Thursday, May 17, 2012

To Mama

I have written about this before, and was going to copy and paste part of my rattle here, but since I couldn't find it without a lot of looking, I decided to rewrite it.
This rattle is a combination of memories, self hypnosis, relaxation therapy and something I use to fall asleep at night.
Yeah..I'll explain.
I have always had this memory in the back of my mind, but it really came to the forefront of my memories when I began to use it as a relaxation technique.
Many years ago when I was going through a terrible bout of depression and was in therapy, my therapist taught me to use happy memories to relax and relieve anxiety.
I have been thinking it about even more so lately when I downloaded one of those white noise apps on my iPhone.
When I combine the wind and rain sounds, I am immediately transported back in time.
This is the house where I grew up and lived until we built a new one when I was about 15. The house faced due east and the front half was ancient logs. It stood until only a few years ago when we tore it down when Mama moveo town.
At the time of my memory, the roof was overlaid with tin, there were large hedges closing in either end of the porch with tall Nandinas and other flowering hedges around the front. It was quite cozy and welcoming.
There was only one window one the front of the porch which was located on the far left on the area of the kitchen.
If it started to rain, I would go to the old chifforobe and pull out two ancient ragged quilts, take them out to the front porch and choose my place to snuggle down.
My place of choice was usually right in front of that one window, I could hear Mama puttering around in the kitchen which was very comforting to hear.
Depending on how hard the wind was blowing and how hard the rain was falling was how close I would get to the edge. I wanted to be able to feel that gentle mist that the rain drops kicked up, but I didn't want to get wet. I would then place the most ragged blanket on the porch, carefully folded sothat I could slip in the center of it like an envelope.
Daddy had bought Mama 2 rockers and a settee many years before for their anniversary and I would take the settee, turn it over with the rockers facing outward. I would then place the quilt over the entire settee to make a nice little cosy place. I would crawl in there with a book or a magazine and the cat if I could catch her and coax her to stay in there with me.
I would read, listen to the wind and rain on the tin roof, pet the cat and periodically lift up a flap of the quilt to check on how far into the edges of the porch the wind had blown the rain. Sometimes when it was raining particularly hard I would have to move to the center of the porch.
When I think about it now, it's not only the sounds, that I remember but the insulation that was so pleasing and comforting.
I was insulated by layers. The first layer was the rain, the second layer the hedges, the third the porch itself, then the next layer was the quilt, next the settee and with my back to those ancient logs that had sheltered my great great grandparents I was in a cocoon of safety and peace.
But the main thing was Mama, she was at my back always within earshot. I could hear her puttering around in that kitchen but most of all...she could hear me if I needed her.
Happy Mother's Day in Heaven Mary Emily Box Jacks.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

This is where I grew up. The ancestral log home. This house was built by my gggrandfather Nicholas Daniel Jacks, or maybe it was his daddy William Martin Jacks.  I always thought it was William Martin, but now I'm not so sure, but that is not what this post is about.
We lived here until I was in the 10th grade.
When I was in the 10th grade, Mama was able to get an FHA loan and we built the "new house."
The "new house" was within a few feet of the "old house."  But unless you really looked, you wouldn't see it, because Mama had "landscaped" around it so well and the yard for the new house was so beautiful that you really didn't see it.
Now let me tell you about the old house.
We didn't have running water until I think I was about 10 years old.  That year the little town that I lived in got "city water."  Which meant that water was piped several miles to rural areas.  To this day I have a deep and abiding respect for running water.  Ask David, when we don't have water, I go nuts.  All I can think about is water.
Anyway, I digressed.
So no running water meant an outhouse.  Yep a two-seater at that.  Although I don't really remember anybody sitting next to me when I was doing my business. Somewhere on my other blog, there is a post about me and the rooster that waited at the gate between the house and the out house.  Oh how I hated that rooster...but again another story.
Mama was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was Martha Stewart.
Since the front part of the house was made out of logs, there was mud chinking between them.  This did not appeal to Mama and I remember the summer she papered the inside of the walls.  She nailed cardboard from floor to ceiling on those logs.  Then she wall papered over the cardboard.  We always had linoleum that covered the wide plank floors.  And even though this helped the looks of the interior, it did something even more important.  It made it warmer in the winter.  Mama and I had a saying.  We were cool in the summer and cool in the winter. For some reason, we always felt we could get cool in the summer.  But in the winter, were were never ever warm.
To this day I absolutely refuse to be uncomfortable in my house.  I will be toasty.
It seems like every summer, Mama had a project.  One summer she and my brother closed in the back porch, made us a bedroom, a bathroom (that was the summer we got running water), swapped the kitchen from the back of the house, off of the porch to the front of the house, which made my uncle have the kitchen as a bedroom. 
With the addition of the bedroom, I got my uncle's room for a bedroom.  Mama made me a closet. She painted a bed that Uncle Waylon gave her gold, an old mirror was painted gold and set on top of my grandmother's bureau, Aunt Lexie's trunk was painted gold, she sewed me gold striped curtains, bought me a small vanity chair that yes was upholstered in gold.  I used to laugh and say this was her "gold period."
She planted all kinds of scrubs around the house to disguise the fact that you could see under the porch.  And it softened the look of the house.
Sitting here, with my eyes closed, I see the wringer washing machine,the back porch and the aluminum buckets filled with well water,the water dipper, the wardrobe that my brother convince me had a "booger" inside it, the pot-belly stove that Daddy would stoke up so high you could see the embers through the cracks in it, the ceramic farm sink that Uncle Leslie gave us, Mama Ludie's Hoosier cabinet, the front porch after an ice storm with icicles hanging from the tin roof all the way to the porch....soooo many things.
But what I remember most, was the feeling of love, safety and the nearness of family.  Not only physical nearness but closeness of love and emotions.  Aunt Marjorie, Aunt Audris, Aunt Gladys--all just down the road.  My cousins Annette, Martin and Dorothy--all just down the road.
I was poor in things but rich beyond measure in love.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dedicated To My Grandparents

This is the first posting for this blog and it is dedicated to my grandparents who started the whole thing......
William Martin Jacks and Lou Ella McGarrah or Papa Martin and  Mama Ludie.