September 9, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 14

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s: 
Thinking about some more of the old folks I've known.
There was one old colored man; all I ever knew him by was Uncle Parrot.  He lived around the Penistons.  He had been a slave.  Good Lord, if Uncle Parrot was still living, it's no telling how old he'd be now.  I know he'd be at least 150 years old, probably older.
Bruce and Alf
One old friend of mine who would be over 100 years old if he was living today [1991] was Alf Jones.  Alf was young compared to Uncle Parrot.  Uncle Parrot was probably forty or fifty years older than Alf.
I spent a lot of time with Alf Jones and his wife, Lula.  I'd go over to their house.  They lived over in what everyone called the "Vill" where all the colored folks lived.  The old house is still standing today.  I spent many hours sitting over there visiting with Alf and Lula.
Alf Jones, 1979
After they had to put Lula in the nursing home, Alf lived there by himself for four or five years.  I'd go over there at night and sit there and visit with Alf.  Many nights we'd sit out on his front porch.  Sit there in the moonlight and talk a couple of hours.  I miss that old man.
Cassie Sessions.  If she was living today she'd be about 120 years old or older.  Aunt Frances Wright, Sam Coggins, Uncle Grant Cobbins...just so many of them I remember.  Uncle Grant Cobbins was the father of Scott Cobbins.
Julia Rogers and Scott Cobbins
If Scott was living today, he'd be over eighty years old.  Scott helped my mother for years.  He'd help her with her garden.  He was a good carpenter.  Scott, like a lot of the rest of us, had a drinking problem.  He got to where he couldn't hold a carpenter job so he just kind of piddled around.
Scott Cobbins, 1979
Scott worked for my mother almost every day in the last ten years that she lived.  If he wasn't working in her garden, they were planting trees together, repairing fences, or building shelves for inside the house.
The very day after my mother died, Scott showed up in my kitchen.  He continued to show up every morning for years until he got old. His visits were then only two or three times a week.  Old Scott.  I sure do miss him! 
I remember Johnny and Turner Saulsberry.  They were brothers and had an old pressing shop here for years and years.  They had an old steam presser.  People would take their dresses and suits there to get them cleaned, dry cleaned.  
Old Press Shop
Rent receipt signed by Mrs. W.S. Peck
When I was a little boy, I used to go sit at that shop for hours on end listening to Johnny and his customers and friends talk and tell stories.  Johnny was there every day in the pressing shop.  Turner helped him but he was a preacher on the side so he wasn't there every day.  I guess Johnny Saulsberry ran that pressing shop for twenty years or more.  
Turner Saulsberry had a good many children.  One of them was named Maisey.  Maisey married Richard Harbor.  That Maisey was something else!  She worked for us a couple of different times down through the years.  I spent a lot of time talking to Maisey.
Maisey Saulsberry Harbor
She once told me about another colored woman in town that wanted to teach all the children how to play the piano and charge them $2 a month.  Maisey said she wouldn't mind giving the woman the $2 but the woman couldn't even play the piano.  She showed me how the woman would just beat up and down on the piano keys.  She said, "She don't know what she's doing.  I don't mind giving her the $2 and letting Junior go but she let Junior think he knew how to play.  He'd go way off somewhere like Ferriday and think he could play the piano and make a fool out of himself!"
Maisey died a couple of years ago.  She was about 70 years old.  She got ill and stayed sick for about two months before she died.  I liked old Maisey.
Back in the early 1930s there was a big family of Saulsberrys on Sicily Island.  They're gone now.  I believe Maisey's youngest son still lives on the Island.  If he does, he's the only Saulsberry left here on Sicily Island.

Note:  Parts 1-13 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.

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