The focus of this year’s Halloween Family History Devotional was uploading to Flickr a good part of the genealogy photos I’ve accumulated over the years. There are some others I have in my collection, but they’re more cousins and indirect lines rather than my direct ancestry.
This photo, however, is of my Granny.
I count myself extremely lucky that I got to live in Florida from age 8 to age 11, so I got to spend some quality time with my Granny. By that time, she was 75 years old, with a puckered, happy face and leathery, saggy skin from working in the fields for most of her life. Her hair was long and thin and nearly white, and she would pin it up in half a dozen small, flat curls under her straw hat.
I love this picture for so many reasons. I can see the family resemblance much easier in this younger version of Granny, and not just the patterns of aging in the womenfolk of our family. I also love the fact that she’s barefoot, with a dog barking at her heels.
And, no, she’s not pregnant. She had that peculiar firm-fat belly decades later, and her daughter (my Memaw) inherited the same belly. Granny tended to wear her pants unnaturally high, up over her quasi-beer-gut, with her shirt tucked in, as great-grandparents are wont to do.
She used to tell fantastic voodoo stories, too, most of which I never heard or remembered. The one story I remember, as best as I can remember it, involved a feud between two women in town. The voodoo practitioner in question obtained a piece of her enemy’s hair, put it into a glass bottle (a milk bottle, perhaps?), then peed in the bottle, said her voodoo witchery spell, and put the sealed jar in the oven. When the bottle finally burst in the oven, the other woman started pissing, and couldn’t stop pissing all over herself. The woman ran to the voodoo woman’s house, pissing all the while, and asked her forgiveness so the curse would be lifted.
I know my family tends to take these stories with a grain of salt, being that no one really practices voodoo or believes in witchcraft. Me, I don’t suppose there’s any harm in imagining that it really could have happened. But, really, you’d have to hate someone a whole hell of a lot to make your house smell like burning piss.
But I digress. Granny was always a hardworking woman who cared for her kids. She even faked Memaw’s birthdate by one year when she went into school so she looked old enough to go to school along with her slower older brother, to beat up the kids who would pick on him. Memaw kept that falsified birthdate for her entire life, since she had no birth certificate, and school records were the only proof she had of her age.
I know my aunt and my mom know more of Granny’s stories. I keep hoping that I’ll be able to get one or both of them to write down what they remember. I just know that there was so much more to her than I ever got to see myself.