Remembering My Ancestral Great- Grandmother

Updated: Jul 14, 2021


This picture represents my life growing up and surrounded by the love of my Great - grandmother and the warm environment she created. What I remember of my grandmother, Mrs. Molly Jackson, born on March 3, 1888. She was beautiful and tall at least six-feet, dark-brown with a reddish undertone.

I loved going over to her house and spending the weekend.


My mom and dad would drive me over and park our grey and white station wagon in the front on the street. There stood this huge white house, with large windows and a porch. When we walked up, there were flower planters which set on the ledges on both sides of the stairs. Two white metal rocking chairs in the front and a small window overhead. Mom rang the doorbell, giving a buzzard sound. Soon my grandmother's housekeeper, Dorothy, who did not have front teeth, would come to the door and let us in. Mom, had a joyful and happy voice, when she said hi, to Dorothy. My dad probably said hello too, but I don't remember.


Upon entering, we came into the foyer. To the left of the door were stairs that lead to where, my grandmother rented out rooms. She called them, "Roomers." Next to the stairs were pictures of the family and some I did not know. There was one picture I thought was a pretty black doll. My mom said she is a real doll - baby. I asked mom. "Can I have a real doll - baby?" "Yes, when you are older." To the right, two curtain glassed double doors, opened into my grandmother's livingroom. Here, the most delicious aromas whisked their way throughout the entire house, making me hungry. I was glad I did not eat dinner before coming to grandma's house. I loved being the first to sit in the blue cushioned rocking chair. They positioned it between the living and dining room, and next to her China cabinet, and an old-fashioned radio. No one could turn on, because grandma did not allow music in her house unless it was church music. I remember she ran my brothers out of her house cause they were being hard-headed and turn the radio on, anyway. After that, I knew I would never turn it on.


Now about this picture. My gran had a large dining room which lead to the tiny kitchen. The back wall of the dining room is where the picture hung. Seeing the picture today and having it in my possession does not scare me. However, when I was small, there was something about the food in the frame gave me the heebie-jeebies. Everything just seemed old and dusty. Who in their right mind would eat ancient food like that. I imagined the crumbled cake was hard and stale, and the cracked opened fruit dried out. When I looked at the plant, it was dying. The entire work was just ugh. A little too much for a seven-year-old to handle.




TIME FOR DINNER

Mom and dad left, and I went into the backyard with grandma to watch her as she called it ‘shelling’ green beans. We sat close to the plum tree. It gave off a sweet scent because the plums were ripe for picking. I could smell the chicken roasting in the oven in its juices. Closing my eyes, I can smell it now, just thinking of it. Grandma would make gravy from the drippings and pour it over the rice or potatoes. This is the time pork was king, and the chosen ingredient to making, green beans, greens, macaroni and cheese taste so good. Grandma would let me climb up on the chair and help her break apart the lettuce for the salad. The salads always had a sweet taste of sugar. I loved grandma’s salads because of the sweetness and crunch from the lettuce. Grandma ate dinner much earlier than we did at home. 6:00 a.m. Breakfast, 11:00 a.m. lunch and 2:30 p.m, dinner. Once we ate dinner, Dorothy would come upstairs from her quarters in the basement and clean the dishes, and put everything away in its place. Before going back into the dungeon, I called it. This was the time for grandma to read the newspaper, and give me the comics. Her house was so peaceful. I sometimes got lonely and would call mommy crying telling her to come get me. I had no one to play with, which is funny now I think about it, cause I had no one to play with at home. My brothers played with each other, but not me. I guess I just wanted to be home where people would visit and the house would come alive.

READY FOR BED

Now it was time for my bath. Put on my pajamas, and climb up and into my grandma’s large redwood, four-poster bed, and learn the Lord’s prayer and the 23rd psalm. Then we would go through the door connecting both rooms. Me and grandma would kneel beside the bed and pray the Lord’s prayer. The next morning I smelled ham, or bacon, eggs, toast and coffee. Dorothy would come and tell me to wash up. Brush my teeth and come have breakfast. When I came into the kitchen, my plate fixed. Dorothy ate breakfast with us, and not until grandma sat down and said the prayer did we move toward the food. My grandma’s food, and the way she prepared and seasoned it. I could eat it every day. The way Dorothy ate her food without teeth. I did not like; I don’t think grandma did either, but she said nothing.


Every Sunday, I spent the weekend. I knew it was time for me to go home. After lunch grandma would get out her mixing bowls and ingredients to bake a butter pound cake for me to take home. The way she hand-beat the batter was reminiscent of hearing drums. I would say African drums, but mom said they were not from Africa, and instead an Indian tribe in the Orleans. The rhythm was mesmerizing. I’d sit and watch her whip the batter over, and over again without stopping. When done, she’d pour the batter into a long loaf pan and pop it into the oven. The aroma escaped from the oven after thirty minutes and I could not wait for mom and dad to pick me up so us kids could tear into the delicious pound cake, filled with butter and grandma’s sweet, enduring love.

My grandmother, passed January 26,1967. Three days after my mother's birthday. The appreciation and care I have for our family heirloom today is unmatched. I named the 'Pomegranate Portrait.' Knowing my grandmother's essence of love is the representation. I will always have my grandma's memory and our shared time together with me.





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