Wednesday, July 26, 2017

High Falutin Family Part Three

My baby was coming........
After my false alarm I thought I would wait before going in. I remember walking up and down the driveway in front of my trailer. I did not let my neighbors know I was in labor. They were in poor health and I worried about them getting so upset so I kept it inside. I walked, would have a tightening up across my belly, stop for a moment and then I would walk some more. I was afraid to wait too long so I drove myself to the hospital and they wanted to send me back home again. I explained to them that I was alone and drove myself in and even though I was only 2 cM., they let me stay.
I remember wanting my Mom, my mother in law, but she was 3000 miles away. There weren't cell phones in that day, but the hospital let me call to tell her it was time when I checked in. I could hear her voice go breathless as I told her I had driven myself to the hospital and was being admitted. I knew that she was so anxious because of her loss.
I checked into a sterile room with a bed and a huge monitor which they hooked up to my tummy. All of this was so new to me and I was scared.
I am not going to go into this too much but I will say that I started bleeding about 8 hours in and I kept getting up to go to the bathroom and get tissue to wipe myself. I was trying not to get the bed messed up. They checked on me a few times and at one of those the nurse told me not to wipe myself, that it was to be expected. At 18 hours in, I remember starting to pray, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me"
At one point they brought in a class of students to "view" Me. I was horrified as I overheard them talking about my difficult delivery as if I weren't in the room and I cried for them to leave.
My daughters heart beat was getting slower. A regular babies heartbeat is somewhere around 160 beats a minute and mine was about 100 if I was able to count right.
All I could do was pray
I was too weak and too scared to know what to do. When that had gone on for 3 more hours and I heard her life's blood draining out of her, I begged them to take her. It had been 21 hours and her heartbeat sounded like a plop in a bucket about 50 beats a minute to the best of my being able to figure. Finally they came in to prep me for a C-Section but in the middle of the shaving, her head began to crown and they rushed me to delivery. They used forceps to deliver her and I waited for her to cry, but that never happened. I did not know what was happening but I could see that her color was pasty and gray. I asked if she was alive but they took her right away from me and for 12 hours I did not know if she lived or not. I did not know what was happening at the time but she had swallowed Meconium and had choked.
I was cleaned up from the delivery and taken to a ward to recover. The nurses kept getting me out of bed and I fainted every time they got me up. One time they left me alone in the bathroom and I passed out and hit my head on the floor as I slid to it. They came looking for me later and helped me back to bed. I had lost a lot of blood in the delivery and they wanted to give me blood but I refused. I was so scared of everything back then, and really did not understand why no one was talking to me about my daughter. The Nurse’s would come and massage my stomach every half hour after the birth if I did not do it, and I thought that was going to kill me. I was already in such pain without any pain medication of any kind, but I massaged while gritting my teeth, just to keep their hands off me. When they did it, the pain was so intense, I almost fainted.
As a Nurse now I can recognize that there were good Nurses then and bad Nurses then. My child had a good nurse and for that I will always be grateful. I am also thankful that the medical abilities have come a long way in just a few years. By the time I had my second child 11 years later, they did not massage, and they made sure that you were able to stand with help when you were gotten out of bed.
Twelve hours after the birth, a Commander was walking through the military ward, and he saw how pale I was. He stopped to talk with me and took my hand. He turned it over and it was stark white. He got my chart and talked with the nurses for a few minutes and instructed them not to get me up for a bit. He asked me if I had any questions and I asked him, did my baby live? He became red in the face suffused with anger, and said when did you deliver, and I told him 12 hours ago.
He went back over to the Nurses and he let them have it. No one has told her about her baby. Where is she and why hasn’t she been told? All of the questions rumbled out of his mouth and he put the fear of God in those Nurses. He came back to me, and had them help me into a wheel chair and then he, himself wheeled me to the Nursery unit where my little darling was.
It was the first time I had known that she made it, and I was so glad. When I saw her tiny body with all those lines, monitors, and things all over her, it scared me to death, but he reassured me that she was fine, and gaining strength fast. He said that I would be able to hold her the next day and I was so happy when they brought her to me the next morning. She was so amazingly beautiful with a shock of dark hair and blue eyes. Her color was pink now and she had the most beautiful lips. That was the first thing I noticed. They asked me what I wanted to name her and I said Wendi Gail. The Gail was after my youngest sister.
I fed her and they told me that I could not take her home for a couple of days because they wanted me to gain strength and she had to be eating 2 oz at every meal.
I fed her and she barely ate one oz. so I tried again. After about the 2nd day with her only eating one oz, I decided to squeeze the rest of the required milk into the plant in my room. I was not leaving the hospital without her. I felt that if I could just get her home, she would be fine. I kept squeezing the milk out for her until the next day and I visited with the other mothers.
All of the Nurses told me in the ward that I had the prettiest baby. They could hardly let her sleep because they all wanted to pick her up and see that alabaster skin with a pink mouth and lovely features. They said she looked just like me, but I could see her Dad in her, especially that beautiful head of black hair. Any time that I held her, I knew that it was worth what ever I had gone through to bring her here. God she was so wonderful. Just the tiniest little fingers and little toes, long knock kneed legs, just like Grandma Peacock and that beautiful face.
After three days and with her slurping down the 2 oz. (not really) we came home. It was just me and her that first week but then my sister Donna came to visit me for a week. I was glad to have the company and to have her see my miracle. Donna and her friend Sherry thought she was just as beautiful as I did and my pup loved her too.
The week passed quickly and soon it was me and the baby and my beloved Scooby doo. Scooby doo was my 3 yr pure bred Dachshund Dog. I loved that dog like my own baby. She did not think that she was a dog and I did not think of her as one either. She sat on the quilt with Wendi and would guard her charge with a vengeance.
When Wendi was 6 weeks old, she broke out in a full body rash. I was horrified and rushed her to the Doctor. I knew it was an allergy but I did not know to what. When the doctor looked at me and said, do you have any pets? I thought I would die. He told me that she was having an allergic reaction to my dog and I tried to think what I could do, because I loved that dog. I tried keeping her away from direct contact with her. I tried to clean really well and keep the hair picked up and still Wendi showed sensitivity to Scooby. So the terrible decision had to be made for her to go to a new home. I did not know anyone in Chula Vista or San Diego that wanted a dog so I took her to the Pound, and talked with the officials there. When they saw her, they went crazy because she was so beautiful and everyone else that wanted a dog did too. One of the women that were waiting in the room said to me, are you trying to find a home for her and with tears in my eyes, I told her the story. She said I will give her a home and love her, so Scooby found a good home, and Wendi’s rash cleared up after about 10 days. I went through the house with a fine tooth comb, cleaning it completely including the curtain rods. LOL. I was going to make sure that Wendi had what she needed because she was the only thing that mattered in my life now.
I loved my little Wendi Gail so much. She had a temper just like all the Peacocks and when she would pitch a fit, she would turn red in the face and almost stop breathing in her anger. I thought she was the sweetest little thing I had ever seen and I pampered her everyday. I bathed her, fed her, and dressed her up like a doll.
I was determined that I would be a good Mom and it started out being that way. I devoted my life to her, and we had the best of days in that two months before her daddy came home. When he came home, I was so glad to see him because I loved him despite his faults, and I thought that he loved me. It wasn’t too long before I was cleaning our bedroom one day and opened his drawer to find pictures of him and other women. When he came home from work, I confronted him and in an instant my first marriage was over. It had lasted 3 years and 11 months, and gave me the love of my life, my darling Wendi. I will never regret those times because of her.
While I almost died giving birth, my first husband was being unfaithful in the Philippines. I know that it was expected. He was only 22 or 23 but I was being faithful and he was not. I grew so angry after he came home and I discovered the pictures of him with other girls. My first marriage was over at age 21 and the only thing I knew was to get right into another relationship.
Thank you all for reading these three parts of my life. I appreciate you more than I can say and am so humbled by all the comments and caring sent my way. Love to all, Kimmee

