In a book my grandmother wrote for her three sons, she tells about "Mama."
"She despised wash-day and would give away a Sunday dress to get a woman to help do the washing. She was a confederate widow. In July each year she received a pension (around $130). We would load up in the T-Model car and go to Spartanburg. It bought all of us shoes, cloth for dresses, curtain material, white sheeting, baloney, and each of us sat in the car and had a greasy hot dog with lots of onions."
"She loved her church, my babies, pretty clothes, and cheese, and she was as reserved and noble as a queen."
"She married my grandfather, Henry Johnson, when she was very young. I wonder if she ever loved him very much. He was almost twice her age and died when my father was four years old. She never married again."
"She disliked the dark, loved new moons and things done right. She taught me things I will never forget-you never chewed with your mouth open-you put a knife, fork, and spoon at every place." (All the time I might add and not just special occasions and MY grandmother taught me the same thing.) "Every night she knelt by her bedside and said her prayers, her hair hanging down her back in a single pigtail."
Wales and his mother Lillian Cooper Johnson
Below is Layton Cooper, or Uncle Layt as everyone called him. He worked very hard on finishing the house as a young man.
The picture below is of Wales again. I have a teensy memory of him. He passed away when I was 4 or so. Some excerpts from my grandmother's book about her father:
"He had a funny way of teasing without laughing. How he loved my boys when they came along. He was so very special. I feel he's enjoying Heaven, for if he's not there, there is no use for anyone to try to get there."
"His hands I will never forget. He made a trip to Woodruff for crop fertilizer in a wagon and was caught in a severe thunderstorm. Seeing those hands with the wet, torn bag and the pink and white squares of coconut candy was too much."
This lady is Wale's wife, Clara Jackson Johnson. Everyone called her Mother except my dad and his brothers and they called her Granny. I call her Mother, too, and it suits her much more than Granny does in my opinion. She passed away my senior year in high school. I can remember when she lived in the home house a little. I remember staying overnight with my cousins Hope and Judy.
My grandmother wrote these things about her mother.
"I can always remember how my Mother kept flowers in the house. Always starched scarves on the tables and dressers. Pillow cases, too, were starched, and the sheets were ironed nice and smooth."
I know she was a wonderful cook. I know she like to dress up for church on Sundays. She always wore dresses and always had a broach or necklace on. She taught me how to crochet and I can still see her hands showing me the stitches.
Daddy Wales at Christmas.
Check out that plate of fried chicken!
My grandmother, Mary Kathryn, was born in the house. This is her as a baby.
There were lots of babies. This is my grandmother's younger sister and my grandmother's first son, Bob.
Here's my dad.
My cousin, Hope. I know it gets confusing, but Hope is my grandmother's niece, my dad's first cousin and my second. She's closer in age to me, and I consider her my sister!
Look! It's me with my great grandparents. My grandmother told me that Daddy Wales would never hold us, but he'd touch us in some way. I love this picture of him holding my hand. Notice the broach at Mother's collar?
There were special events at the house, too. Here's a picture of my mom's bridal shower. My great aunt is in the center. On the left is Emily, and don't ask me to make that family connection or you'll be so confused you won't know whether to scratch your watch or wind your butt!
Another bridal shower: this time it's my dad's youngest brother's wife or soon to be wife, Judy.
While I look for more photos of the house and pictures taken in and around the house, I'll leave you with this:
Snort! This is my great aunt, my grandmother's sister, Hope's mom. Don't you love the hair? I wonder how long it took her exactly to get it that high and how much AquaNet she had to use? She was at a family picnic in this photo and my guess is she fishing a bug from her iced tea with that spoon and thinking how much she would like to ring the photographer's neck.
Life goes on doesn't it?
Jake in Papa's new window...