I WAS JUST THINKING... 'COME HELL OR HIGH WATER'...
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES/ aka GRANNY GEE
I wonder if children play today like I did with my cousins as a child? We'd get to stay outside after dark running, playing hide and seek, tag. I was thinking we all knew the two yards that adjoined ... so well. We weren't afraid of playing in the dark. Their yard and Grandma Alma and George's yard, where I lived...was our playground ... the playground at the portal of hell.
Someone was always getting hurt there... a child would get cut badly all the time... or get some 'off the wall' injury... or get their arm stuck in the wringer of the old wringer washing machine at Grandma and George's.
There was always broken glass... where did it come from? Remember when my cousin Ray... pushed me in a wagon as a little girl... into the ditch beside the street... it turned over, throwing me out onto a broken gallon jar? I was taken to the hospital, stitched up, and my leg had a type of cast on it to protect it. Those were the kind of injuries 'us children' would get there... serious injuries. Another example is like when the blinds over the windows fell, cutting tendons in my cousin's hand... they were made of metal.
I would never let a child play outside now in the dark, we all know they can go missing... just like that. I guess that happened so seldom that no one worried about it. It was like no one ever locking the doors at nights... who was going to come in? Can you imagine leaving your doors unlocked now? Letting a child play outside in the darkness?
I remember running to keep from being tagged.... into the street ... I stopped running just in time to hold myself stiff to ... keep a car from hitting me. It didn't have its lights on. Looking back, I'm sure the nightlights were the reason someone was driving with the lights off... when they drove away it was 'still daylight'. I almost died that night, cold chills ran over my body. I wonder if they saw me? It was my fault, too.
I think I loved best the nights George would come out on the front porch. He would sit on his wooden chair with the cane bottom seat, and he'd begin smiling. I can see his kind face in my mind now... his sightless eyes slightly bulged out, his mouth opened in the sweetest smile. He'd be holding one of the youngest children on his lap as he'd tell us stories.
My favorite place to sit to listen to George's stories was on the cool cement porch... crosslegged. A child could forget for a time all the 'bad' things around them... laugh, travel into a fantasy land as George wove his stories. I could always 'see' everything in my mind... it was so real.
I would sit there as a soft breeze blew on my face, close my eyes and ...imagine. When George would laugh as he spoke, I would open my eyes to see his face... George was the kindest man I ever knew, until in my adulthood.. I met Skip. George was blind, and did for everyone... moreso, than people who could see others needing, wanting. What a good person George was.
I look back with the highest respect for George, what he went through... as a child I didn't know what respect meant. As I look back to him in my mind.. I will say I have the highest respect for my Grandma Alma, who sat in that recliner all those years and took 'hell' from everyone, who witnessed things I saw, things I didn't see..... all without just giving up ... just committing suicide to 'get out of it all'. Back then, I didn't know the meaning of respect, but, I did know I loved them with my very heart.
She sat there with her love for every one, no matter how mean or angry they were... she'd cry for them, cuss for them, try to fight and protect them... being a paralyzed woman. What a special woman my Grandma Alma was.
Any family who reads what I say will agree with me.... Grandma Alma was 'full of spunk' ... no matter that she couldn't physically get around to do things. If you were close to Grandma Alma when someone wanted to hurt you... you 'knew' you were protected.... she'd fight for you 'come hell or high water'. No one would come any closer in fear of her wrath... even if she was paralyzed... not when you were going to hurt her precious baby.
I don't know that I could have survived all she did.... then again... for the first time in my life this thought came over me just now.............. 'I have survived what she did, and more... I've lost a most precious part of myself, I'm still here... I have come through so much that no one will ever know, I'm still here. I admit several times in my life, I did 'give up'... only to come back stronger each time. Losing my only child .. all I can say is... thank God for Skip, and our Pups... there wouldn't have been anyone else in this world 'to hold me here'.
I was just thinking.... I must have 'alot of Grandma Alma' in me... I have never thought that before. Writing helps me to 'discover' things I never thought about. Isn't that amazing?
I think I 'have alot of Grandma Alma' in me... the fire, the spunk, the toughness....... I know that I have alot of my Grandmother Lola in me... she was very quiet, strong... but, one always 'knew' .... she was strong, and didn't want to push her.
My stepmother learned, and developed a very high respect for her many years ago. How do I know? She'd threaten me of what she would do 'if I told Grandmother Brown' on her.... she would make me very afraid. She played that trick when I was so sick... telling us not to ever 'let Grandmother Brown know my condition'............................................
Back to Grandma Alma... I would bring one of Grandma Alma's books out on the porch and sit crosslegged to draw, color my beautiful girls.. clothes I designed for them. In my eyes .. they were 'perfect'. Remember? Remember ...I told you that I always drew on the white pages in the front and back of every book... that was my secret. I was just thinking... I wonder if Grandma Alma ever knew of all my drawings on the white pages of her books? No one ever said anything... they probably never looked at the books.
At Grandma Alma's, I would sit and draw on the white pages of her books... at Grandmother Lola's... I would sit and play with all her grand ladies, men.... who wore ballroom gowns and tuxedos... I would sit and dream of being a fashion designer... my Grandmother Lola told me that one day she'd send me to fashion design school in New York. So, Grandmother Lola 'noticed' my talent.
I never went to fashion design school... like alot of young girls, I got married too young... before I even knew what 'real' life was all about. Young girls don't know... they just don't know. Maybe 'today'... they know better than a young girl 'back then'.... I hope so. You know how 'younger people know everything'... they don't hear the 'older ones who have been there and ..... done that'. I was the very same way.... I 'knew better than anyone'. I laugh a sad laugh at my 'youthful knowledge of life'...... sad....
