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Showing posts with label boys Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boys Texas. Show all posts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

For Me!

After I started elementary school in Jacksonville, TX in 1945, I never took my lunch to school because our house was on the same block as West Side School so I walked home almost every day for lunch.  Rarely I was given a quarter to buy my lunch at school which I considered a nice, if infrequent, treat!  If by chance I needed a sack lunch for something, it was just that - a waxed paper wrapped sandwich in a small brown paper sack.

When our sons started their years in Davis Elementary School in Plano, TX in the 1970's, lunch room prices had increased considerably, and most of the time they still had homemade lunches. They just carried them to school in cartoon character or superhero embellished metal  lunch boxes which had their names marked with indelible markers. Since plastic sandwich bags had been introduced in the late 1950's, their sandwiches most often were snugly enclosed in a baggie (no zipper on top), a Ziploc bag, or Tupperware!  If I stopped to do the math X 3 boys for making sandwiches, bagging them and assembling said sandwich, some fruit, chips, and a cookie or three into the corners of those rattly dented lunch boxes, it might make me feel tired, so I will just propose that over those years that happened thousands of times.  Often I tucked a note inside to send a little love along with lunch. I am pretty sure by first grade they did not let their friends see those notes.

In May, I started going to our youngest son's home to take care of my newest granddaughter. Her other grandma and I are sharing time, so I go every third week for my days with Nora, now 4 months old.  On the first Monday, I arrived at 6:00 a.m. to give them time for departure for their jobs by 6:15.  As they kissed their little one goodbye, picked up their things and started to leave, Ben turned around and said.  "Oh, Mom...I made your sandwich for lunch.  It is in the frig." As my eyes filled with tears and memories, I gave him a hug and thanked him before holding his daughter a little closer and breathing her sweet baby scent.

I am keeping that sandwich bag.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Opal and Gertrude

This photograph taken circa 1930 is an image of a friendship that lasted over 80 years! On the right is my mother, Opal Auntionette Terrell, who married my father,  John William Howard Teal, on December 27, 1931. On the left is Gertrude Mae Burks, who married Herod Bickerstaff on December 4, 1931. These two young women "stood up" for each other at their weddings that December in 1931. But they had been standing up for each other for years before that.  They went to church and school together, both graduating from Bullard High School in 1931. They shared  living in big families on farms with no indoor plumbing, drinking water from a dipper stuck in the well bucket,  learning to cook on wood stoves, learning to iron with flat irons heated on those stoves, writing in their diaries, the giggling of girls, and the satisfaction of working hard,. In those days, school text books were hard to come by. They shared those books, which were called "partner books"  I have one of those books with their names and that designation handwritten inside the book.

Through the years Opal and Gertrude remained close friends. They grew up on farms whose acreage backed up to each other.  There was a small creek with a bridge in between. Mother spoke fondly of the times they would plan to meet at that bridge. I am sure Gertrude was at a party Mother went to when she was a teenager. She told how she had such a good time she was late coming home and as she tip toed down the long front hall of their big white house on the hill in Bullard, she kicked a washpan that had been set outside a bedroom door and woke everyone.  Gertrude shined her patent shoes like Mother did, by rubbing a cold biscuit over the toes!


Best friends for so long, and married in the same month, their married lives began as Gertrude and Herod worked a farm in the sandy soil of East Texas, raising watermelons among other crops.  They had 2 sons and  2 daughters. Opal and Howard moved to Tyler where they both worked in Cameron's Cafeteria and where they lived when I was born in 1940, later moving to New Orleans, LA during WW II  Daddy worked in shipyards. When they came back to Texas, both worked in cafes in Jacksonville and later operated and owned cafes where Daddy was well known for being a wonderful cook.  My sister Janice was born in 1946.  When I left home to start college in 1958, Gertrude and Herod's oldest daughter Nona was my first college roommate!

Both were strong women whose faith was apparent in the way they lived life in their communities, raised their families,and served in their churches. Gertrude was an active member of First Baptist Church Bullard.Opal was a longtime member of First Baptist Church Jacksonville. Both were married for over 50 years.  Howard Teal died in 1982. Herod Bickerstaff died in 1987.  So both women were widows for many years.

 Gertrude was born August 30, 1913 lived in Bullard all her life and died in Jacksonville (less than 15 miles away) on April 15, 2002 after a couageous battle with cancer.  Opal was born October 20, 1913, lived all but 2 years of her life within a 15 mile radius of her childhood home, and  finally left her home in Jacksonville when we moved her near us the same year Gertrude died, 2002.  Often in those last few years, she would tell me she was ready to "go Home."  On that night,  September 21, 2006, as I grieved her loss, I smiled through tears and said,

"She is meeting Gertrude at the bridge."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Her Father's Daughter

I often mention things my granddaughters do that remind me of their fathers doing the same thing when they were little boys.  This photo Jeremy sent me of Jordann tackling a bowl of watermelon slices almost as big as she is takes me back to days when our boys would ask if we could "cut this watermelon" as they rolled it across the kitchen floor. As they stood digging with forks into the heart of a watermelon half, juice sparkling on their chins, they had the same happy smile as this one.  Sometimes we took the melons outside on the porch and  enjoyed the cool sweetness that seems part of hot Texas summers. Then they would have a seed spitting contest!

 Going back to the 40's and 50's,  I think of all the watermelons grown by my grandfathers or the farmers on nearby farms.  The vines sprawled out in sandy fields, where melons swelled and grew juicy, and melons were harvested, piled into the beds of pickup trucks and taken to town or roadside to sell.  I grew up thinking the heart of the melon was for us to eat, sprinkled with a little salt.  The rest of the melon and its rind could be thrown acorss the fence for the cows to enjoy.  How different that image is from the dear prices we pay for a single melon today!  

Bon Appetit, Jordann!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Texas Summer

Summer on the Texas Gulf Coast does not wait for the calendar to mark the solstice.  By late May and early June, we experience burning heat, sprinklers on the lawn,  homegrown tomatoes and hot peppers, katydids singing in the evenings, Crepe Myrtles and Chaste Trees blooming, suppers from the grill, iced tea, cold watermelon, bees buzzing around the basil.  The Touch Me Not seeds are popping, Morning Glories are purple delights, roses slowing down for a second breath, and there are a hundred shades of green. I may complain about being hot, but I love so many things that summer brings.

For Memorial  and Independence Day celebrations, we get the little flags back out to line the sidewalk, and celebrate  birthdays for Joe and Ben.  July brings a bumper crop of figs on our tree,  Vacation Bible School fun, plans with my granddaughters, and family outings.  It will get hotter, and we will watch the hurricane tracking news. We keep ceiling fans whirring and add a buzz fan or two for the back porch. I am thankful for cool evening breezes wafting scent of honeysuckle and cooling the flagstone paths in our garden.

 Summertime!

"Now summer is in flower and natures hum 
Is never silent round her sultry bloom 
Insects as small as dust are never done 
Wi' glittering dance and reeling in the sun 
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee 

Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun."

- John Clare, "June"