Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Summertime in Memphis 1950

If I could turn the clock back here, it would be Summertime in Memphis, 1950. We were living on Mamie Road...then a tree-lined road on the outskirts of Memphis with small homes, large yards with beautiful flowers and vegetable gardens, friendly neighbors and a haven of safety for small children who loved to play outdoors.

If you've seen the Disney movie The Kid, you'll remember the scene when Bruce Willis (who has the once-in-a-lifetime, and only in Hollywood, chance of meeting himself as a kid and sees what his life was like as a child - great movie by the way) is standing with his new young friend (himself as a child) beside the playground slide which used to terrify him. He says "I remember it being bigger".

I'm sure if I could see this house today, I would also say "I remember it being bigger". If I had to guess, I'd say it was at most a thousand square feet...maybe less. It had a small living room, dining room, kitchen, two large bedrooms and one bath. There were six of us living there: myself, my parents, my sister Eunice who was still in high school, my oldest sister Dot and my almost 3 year old niece Sharon (Dot's husband had tragically died in a ship explosion when Sharon was a baby). I was an "Aunt" when I was only 2 and 1/2 years old and I loved it. Sharon was, of course, more like a baby sister. As you can see in the photo at left she was, and still is, beautiful. The four of us girls (Dot, Eunice, Sharon and me) shared one of the large bedrooms. I don't remember it being crowded...I just remember it being fun. Sharon and I would usually get in trouble for giggling long after lights out.

So many stories for Mamie Road...all twirling around in my head...

Once, about three years after the photo above was made, my mother sent Sharon and me down to the small local grocery store. It wasn't far and was safe enough "back then". It was early summertime and Mama was getting ready to plant her garden. She wanted us to buy ONE package of LONG cucumber seeds. Unfortunately, they didn't have LONG cucumber seeds. So, Sharon and I reasoned that you could put two SHORT seeds together and make ONE long cucumber! Remember, they're the ones who took me away from the farm when I was only two years old! How was I supposed to know?! It made perfectly logical sense to me. She sent it into the newspaper for the column "When Our Children Make Us Smile". After that, I was teased mercilessly by all my aunts, uncles and cousins who had been privileged enough to stay on the farm! Years later, I was to find out through sophisticated testing, that I'm pretty much divided down the middle: half analytical and half artistic, but I STILL don't have an excuse for the cucumbers...