Getting back for a moment, I think Grandmother Lola was the only one who 'acknowledged' my artistic talent. I would sit there and make my own paper dolls and clothes... how did I know how to do that as a very young girl? I dreamed as I did that......
When I was a teenager... I discovered the style of clothing mine were alot alike.... Frederick's of Hollywood. I don't mean the 'naughty, naughty' clothes... but, the designs, colors.... I'll never forget standing there with the first catalog in my hands, looking at it.... my mouth fell open... I didn't know there were clothes 'like what I drew'! I had finally found something similiar to what I drew, designed in my mind. I wish I'd persued my dream.....
Everyone notices talent in children today, they are encouraged wholeheartedly to develop it. There wasn't anyone to encourage my talents 'then', I was never left in peace anywhere I could just settle down and be a real child. My life was constantly 'jerked from under me ... just like a rug'.... when the urge hit my mother.
I'm sure as a very young woman she didn't realize or was even aware 'that her every action affected me as a child'.......... that's 'why' I worry when young mothers do things.... 'their very actions, every one of them ... affects their children'.
They only take care of their needs, wants.... and if they do it in 'the wrong way'....... that child is going to feel, and suffer from every little thing she does. If the parent is a woman... oh my... then, she is letting a man come into that child's life to create more ... grief.... 'all in the name of love and... trust'. I worry about someone dear to my heart ..in this respect. This person's mother is close to being forty, and isn't a 'young' person.....
The only child's talent that was noticed 'back then'..... was my cousin, Sylvia's. Sylvia could sing, oh my ... how she could sing just like ... Loretta Lynn. I remember her daddy taking her to the tv station in Raleigh to sing on the Homer Briarhopper Show. It didn't last long..... I remember asking her as an adult what happened.... she said her daddy didn't ever take her back. I can look back and see how sad to waste a young girl's wonderful talent.... she could have went on to be a big country star... Sylvia definitely was talented.
I remember very well hearing her always singing as she did housework as a young girl... one phrase of a Loretta Lynn song always echos from the past in my mind that she used to sing... 'tippy, tippy toeing through the house to see what's the matter with the baby'.
This one phrase has always been in my mind since a child... I always associate it with Sylvia. In my mind I see a little, blonde-headed, blue-eyed girl, very pretty... in her own little world cleaning house... all the while singing Loretta Lynn songs... at that time the 'tippy, tippy toeing through the house, what's the matter with the baby' song was what she sung most.
I know you all know that singing wasn't one of my talents... you do remember, right? :))) You wouldn't believe how I wanted to sing... I really tried to but, to no avail. Once in a while at church I 'would deliberately' sing... the feeling inside was just too great to ignore!
I got tired of being told to 'just move my lips'! I can remember seeing expressions when I did that! When those times 'struck that I wanted to sing out loud'... I meant to, and would just grin at those expressions!
It was wonderful, embarassing at the same time... those were mean expressions I was getting... all in church, in the name of the Lord... where it wasn't supposed to matter as long as someone sincerely 'praised the Lord'.
I was praising as much as I could, it felt... it felt good but......... no one appreciated it! I would walk away .... in shame, when it was time for the choir to sit down. Sometimes, an elbow would meet my .. ribs... sometimes, it made me ... sing ... louder!
It was just that sometimes 'one has to let go'... the same way as in dancing. It's like when through the years I went to aerobic classes when I worked at the hospital... the music would be too much for my body to ignore... I 'would dance it all out'! Oh well................... :))) Granny Gee can be mischievious...... sometimes....
I have an imagination, I draw and create things ... I loved colors. Happy colors, all beautiful happy colors. I love anything artsy, handmade, unique, unusual. So many beautiful things attract my attention. Happy life attracts my attention, happy sounds attract my attention... just 'happy' attracts my attention.... 'good-happy' things. To me... windchimes are colors in form... colors that make sound. I really don't know what kind of person, I am... as my love of so much is... so great. I can say with certainty.. I am a for-real good person... I just love... so much!
Do you know how you sometimes sit, stare off in the distance... you really have nothing on your mind, yet.... thoughts flutter all around. This is what I've been doing ... putting those 'fluttering thoughts' into words... not important words... but, does it really matter? I tried to capture some of them here........ 'fluttering colors' of blue, pink, yellow, green, white, gold... colors both bold, and soft pastel... so many colors that... I can't name.
I was ... just thinking......... and at this moment I began smiling seeing my Grandma Alma, the love in her eyes for me... she'd have protected me if she could have.... 'come hell or high water'. She tried, just think of what she'd done if only................ she could have walked!
Now, I felt that sadness wash over me... like when you put a wash of pale blue color onto a piece of canvas.......... I miss her, I miss George, I miss Ray, I miss Sylvia, I miss my mother, my Grandmother Lola... all of these 'main characters' from my young life. I loved each one dearly. So many people that I truly loved... are gone... forever.
I was just thinking..............................
Colors As I Go
grief (32) only child (4) Scary (2) Boiled eggs (1) Distrust (1) Don't call me Faye (1) Dying (1) I hate to be called Faye (1) I'm afraid of the dark (1) Middle age woman (1) Pain that reaches the soul.. can't be seen (1) Running (1) Where did my youth go? (1) dying in a beautiful way (1) life is fragile (1) light on my path (1) my son (1)