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My Mother’s Story , Part II

Part II

Conway Hughes was my special boyfriend. I went with him for several years until I met Ben Freeman. Conway played Football, which I encouraged but he often threw his shoulder out of place. He like me, worked at a grocery store. Because he was on the football team I was elected by the football team as one of the Maids of the Bean Bowl Festival.  My friend Fannie McKey whose boyfriend (and husband for 50 years) was captain so she was elected Queen. We rode in a convertible in a parade and sat in special seats for one of the games. Before Conway, I think I had a special boyfriend. He was Harold whose brother was the coach and later principal of the school. He was staying with his brother, Coach Myers and he got mad because Harold would break curfew. I think he was hard on him. Anyway Harold moved back to New Hebron to live with his folks.

At one ball game, I had a mix up with my boy friends. Harold came back for a visit and lo and behold, one of the boys who had left to go into the service and sent me a gift, a dresser set came home. I didn’t know until I got to the game that Jimmy was home. It kind of broke our friendship when I left with Harold. I really think looking back that he had Harold to stay with him during the football season. Once it was over he sent Harold home to New Hebron. Harold and I wrote for a while and years later when one of my kids (Jeannie I think) was at MC I ran into Coach Myers there. He told me about Harold but I forgot what he said.

When I finished high school,  I knew that there was no way that I could go to college. I didn’t feel too bad about it but I hated to see some of my friends go. Of course, Fannie and Mildred were a grade behind as was Sister so I still had my good friends around.

In early September, I went to the store to get some bacon for Annie. This happened before I went to work at the store full time. In fact I had to wait for Fannie to quit. Anyway out in front of the Western Auto Store. I saw my friend Leo talking to a handsome stranger. He had on a white shirt with the sleeves turned up. I’m not even sure if Leo introduced us, some of those boys were shy on manners. Anyway, we all talked and I thought his name was Billy. His daddy, Van Freeman shopped at Antz and had always been friendly. Several days went by and one day some friends, and I were riding horses and we went by the saw mill where (Billy) was working.

Another time, Sister and I were walking up the street and he and another guy passed by us and honked.

Anyway (Billy) Ben came into the store, we got the names straightened out and he asked me if I would like to go to a movie. I had probably seen it but I was ready to see it again. He told me that he didn’t have a car but he was trying to buy one. He said if I could find a date for his friend who had a car. I asked Mildred, begged her, etc. who finally said she would (not too enthused) go out with J.C. Anyway after that first date, Ben and Mars (his brother) bought a car so they had to take turns using it.  Ben left in the middle of September to go to Mississippi College in Clinton.

He started coming home some weekends and we dated when he came back to Centreville. His mother and daddy lived in some apartments outside of main street on down town. When my grandfather died that fall (Robert Chapman) I came up to Crystal Springs to the funeral, then came on to Jackson to try and meet with Ben. It was the Mississippi State Fair time and he was gone with some other girl. I stopped dating other boys and Benand I went together. We had a spat at Christmas but later made up. In the spring, we decided to get married. Ben gave me an engagement ring in April and we were married on July 11, 1947 at the parsonage of the First Baptist Church in McComb. I had no money and Ben didn’t have that much. So we decided it would be easier to get his friend’s father to marry us. We went to New Orleans for a 3 day honeymoon and I remembered going on the Presidents ship and going out to Ponchatrain Beach where we made a tape.

We moved into an apartment across the street from the telephone company where I worked. We lived there until we moved into a trailer on the Mississippi College Campus.

It was a very small trailer and we had an old fashioned icebox and we had to go to the bath house in the middle of the grounds. Of course, I had to have a bath especially when it got cold. We had hardly moved in before I went to the doctor and found out that I was pregnant. I knew so little about life. Nineteen years old and living in a small town. Gary was born April 19,1948. I was in labor for 28 hours and when I came from the delivery room, Annie and I were standing there with tears in their eyes. I asked them if I was going to die. Annie said “No, we were just worried about you, you little goose.! “ I didn’t know a lot about taking care of a baby but a little because I had helped with my sisters and brothers. I did sit on a small fan cord and pulled it from the back of the couch onto Gary but it didn’t hurt him. Our good friends there were Hela and Willie Walker Vicksburg. They had a daughter named Virginia.

Bill and I were at the breakfast table this morning when out of the blue, I remember an incident that happened when I was a child probably around 5. My daddy and I had gone in a wagon to a man’s house in our community. It was several miles away. Anyway I remembered as we drove up and stopped, a little girl ran out of the house with her clothes in flames. My daddy jumped down, after quickly stopping the horse and ran to the little girl. I don’t know if he had something or simply rolled in the grass but he put the fire out. I remembered him telling my mother that he saved her life, and she did recover. I’m glad that about him, because I loved my daddy although he did my mother and us kids wrong. He had some greatness about him and I hope I inherited the better. He was very good looking and likeable. He told me that his mother didn’t really care about him and she did seem to care less about him than she did the other children. He said Aunt Lily, his sister, was like a mother to him. His sister, Lily agreed with him.

