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.