Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vera Taylor Oden's Memoir (SECTIONS VIII, IX and X)

This posting contains sections eight, nine and ten of twenty-one sections that describe life in Sugar Creek, Louisiana prior to 1902. If you haven't read the post about the significance of her memoir, click here.



Mamma had pride for herself too. She was very erect and slender and wore very neat clothes. Some of them she had made in Arcadia and Aunt Maggie Patton, who was very good at sewing, helped her. I was very proud of her and Papa, too, who it seemed to me, stood out among all other people.

Aunt Maggie, who was Mamma's sister-in-law, was like a real sister to her. It was she whom they sent for when any of us were sick. She was a born nurse, so gentle and kind.


For several years there were only three of us children, and we all wanted a baby so badly. It seemed that the doctor was leaving babies all around but had none for us. Finally he did bring us a little baby brother, and we were delighted. We kept him only eleven days. They thought it was pneumonia. We carried him to Lisbon, his little casket on the back seat of the surrey. Aunt Maggie, Papa and we children went to the funeral, but Mamma was not able to go. His little stone in the Lisbon cemetery has the figure of a little baby lamb on it, and the inscription "Little Frank."


Often when we went to church at Lisbon they would have dinner on the grounds. This was spread on long tables under big oak trees, and was quite a happy occasion for friends and relatives who didn't get to see each other very often. There was always such an abundance of food and good fellowship. In fact it was almost all of the social life of the community.

Mamma and Papa used to have house parties for two or three days, for a few young lady and young men relations and friends. Sometimes Aunt Belle's nieces would visit at the same time, Claude and Dee Youngblood, two handsome and popular young men of the neighborhood would join them for the parties. I was a very interested, but shy, spectator who imagined romance among them, and enjoyed their pretty dresses. Refreshments were always custard ice cream frozen in a hand turned freezer and home made cake. I don't know how Mamma took care of so many, but I think they were always in the summer time, and probably pallet parties.


I'm amazed by the detail in Mrs. Vera's memoir. My family has a habit of making "pallets" on the floor for kiddos to sleep on, particularly during slumber parties. We've always piled blankets and pillows together to make a soft bed on the floor, and I can't tell you how many hundreds of times I've slept on one of these makeshift "pallets" with my friends, cousins, and siblings. Can you imagine having a pallet party for grown-ups that lasts for DAYS? I can close my eyes and picture the Taylor family in the dog-trot, surrounded by friends and family members as they turn the handle on an ice cream freezer and introduce young men and women to one another. I wonder how many marriages were a result of these wonderful pallet parties, and how many children were born to young couples that met for the first time at The House at Sugar Creek.

Though we are exploring the memoir of Vera Oden Taylor, I wanted to share a wonderful photo of the Robinson Family that was taken at The House at Sugar Creek circa 1950/1951. The Taylor home (The House at Sugar Creek) was sold to the Sims family in 1902, and the home has been passed down from generation to generation in the Sims/Robinson family.

Jack Robinson on the front porch, holding son Jackie.

Who are the people in this lovely photograph? The man in the photo is Francis Rudolph (Jack) Robinson, Sr. holding his son, Jackie. The are sitting on the front porch of the home, circa 1950 or 1951. This photo was taken fifty to sixty years after the pallet parties that Mrs. Vera writes about in her memoir. Notice that the dog-trot had been screened in by the time this photo was taken. I love finding little "clues" about The House at Sugar Creek, and I truly hope that our project (and our love for this house) inspires you to save a historic building of your own.


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