Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aunt Ponnie And Me; Altus Okla Made Three

When I was a kid I used to listen to the poem starting with T'was The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House

Well let me tell you this was not the night before Christmas!!!!!

It was March and the night before the big Western dance at the Wm H Patterson Elks Lodge and I just got stood up!

Thinking fast, should I pick up the telephone and call or should I forget it.

I wanted to clear out my mind. No need in saying any bad words because that would make me more angry. I had never ever been stood up before.

The worse thing that I could remember happening to me was when that little boy who lived three doors down from us at the Lackland Air Force Base asked me to be his girlfriend. The next day after I said ok, he took my umbrella and broke it. I think he also quit me but I was so busy crying about my broken umbrella that I did not hear him.

The first thing would be is to stop looking at the clock. It seemed like all I heard was tic, tic tic, tic tic tic. Then, I need to get away from that dog-gone window. No reason to keep looking, Its not going to change anything one bit.Tic, tic, tic,tic, tic tic tic.

(I don't know what sound is worse the constant ticking or the buzzing of a fly that circles and circles all around your ear.)

My Aunt Ponnie used to say all the time,''Honey, haven't you heard that a watch pot never boils" I could hear her saying that now as I backed away from the window. I suddenly realized that my date was no longer important. That the realization should be on a person who had more of an impact on my life and that was Aunt Ponnie.

Although our time together was short, it was very meaningful to me. She kept me from being lonely when I missed my family back home, and she loved me as if I were her own.

Pauline was born November 30th 1899 to Joe and Nancy Cryor Mitchell in Hempstead County Arkansas. She grew up with two brothers Floyd and Wardell.

Here are two census records that reflect her and her family.

The first is a 1900 Census in Saline County Arkansas

The View:

Here is the 1910 census that depicts the brothers Floyd and Wardell Mitchell

The View:

Somewhere along the way Wardell ended up in Kansas City Kansas/Missouri area and Pauline and Floyd ended up in Altus Oklahoma. That's where I met her.

We spent hours and hours talking and laughing. Everyone called her Aunt Ponnie.
One thing about Aunt Ponnie was that she sure spoke her mind and 99.9 percent of the time it was the truth. She had her hands full with her grandson's Lawrence and Melvin who were just coming into their teens. Melvin was the outgoing one and Lawrence was more reserved.

I had driven down from Phoenix one year and stayed with them for about a month. I was on my way to Dallas but took a different route so that I could see them and also my Uncle Wright Cuney "Prof" Davis.

Every morning for about two weeks after getting up, I would go outside. The first thing that I saw was my car. It had been egged!

I was so upset. Number one because my car was egged and number two the paint on my car was being ruined. The boys Melvin and Lawrence and I tried to be look-outs for the culprits but to no avail.

Leave it to Aunt Ponnie, she found a way.

One night when everyone went to bed Aunt Ponnie got up, went to the refrigerator, took out all the eggs and carefully numbered them. She placed them back in the container upside down.

Well lo and behold the next morning, my car was egged. She called me and the boys in the living-room and told Melvin to get the eggs out of the refrigerator, and one by one read off the numbers. One number was missing.

Melvin confessed, saying that he was just playing pranks on me. All I could say was he had better be glad that he was not my child at that moment.

I think Melvin could not go out and play for about two days because he was put on punishment.
I asked Aunt Ponnie how she knew that it was Melvin. Well she said, " When it was lawrence's time to be the look-out, the next morning, no eggs!! When it was Melvin's turn, eggs !! That told me that one plus one equals two, so I got out the crayon."

Aunt Ponnie had a house with about four bedrooms. She rented out two of the rooms. One was to a soldier who was stationed at Altus Air Force base. His job on the base was a cook. So when he bought different things home from the base it was a welcome relief to Aunt Ponnie. There were big bags of flour and sugar, all kinds of fruits and veggies, spices and sweets.

One day I went over to her house and Aunt Ponnie was not really feeling that good. She was sitting on the couch and was a little out of breath. That did not stop her from puffing on those Pall Malls though. She asked me if I could finish cooking for her because her roomers would be home soon and that meals was a part of her contract with them.

Aunt Ponnie told me to look up under the cabinet and take out that big can of parsley that her roomer had bought home from the base and sprinkle some on the meat she was going to prepare.

I did so and opened the lid. Man oh man was I in for a shock. All I could smell was weed. That can was filled to the rim.

I was not a smoker of weed but being from the city I came from, I knew the smell.

I did not say a word to Aunt Ponnie. If I would have told her what she was unknowingly harboring I am sure her 65 years at that time would have been cut short by a heart attack.

Instead when the roomer soldier came home, I told him what I had found. He moved the next day. I think he may have told Aunt Ponnie that he was getting shipped out and had to leave for another assignment.

I learned several years later that he had been booted out of the service.

I moved back to Phoenix and called or wrote to Aunt Ponnie every chance I got.

