I love to hear stories about how things used to be, how my grandparents and Mike's granparents grew up. When my great aunt sent this yesterday about my great-grandmother Bessie Dickerson, I asked her permission to share it on my blog because it's just another beautiful example of stories and memories from the past - things that we often forget, but need to remember to share with generations to come.
I used to go to Grandma Bessie's house every day after school when I was little. She would always be making biscuits, and I'd always sneak some of the raw dough. She'd make me a snack, and would always keep her Pepsi in the fridge, so it was always very cold. She liked to watch her stories and took walks outside to the pond and she'd grab a stick from the "toothbrush tree" to clean her teeth. I always thought that was so neat. She taught me tatting and I always tried to make biscuits like her, but never got them as good as her.
"I think today is Mama's birthday, I always got it mixed up with the 21st for some reason. What do you think of first when you think of Mama? Her biscuits? There is a story in the newest issue of Garden and Gun that would remind you of that. She began to make biscuits when she was five and had to stand on a stool to make them. She looked so pretty in blue. She loved to get a fast food hamburgers. She loved flowers and at the white house in the summer there were always risers of flower pots and in the winter they were stored under the house. That was the same place where she kept her canning from the summer.
Do you remember how she jumped across the pile of green strung tobacco at the barn without stepping a foot in the pile when she thought the mule was coming her way.
How about the special times during the revivals when the preachers were coming to eat and how everything had to be cleaned to a "T", the table set in its very best and all the food that was set before them. Every year when it was all over Mr. Funderburk, the resident minister, would come by and say he just wanted a glass of buttermilk and some cornbread. I remember once when the, Buchanan I guess, reunion was held at our house. Plank tables were set up all over the back yard under the oak trees and I never saw so much food in my life or so many strange people.
When the relatives came unannounced for supper as was the custom, Mama would go to the smoke house and cut slices of ham. They thought we ate that way all the time, but we had two hogs a year and a hog has two hams and there was a bunch of us so we ate a lot of shoulder. The best of all was Mama's tenderloin which she canned at hog killing time. And her chocolate pies and bananna puddings were something else. Mama would cook one or the other each time we came home from wherever. I wish I had all those embroidered scarves etc. she gave me to play with when I was little which I ruined outside in my play houses. Her needlework was the best and her quilting was neat and accurate as a ruler. She could iron the starched shirts for Daddy and the boys like noone else. She had lots of practice with nine brothers, five sons, a Daddy and a husband.
When Daddy died she got her driver's license. She had quit school in the 9th grade because she had to stay out to help Grandma with the washing on the scrub board etc. and being a perfectionist she could not get every A that way she thought so she quit. Her cousins, like Janice Young Murray, tried to get her to keep on with their help but she didn't. She married Daddy at 17. She and Grandma Buchanan were so close, like sisters. When she began to have problems she would mentally go back to those times with her parents and siblings and would ask for them. I think she thought in some way that Alvin was Daddy later on. Her last Christmas we brought her home before everybody came. She sat down, looked around and wanted to know where everybody was. I will always remember how pretty and happy she looked when she came into the church fellowship hall for her 90th birthday . It was her day and she loved it. She would be 103 today I believe. We all miss her so much. She was Daddy's queen and loved by all the in-laws. She had one favorite son-in-law who had one favorite mother-in-law, six children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a lot of folks to whom she was so special. Happy Birthday Mama!"