High Falutin Family Part Two

All I could think was, " Who are these people?" LOL.
My mission was to try and survive and then figure out who they were. I saw the gift they gave their maid for Christmas. It was a brand new Lincoln Town Car. It is a wonder that I did not swallow a half dozen flies over my stay there, for all the wonders in that home.
I had to go to the bathroom after the drink of brandy and milk that they insisted I try a sip of. It was terrible! I asked where the bathroom was and went down one of the hallways to try and find it. I finally found it, closed the pocket door but when I closed the door something latched and I was locked in.
Everyone else was down the hall in the fun room and the music was blasting. I had to wait until someone else came to use the bathroom to let me out. I spent 30 minutes contemplating if Annulment was an option. I am not proud of that, but I was overwhelmed and the in laws were entirely correct that our worlds were vastly different.
I stayed because my husband said he loved me and I was starved for that. I grew up hard, without affection. I think I hugged my Dad once or twice but most times it was the end of a switch with the leaf tips that I felt. My Grandma had died when I was 8 and she was my compass to love and affection. My Daddy nor Mama ever said that they loved me or any of the other children so when I found someone that said they did, I latched onto it like a calf to a teat.
I felt like I was some poor science experiment to them. Like I was on view in a plate glass store window. I could see them laugh as I wrinkled my nose at Caviar, pate, Brandy, many of the things with toothpicks in them. I wanted Greens, Cornbread, maybe some black eyed peas and a ham-hock, but that was not to be found here.
At one point I had to go to the kitchen to get a drink and I could not figure out where the fridge was or how to open it once I did. It was cleverly disguised as a door and had a little keypad on it. Someone had to show me how to open it .
This was a high tech house compared to mine. Tv's everywhere, sound equipment, beds that moved, partitions that did a full 360 and a complete floor so that one kid could have a sound proof room. I was so green in all the things they knew or had and I sure felt it.
There was this amazing Chess set and table in one of the corners and every now and then the master of the Castle went to the corner and moved a piece, then went back to the phone. I observed it for about 3 or 4 hours then could finally stand it no longer and said to my husband, "What is happening over there? Does each move have to be phoned in? " He laughed at me and said, " My Uncle is playing chess with someone in Germany." I repeated, "Germany?" He then explained to me that Uncle Bill played Chess with people all over the world. One of them would call with a move. Uncle would go over and move the piece and contemplate his next move, then he would return the call and so on and so forth.
My mind was thinking of our old 4 party line at home and how that would never work. Lord knows, I loved Miss B. , but man could that lady talk. If we wanted to talk, we knew it was going to be at least an hr or two wait for us. We tried to get to the phone in between , but often we messed up and her ring let us know that we were too late. The calls to our friends would have to wait or we would have to ask the Operator to interrupt if we had waited for as long as we could. But this man, called all over our country and others on a single line that was never in use, unless he was using it. It was a dedicated phone line for him to play chess!!!
I spent that week in cultural shock. I did not recognize it at the time but years later, when I thought about how that night moved in slow motion, I knew that I had gone back into the deep recesses of my mind for protection. Such Waste when Daddy worked so hard at the Sawmill for a few dollars a week. I knew that I would never be a true part of a life style like that. I was too different as every one had seen, but me.
My Mother in law was old money as I had said. She was from the McGuffin family and they were big in the coal mines or so I heard. His Dad was a retired officer in the Military. He also worked and had retired again but I can't remember from what. She carried herself regally and so did her sister. I had never seen someone so sure of their place in the world as I did those two women. Really all of the people at that party exuded confidence and I did not. I heard words like Mafia being banded about and that terrified me. I had thoughts of Bugsy Malone and Al Capone going through my head and again I asked myself, "who are these people"
I was hobnobbing with the Woolworths, The Broyhills, Movie Stars and ones that thought they were. Ego's were as big as the hair in this place and for an observer like me, it was fodder for the rest of my life.
The party ended and we all went home. I remember thinking I am never going to get the stink out of this dress. Cigars, pipes, cigarettes and spilled drinks were all over the house and my dress. I loved it so much though that I painstakingly cleaned it to wear another day. (I tried desperately today to find a photo of it and came up empty handed. I know that it is here somewhere and when I find it, I will share.)
I was not a very good hippie in my day and did not like the smells in the room. I longed for my pear tree with juice dripping down my chin again but that was not to be. I had made a choice and I had to stick with it.
We visited a few times over the next couple of years. The year after our wedding the in-laws sold their home and moved into a high rise condo, for Seniors only. I was 19 by now and we stayed in the condo with them. I had never seen anything like it in my life. I was so puzzled by my mother in law. She kept all her pans in the plastic covers that they came in and every day after my father in law cooked, she would wash the dishes and pans up and put them right back into their plastic covers. It was something that I had never seen before or since. I came from a cast iron family and we prided ourselves on the coating of generations of cornbread and grease. I am sure she would have keeled right over if she has chosen to eat in our house.
There were a variety of people with white , gray and other colored hair living high on the hog there. I watched them playing shuffleboard in their blue plaid shorts, white shoes and white belts to match. The women sat out under large umbrella's, sipping all manner of fruity drinks and ogled the old men playing. I was enjoying the camaraderie and saw a pool. Since I loved to swim and was quite the water sprite, I headed upstairs to put on my suit.
