My sisters, brothers-in-law, two of my nieces and I were sitting around the table after we finished lunch at my sister’s house in their small town in Mississippi. I was enjoying my second glass of sweet tea and the conversation that I would remember and miss when I returned home to Oregon. As I’ve shared with you before, I’m the youngest of four daughters…born when my parents were forty-one years old.
My parents bought a farm in the small village of Rena Lara, Mississippi, in 1935. I’ve always thought that I lived on that farm. I’ve heard the stories (I thought from my parents) that I had never been scared of the chickens and would march into the barn and tell them to “shoo”. I was told that I had wandered away from the farm and got stuck in the mud up to my little brown high tops at age two. It was my understanding that my big sisters had pulled me on the cotton sack as they “picked cotton”.
My sisters are 11 and 15 years older than I. My oldest sister passed away several years ago. SHE is the one who would have remembered all these little details. I sat down at the table with paper and pen and informed my family that we were going to do a “time-line” and to put their thinking caps on. An hour or so later, there was a very detailed timeline right there in front of me…a timeline that spelled out clearly that I had NEVER lived on that farm.
Evidently, all those stories really pertained to the sister who is eleven years older than I. Maybe my parents memories were a little fuzzy. Maybe they just didn’t want me to feel “left out”. I don’t know. They sold the farm in 1945 and moved to Clarksdale, MS., where I was born. My sister remembers pushing me in the stroller on the sidewalks of Clarksdale. There were no sidewalks on the farm. My niece Sharon was born in Clarksdale in September 1948. Not long after that, we moved to Memphis, Tennessee. I was almost three years old.
And so, for now, I have a bit of an identity crisis. For 64 years, I’ve thought that…at one time in my life…I was a farm girl. I rather enjoyed that picture. Me with the chickens, horses, cows and the big cotton fields. Evidently, it just didn’t happen.