One time she called me crying up a storm. She told me that someone was coming to take her refrigerator away and that she had to go to court. She begged me to come and go to the courthouse with her. Distraught, she said that she had no one else to go with her. Hating to hear that, I took time off my job, caught the bus and went back to Altus.

That following Monday we went down to the courthouse where we met with this lawyer who was in charge of her case. When he told me how much money her court case was over, I was too through. She was threatened with not only the loss of her refrigerator, but the threat that she could have her house taken away if she did not pay up.

They gave her a week or else.

She was in to them for a lousy eleven dollars. They had intimidated her with calls and threats that to her the eleven dollars seemed like eleven hundred dollars. I asked the lawyer what the total pay off was. With a smirk on his face, he told me thirty dollars which I promptly paid.

I asked him for a paid in full receipt and we left.

I know that Aunt Ponnie was relieved but she sure did try hard to get me to move back to Altus. God I loved that woman, but to live back there again, I just couldn't. Aunt Ponnie left this earth in 1979.......I drove down again for her home going celebration.

Rest In Peace Aunt Ponnie, Rest In Peace.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big Time Texan Sticking To The Story

Curses Foiled Again Or That's My Story And I'am Sticking To It

I had barely gotten to bed . The clock read 3:45 A.M. and only one eye felt drowsy enough to let me drift off.

With a start I jumped up, looked around and saw my daughter looking at me. My first question to her was, What time is it?

I had fallen asleep on the couch and she was sitting on the love seat reading the paper and sipping coffee. I keep saying "she" but my daughter's name is Latisha.

Anyway, she told me it was 9:30 A.M, took another sip of her coffee, and looked back down again at the paper.

Since I was still groggy I asked her if she had a pen. She reached down in her purse, pulled out a pen and tossed it to me.

I wrote down 147 then headed to the little room to get ready for the rest of the day.
I didn't want to seem so excited so I casually went to the computer, turned it on and waited for the AfriGeneas chat room to open.

Wondering If I made a mistake I went back to where I had placed the note that had the number 147 on it and expanded it to 149.

Finally, Art Thomas, Angela Walton Raji, Selma, Valencia, Seventies Soulchild and a few others came in. We started talking about topics like DNA, US Colored Troops, current research finds, All roads lead to Virginia with a few laughs thrown in.

I looked at the clock. Did I see a 145? Durn-it, I may have written down the number wrong again so back to my notes. I changed my number from 147 to 145.

After chat was over, I finally relaxed and went about my business of connecting my numbers to my jumbled thoughts. My jumping up out of my sleep was because of that number 147.

There was this book that I have by Vivian Lehman and Edith Smith called No Land,Only Slaves. Volume 4 Harrison, Hunt, and Kaufman County Texas. Deeds and conveyances are in in this particular book and I look at it quite often. This book was in my dream.

In my dream I saw the book opened and thrown out in the front yard all dirty and trampled on. This was not my front yard but a yard that was like a rolling hill with really green grass. I was heart broken and upset in this dream.

Looking around and screaming out, Who stole my book, Who in the ^%$^ stole my book?

I picked up the book and saw that half of the pages were torn out and the binding was ripped out in places.

Who tore out the pages in my book, I screamed!

I don't remember what happened next except there was a person who I had never seen before said something like " they left 147, see".

I looked down at the pages of the book,and that is when I woke up.

In my nervousness all I could think of at that point was Mariah, my elusive 3rd great grandmother. My brick wall Mariah, My Texas Wind Mariah, My Harrison County Grandmother the 3rd Mariah who loves to play jokes on me.

Was this the clue I had been looking for? Did I finally beat her at her own game? After all, I hear others say in this genealogy arena that the ancestors will speak to you when they are ready.

I started to stick out my chest because I now know that my dream was a sign. I am so Confident thatI think that was why I was taking my time to get my book and look at page 147.

It was quiet in the house as I slowly turned the page to 147.

The first thing I noticed when I turned the page was Book T. My heart started beating faster and faster because Mariah's last name was Taylor.
As I was scouring the pages there were no Mariah's that fit the bill. It was a good thing I expanded my page numbers because I read each and every entry up to page 149. I then went back down to page 145, then 144 all the way to page 140.

Nothing,zilch,nada which means I need another plan!

Now, I am looking at Book A : Starting with every H meaning Harrison County that has the number 140 - 149 in it until I get to the last book for this county.

Book A Har 145 2 Jan 1838 Hughes, Isaac of Johnson County Ark to his sister-in-law Kerzia Mason of Pope County Ark. Gift. Buck, m, 45; Hannah,F,45* for my love and affection. Wit. Walker,William and Rogers, Jacob of Johnson Co. ARK. Justice of the Peace for Johnson Co. Ark: Powers, Thomas (* Book A, Pages 162-163 Clarksville, Johnson Co. Ark)

Now that my eyes are tired and I need to take a break, I think I will bake some muffins. I just have to remember not to eat them all up in one sitting. Yummy!!

Next time I will go buy me a pick three lottery ticket, number 147.