At that time I had a blue bikini with metal rectangles connecting the top in the center and on each hip. You could see skin through the metal buckles. I was so excited to go swimming and dove in the deep end as the people milling around were watching me and the buckle on my top broke clean into and I was exposed. The suit went one way and I clutched my hands over myself and called for my husband. I explained my predicament and he threw me in his white t-shirt which I shimmied into and then I got out of the pool. Good thing the t-shirt was one of those old ones that were thicker than they are today or it may have been the scene out of the movie with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson. LOL
I took the suit to my mother in law. She saw that the buckle was broken and said we will get you another. I told her how much it meant to me so she took fabric from inside the suit and sewed two strips attaching the two halves together as I watched. I had never had a Mom to do things like that for me, so I was watching her with interest and a new feeling of real caring for her. She also replaced the ones on the sides so that scenario would never happen again. I thanked her so much for saving my favorite suit for me. She may have been a little odd or different than I was, but we had found common ground and it began a wonderful relationship.
In time she began to share her life with me. She had never had a live child but she had a stillborn one. A little girl and she took her picture out to show me. I knew what a trusting honor this was, because I had not heard anyone mention that she had children before. Even all those years later, I could feel her voice tremble and I wanted to console her. I hugged her and she let me. Our relationship changed in that moment and she ceased to be my mother- in- law and became my Mom.
One day my husband took me to one of the Malls. I had been to Cordova Mall in Pensacola when it first opened in 1971 and it was big, in my mind. But this mall was huge. More than one story with an elevator in the middle. Escalators that would take you to the levels and store after store to tempt your wallet. In the middle of the Mall there was a guy painting portraits of people and he wanted to do one of me. I did not ask him too and he had to convince me to let him do it. I was so timid and didn't know why anyone would want to draw me? He seemed to really want too and my husband wanted him too also, so I gave in. I sat for him and my husband paid the money for the portrait, which He signed and dated for me. All the while I was saying, "that's not me" and he replied , " it is how the rest of us see you." I will never forget that. I had it framed that day and it was growing on me. I did not know him and it was many years later that I realized that I had just been drawn in Charcoal by a famous person, Dick Briefer, and that portrait is precious to me today.
Meanwhile the Military career called my husband to Memphis. I was working at Vanity fair on the line and we had purchased our first brand new mobile home. It was 12 x 60 feet and we had bought hurricane tie downs to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. It was the South after all. lol.
My husband spent a total of 3 months in Memphis and did not send me much money but I had my job at Vanity Fair and made it through. He came back again for a couple of months and then it was back to Memphis for another 3 months. I, for the life of me, can't remember what training it was that he was taking, but the next thing I knew we were being shipped out to Miramar Naval Base outside San Diego.
We took 5 days driving there and we stopped at several attractions along the way. The one that sticks in my mind was The Carlsbad Caverns. It was scary to walk down those steps into the caves. I saw a photo recently and they have made a walkway so that you can go down a winding path into the cave but in 1973, you walked down hundreds of stairs and I was terrified. They didn't even have hand rails or a rope to hold onto back then. I literally held my breath walking down those stairs hoping that my shoes would not slip on those cave steps.
The wonder of the caves were worth it though and I delighted at what nature had wrought. This is the only photograph I have of our trip. We saw the balloons in New Mexico, stopped at a roadside stand and bought some souvenirs and finally had made our way to San Diego. Our trailer was already on the spot by the time we got there in Chula Vista which was a bit of a drive for him but it was cheap and we needed cheap.
It was the middle of September and unbeknownst to me, I had gotten pregnant on the trip. When I was about 5 months pregnant, he was sent on a 6 month deployment. I thought he would send money to me but he didn't. I had to take in alterations but it was not enough to pay for the food and gas for the appointments. The rent for our trailer automatically came out of his pay, so at least I had that.
I had elderly neighbors that lived next door and they let me do all types of alterations so that i could have some money. I babysat for their daughter, ran errands for them and they loved me. I was so blessed to have them in my life. I always say that God has sent Angels all my life when I needed them and they were certainly that.
One day when I was 6 months pregnant, I was washing dishes and the glass broke in my hand and sliced the outer edge of my right hand. It bled, a lot. I started to feel faint and went to the elderly couple next door. They were so upset for me that I thought it was going to give them a heart attack but they piled me in their car and took me to the base hospital. I did not know that he was some sort of retired big whig but when we got to the gate, he said I am Colonel so and so and this girl needs care NOW. He ceased to be that stooped elderly gentlemen next door and as his frame straightened, I could see what a commanding figure he must have been, once upon a time. They whisked me right into the medical bay and stitched my hand up. That scar reminds me that two people took care of a little girl from Fl and quieted my fears.
I talked to Mom often but I did not tell her I was struggling. I mentioned that I cut my hand and that was when his Mom decided to come and see what was going on for herself and Thank God she did.
She hardly believed I was pregnant when she arrived I was so thin. When she saw my bare fridge and cupboard, she was not happy with her stepson. She stayed with me for 6 weeks, feeding me my every desire, cooking, cleaning, pampering me in a way my husband never had and she saved me. I gained weight and popped a little and finally looked like I was going to have a child. I don't think that my daughter or I would have survived if she had not stayed with me, feeding me nutritious foods, granting my cravings and just loving me. Thank God for her. I am so glad that I got to thank her.
When she left I felt alone and frightened again. I was going to have a first baby by myself!
I had a car and I drove myself to each doctor appointment and one false alarm and then the time was here. My baby was coming........
Thank you all so much for reading. You all are helping me finish my book. lol I love you..
( antique chess set from google similar to the one they used)

