her .next sentence would be, “One day you will understand.”
CHURCH
Pastor Hill had been gone six months and the church had not found a pastor. Evangelist Armstrong didn’t want the position but his wife did. The church needed money. Therefore, she put on a play she had written called The Devil’s funeral. Mrs. Armstrong had become good friends with Brother Crosby’s wife. Brother Crosby owned the local funeral home in town. He let Mrs. Armstrong borrow a casket for the play. Joe L, Anthony, Chester, Robert, Peggy, Bay Brother, Bernice, Janie and I were in the play. Chester gave the eulogy and Robert read the obituary. Bernice read a poem. Joe L and Anthony served as the undertakers. After the mark funeral, Joe L and Anthony called for the audience to view the body. They open the casket and asked each row to come take a look. Inside the casket, Mrs. Armstrong had a body length mirror. Some of the men on the deacon board didn’t like the play because they knew they were the Devil.
Some of the congregation thought Pastor Armstrong was a pretty good preacher. I thought he was ok. However, I do remember the story he told us about the two little bad boys. I cannot remember the sermon however. I do remember the story about the three little boys. One was good and two were bad boys. The good little boy was invited to the palace to see the king. On his way to the palace, one of the bad boys asks him where he was going. He told the bad boy, he had been invited to the palace by the king to get a gift. The bad boy told him he couldn’t go unless he promised to give him half of whatever the King gave him. To make sure the good little boy kept his promise, the bad little boy decided he would go with him. The good little boy set off on down the road. Eventually, he met the other bad boy who told him the same thing. All friends went to the palace. The King would only let the good boy inside the gates. The king said, now that you are here, what can I give you? You can have anything you want. Remember. You must ask for it. The good little boy said I want a sound beating. The king said: Surely you don’t want a beating. Remember, you can have anything you want. You just need to ask for it. The good little boy said NO. Give me a good sound beating. Being the king was a man of his word, he sent for his whipping servants. Just as they were about to whip the good little boy, he said wait! I have two friends outside. They each told me they wanted one half of anything I got. Give one half of my beating to one friend and the other half of the beating to the other friend.
They were going to give Evangelist Armstrong one more chance. Mrs. Armstrong put on another play she had written. This time it was an Easter Play. The play centered on the crucifixions of Christ. Evidently, Mrs. Armstrong believed in realism. She had a girl with long hair play the part of Jesus. Underneath her robe she had a balloon filled with red cool aid. Red cool aid drip down the robe as the Roman Soldiers pierced her side. Some of the ladies thought she had really killed the girl. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The deacons voted to look for another pastor.
After that incident, a series of ministers visited our church. There were young men, old men, middle age men, some ugly and some good looking. In addition there were even women ministers as well. Every minister this side of the Missouri and beyond came to our church. They hoop, they hollered, some preached until sweat ran down their face. Then one Sunday Pastor Dykes came. He didn’t catch my eye because he was good looking. There had been good looking men there before. There was something special about Pastor William Dykes. He caught everyone’s attention. Both old and young paid attention to his message. Before, I brought my new toy to church and played tic tack toe with my friends. I had an erasable board that I could use. We drew the tic tack toe on my erasable board and erased it when we finished the game by taking the top sheet up. That day we did not play. When he stood up, he admonished us to lay aside everything. Children were playing games, some of the younger women were gossiping about the week end. Some of the older generation was reading the Bible. There were people there doing all sorts of things. He warned us, just as we had learned a few things about him before his arrival; he too heard a few things about us. One criticism he had for us, we had to listen. If we were not going to listen he was not going to preach. Everyone stopped what they were doing and sat up straight and tall. He spoke on the subject “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart.” When he finished teaching, he read this poem.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart: Wean it from earth, through all its puls –es move;
Stoop to my weak-ness, might-y as Thou art, and make me love Thee as I ought to love.
Hast thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?
All, all thine own-soul, heart, and strength and mind. I see Thy cross-there
T my heart to cling: Oh, let me seek Thee, and oh, let me find
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, No sudden rending of
The veil of clay. No an-gel vis it ant, No o p’ning skies: But take the dim ness of my soul a way
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the ris-ing doubt, the reb el sigh; Teach me the pa-tience of un-an-swered prayer.
