Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ma Ma Slide Show

Here are several photos of Ma Ma, from around 1935 through 2009. They are in random order.

The music is called "Ma Ma." I wrote this for her about 2 years before she passed away. She heard it many times.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Interview with Ma Ma, 2009

This interview was conducted in the spring of 2009, only a couple of months later Ma Ma was gone. We still miss her everyday.

This is part one:

This is part two:

Monday, September 14, 2009

For Ms. Neale's Reading Classes, part 3

Entries from Ma Ma's personal journal...

November 18, 2007

I have been sitting here thinking back in the past. In the year of 1930 I came down with appendicitis and had surgery on the 16th day of November. I lay in bed all winter and couldn't walk for months. The Dr. wouldn't let me eat and I almost starved to death.

I will never forget it, but I sure wish I could.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

For Ms. Neale's Reading Classes, part 2

Entries from Ma Ma's personal journal...

November 16, 2008

On Feb. 16, 1931, Mama passed away and [I] will never forget what a lonesome day that was. She had a very hard life, but we never heard her complain and she was always happy and enjoyed every day of her life. In the year of 1930 I had my appendix surgery and I was in bed from Nov. 16, 1930, until April, 1931. I had to learn to walk

[again] and one leg is shorter than the other, and it will be that way until the day I die.

November 17, 2008

Mama was buried on November 17th, 1931, and I had to stay and clean up the house before I could go back home. I had no help from anyone, and Christmas was coming soon, but I made it through and I finally got everything done, and the holidays was there and I had all of [my inlaws,] the Johnsons and Bessie and Homer for Christmas dinner.

November 26, 2008

We are going over to Jay & Debra's today to have Thanksgiving dinner. Jay is a good cook and he loves to do that. I [used] to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner and all my family depended on me to do that. I would cook and they would sure be there.

Ma Ma was thought of as the provider for her entire family. In the early days she was raising three of her siblings -- one brother and two sisters. But when a holiday came around, or whenever some other family member was in the area, Ma Ma's kitchen was where everyone ended up, invited or not. Often they showed up just in time to eat.

Daddy's family did pretty much the same thing, so there were times when Ma Ma was cooking for 20 or more people, none of whom did much to help.

More recently, I took over most of the cooking duties. Ma Ma was not able to stand in the kitchen and cook for the last 10 or 12 years of her life, and she really didn't want to cook most of the time for several years before that. Many of the holidays she spent at my house, and I cooked for her. It was the least I could do, considering she taught me to cook from the time I was eight years old. I loved making something for her that she used to make for me, and I always got a grin from her.

A Collection of Photos from Different Time Periods

Ma Ma in Trinity, Texas, 1959. I grew up in this house. So did my mother.

Daddy and Ma Ma in 1960. It amazes me how little Daddy changes from year-to-year, decade-to-decade. He had the same grin, same hair, same beautiful eyes.

When this photo was shot, my mother was probably already carrying me, and she was probably the one taking the photo.

1962, Trinity, Texas (I think). This is my mother, holding me, standing next to her paternal grandmother, Daddy's mother, Mrs. Johnson. I never knew her, and the only "Mrs. Johnson" I knew was Ma Ma.

Here's another photo from the same day, with Daddy. I don't know what he's doing, or if I'm yawning or sneezing.

One more like the last one.

Christmas in Trinity, 1976. I was 15 years old and I probably took this photo. School was out for the holidays and we had just decorated the tree. Ma Ma looked pretty in her red vest.

Daddy and Ma Ma, Trinity, Texas, 1983. I was living in California at the time, giving my dad the opportunity to be my dad. I'd say he failed miserably, but he never actually made an attempt. The man you see in this photo is the only father figure I ever knew, and I wouldn't trade one day with him for a lifetime with my dad.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

For Ms. Neale's Reading Classes, part 1

Entries from Ma Ma's personal journal...

June 30, 2008

Tomorrow I will have been married 77 years. In a way that seems like a long, long time -- but in another way it seems like it was yesterday. I have gone through many changes in life, and some was very hard, but all around I am proud of what I have gone through. My family, Jay and Zelda, got an education, and Trevor is coming along. He is in eleventh grade. Debra and Jay are teaching and Zelda has retired and is taking care of me. We do a few things around the house and the yard. I say "we" do because I look on while Zelda works and I boss quite a lot.

July 1, 2008 (writing about events that happened in 1931 and beyond)

I was married 77 years ago today. In a way my life turned around on that day, but [in] another way my life was the same. My mother passed away and Daddy told me to take the three young [siblings] and raise them. He never gave me a dime or gave me anything to help support them. In those days you never could find a job, and Lenard had to support them [with] no help. When [my younger brother] Doc went into the Tree Army he told me he would buy [his two sister's] shoes, and he sure did. Nobody will ever know how much I appreciated that. I will remember that until the day I die.

Trevor Neale, Rupie Lee Johnson, Zelda Harrington, Christmas, 2008, in Alvarado, Texas.

Trevor Neale and Rupie Lee Johnson ("Ma Ma"), April 19, 2009, Ma Ma's 98th birthday.

Zelda, Ma Ma and Jay, at the "Old Home Place" up on the prairie, near Lovelady, Texas, May 13, 2009.

Ma Ma, listening to her niece, Janice, who is holding the camera.

Ma Ma, telling it like it is.