My grandmother, Delitha was born in 1917 and is 96 years old. She is a wealth of information. We sat out on my front porch swing one day and talked about some of her life as a young child.
She was a little over a year old when the flu epidemic of 1918 hit. Her
mother, Basha Bay, died in that epidemic and seven days later her aunt, Icey May died. My great-grandmother said my grandmother wasn't feeling well the day of her mothers funeral and they feared my grandmother was coming down with the flu. However, if she had the flu it was a mild case. The epidemic left her motherless and fatherless so her grandmother, who wasn't a well woman took her in.
I asked her what her earliest memories were, and I have to say it's funny what the mind
remembers. She remembers at age four going to her aunt Pearl's house and eating beef steak and thinking it tasted better than anything in the world. Her other memory at age four was of her grandmother's cook stove. It was a cast iron type where you put the wood and paper inside to get a fire going to heat the four burners on top.She said they had a small hole next to the burner to stick something in and be able to pull up the burner. She remembers her grandmother sticking her finger in the hole and flipping the burner so fast she didn't get burned.
Grandma at age five was given a cotton sack that hung across her shoulder and down her back to take
out to her uncle's cotton field in Missouri and help pick cotton. She said she remembers it being so hot and at the end of the day they weighed her cotton and paid her ten cents, and she thought that dime was wonderful.
She grew up in an age when horse and buggies were going out but some of her family still had them. She was fortunate to be born when life was starting to get easier. But as I listen to the tales of walking down the street after dark at nine years old to get a bucket of coal to help heat a house I can't help to think how much we take for granted and our children even more so.
A child was expected to work in their youth. So many parents today think that if their children pick up their own toys they've done a great days work. Chores are fast becoming a thing of the past. Allowances are earned for nothing more than being their child. But are we really doing our children a favor? When I see what kind of woman my grandmother turned out to be I can't help but wonder how her childhood helped her become the lady she is today.
Until four years ago when she had a stroke she was a busy woman. She retired from GM at sixty-five. Went back to work once more, this time for a real estate, where she worked for several more years. Retired for a year, got bored and went to work in retail until she was eighty-five years old. But don't think she sat around after that. If one of her grandchildren had a project going, be it painting, gardening, lawn work, canning, yardsales, etc. you could bet she'd be there helping. She is a woman who wasn't afraid of work and a woman I am proud to call grandma.