Monday, July 24, 2017

High Falutin Family

Warning: This is very long but only about half of what is on my mind. I may do a second part tomorrow. lol....
I was a young bride. I was not savvy in the ways of marriage without an example at home nor men really, but I thought I was old enough to get married and get out on my own.
I still remember when the Potential In-laws came to visit my home. They came into town from Hollywood , Florida in a late 60's Cadillac to an old farm house that was sometimes lucky enough to have a mule to plow the garden. It was a culture shock for them and for me. The boy that I had chosen was from the South and a sailor at Whiting Field but he was from old money on his step-mothers side. I did not even know what that meant but I came to, in the next few months.
I also didn't know that a marriage had already been arranged for him. Some girl whose Daddy owned an Island, but he fell in love with me and his parents came to "check" me out.
I could tell how uncomfortable they were in our driveway of sand, daddy in his overalls with a well worn shirt, and our "country" ways. His step-mother was a tiny woman with hair as high as her entire head and dressed in those floral pant suits of the 60's with heels and a purse big enough to carry all of the essentials. I was so intimidated by her that I could barely speak. The Dad was a handsome dark haired man who was dressed in slacks and a summer shirt. He was a little less intimidating than she was, but still made me tongue tied.
They looked like they had just stepped out of some wealthy family business and we were barefoot with cut offs on.
That day I had taken great care to make sure my hair was silky clean. I had dried it in front of the fan like I always did and it was soft, midway down my back. I had on a mini dress but of a decent length. When I bent over, you couldn't see my underwear so it was acceptable to me.
She sat in a chair in the living room, perched on the edge like she was going to take flight. Her back was straight and she did not smile much but tried to make small talk. I could see her taking in our simple life as her eyes swung around the room. A swing and a couple of rockers on the front porch and a few more inside. Our tile floor was clean but it had a break line in it across the room and I could see her eyes find every flaw. It wasn't perfect and neither were our lives, but we had every thing we needed and most of what we wanted.
I think they stayed for a full half hour. They wouldn't eat but the Dad did accept a glass of tea. I could see how unhappy she was as she said to me, " you and he are from two different worlds." She wasn't saying it outright but she was giving me the full meaning in the way she said it. I was not good enough for her son.
After they left, I was pretty devastated and my husband to be, tried to console me. The wedding was in two days and the "to be" in-laws were staying in a hotel in Milton. There wasn't anywhere in Jay for them to stay and they weren't happy with the accommodations in Milton either. I knew next to nothing about them but they felt that they knew every thing that they needed to know about me.
I guess that my intended let them know that he was going to marry me come hell or high water and two days later they met us at the church in Flomaton and Daddy walked me down the aisle.
( My Sister Donna was kind enough to go get these pictures of the Church for me. Taken Aug 5, 2017)

