Wednesday, July 6, 2011

416 Colquit Street


Yesterday, I met my sister, Candy, in Shreveport, La. for lunch on the river. We had a really good time talking. I have been on this genealogy kick as of late. So I ask her if she wanted to look for one of the places we lived in as children. That is Candy in the rear view mirror taking the picture. I'm just thinking I hope no one calls the cops because of us. We sort of stand out.

When our parents divorced, Candy stayed with Daddy and I went with Momma. This little duplex on Colquit St. was the fourth place I had lived in since I was three. We went from Daddy's house, to our grand mother's home, then to an apartment, then to this little duplex. Candy came to live with us in this duplex.

What you don't know is that by the time I graduated from high school, we moved 12 or 13 times from the time our mother and father divorced. Factor in several step-fathers and sugar daddy's, momma's boyfriends and you begin to understand what our childhood was like. While most of our childhood was filled with uncertainty, living here, we made some good memories.

I remember this street so well and this little duplex in which we lived in. Fifty-six years ago, I was five years old and it was a nice little neighborhood with the local elementary school at the end of the block and a Baptist church on the corner. While our mother worked, she had the good insight to hire a wonderful black woman named Ophelia to care for us. I have some safe and good memories of this little duplex because of Ophelia. She could barely get through the door and she was an older woman with a limp. That made no difference to me because I loved her dearly.

Ophelia had such a grand sense of humor. She would play along with us and pretend. Once we dressed our mother's sewing mannequin as if she were our mother. We even made a face and put on a hat. Then Ophelia would say "I see Miss Mary Lou has come in for lunch". She was delightful. I always wanted to go home with her when momma took her home.

Many a night Ophelia would spend the night with us when our mother was out partying. She would sleep on the couch by the front door. I felt safe knowing she was with us. And she was the best cook ever. Good country food. I loved her mac 'n cheese. She taught me a lot about life and my faith. Even though she had her own family to care for she always was there for us.

Once I got stuck in a tree. I remember her saying "Child, just let go and fall on my back". I was afraid that I would hurt her, but that is exactly what I did. She helped us chase our parakeet when he got out of his cage. We often lined up the dining room chairs like a train car and would pretend we were on a trip. We got into so much trouble, but Ophelia never got mad or upset. She had so much patience with us. She called us "Her girls".

She went with us to several houses that we lived in. I'm glad that I had her in my life. I think I may feel brave enough to go to all of the places that we lived in except for the one when we moved to Dallas and the one when we moved to Houston. I forgot about Houston. My journey continues. I have to tell you that we got some strange looks in the old neighborhood from the current neighbors. It is so run down now and looks different than when we lived there. The memory is crystal clear just like it was yesterday.

22 comments:

Sandee said...

What a wonderful memory about Ophelia. She sounded like a very good mom. Just saying.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

dawn said...

I love the way you see the blessings in spite of all the trouble. Ophelia sounds like a wonderful woman. I'm glad you had her in your life.

Finding Pam said...

Sandee, she was a wonderful woman and took great care of us. Her family adored her because she was a good mom.


Dawn,there weren't too many bright spots in our childhood, but she made life not so bad for us.

I know you see the blessings in your own life as well. It's just what we choose to do.

Rudee said...

There are good memories mixed in there with the bad, and the good is what you need to embrace.

That's an awful lot of moves for such a young girl. The lack of stability takes a toll.

Debra said...

My daughter and I journeyed back to some of the places I lived as a child not too long ago. Most in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans.I guess I should have been afraid, but I wasn't. It's been very therapeutic for me in ways I cannot easily describe nor put words to.

I enjoyed reading of your journey and of Ophelia. One of the great blessings of taking a look at our past is to make the realization that it wasn't all bad.

God bless you as you continue your journey.

Debra

Finding Pam said...

Rudee, while I have memories of my past, told of my past, I feel that seeing all of the places we lived in is the last step for me to take.

All the moves did take a toll on me, but in many ways it made me who I am today.


Debra, it is important to recognize our past and accept it. I understand how you feel. I admire you for your journey to your former homes.

I see a lot of pivitol people in my childhood like Ophelia. So many scars from the past.

Akelamalu said...

I'm glad you had Ophelia in your life x

sarah said...

oh Pam...I want to know more about Ophelia...what happened to her? Is she still around? What a godsend she was....I'm so glad she was there to watch you guys...amazing memories. Stay strong and have a great day out there today

Finding Pam said...

Akelamula, We were blessed to have her.


Sarah, Ophelia lived far from us and my mother would go to her house and pick her up. Moma kept her through a few more moves. Ophelia was older than most caretakers and I think she just got too old to look after us. My mother hired another lady,but she did not work out.

crochet lady said...

Bittersweet memories. Ophelia seems like an angel you needed at the time.

Finding Pam said...

Jen, these were some of my best memories from childhood.

DeEtta said...

It is so much fun reading your journey down memory. I'm glad youhad Ophelia in your life. She sounds like an angel.

Debra said...

Hi Pam! I would love to meet with you if you come this way. I'm in Laurel, MS. Send me an email when you plan your trip at memawsblog@gmail.com

Finding Pam said...

DeEtta, I am glad you are taking my journey with me. Thank you my friend.


Debra, when I get it all together I will email you. I'm not sure when I will go. Probably when cooler weather is here. Bay Minette, Al. is where my grand mother's family is from. Husband's family is from Birmingham or near there.

She Writes said...

It's good to have people in life that make you brave!

Chickie said...

Aw, how good that you had Ophelia to make things a little better for you.

Travis Cody said...

Thanks for sharing such fond memories.

Junibears said...

Thank you for sharing your story Pam. Not an easy childhood by any means, all those moves, all those momma's boyfriends.....

Ophelia was an angel in your life.
God's blessings to you as you continue your journey
Hugs June xx

Ferd said...

Thank you very much for sharing the pain and the joy of your life back then. It sounds like you lived through many hurtful moments and experiences. Thank God there were people like Ophelia to help you girls survive.

Good work, Pam!
Peace!

Finding Pam said...

Ferd, Thank you for your kind words of support. We were very blessed to know Ophelia. She taught us a lot.

Linda said...

That Ophelia let you fall on her back to safety tells alot about both of you, and about trust.

You are such a talented writer... I could read stories about those Ophelia days all day long!

Someone close to me is an orphan. I've heard about moving from place to place. Harder than people think... Hugs... : )

Finding Pam said...

Linda, while I trusted Ophelia, I did not trust anyone else. THis post was one of my favorites because I felt safe. That did not happen often.

Moving so much really is hard. I missed out on stability because of it. Since I was shy, it only made matters worse for me.

I would imagine being an orphan is similiar.