He spoke with authority. He spoke like a man who had not memorized words in seminary school or someone who had learn to recite some jargon in a theology class but a child who was personally acquainted with the Lord. We were all amazed with the charisma of this man. Word spread. At Lilly Grove Baptist Church, there is a man who is personally acquainted with Jesus.
Dinner was all abuzz. It was the first Sunday and all of us attended church that Sunday. We ate a little later than usual. I was nine and I could help out in the kitchen. I was asked to go out to the flower bed and find pretty flowers for the table. Afterwards, I placed plates, glasses, knives, spoons and forks on the table. Samuetta thought she was a big girl and she tried to instruct me where to place the knives, spoons and forks. I told Samuetta: You are not the boss of me. Momma said: Boo boo diddly mia wa ton shu. So I let Samuetta show me where to place the utensils, but I still think she didn’t know what she was talking about.
The women could not contain themselves concerning the sermon. They were all mesmerized by this young man. He appealed not only to the women but to the men as well. He had captivated the hearts of the older men and women. They stopped reading their Bibles and started paying attention. Young single women found him fascinating. He had even captivated the young boys. Latter that first Sunday afternoon, they met at the church for a game of basketball. I knew there was something special about Pastor Dykes but I couldn’t concentrate on him because I was waiting for a telephone call from Lemon.
I was so disappointed that I had not heard anything; I climb the tree in our front yard. It was the same tree Lemon would climb when he would come to visit. It is true, on a clear day, you can see forever. When I climbed the tree I could see a car turning over dirt coming to our house. Since our house was out by itself, I knew they were coming to our house. While I was in the tree, Uncle Bob announced he and his family was moving into town. Since he and Aunt Katherine were the parents of Peggy and Bay Brother, that meant they were moving as well. I wanted to screamed, why everyone wanted to desert me! I ran in the house to tell Momma company was headed to our house. For being a lookout I received that kind of news. To the families, I said: Thanks a lot!
I went back to my tree and sat in one of the swings, Lemon and Bay Brother made out of old car tires and cried. Aunt Mable came outside to comfort me. She sat in the other swing that Lemon and Bay Brother made. Aunt Mable disclosed affectionately: Baby Dew, sometimes people have a short season in our lives. When we miss them the most look up at the sky, it’s the same sky that they see. If it is day, look toward the sun, they see the same sun you see. If it is night, look at the moon and the stars. They see the same moon and stars you see. Feel the wind; it is the same wind they feel. Blow a kiss at the wind; it is the same wind that kissed them. Everything works out good for those who love the Lord. She patted me on the back and walked back inside the house.
When the car got closer, I could see it was a 1953 Lincoln Ford. It was the sharpest thing I had ever seen. Inside I could see Pastor Dykes and a beautiful young woman. He got out, walked around and opens the door for her. I thought she would never stop standing up. She was a tall, Ex Ebony Magazine Model. He brought her by our house because all of the men in our house were deacons with great influence in the church. Momma said: there goes the daydreams of many a young woman. The following Sunday, he introduce his fiancée to the church. She knew the word too. Her father was a minister. She had been brought up in the church. Upon getting engaged, she decided to give up her career as a model and focus on becoming a minister’s wife. They didn’t need her income. He had been a writer for a Christian Magazine. His articles would run for the next ten years. This meant he had a residual income from those articles. The next Sunday, all the visiting young women were gone.
The next week I was very happy! Peggy invited me to spend the weekend in her new home. I was as happy as a chicken wearing a dress. Together like old times. What could go wrong? Peggy and me, just like old times, yes? No! When I got there, Peggy was acting all grown up with her friends from new school. They were putting on makeup and painting their fingernails looking like late Saturday night or early Sunday morning Clowns. Peggy and her new friends just made me sick. I told Aunt Kat I was sick and I needed to go home. Robert asks me not to go home. He asks me to go to his room and watch TV. That was a novelty for me. We had a TV room. But we did not have TVs in our bedrooms. We ate popcorn and watched “Gun smoke” I like that show. Afterwards we watched “Rawhide”. By that time, Peggy’s friends had gone home and she acted like her old self. From that time on I told momma if Peggy wanted to see me she would have to come to our house. Peggy came regularly because her pony was still on the farm. There was no place to keep it in town. I guess Peggy had her butt on her shoulders because they had two and a half baths. There was a Master bath for the parents. They had a bathroom for the children and a half bath for guess. I guess that made them special.
