1 thought on “Family History Notes from KJ Smith (Grandpa), August 2010”

  1. Note from Mom about this post:

    Mabel, didn’t have cancer. She died from an abdominal hemmorage.

    Irene had one more younger sister, Lorel. Big Mama mentioned her but I don’t specifically recall anything more than because of their age difference they weren’t particularly close. Vaguely recall she left Louisburg after high school and didn’t keep in contact, and no reference to Lorel in her personal papers as with her other siblings. Her correspondences with various family members, about various family members, are in Syracuse.

    The Strickland children grew up working the farm. Irene was called”Renie” growing up. Her job was in the kitchen, cooking on the fire burning stove. She played piano at home at the church. Story has it that Arthur never missed a day of church in his life. The Strickland’s may have been poor but they did have a piano at home. When the house possessions were disbursed Big Mama wanted the piano but Big Daddy said there was no room at Stafford. She wanted to put it where the marble top is. I think Mabel got the piano but I’d have to check her death to be sure. In any event, Big Mama, in a fit, removed the music rest before the piano was taken. I have hanging over my electronic piano. She used to tell me I have such long fingers I could play the piano, too. Unfortunately, I have very little music ability. Grandpa wanted to get a piano for me to learn, but Granny nixed the idea. Maybe she recognized that 😀

    Regarding Homer, he was upset over a break up with his neighborhood girlfriend. Drunkenly, he went to her house and was banging on the door (probably next door, said Grandpa, house still standing). She went to the top of the stairs but wouldn’t come down. According to Big Mama and Grandpa, Arthur’s words to the family, “Damn fool’s done gone and killed himself”.

    Simpson was quite a character. He was Big Mama’s favorite, although she was quite fond of Crump as well. Simpson took Grandpa under his wing when he was a boy. He was originally in tobacco sales and then had a vending machine route that took him up north, where he eventually settled. Grandpa spent time with him on both. I’ll have to write these funny stories before they get gone.

    Aunt Mollie, Big Mama’s closest aunt, deserves a special mention for her influence on Big Mama. I only remember meeting her once when she and Big Mama presented me with a Madame Alexander doll that Mollie had also made a pretty lavender dress. Funny, I remember that so vividly. Big Mama was so proud, and Mollie so thrilled. I know my eyes were sooo big. Still have the doll and that dress.

    I also remember Mollie was much taller than Big Mama, but I was a child so it’s hard to say how tall, possibly my height today or a bit taller. She seemed towering at the time, had a reddish tint to her short wavy hair that was most likely tinted but very natural. And was very nice. More on her and Big Mama’s visits to Richmond, the fashion capitol, later. I found she was brought back from Richmond to the maternal Strickland church. I’d like to visit there.

    Mollie was an excellent seamstress/tailor, working with fine fabric, who actually lived and travelled with the families whe worked for. She went “abroad’ many times with the families. Big Mama was also a very fine seamstress. I don’t mean they could sew. I mean, patience and perfection. Looking at photos of Big Mama’s gardens and how I remember them-that kind of patience and perfection.

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