The picture above includes my first cousins – Rose (on the left) and Diane (on the right) – and my Uncle Charlie (in the middle). Even though we are first cousins, I haven’t seen them since we were kids…with one exception. That one exception was when my father died in 1996 at 64 yrs old. Diane, Rose, and my uncles attended the funeral. At that time, my parents were divorced so my father’s new wife handled all the arrangements. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the lines of communication between my father’s side of the family and his children ended when my parents divorced.
When my mother Alice was growing up, wakes were actually held in the homes. When a family member died, the funeral home prepared the body, placed it in the casket, and delivered it to the home. During the wake, friends and family would come to pay their respects. The wake was a celebration of life with food and drink.
My mother remembers her great-grandmother (Laura Washington) and grandfather (Joseph Brown) having a wake held in their home. Based on the time of the funeral, the body would be delivered to the home the day before, and be available until an hour or two prior to the funeral which was held in the church.
Alice Ruth Coleman (left) and Her Sister Elouise Parker (right)
Alice Ruth Coleman, mother of Melzar Williams, was born 20 Feb 1893 in Mobile, AL. She married Ervin Williams, from Mobile, AL, in 1909 at the age of 17 yrs old, and Melzar was born in 1912 (at age of 19 yrs old). They had another child, but he died from pneumonia after only living two months. According to the 1910 census, Alice Ruth and her husband lived with her parents, and by the 1920 census, they lived with Ervin’s parents. She was a laundress, and Ervin was a truck driver for the Grain Mill. Alice Ruth had four sisters and two brothers. Continue reading →
On 19 Aug 2015, I posted 50 Interview Questions. Following is a summary of answers to questions 16-20 from the interview with my Mom. Enjoy!
Do you remember any fads from your youth?Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
Paper dolls, roller skates (clamped on your shoes with a key)
My dolls hair used to be glued on. Over time, the manufacturer changed the hair so it looked like it was growing out of the dolls head. This made all the difference in the world! I could finally wash my dolls hair without her loosing it!
I used to fall asleep with bubble gum in my hair. My mother was constantly cutting my hair to remove the gum. Madame C. J. Walker invented the straightening comb and many ladies got her hair pressed.
Long skirts were in style. My favorite skirt is in the following picture:
Eva Jasper took her granddaughters Alice and Marce to Quitman, MS every summer for about two weeks to visit Amanda Jasper (Grandma Mandy), their great-grandmother. Alice had mixed feelings about the summer visits to Quitman. I think the girls really enjoyed spending time with their grandmother and great-grandmother, but Quitman was so different from Mobile, AL. Quitman was truly the country!
Alice remembers riding the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio (GM&O) Railroad to Quitman. The train was like a greyhound bus that made many stops along the way. People could bring chickens, goats or sheep on the train and Alice was afraid of anything with feathers. See the GM&O map below. When Momma Eva, Alice and Marce arrived in Quitman, Grandma Mandy came to pick them up in a horse and buggy.