Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Zore Neale

Today would have been Zora Neale Hurston's 123rd birthday.  I am a fan of Ms Hurston's one of Florida, the US and the world's most wonderful writers.  Okay, she was not born in Florida, but in Alabama.  However, her family moved to Eatonville, Florida when she was one.  She died forgotten and buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce.  Thankfully, she is remembered today.

But I must confess I did not remember her birthday, I read it on Google this morning.  That made me so very happy. I admit not having read all of her books.  But all of those that I have read I loved.  My favorite one is Moses, Man of a Mountain.  It is a retelling of the bible story of Moses as told from the eyes of a slave. 

I am just finishing L. Frank Baum's Santa story.  It was written in 1902 and republished in 1983 and again in 2005.  It was in 1983 that it was listed as one of the three first most important stories about Santa.  I love how some people put awards on such things.  I love their intense righteousness over their bequeathing titles of the most important literature.  Their love, their reasons, their facts and I have to say in this case, I agree.  It is simple and lovely.  A perfect Christmas story answering children's questions about reindeer and delivering presents to so many in such a short time.  Even an explanation of the jolly ole man's name.  That was a story written by a man for his children.  Lovely little stories to bring happiness to children.  Zora's books couldn't be more different in every way, except they both wrote in English.  But even then the voice of those languages are as different as the authors and the times they lived.

Most people are more familiar with Ms Hurston's novel Their Eyes were watching god, published in 1937.  A telling of the story of the great Okeechobee hurricane of the 1920s.  It is on the list of the 100 greatest novels of the 20th century.  She is also known as a folklorist and anthropologist who wrote some of the definitive works on zombie's in the Caribbean.  Okay, am I a bit in awe of this woman?  Oh yeah!!!  and proud to be.

My mother had been in a car accident when I was 4 and she had many physical problems for a while that prevented her from being able to take care of four kids.  My grandmother hired an African woman that my father knew.  I believe he might have worked with her late husband at the US Post Office.  Millie raised us up and kept the house running and clean.  She provided us hot meals at night and our clothes were clean, clean sheets on our bed.  But she taught us how to be good people.  She taught us the rules of society as she knew them.  This was an insight my other girlfriends did not have.  I am sure that the maids, as we called them loved them and took care of them, but Millie was our mother while our mother was unable to give us the care we needed at that age.  I knew she had seven children, all of whom went to college.  She was a single mother.  She had married a good man.  That is all I know about him.  I don't know any of her children's names, other than their last name, Brown.  Millie Brown.  And through her eyes I saw that white children and black children might be the same, but society did not see children, they saw black and white.  That there were rules of society.  She survived more then I could ever begin to imagine.  She was loving and gracious and along with my mother they taught me how to be a little Southern girl.  I did not do well in that role, but I respected these older women's view of the world.  I had no idea that life would disappear before I had finished elementary school.  I had no idea how unfair the world I was being raised.  I had no idea in my little world that we did not have much money, but we had all we needed. 

I have no idea how Millie was able to raise her own children at the same time she raised us.  I have no idea how on the salary she made as a maid or laundress or care taker to white people she was able to raise seven children on her own and that those children would all get a college education.  I guess that I put all of those young childhood memories into Zora Neale.  She had a different life, but at the end of her life in the late 50s she was broke, ill and worked as a maid, librarian and substitute teacher.  She ended up in a welfare hospital.  Her life was filled with challenges I would never be able to imagine.  Millie wasn't famous, but she led her life with grace and respect.  Now her great grandson is my nephew, Nathaniel's best friend, Desmond.  He is our other nephew, and we love him like we were taught by his great grandmother.  Happy Birthday Ms Hurston.  And here is to you Ms Millie.  I still think of you often, and very fondly.

Bug's parents are moving into their home today.  They have packed up everything and headed out in weather I would normally never leave the house in.  They will be working on the garage today.  Their new bed will be delivered today.  They should get gas for their hot water heater tomorrow.  They plan to sleep in their home tonight.  It is still cold.  I wish they would rethink staying in a house where the heater to their bedroom won't work until the propane is filled, and no hot water.  Have I mentioned how cold it is?

It will be nice to snuggle down with my honey and our "kids" in our home, just the two of us.  But Bug's parents have been pleasant house guests, and welcome anytime.  I know that the dogs and Stella will miss their grandparents.

Today, I will work in the house and if luck allows I will not leave the inside of my warm comfy place.  It will not see 60 today, let alone 70.  I have been known to go out against my better judgment, like yesterday, but my sweet honey has made it very clear that he supports my wishes to stay inside and nipped any requests concerning me and the outside in the bud.

There is something I want to remember to write, but I can't remember it whenever the computer is open to write.  I have closed the computer, walked away and nothing.  I have nothing here, so I will close for now, and hopefully I will remember or completely forget what ever it is I can't remember now.

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