Become a Fan
In the Beginning
By Louisa A Dobbins
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
What Should I do with My Brother's Cremains?
Three doctors had told mama and daddy they would not have any children. They lived in the country, a relatively comfortable life for black folk in the late nineteen thirties and early forties. They owned their forty acres and the mule.
Daddy laid brick and stone. He farmed and cut hair in the back yard on Saturday. Mama took care of some farming and some white folks ironing and cleaning. One day after she had gone to do some ironing she came running down the road screaming with a letter from the post in her hand. It was from the War Department. Uncle Sam called her to work on Fort Jackson during World War II.
The way she reacted must have been the hi-lite of her life other than daddy's proposal. Mama went to work for the government. She traveled 50 miles back and forth daily on the City and Greyhound bus. Mama was happy on her job with the government. One day an amazing thing happened, her doctor told her she was pregnant. It was me.
They were accustomed to the two of them and Mabel my older sister by mama's previous marriage. Mabel's daddy died when she was seven. Mabel said daddy chased mama like a rabbit until she consented to marry him. I believe things changed after mama conceived me especially after having been married six years without babies in the house. She became a very angry woman. Mabel says she was always mean.
She needed medicine for the sickness, something about an inherited disorder from her mother and her mothers before her made her sick like that. She worked until I was born. I was such a beautiful baby mama forgot to be angry anymore. Mabel was fourteen and in school. She would come home and help mama with me and the chores before doing her homework.
Mothers did not come out in the weather in those days after having a baby as they do today. After mama went though her period of staying in she dressed me up one day and laid me on the bed. She got dressed and went to the Greyhound bus stop. As she road the bus she realized she was missing something. She cried out on the bus, "STOP"! I left my baby home. The bus driver let her off the bus.
She raced backed to the house to find me laying in the same spot gurgling, laughing and playing with my big feet. The purpose of our trip to town was to go to the baby shoe store. None of the baby layettes fit me. I weighed over 10 pounds and my feet wore size one shoes. The man in the store told mama, "Annie, I believe this girls gonna have to wear the box before her feet stop growing". If you remember this was during Jim Crow and mama did'nt think that it was so funny, and her name was'nt Annie. She found out later he was'nt too far from wrong. If they had grown much pass size 13 as they are, I would have needed the box.
Two years later mama had another smaller baby girl, Joy, then there was my brother, William, a bouncing 12 pounder with severe Down Syndrome. This broke mama's heart. I can't imagine what it did to daddy. William lived to the age of 57.
His cremains are in a granite cript next to my computer. I haven't decided what to do with him yet. I think I will scatter his remaims at my secret place.
It sure is nice to have a sister to tell you stories about your birth and your life as a child. I love Mabel so much and I thank her for the memories. It is especially nice to have her to care for as she is aging.
God Has Been So Good To Me.
Louisa A. Dobbins
read: My Secret Place
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|Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath
|Louisa this narrative is the most heart touching.
That is wonderful that your sister Mabel is sharing so much of your life with you it actually is a treasure!
Thank you and continued blessings,
From the Heart of an Artist...