September 29, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 58

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Tomato Sandwiches and Lemonade...
Willie Evans Knight
One time when I was about 7 or 8 years old, several of us kids were up town playing.  Mrs. Willie [Evans] Knight came along and picked us up and took us up to her house.  They lived in one of the little houses up on the bluff going down towards the first bridge heading out of town.  
Mrs. Willie fixed us tomato sandwiches and lemonade.  We had been running and playing and were so hot.  That was a wonderful treat for us.  I remember how she cut the ends off of our light bread.  I had never eaten a sandwich without the ends on the bread.  
That must have been around June of 1934 or 1935.  It wasn’t long after this when Mrs. Willie, Mr. Rufus and their daughter, Billie Sue moved into their new house that was a couple of streets over from my house.  It was built on the same street as Claude and Vivian Enright, Oscar and Birdie Krause, Alvin and Olga Seal and Ed and Irma Enright.
Mrs. Willie still lives in that house.  Mr. Rufus died years ago and Billie Sue lives out in Texas.  Mrs. Willie has been the same person she was back when she made us those tomato sandwiches and lemonade.  She has always done things for other people and especially children. 
Popcorn Balls...
Aunt Clara Bass was an old colored woman who made the best popcorn balls.  The Seal girls [Ouida and Juanita] and I loved to go visit Aunt Clara and eat those popcorn balls.  
One day a bunch of us kids were playing in the dirt road that ran beside Mr. Maurice Saltzman’s house and Mrs. Yancey’s house.  Eloise Yancey, Mrs. Yancey’s daughter, saw us playing and came to the door.  She invited us inside to eat popcorn balls they had made for us.  That was a nice thing for them to do.  Those popcorn balls hit the spot!
Yancey House and road across from Saltzman House
Mrs. Yancey grew strawberries back in the 1930s.  As the berries began to ripen, she would go along and spread pine straw around the plants.  She would lift the berries off the ground and prop them on the pine straw to keep them from rotting.  
The birds were bad about eating strawberries so most people didn’t bother with them. This part of the country just wasn’t a good place to grow strawberries.
There was a vacant lot behind Mrs. Yancey’s house.  It covered about a ½ acre.  People would rent the land to plant crops on.  Corn, cotton and sorghum had been planted on this little ½ acre lot. 
Sorghum looked like corn plants or sugar cane stalks.  I don’t know what all it was used for other than to make Sorghum syrup.  
I remember some of us boys slipping into that sorghum patch and getting us a stalk.  It was a disappointment because it wasn’t like chewing on sugar cane stalks.  

Note:  Parts 1-57 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.


  1. Ah for the simple times when people shared the simple pleasures. I wish we could slow the world down just a little bit so there was more time to share tomato sandwiches and popcorn balls with neighbors and friends. Beautiful post.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Michelle. My father's recordings have been a treasure to me. Listening to (and transcribing) his tapes make me yearn for a slower and simpler life as well.