Next, you guess right, Aunt Mable and Uncle Paul built a house and moved a couple of lots down from us. Now, with the exception of our family, our house was empty. No more laughter. We had no more fun and games. We were all alone. A chair was just a chair. Our house was not a home. When I climbed the stairs, Aunt Mable was not there to read me a chapter book. I was a child without direction. I could tell Momma missed everybody as well. She had to do all of the woman’s work alone. We grew up fast. We had to. Now there was more responsibility. We only saw our relatives on weekends. Some weekends they all didn’t come. Work, school or other engagements kept them from coming. Times were sad, sad and sadder. I asked Daddy if we could get another bath since we had so many empty rooms. Daddy remarked we really didn’t need another bath with everybody gone. I distinguishably augured, we did! Our relatives came to visit and they had no place to use the bathroom. Momma observed I was right. We got a bath and a half. Now – just like Peggy, I had two baths and a half. In fact including the outhouse, we had more places to use the toilet than Peggy. No more washing on the back porch with a ringer washer. A ringer washer washes your clothes electrically, but you had to take them out and manually place them in the ringer on top. Next, we put them in a number three tub to rinse them. Last, in another number three tub we added bluing to the water and rinse them again and hung them on the clothes line to dry. We now had a washroom. We had a washer and dryer and a new ironing board and iron. Before, Momma ironed with a heavy metal iron that had to be continually placed on fire. While all the construction was going on, we were a little cramped. As it turned out, it was all worth it. We were now officially rich.

Momma had no more time to work outside the home. She was our mom and our mom alone. I think dad was glad to have a stay at home wife. I heard him say: finally you listen to me. Aren’t you glad to be a stay at home wife? Mother replied: Yes I am, but there were things the children needed you wouldn’t get them. Now I have my own bank account. That makes me happy. If there is anything the kids need I can’t afford to get, Carlene, Chester, Brenda and Bernice when she finds a job will get for me. Daddy said: un hum, I hope Bernice finds a job real soon. I didn’t send that girl to school for nothing. Momma said: don’t worry, you didn’t send her to school. Her scholarship money sent her to school. You didn’t think it cost so little to send a girl to school?
.
School Ends
The end of fourth grade eventually comes. We attended the fifth grade graduation. The fifth graders willed me the desire to keep my big mouth closed at times I shouldn’t say anything. Again they march in and out on God of our Father. Most of my family came. I hope next year, when I do graduate, they all will be there.
The End
each

Evangelist Armstrong always told us many parables. One that I cannot forget is the story of the “Stupid King”. The King was not only stupid, he was greedy. The king sent his maid to the goose house to collect eggs. She would bring back a golden egg each day. The King asks his maid to find out how the goose did that. As hard as she tried, she could not ascertain how the goose did that. The foolish King decided to kill the goose and dissect her to discover how she laid the golden egg. The goose was killed, the goose was eaten but nonetheless, the King could not get more golden eggs. Evangelist Armstrong said he experienced a situation similar to that in a community he serviced. A young man wanted to get some money from his mother. She would not give it to him. He decided to kill his mother; however, she suspected what he wanted to do. She changed all of her insurances, her CD’s, her Annuities, and all of her checking accounts, saving accounts and whatever else she had and he got nothing! His message, “Don’t kill the goose who lays the golden egg”, never left my memory.
After the two week revival, the deacons host a going-away party for Pastor Hill and his wife at our home. Mrs. Tibb and Evangelist Armstrong and his wife were invited as well. Mark was head of the Deacon Board at the time but he couldn’t be there. At the time he was pledging Alpha. He could not talk for six weeks. I tried to get Mark to talk but he wouldn’t. I heard him talking to his parents. His father said the Alpha Fraternity didn’t have x-ray vision and they couldn’t see what was going on in his house. Subsequently during Hell Week, Mark had to stay on campus. I heard him say, he was pledging Alpha. At the time, the only thing I knew was Campbell’s Alphabet soup. I told Peggy, Mark would not be there because he had to go to the soup meeting.
