Thursday, March 19, 2009

god's nose

That's what I always thought that Ethel was saying when we acted like brats. But, really we weren't. Just kids trying to have a good time. Her basement had walls of dirt and lots of plastic funeral arrangements scattered around. Everybody took flowers to the cemetary back in that day. Her husband Oscar, or Ockie as we called him, died when we were little kids but she always kept a picture of him in the back bedroom where we'd have to tiptoe to the porcelain bathroom. The one time I tried to sleep in that room his freakin' EYES watched me all night. Sheesh!

Debbie and I were the oldest so we got to experience that creepy crawly feeling of having a dead person's eyes watching you. Now that I'm older I recognize that as the definition of angel. Death doesn't scare me anymore because I've seen it done the familial way and the hard way. We dressed our younger siblings up as the new year's babies just for fun and marveled at the souveniers of Gaga's world travels. She wasn't much on cooking, bless her heart. That was always provided by the live-in cooks who wore paper sacks for hats and fried chicken for a living. It was the south in the fifties, like it or not. Ethel loved pretty birds and always had a canary or two in the dining room cage. It was a special treat to go down to the Woolworth's and look at the color. She'd always buy us a coke or something up at the counter where the stools were just a tad high for kid legs to reach.

Ethel's house was right across the street from my paternal grandmother so it was really a convenient after school destination. Both of my parents worked full time and one of 'em would pick us up in the coupe de jour. Alice Thurmond Elementary school was right next to both of their houses so I was totally hooked up for lunch. Mama has told me several times about Ethel hollering at Ockie while he headed toward the KW Rogers store to work. We have pictures somewhere....we're that kind of crew.

I'm going away with my good friend Sue this weekend because it's free and she's a shitload of fun. Plus, I love her. I can't wait to tell her about my day. It just might match her stories of the Red Hats who converge on congregate at her restaurant and antique shop on 51 North.

Ya'll go pick some flowers. It's good for an old soul.


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