I'm just 3-5 years old. We are living in Carthage, TX in a rent house next door to the woman who owns it, Willie Thompkins. Daddy was running a pool hall there. He had been hurt on the job and that's how he provided for us. I'm guessing Willie was probably about ten years older than Mama, as she had a grown up daughter that I believe was older than Edna or Sarah. I have some vivid memories of Willie, that place and her house. So, in no particular order, I share some with you here.
Willie's yard. She had a glider that set under an arch that had vines growing up it. I thought that glider was one of the most magical and special places! It was near the property line and I could sit in it even if I didn't actually visit Willie.
In the back yard she had a picnic table. I remember us celebrating what was probably the 4th of July with her there. I remember there were hamburgers and the best french fries ever! Hand sliced and fried. That's where the secret of soaking them in cold water before frying came from...and just getting the edges golden. We had watermelon and Daddy played leap frog with me. A truly golden day for a little girl like me.
Willie's house. Her house holds several memorable things for me. One is how in a little alcove area between her living room and her bedroom, there was a little stand/table just for her telephone. I adored it. Was fascinated by it.
Another fascination was her garage. Willie didn't drive. She took cabs. Her garage was shelves and shelves and shelves all filled with issues of the Readers Digest. In date order! I thought it wonderful and wished I could explore them all. But I couldn't read yet.
Then there was Willie the person. She must of been a very special soul. She couldn't eat sugar, but she kept Oreo cookies for me. Anytime I came over I had Oreos and milk at her kitchen table.
Also, the first time Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer came on TV, they must of been promoting it extensively. I say that because Willie had Mama bring me over to her house to watch it. I really don't remember if her TV was just bigger than ours, or if it was color instead of black and white. I do remember how scary that abominable snowman was! And how sad those misfit toys were. That's where the tradition began for me and I've watched it every single year since.
And then there is the dress. The little silky red and white gingham dress with all the red petticoat made into it. Lace and beads adorning it. Velvet ribbon around the waist. Still in the cedar chest. Willie made me that dress. And I have a very vivid memory of wearing that dress to a football game and Daddy telling me to stop standing up in the stands and peering between the cracks at the people below. He said that TV cameras would show my hinnie to the whole world. I don't think there were any cameras. I think he just said that to make me sit down.
Daddy got all well, work picked up and we moved back to Silsbee. But Mama and Willie wrote to one another through the years. And as soon as I could write anything, I began to write her, too. At first just a note scribbled into Mama's letter. Later letters of my own. Me and Willie corresponded through the years and across the generations. This continued on up until around my graduation from High School. Finally I received a letter from her daughter, Sue I think, who told me her mom had passed on.
Suffice it to say, this is one person I hope I can look up and reconnect with in Heaven.