It was summertime and Evangelist Armstrong played ball with the deacons. Mrs. Tibb, Mrs. Armstrong, Pastor& Mrs. Hill sat on the porch with the women folk who were not in the kitchen. Mrs. Hill said; the church never did forget Pastor Tibb. They were accustomed to youth and vitality. They forgot they had wisdom, good judgment, prudence, understanding and advisability. It is a shame the way some of the folk have treated you folk expressed Mrs. Armstrong without hesitation. Mrs. Hill said; I hear they are thinking about getting your husband to fill the position. Watch out! You’re no spring chicken, my dear. Mrs. Armstrong was a little offended. Mrs. Armstrong said; yes, I’m proud of getting older. When I get your age, I sure I’ll be even prouder. Mrs. Tibb first cleared her throat and articulated in a very expressive tone: Aren’t we having beautiful weather? Your son and his wife are fortunate to have you come to welcome the new life into their lives. Why didn’t she invite her parents to come? Mrs. Hill answered; she did, they could not afford to go.
Aunt Katherine yelled from the kitchen. Don’t go over there bossing everyone around. You could mess up their lives so badly. Some families get so entangled with in-laws that only God alone can solve their problems. Mrs. Hill replied; I have a good son, I don’t think there will be any problems. Yes, recounted Aunt Katherine, but you didn’t mention if you have a good daughter-in-law. Will she allow you to push her around? Of course not, Mrs. Hill retorted, I love the girl, even though Betty does have a mind of her own. OK, said Aunt Kat, but you know you can take sweetening out of sugar. All I am saying; be careful while you are over there. Don’t hurt your daughter-in-law’s feelings and don’t get yours hurt. Mrs. Armstrong went into the house to use the bathroom. While she was gone, Mrs. Hill said: if she hopes to become a Pastor’s wife, she needs to get her “butt” off of her shoulders.
I hated Mrs. Tibb ask “Aren’t we having beautiful weather?” I wanted to see Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Armstrong get into a “cat” fight. Just like trashy girl said: “I wanted to see them get it on!” Then I remembered momma saying from Galatians 5: 24-26. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Lemon came and helped churn ice-cream. At the end of August came September. School would start again after Labor Day and I was nine. One more year and Little Earl would start school. I would be a big girl. I would show Little Earl all the ropes. I would be large and in charge. Just wait until next year! You’ll see!

The End

Elnora at Nine
I went to fourth grade, Bay Brother and Peggy went to another school. I missed them. Lemon tried to be my friend but I could never quite forgive him for embarrassing me in front of my relatives and friends. Not only could I not forgive him for that but also for stealing a kiss. He was supposed to be my best friend at school. Finally, Lemon found a girl who kissed him back. I don’t know why, but that made me mad too. He was supposed to be my best friend. What was Lemon doing kissing another girl? Aunt Mable said one day it would all come clear to me. One day Lemon asks if he could be my boyfriend. I told Lemon NO. He could not be my boyfriend not now or ever. That did not deter Lemon from being best friends with Bay Brother. They went fishing and out of Bay Brother’s allowance, he paid for Lemon to go to weekend camp. That was Bay Brother’s business. I didn’t care!
I buried myself in school. I didn’t care what Lemon did. However, I discovered Lemon was smart. The teachers and all the girls like Lemon. Some of the girls said he was cute. They didn’t know what messy family life Lemon had. Looking back now, I don’t suppose it mattered. Lemon was so popular; he became school student council president. I was the president of our class. Whenever Lemon called for a meeting, I was there. Sometimes there was a tie vote. I broke the tie for Lemon. On the first day of school that year, we had a new teacher. She called the roll. She called Lemon Pettaway. The teacher thought someone was trying to punk her. The teacher asked if Lemon was a real name. He said: yes, but he did have a nick name. The entire class was surprised. We didn’t know Lemon had a nick name. He told the teacher, only his mother and his brothers and sisters called him by his nick name. The teacher asked Lemon what was his nick name. In a very low almost inaudible voice, Lemon said “Do Do” The teacher said: Sir, what did you say? One of our loud mouth classmates said: He said Do Do! All of the children burst out laughing. I stood up and told them if I caught anyone laughing, they would have to see me. The teacher said: And me! From that day to this Lemon has never given anyone his nick name.
