Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clifford Harper and children (Turners), contd(part 3)

Great-Grandmother Martha(Tatum) Turner
Frances (Tatum)Turner's mother
Vernell (Turner) (Harper) (King) Pike's grandmother
Picture taken 1940

Uncle Jim & Aunt Agnes (Turner) Fowler

Grandpa Esley Turl and Frances (Tatum) Turner 1944

Poochie, Tabby, Judy, Clifford and Larry

As I stated before, when Grandpa worked, they didn't have social security.  So when he had to retire, he and Grandma moved in with my Aunt Agnes and Uncle Jim.  Aunt Agnes was twenty-nine years older than my mother. This meant she was born in 1902, somewhere in Georgia.  She and Uncle Jim had eleven children.  I remember their family as being a happy group.  A few of their children was older than my mom, their Aunt.  

In 2007 I visited the old house. As I walked around the house snapping pictures, I thought how the house had fallen into such disarray. I felt so sad as I have such fond memories of this house.  It didn't take me very long to walk around the house, it didn't look as large as I remember.  I glimpsed a bit of the old veranda that wound around the outside.  As a child of four or five, I remember playing out on it, walking from one side to the other seemed to take forever..

When the house was built, it came with a wide hallway down the middle with the bedrooms on one side, while the kitchen, dinningroom and livingroom were on the other. The hallway allowed wind to blow through and keep it cool during the summer.  In the winter, it was easier to heat the side were the family ate and stayed during the daylight hours. At night, you got ready for bed near the fire, warming the sleeping gown, then made a mad dash to bed so the warm gown would heat it up.  You were lucky if you got a feather bed. That way, you would sink down and be warm.  Having a bed to oneself was unheard of. In the winter, this was a welcomed thing.  I can remember when we visited, usually, all the family came.  We would drive in from Georgia and so would others.  Sometimes there would be four or five girls in one bed. We'd giggle into the night.  Catching up on what had happened in our lives since the last time we saw each other.

I remember my Grandpa sitting around whittling.  He never created anything, he'd start in the morning with a stick, he just sat there taking his knife and slowly drawing it along, a shaving would curl than drop.  He'd start again, curl and drop.  By the end of the day, the stick would be gone and on the ground would be a pile of thin wood shavings, beautifully curled so that it looked like a huge bloom on a flower. I would pick up one of the shavings and stare at it.  You remember the old hand cranked pencil sharpeners? As the pencil was sharpened, the wood would come off in a curl.  His shavings were similar.  Before he retired, he worked at a grist mill and a saw mill.  A grist mill is where they ground grain to make flour.

I loved my Grandma.  She was a stocky woman, not fat, just the right size for a Grandma.  She had strong arms, I guess from working in the fields and washing clothes by hand.  We lived with them for a while.  She smiled and laughed a lot.  I remember many days in the fall of riding on her cotton picking sack.  You ever seen a cotton picking sack?  They're about six feet long, with one end completely sewn together and the other end open with a strap attached.  She would place the strap across her head, down to her shoulders.  Once she had picked enough cotton to fill the bag half full, she would let me sit on it pulling me along as she walked down the row, pulling and stuffing.  They would empty the cotton into a small wagon, then unload the wagon onto the porch.  Once there was enough cotton to fill a larger wagon, it would be taken to the gin and sold.  I use to love to lay in the piled cotton, smell it and roll on it.  It smelled so clean and raw, yet be soft and fluffy.

There were so many secret places and wonderful objects in the house.  On the mantel there was a clear domed clock, about twelve inches tall.  Inside the dome a dial with a large and small pointer to show the time.  At the bottom of the dial, a gold wheel spun first one way and then the other.  On the hour, a chime sounded, like a tiny bell.

Aunt Agnes waxed her floors with melted paraffin, then buffed with a cloth until it glistened like ice. And when there weren't any adults looking, the kids would run and slide across the floor in our socks. Many a summer day we would sit on the swing hung from the ceiling of the veranda, shucking corn or stringing beans and peas.

Vernell (Mom), Clifford, (Dad) Judy and Larry, 1951

I remember the day we moved to Rossville, Georgia.  I sat in the front seat with Mom and Dad.  We followed one of the pick-up trucks filled with our furniture. One of the sheets that covered the furniture, came loose and began to flap in the wind.  I could see my little rocking chair.  The whole drive up I worried it would fall off and be broken in pieces.  It was a child's red rocking chair. We did finally arrive at the house we were to rent, without one piece of furniture falling off.

After the people who helped us move left, Larry, who was three or four, and I, who was four or five, were sitting out on the cement porch when we spied a lit cigarette.  We decided to pick it up and smoke it.  The smoke burned our eyes and caused us to cough.  We looked up and saw Mom and Dad standing there.  They were laughing at us. I never was able to take up smoking. Which I'm grateful for.
Me, Tabby the cat, Poochie, Larry

I remember the bathroom of the house had wallpaper covered with red American Beauty roses. To begin with, there was a small livingroom, which led to a kitchen, which led to the master bedroom.  The bathroom was off of the bedroom.  I think there was a huge closet at the end of the bedroom.  I can't remember where mine and my brother's bedroom was.  The master bedroom had a backdoor which opened onto a long cement porch, painted a royal blue. Grandpa Turner and Dad eventually built another room onto the cement porch.  I remember we had a potbellied stove in this room, which warmed it so much that it was stifling.  I'm not sure how or why, but Larry pulled a pot of hot water off the stove.  It scalded his leg really bad.

Mother was pregnant with Susan when we moved to Rossville, Georgia. Grandpa Turner came to live with us a while.  This was during the time he built the extra room and when Dad injured his arm.
Larry, Susan, Judy February 24, 1954


arlee bird said...

some great recollections!

Agnes said...

Oh Judy -- what a lovely post.
I loved the 'getting ready for bed' part. Actually, I loved the whole post.

Mighty M said...

What wonderful memories you have. And the pictures to go with them!!