Keeping life’s legacy
I’ve used a fair amount of ink writing notes in a book my step-daughter, Amelia, gave me years ago, that book entitled “A Father’s Legacy.” What I wouldn’t give to have a book fully inked in by my daddy and my ma to refresh my memory bank of our fantastic times together, but even more importantly for their grandchildren and greats on down the line to catch a glimpse of their family before them.
As I try to do with these weekly ramblings when I can, I hope to inspire you readers to take the time to share your history with young-uns hung on your tree. It’s good for grands to know that their Great, Great, Great Grandpa was named Thomas Hall, for whom their Great Granddaddy, Thomas Hall Boggs, was named, and that handle followed to your writer, Junior, and finally stopped with the Third. A Great, great, great, grandson has the name Thomas and an additional Great bears the middle name of Hall. Whew! I think I got that right. Your turn to work on your tree names, readers.
With all the high-falooting places to go on vacations these days, it might interest young folks to hear about big day-long trips (or maybe two days) down to early Gulf Shores where there was one wooden hotel and a pier filling up the landscape, or to hear that the meal you most remember was Sunday dinner of roast beef, plenty of mashed potatoes and gravy, ice tea served in quart jars, and endless buttered rolls that I would challenge Preacher Elsberry to see if he could eat more of’em than I could.
No matter what all a fellow or gal has accomplished in life, the most compelling part of a life story, to my way of thinking, is the relating of happenings and folks seen through the eyes of a child. It was pretty big doings to play hopscotch in the middle of the dirt street where our house sat or getting excited when Ma agreed for us to eat our supper outside under the pecan tree on a summer night. I’ll never forget the night I went in the house from outside, and decided to concoct a special cold drink. I poured some tap water in a quart jar, squeezed in a couple of lemons, added some sugar and ice cubes from the metal lift up ice tray, and Shazam, I had invented a new drink … I thought.
It wouldn’t hurt my grands to know their papa was happily and comfortably raised in a modest two bedroom wood framed house heated with coal until space heaters came along, and cooled with window fans. There were 3XA acres for neighborhood football and baseball, and raising a fine size garden annually. None of us even thought about the tiny size of Ma’s kitchen when we crowded in there to make pull candy, but that was good taffy.
Amelia’s little book asked me to write about my favorite indoor activity, and since we didn’t have a TV, I wrote, “Ma’s cooking, and listening to the radio.”
The first toy I recall was a stuffed giraffe named 34J, which was our telephone number, and my first dog was a red Cocker named Mickey.
Have you written down the names of your best friends, favorite Sunday School and school teachers, the name of the preacher who baptized you, or your first part time job like baby sitting or chunking the Mobile Press Register about daylight every morning? Have you ever chuckled and confided to the youngsters that your earliest memory of church was falling asleep at the night service, or trying to keep from laughing out loud when some woman sang a solo, and had trouble hitting the high notes?
Do the boys and girls in your family know how much a part of life visiting and being visited in the neighborhood was, and how important was the love and concern for each other from one end of the street to the other, and in between?
There’s so much more to share, and we ought to let newer generations, as well as future ones not yet born, know and understand that sitting around the table three times a day as a family was one of the things that made that family what it was.. .back in those golden and olden days that made us who we are.
— Tom Boggs is a columnist for the Demopolis Times and a native of Marengo County. His column,“Days Gone Bye,”
(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, April 17 issue of the Demopolis Times.)