That afternoon I was deliberately late getting on the bus. Usually, Lemon sat by me going home. That afternoon I wanted a seat behind Lemon so I could study him. Lemon was black as tar. However, he had keen facial features and straight black hair. None of the other members of his family looked like him. Mr. Pettaway was a light brown man. He was probably what the grown up women folk called good-looking when he was young. Lemon’s mother was a pretty light brown skin woman with hair that did not call for a straightening comb. Mr. Pettaway’s wife looked like a white woman; her hair looked like a white woman’s hair. The only exception; she had Negroid features. I suppose when Lemon was born, he looked like a little black turd. That afternoon, the little girl who let Lemon kiss her, parents couldn’t come for he, she had to ride our bus. She leaned over to give Lemon a little kiss. Out of the corner of his eye, he looked at me. I turned my head so I wouldn’t have to look at that mess. When we got home Lemon came to our house looking for Bay Brother, but his bus had not come yet. Lemon then asks Mom if I was at home. When I came to the door, Lemon apologized. I asked what he was apologizing for. He said he should have saved my seat on the bus.
After Christmas, Lemon announced to the class his family was moving. His mother found a job in another town. Lemon promised when they got a telephone, he would call. I looked forward to my first long distance call. I imagined they never got settled or they never got a telephone. Lemon never called. I told Aunt Mable I missed Lemon. Aunt Mable said: You never miss your water until your well run dry. Aunt Mable always spoke in riddles. I knew her .next sentence would be, “One day you will understand.”
CHURCH
Pastor Hill had been gone six months and the church had not found a pastor. Evangelist Armstrong didn’t want the position but his wife did. The church needed money. Therefore, she put on a play she had written called The Devil’s funeral. Mrs. Armstrong had become good friends with Brother Crosby’s wife. Brother Crosby owned the local funeral home in town. He let Mrs. Armstrong borrow a casket for the play. Joe L, Anthony, Chester, Robert, Peggy, Bay Brother, Bernice, Janie and I were in the play. Chester gave the eulogy and Robert read the obituary. Bernice read a poem. Joe L and Anthony served as the undertakers. After the mark funeral, Joe L and Anthony called for the audience to view the body. They open the casket and asked each row to come take a look. Inside the casket, Mrs. Armstrong had a body length mirror. Some of the men on the deacon board didn’t like the play because they knew they were the Devil.
Some of the congregation thought Pastor Armstrong was a pretty good preacher. I thought he was ok. However, I do remember the story he told us about the two little bad boys. I cannot remember the sermon however. I do remember the story about the three little boys. One was good and two were bad boys. The good little boy was invited to the palace to see the king. On his way to the palace, one of the bad boys asks him where he was going. He told the bad boy, he had been invited to the palace by the king to get a gift. The bad boy told him he couldn’t go unless he promised to give him half of whatever the King gave him. To make sure the good little boy kept his promise, the bad little boy decided he would go with him. The good little boy set off on down the road. Eventually, he met the other bad boy who told him the same thing. All friends went to the palace. The King would only let the good boy inside the gates. The king said, now that you are here, what can I give you? You can have anything you want. Remember. You must ask for it. The good little boy said I want a sound beating. The king said: Surely you don’t want a beating. Remember, you can have anything you want. You just need to ask for it. The good little boy said NO. Give me a good sound beating. Being the king was a man of his word, he sent for his whipping servants. Just as they were about to whip the good little boy, he said wait! I have two friends outside. They each told me they wanted one half of anything I got. Give one half of my beating to one friend and the other half of the beating to the other friend.
They were going to give Evangelist Armstrong one more chance. Mrs. Armstrong put on another play she had written. This time it was an Easter Play. The play centered on the crucifixions of Christ. Evidently, Mrs. Armstrong believed in realism. She had a girl with long hair play the part of Jesus. Underneath her robe she had a balloon filled with red cool aid. Red cool aid drip down the robe as the Roman Soldiers pierced her side. Some of the ladies thought she had really killed the girl. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The deacons voted to look for another pastor.