I was holding a white Bible with flowers on top that my new mother in law had procurred for me. She also bought me a brush for my hair. It was made of boar Bristle. I had never heard of such a thing but she said it would be easier to get through my long hair.
The vows were read and said to each other and we were married. My brother and sister in law had made us a hasty reception complete with a cake that I really appreciated and then we went to the same Motel that my inlaws were staying at, to celebrate our wedding night. When we got to our room a chilled bottle of champagne was in the room along with a blue peek a boo nightie with black lace at the edges. I was embarrassed that someone had bought something like that for me, but this was my wedding and I loved my husband.
The next day, they left to go back to Hollywood with a promise that we would come there in a couple of months to visit.
The next two months flew by. We were both busy working and we were living with daddy until we bought our own place.
The trip went quickly. We were in his 66 Chevy impala, the Carpenters , "Close to you" was playing on the radio and the ride was nice. I had been on trips with Daddy and Donna but this was different. I was going to the unknown.
We arrived in Hollywood and entered their home. It wasn't a mansion but it was nice in a Southwestern style with arches at the entrance. I was mesmerized because it was really nice and I was getting an inkling of just what I had gotten myself into.
When we entered the living room, I looked to the left and it was FULL of wrapped gifts and she told me that they were for us from her friends and family. She informed me that she was having a party for me. A small one to welcome me into the family, maybe 100 people. I panicked and cried. I was not prepared for this. I was beginning to wish I had listened to daddy when he said to me, " Y'all ain't gonna marry no foreigner, are you?" Anyone that wasn't from our surrounding areas was a foreigner to him and I was starting to understand what he meant.
He knew better than me that I had married out of my comfort zone and I was fast becoming aware of the same. When I cried, she then began to understand that I was afraid and shy. She started to take care of me like a broken winged bird. She stayed by my side at the party and she made sure that I had a gown to wear so that I would not be the only one without. I had never had a Gown in my life but she bought one for me and it was so pretty. It had black velvet on it , something I had never felt and I thought it was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. I had my first drink but I couldn't handle the taste and only took a sip or I knew I would be sick.
This venture into being wealthy was just beginning because on Dec 31st, we were going to visit her sister and her husband who lived in Miami. I had never been to Miami and even though it was a warm 70 degrees, the streets were filled with women in Furs and men in Fedora's.
When we pulled up to their home, I know my mouth flew open. It was a castle with a long walkway leading up to the front door. I could tell that one floor was underneath the ground and that there were two more above the walkway. There was an honest to God Mote to the left of the curved driveway and palm trees swaying in the wind like a South Pacific movie. LOL
If I had entertained thoughts of the in-laws being wealthy, they were poor second cousins to this one.
It was grand, from the entrance which was up two floors into a foyer with a curved stairway and a third floor for their only son. He had a bedroom, luxurious bath and a sound proof room where he played drums. When you went down the 20 feet of stairs, you landed on marble floors and I saw a tall decorated Christmas Tree from the bottom floor to the top. It must have been 30 feet tall. My eyes were trying to take it all in and failing miserably.
I will never forget the tour of their home. Long marbled hallways with artwork and fine collectibles. Their bedroom off the back with a huge round bed that moved in a circle and massaged. Off that a private solarium where she could sunbathe nude if she wanted too, away from prying eyes, their bathroom that was larger than our first apartment, another long hallway to the dining room and that was a whole nother experience in dining.
When it was time to eat, We sat in the dining room and there were little cut outs in the wall with shelves . They turned around in a circle so that the maid and cook from the kitchen could put the completed dishes on the shelf, then with a flick of the wrist, it made a 360 circle into the dining room where the maid would come and then serve the dishes onto the table.
It was a trip and I was like a kid as a new carnival ride. My eyes were as big as saucers trying to take it all in and I could barely eat for the excitement and fear. The long hallway had another bathroom. and a sound room which dead ended into the fun room. There was a leather bar, a huge ornate pool table and comfortable chairs every where.
About an hour later the guest started to arrive and every one was dressed to the nines. Hair piled high, flowing caftans made of silk, enough Jewelry to fund a third world country and the table full of hors d'oeuvres was out of this world. Black Russian Cavier, crackers, Cheeses of every type arranged on trays, cold cuts, little tiny tea sandwiches on tiered trays, pate, canopies of every type rolled with toothpicks through them and any type drink you could order.
The husband of the home was an important guy in Miami politics and she was a stay at home wife with a grown son still at home. She played her part well. She was elegant, charming, and Rich and all of the people arriving were too. We partied and laughed, people talked and mingled and I sat on the leather love seat and observed.
Right before midnight , two individuals came into the room, one dressed in a diaper and one in a new suit to signify the outgoing and incoming New years. The man in the diaper was not embarrassed but I was. lol It was not anything I had ever seen.
I asked my husband who the elegant white haired lady was that was the Old Year and he told me Mrs. Woolworth. I about fainted. That was not the first nor last time they hobnobbed with American Royalty or Celebrity and I got to do that a few times in my marriage to him also.
Once we went out to eat and instead of Her walking around the tables in the restaurant , the wait staff, moved them out of her way so that she could enter like the Queen she was. She was wearing a white satin evening gown in the Empire Style and she later told me that it was a nightgown. I was always trying to keep my mouth from flying open in this family but I could not contain it when I saw George C Scott and his wife Trish Van devere sitting at a few tables away. Mr Scott waved at Bill and time moved in slow motion as I watched the diners, the waiters, and the 125 dollar tip when we finished with our dinner.
All I could think was, " Who are these people?" LOL.
That was my introduction into being married and it made a lasting impression. There is so much more that I could share and say and I will save that for a part two...
Thank you for coming along with me on my first trip as a wife and thank you for providing a place where I can let the words flow. I love you, Kimmee
(google image of a similar in-laws home except theirs was white and did not have any houses really close to it. It was a nice sized lot)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Boy Named Joe