Ben worked at Sears, Roebuck in the afternoon. He rode with another boy because he and mars had sold their car. We did buy a washing machine and put in the bath/shower in the middle of the trailer. We rented it out so that helped pay for it. The trailer was so small, so poor Ben went to class, and then worked, came home and studied some. He never did anything about helping take care of Gary. He didn’t have time. I think that he had never been around small children or babies. He would help dress the boys when they got older, maybe fix their coat on Sunday, he would go out and sit in the car and blow the horn as I tried to get Dennis and Jeannie ready. Gary was by this time able to do his thing. And Jeannie could dress herself when she was two. But I had to get things ready. We had to come home to eat after church, because there was no money to go out and eat and we had no relatives around. I don’t know what we ate but I remember fixing bread (loaves) and French fries on Sunday afternoon. Or might sometimes.  

Anyway I diverted again, but after Ben finished MC we went to Oakland, MS where he taught commercial typing and work. We return to Jackson area after a year or so and Ben got a job with the State Adult Education Program.

After a brief stay in the married Vets dorm (we were not students) we moved to an apartment of Bullard street, close to the old Alan C. Thompson Airport and the Zoo. Then the Korean War came up and Ben wa s in the reserve. because he got a little extra money and loved working with the radios. Gary and I were alone as they sent Ben to Charleston , SC. And put him on a destroyer minesweeper. I didn’t work,  so Annie and Jonathan came up and stayed some. I think I even tried to get him in a school here but I think they went to Crystal Springs where Annie could work.

When we first moved  to Charleston, we went to a motel in North Charleston on Rivers Avenue. There was a grocery store down the street where Gary took off and went without our knowledge . He “also crossed busy Rivers Avenue to get to some rides without our knowledge.

We lived in a house for a while which was nice but too expensive. Ben would have to go to sea and went to Cuba once. Gary had a dog but he and I had to take it to the vet to be put to sleep because he kept having seizures. (Remember Old Yeller?)

Here I found out that I was expecting another baby. I had had a miscarriage sometime earlier. Any way I went to the Naval Hospital. I hated it. They treated us without any real concern. Just another number.

Then we moved to another apartment where we spent Christmas of 1951.  

I was determined to come home so when Ben got out, we left SC and came back to Annie’s and I went to Dr. Reynolds who had delivered Gary. He wanted u to stay in Clinton because he felt something was wrong with the baby. Sure enough she had not developed past four months even though I had carried her for eight months. Ben had her buried.

We had no insurance, no place to live; he didn’t have a job, no furniture. It was a bad time especially for me.

Before we had gone to Charleston that last time, I had an experience in my life where I completely yielded myself to Christ. So I felt he was in control. We got an apartment on West Capitol, Ben got a job at United Gas and we started going to Calvary Baptist Church.

V-ottrice  Foster (VEE) had been to see some older lady who had been in the room with me after the baby’s birth. That’s how we met and she has been a fast friend ever since.  She and James were always there when we needed them and even though they have both gone onto be with Jesus, I still remember them with love.

I went to a doctor in Jackson and he told me except for having a low thyroid, there was no reason I couldn’t have a healthy baby. He told me not to travel out of town for four months. Almost four months later I started having pains. I went to the hospital. He said it was my appendix. He felt that he could take care of it or we could wait. We said go ahead . I prayed and I knew the baby was going to be O.K.

Sure enough Jeannie was born July 1, 1954. A beautiful bavy. I have often said that was one of the happiest days of my life second only to the day that Gary was born.

Dr. Claude Callender was my doctor. We moved to our new house on Santa Clair Circle. When Jeannie was several months old we didnt have a lot of furniture but we had a new house with 3 bedrooms although small.  Jeannie was healthy, never was sick and was a joy. I became pregnant with Dennis. And he was born May 15, 1956. He was “ dried out” when he was born so they rubbed him with Wesson Oil.

He was a good baby but when he would cry, I would rock the bed and he would go back to sleep. As they  got older , Jeannie and Dennis enjoyed playing together. Gary was too sophisticated for them and didn’t spend much time with them.

Jeannie was boss, and she would “baby” Dennis to play whatever. They got along together until Dennis got tired of following her and rebelled.

I remembered when Gary started school at Sykes Elementary. Jeannie was a baby so I carried Gary to the school and we went to the side door of the rooms. I parked the car, left Jeannie on the front seat and walked the few steps across the grass opened the door. I was very upset because Gary had not gone to Kindergarten so I felt real sad as he was going away to school all day. Not him ! He walked to the door and posed and said “Well, folks, Here I am!” I knew he was going to be fine.

Dennis and Jeannie both went to Daniel Church for their kindergarten years……

(End)

 

 

 

 

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There are 1 Comments to "My Mother’s Story , Part II"

  • Susan Graves says:

    Don’t know why but today it hit me! Both of our mothers are named Josephine! AND….would you believe my 2nd husband & I were married on July 11th, 1986? July 11th is also my brother’s birthday! And guess what else? My 1st husband and I lived on Bullard for a couple of years. I am feeling very connected to your family. 🙂 I really enjoyed reading Part 2, too. I printed it out so next time I go over to see Mother, I can read it to her. YOU HAVE GOT TO FINISH THIS PROJECT!

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