After that incident, a series of ministers visited our church. There were young men, old men, middle age men, some ugly and some good looking. In addition there were even women ministers as well. Every minister this side of the Missouri and beyond came to our church. They hoop, they hollered, some preached until sweat ran down their face. Then one Sunday Pastor Dykes came. He didn’t catch my eye because he was good looking. There had been good looking men there before. There was something special about Pastor William Dykes. He caught everyone’s attention. Both old and young paid attention to his message. Before, I brought my new toy to church and played tic tack toe with my friends. I had an erasable board that I could use. We drew the tic tack toe on my erasable board and erased it when we finished the game by taking the top sheet up. That day we did not play. When he stood up, he admonished us to lay aside everything. Children were playing games, some of the younger women were gossiping about the week end. Some of the older generation was reading the Bible. There were people there doing all sorts of things. He warned us, just as we had learned a few things about him before his arrival; he too heard a few things about us. One criticism he had for us, we had to listen. If we were not going to listen he was not going to preach. Everyone stopped what they were doing and sat up straight and tall. He spoke on the subject “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart.” When he finished teaching, he read this poem.
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart: Wean it from earth, through all its puls –es move;
Stoop to my weak-ness, might-y as Thou art, and make me love Thee as I ought to love.
Hast thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?
All, all thine own-soul, heart, and strength and mind. I see Thy cross-there
T my heart to cling: Oh, let me seek Thee, and oh, let me find
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, No sudden rending of
The veil of clay. No an-gel vis it ant, No o p’ning skies: But take the dim ness of my soul a way
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the ris-ing doubt, the reb el sigh; Teach me the pa-tience of un-an-swered prayer.
He spoke with authority. He spoke like a man who had not memorized words in seminary school or someone who had learn to recite some jargon in a theology class but a child who was personally acquainted with the Lord. We were all amazed with the charisma of this man. Word spread. At Lilly Grove Baptist Church, there is a man who is personally acquainted with Jesus.
Dinner was all abuzz. It was the first Sunday and all of us attended church that Sunday. We ate a little later than usual. I was nine and I could help out in the kitchen. I was asked to go out to the flower bed and find pretty flowers for the table. Afterwards, I placed plates, glasses, knives, spoons and forks on the table. Samuetta thought she was a big girl and she tried to instruct me where to place the knives, spoons and forks. I told Samuetta: You are not the boss of me. Momma said: Boo boo diddly mia wa ton shu. So I let Samuetta show me where to place the utensils, but I still think she didn’t know what she was talking about.
The women could not contain themselves concerning the sermon. They were all mesmerized by this young man. He appealed not only to the women but to the men as well. He had captivated the hearts of the older men and women. They stopped reading their Bibles and started paying attention. Young single women found him fascinating. He had even captivated the young boys. Latter that first Sunday afternoon, they met at the church for a game of basketball. I knew there was something special about Pastor Dykes but I couldn’t concentrate on him because I was waiting for a telephone call from Lemon.
I was so disappointed that I had not heard anything; I climb the tree in our front yard. It was the same tree Lemon would climb when he would come to visit. It is true, on a clear day, you can see forever. When I climbed the tree I could see a car turning over dirt coming to our house. Since our house was out by itself, I knew they were coming to our house. While I was in the tree, Uncle Bob announced he and his family was moving into town. Since he and Aunt Katherine were the parents of Peggy and Bay Brother, that meant they were moving as well. I wanted to screamed, why everyone wanted to desert me! I ran in the house to tell Momma company was headed to our house. For being a lookout I received that kind of news. To the families, I said: Thanks a lot!
I went back to my tree and sat in one of the swings, Lemon and Bay Brother made out of old car tires and cried. Aunt Mable came outside to comfort me. She sat in the other swing that Lemon and Bay Brother made. Aunt Mable disclosed affectionately: Baby Dew, sometimes people have a short season in our lives. When we miss them the most look up at the sky, it’s the same sky that they see. If it is day, look toward the sun, they see the same sun you see. If it is night, look at the moon and the stars. They see the same moon and stars you see. Feel the wind; it is the same wind they feel. Blow a kiss at the wind; it is the same wind that kissed them. Everything works out good for those who love the Lord. She patted me on the back and walked back inside the house.