I couldn't sleep tonight. Too much pain and too many words in my head. I was thinking about this boy that my sister and I knew really well growing up. He lived on the outskirts of Jay with his Mom and Dad even though he was grown and had a job. He was so kind to me and Donna and we loved him. He was like an older brother to us, but looking back I think he was sweet on either one or both of us.
He did not seem to have a lot of friends and I think it was because he was bullied and made fun of as a child. He had what everyone called a "Harelip" back in those days but later I came to know it was called a Cleft Palate.
These are regularly taken care of today so that you almost never see one in our country, although we still hear of them in other ones. We have whole teams of doctors and nurses that go there to fix them free of charge to the families that can not afford them. Some of them are so bad that it is a wonder they survive at all and yet they do.
His mother talked about how she had to feed him so carefully when he was little and she did a good job, because he made it
Joe was a handsome boy about 5 years older than me and he had a brand new baby blue 66 Chevy Camaro and it was beautiful. He would pick us up in his car and we would go skating in Milton, or to Flomaton to eat and sometimes to the drive-in that was in Century.
I wish I could remember the name of that little diner where we would hang out in Flomaton. It was on the left side of the road past where the Credit union is now and it was a hot spot for teens. Donna will remember the name of it. It had a juke box and we would play a quarters worth of tunes. The owners let us blast it so loud that you could be outside and hear it. I don't remember a cop ever coming to break it up while we were there. We were just kids enjoying music, sitting in our cars eating french fries and a burger. My favorite one to put on was "Wooly Bully" by Sam The Sham and the Pharoahs. Their second hit was another favorite of mine too. " Hey there little red riding hood. You sure are looking good."
I could get 5 tunes for a quarter and those two were always on the list
There were such great names for groups back then. Herman's Hermits, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Monkee's, The Animals, Tommy James and the Shondells and so many others. Some of the song titles were kind of funny too. "One eyed One horned flying purple people eater" is one that comes to mind and it was still hugely popular in 1966.
I could talk all day about the music of the 50's and 60's. Real music.. lol. But I am getting off the topic of our friend Joe.
I remember so many things about him. How shy he was. His laugh, the way he talked because of his cleft palate and the way that he always smelled so good. I think he took extra care because he had two girls in the car with him and it made it feel good. I know that other guys would look at us when we were out and he would puff out his chest a little because he had two home grown farm girls in his car and they didn't. lol
He drove us everywhere and often paid for us to have extra things if we didn't have the money. He had an 8 track in his car and kept a variety of tapes in there for us to sing too. He loved to hear us sing. Donna and I regularly sang in churches in the area but when we were out of church, we loved country music. Joe used to tell me that I sounded just like Dolly Parton and he thought I should go to Nashville and try to make it. We did go to Nashville later on one of our trips with Daddy but I never pursued a singing career and neither did Donna, although she could have.
We loved going skating and Daddy would let me drive his big ole black Chevy if I wanted to go to Milton even though I only had a learner's permit. Kids drove back in those days. Usually a tractor first and then what ever car or truck your daddy had.
We weren't molly coddled kids back then. We drove, we swam in snake infested creeks, sometimes there was an alligator or two and we did dangerous stuff. We got hurt, we healed and did some more dangerous stuff and sometimes we got in wrecks.
We had a little wreck in Flomaton near Nall's Store one night and instead of worrying about his beautiful car, he was worried about me being in the front seat and being hurt. Donna and I took turns riding shotgun and I was in front that night. It hardly made a scratch on his car cause we were only going about 30 mph and he had hit the brakes pretty good when the car stopped in front of him. We were not wearing seat belts as they didn't require them back then, but the car was made of Good ole American steel. A car could take a lickin and come out none the worse for wear in small fender benders, unlike today. You sit on a car now and you would dent it. lol
I wish that you all could have known Joe Kelley. Donna told me sometime ago that he had tragically died and I was so sad but I am happy that we had spent many Saturday nights together tooling around Jay, Milton, Flomaton and Brewton.
When I got my Mustang a couple years later, we did not see him as much as before. My attention turned to boys and I thought of Joe as a brother so I started dating and we started seeing him less.
I am so thankful for Joe. He was a perfect gentleman at all times, respectful and kind. When I look back on those times now with my memory eyes, I can see how mean some people were to him. They snickered, just like they do today at someone who is different. We think we have gotten worse today with bullying and maybe we have, but there were bullies back then too. Maybe not as overt or as many because parents would wail the tar out of you if you treated someone badly or made fun of someone within earshot of an adult. It didn't matter which adult it was. You were as likely to be cuffed by your older brother or your Aunt as you were your Daddy.
Joe deserved all the best in life and I hope that he got it. I seem to remember that he had a bad marriage but I don't know if he ever had any kids. If he did, I hope that they know what a special man he was.
I miss him and am so thankful that he took care of us for a couple of years. He made sure we were safe when we went out and he enjoyed himself also. I don't know if there are guys like him around today and if there are, if anyone would notice them, but I hope there are.
He was the best. RIP Joe Kelley. Two little girls from Jay will never forget your kindness and charm.
Love, Kimmee
I couldn't find a google image of a baby blue 66 Camaro but this is a 67 in a little darker blue, so people can kind of get an idea of what we were riding around in.
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Friday, July 7, 2017