When the car got closer, I could see it was a 1953 Lincoln Ford. It was the sharpest thing I had ever seen. Inside I could see Pastor Dykes and a beautiful young woman. He got out, walked around and opens the door for her. I thought she would never stop standing up. She was a tall, Ex Ebony Magazine Model. He brought her by our house because all of the men in our house were deacons with great influence in the church. Momma said: there goes the daydreams of many a young woman. The following Sunday, he introduce his fiancée to the church. She knew the word too. Her father was a minister. She had been brought up in the church. Upon getting engaged, she decided to give up her career as a model and focus on becoming a minister’s wife. They didn’t need her income. He had been a writer for a Christian Magazine. His articles would run for the next ten years. This meant he had a residual income from those articles. The next Sunday, all the visiting young women were gone.
The next week I was very happy! Peggy invited me to spend the weekend in her new home. I was as happy as a chicken wearing a dress. Together like old times. What could go wrong? Peggy and me, just like old times, yes? No! When I got there, Peggy was acting all grown up with her friends from new school. They were putting on makeup and painting their fingernails looking like late Saturday night or early Sunday morning Clowns. Peggy and her new friends just made me sick. I told Aunt Kat I was sick and I needed to go home. Robert asks me not to go home. He asks me to go to his room and watch TV. That was a novelty for me. We had a TV room. But we did not have TVs in our bedrooms. We ate popcorn and watched “Gun smoke” I like that show. Afterwards we watched “Rawhide”. By that time, Peggy’s friends had gone home and she acted like her old self. From that time on I told momma if Peggy wanted to see me she would have to come to our house. Peggy came regularly because her pony was still on the farm. There was no place to keep it in town. I guess Peggy had her butt on her shoulders because they had two and a half baths. There was a Master bath for the parents. They had a bathroom for the children and a half bath for guess. I guess that made them special.
Next, you guess right, Aunt Mable and Uncle Paul built a house and moved a couple of lots down from us. Now, with the exception of our family, our house was empty. No more laughter. We had no more fun and games. We were all alone. A chair was just a chair. Our house was not a home. When I climbed the stairs, Aunt Mable was not there to read me a chapter book. I was a child without direction. I could tell Momma missed everybody as well. She had to do all of the woman’s work alone. We grew up fast. We had to. Now there was more responsibility. We only saw our relatives on weekends. Some weekends they all didn’t come. Work, school or other engagements kept them from coming. Times were sad, sad and sadder. I asked Daddy if we could get another bath since we had so many empty rooms. Daddy remarked we really didn’t need another bath with everybody gone. I distinguishably augured, we did! Our relatives came to visit and they had no place to use the bathroom. Momma observed I was right. We got a bath and a half. Now – just like Peggy, I had two baths and a half. In fact including the outhouse, we had more places to use the toilet than Peggy. No more washing on the back porch with a ringer washer. A ringer washer washes your clothes electrically, but you had to take them out and manually place them in the ringer on top. Next, we put them in a number three tub to rinse them. Last, in another number three tub we added bluing to the water and rinse them again and hung them on the clothes line to dry. We now had a washroom. We had a washer and dryer and a new ironing board and iron. Before, Momma ironed with a heavy metal iron that had to be continually placed on fire. While all the construction was going on, we were a little cramped. As it turned out, it was all worth it. We were now officially rich.

Momma had no more time to work outside the home. She was our mom and our mom alone. I think dad was glad to have a stay at home wife. I heard him say: finally you listen to me. Aren’t you glad to be a stay at home wife? Mother replied: Yes I am, but there were things the children needed you wouldn’t get them. Now I have my own bank account. That makes me happy. If there is anything the kids need I can’t afford to get, Carlene, Chester, Brenda and Bernice when she finds a job will get for me. Daddy said: un hum, I hope Bernice finds a job real soon. I didn’t send that girl to school for nothing. Momma said: don’t worry, you didn’t send her to school. Her scholarship money sent her to school. You didn’t think it cost so little to send a girl to school?
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School Ends
The end of fourth grade eventually comes. We attended the fifth grade graduation. The fifth graders willed me the desire to keep my big mouth closed at times I shouldn’t say anything. Again they march in and out on God of our Father. Most of my family came. I hope next year, when I do graduate, they all will be there.
The End

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