The Huey P Long Bridge And The Voodoo Woman

Daddy, Donna and I were on another adventure together and we ended up at a little hole in the Wall Motel or something resembling that, right across the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish, New Orleans or Nawlins for the locals.
The Bridge was Intimidating. I was 16 driving my Mustang with Daddy sprawled out as best he could in the back seat with Donna riding shotgun. If you can imagine a 6'4" man folded into that tiny seat laying on the back seat with his legs folded a bit toward the windows, then you have it. LOL
I hadn't been too many places in my young life and most of that was centered around Jay, Milton or Pensacola. This was a huge deal to go across a bridge this big and with the twists, height and just the imposing structure of it all. I think I held my breath but I never let my passengers know that I was being cautious. Not since crossing the Mississippi wooden bridge with sides, had I concentrated so hard while driving but finally we made it across and looked for a place to light.
We found something right off the bridge and pulled in. It was a tiny place with just a few rooms and I think we were the only guests that day. We rented the room and asked if there was a place to get some food and the manager said, " well, y'all can drive on down a piece to find some or you can eat at the place next door. It ain't real big but it does the job."
We didn't know what to make of that so after settling in our room, we walked down the road to the "place" he talked about.
It was really small. An old white block building with a covered area where it used to serve up gas, but that was no longer the case now. We went into the front room and was greeted by a tall Nubian priestess with hair piled high on her head, a long white skirt with decorations and her white blouse to match. She was astonishing but she was not the only thing that caught our eye as we walked in. It was the wall behind her and the counter in front of that.
The Large half wall was filled with Rooster combs and feet, skulls and rabbit feet, incense and candles of all kinds with carved dolls and masks hanging, some by their neck or at least that is my memory. In all likelihood, they were dolls that you could buy to stick pins in that may cause pain or misfortune to another. Of course I did not know that at the time. I have had a couple of voodoo type dolls in my collection now and understand the significance of the pins in the head or through the back.
The shelf had bottles of all sizes and shapes filled with things that I had not seen before. There were grasses and seeds, shells and beads, and a cash register and tarot cards. I did not think of it at the time but We may have been able to get our fortune told. I literally had to shut my mouth while looking at the beautiful hostess and also that wall and shelf.
I don't think anything in my young life had prepared me for this visit and my eyes were as wide as saucers taking it all in and so were sister's. Daddy just took it in stride and we said, "is it alright if we get a bite to eat?" She gestured for us to sit in the front room which had a couple of tables or sit in the back room which had more. We elected to sit in the front room beside the long cooler on the left side of the room. It was a hot day and it felt better sitting near something cool, but the real reason was, we wanted to study that wall!
We ordered something to eat just like daddy liked. Grits and eggs, Bacon, biscuits with butter and jam, and coffee and it was scrumdiddlyitious! We could not have asked for a better hostess. She was regal and beautiful, mysterious and proud of herself. I tried hard not to stare at her hair, her jewelry, the decorations on her clothing and failed miserably but she did not seem to mind.
She was a Mother also because she treated us as her own children, patting us on the shoulder, laughing with that wide smile, and talking in a language that we could not understand half the time. The menu was in English so we were able to point and say it and she was able to understand our slow Southern drawl to her Cajun french one.
I know now having traveled a bit and studying a bit that she wore a gris-gris. It is similar to the prayer bag that a Native might wear and is a protective powerful symbol of her people just like mine is. This shop and people were a mixture of African, Cajun, Voodoo cultures. Some of the practices are so old and some of the things on her wall seemed to be very old. Some were newer on the shelf that a tourist might buy. I can't remember buying anything because we were raised Pentecostal and we associated so many things with the Devil.
I saw no Devil that day, only the beauty of a culture that I did not understand but wanted too. We stayed until the next day and ate a couple of times at the little place next door. One day we were up too early for the shop to open and the owner of the little motel called them and they came in and opened the shop for us to eat. I wonder today if that would ever happen, unless you were monied people. We were just plain Southern folk but we had manners and respect for all people, because of daddy. He would have tanned our hide when we were little, if we did not show respect for our elders.
She was an elder, as evidenced, by the wisps of gray in her braided hair but her skin was a smooth black of the most beautiful ebony that one could find and her eyes sparkled with life and assurance of self. I admired all that I saw that day and it is forever etched in my lil girls memory. Some of the details may not be quite right but I think that most of them are. She and that 2 room place made an impact on a little girl from Jay that day. I got the impression that our friendliness made an impact on her as well.
I am so grateful to daddy for allowing me to be his chauffeur and taking Donna and I along on his business trips. They turned into adventure trips for us. Memories that I will never forget or have seen since.
Many years later after I had a daughter of my own, I collected masks for her. I never associated it with that day until I wrote this piece and remembered the masks on the wall. Years later a carved figure of an old man came to Donna, I am sure a reminder that we were there and the spirits remember us...
Thank you all for coming along with me again. I love you and hope that if you encounter a place like this in your life, that it will fill you with the same sort of harmony and peace that it did me....
(First two are google images)

My Medical collection

My daughters Masks collection

My collection

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The DePeyster Historian

My time in upstate was so busy and so prophetic. When I saw this home for sale, while living in California, I never knew that it was calling me home.
Spending two weeks there went quickly but it took me another 6 years before I made the move to live in my new home. I knew that there was a Cemetery 1/4 mile from the house and after we moved in, I used to look at it from my upstairs doll room window.
I have an affinity for Cemeteries. I don't know why but it has always been that way for me. From the Creek Cemetery Mounds as a child to the Coon Hill Cemetery ghost at night, a Cemetery brings me peace. It was only right that I bought a home with a Cemetery close by and I was devastated when the owners of the land next to me sold it and someone built a home between me and my beloved Cemetery. Thank goodness it was far enough back off the road that I could still view it, but I had to close one of my eyes to block out the house. lol.
It was not long after we moved in that I walked down to take a look at the small enclosed Cemetery. There were probably only about 100 graves, most of them in good shape, some of them unmarked and some of them marked with familiar names... Peacock... Morris.... McCurdy.... All names of my family. I remember how stunned I was to see my family names in this tiny Cemetery in a village of 55 people in upstate NY. I had bought a home that belonged to me. Deeper than I would have ever known but it made sense of this longing within me, to be home, this home and to stay forever. That was why it was so hard to drag me away from it, until it almost killed me.
Everything I did, reminded me that this home was meant to be mine. Digging in the garden produced dolls, toys, marbles, a child's shoe, a complete wagon. I had found the burn pile or the place where they threw every thing away that was considered unneeded. We found many things over the years as we made our garden larger and larger, but my favorite things were the dolls and medical bottles. I was a Nurse and I was a doll collector and later I found out something that stunned me . It let me know for certain that this home and place had called to me for a reason.
I immediately immersed myself in the history of the town seeking out the Present Historian, Adelaide Steele and she became my mentor. I could have spent a thousand years with this wonderful lady and never know all that she did. She imparted her wisdom and knowledge of the town as often as she could and had the town make me Deputy Historian, so that I could be at all the meetings and learn. She recognized my thirst for knowledge and although I had come from California, that I belonged with them.
Hanging in the round house, that would one day be my office as Historian, was a picture of Jesse McCurdy. Just the name alone sent shivers down my spine and when I looked into his face, I could see my family. I wish so much that I had a photograph of this portrait but many of my pictures were lost on an old computer.
My family name of McCurdy, the cemetery with Morris, Peacock and McCurdy's buried there were not a coincidence. In the many books that the Historical society had was one that talked about my home. It used to be a former dairy on 565 acres. It also listed the names of the previous owners, a McCurdy!!!
My home that Daddy helped me buy was a McCurdy home. The chills found me that day. Serendipity at its best and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had come home. It was the hardest thing I ever did leaving that house, that Cemetery, that place that called to my soul. It was the hardest time in my life and yet it left me with memories that warm my heart.
I was given a gift. I lived clear across the country and yet we picked up a paper that day and saw the house for sale. A home almost 3000 miles from where I lived. I bought it the day I saw it, a two story, 2500 sq ft home on just 3 acres at that time. A few years later we bought another 80 acres that originally belonged to the house. I wanted as much of the original acreage as I could get. Then I got sick and everything changed in my life.
Someone else occupies my home now but it still belongs to me and my family. A McCurdy owned it 100 years ago and a McCurdy descendant owned it again for 25 years.
My children grew up there with the marks and names on the beam signaling a height and age change. The new owner promised me that if they wanted to paint, they would remove the beam and send it to me. I believe that they will do that for me. God sent them to buy my home. I believe so that a child would be in the house again and so that another family member would own the home. Their family owned most of the rest of the acreage that originally belonged to the house so they are home now, as much as I was before them.
I love you my dear friends. I pray that your days are blessed like mine are.. Always, Kimmee
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