THOSE PRECIOUS MEMORIES
Marsha Annette Francis Batchelor
It's time to recall all of those wonderful childhood memories that|
I've stored somewhere in the midst of all of the everyday events
of the past 41 years. Back in the 50's and 60's, as we were
growing up, we had no idea that we were actually making memories:
we were just living each day to the fullest, enjoying what we thought
was the perfect life. There were no worries, no cares, and no stress
in our perfect little town of Quanah, Texas. What more could a child
want? We had a nice home, wonderful loving parents and loads of
neighborhood friends to play with. "King of the Mountain", "Tag"
and "Kick the Can" were just a few of the many games we'd play
outside on late summer nights. We caught lightening bugs and
tadpoles in fruitjars and gathered up mounds and mounds of big black
"do-do" bugs (as we called them) for my brothers to set fire to.
But best of all, was the anticipation , the looking forward to all of
our cousins coming to town on weekends and during the summer
vacations. You see, we were blessed with having both our Maternal
and Paternal grandparents living in the same town as we did and when
all the aunts and uncles came to see them, we were fortunate enough
to be included in on the visits. The special part of this, is that the
Burnam's and the Francis' had all grown up together in Chillicothe,
Texas making childhood memories of their own. Therefore, my four
grandparents were dear friends and loved each other like family.
What a blessing that was!
When I stop and remember my Grandaddy Burnam, I see him in his
brown shirt, striped bib overalls, brown tie-up shoes, and his hat. You
could see the years of hard work when you looked into Grandaddy's
eyes, you could tell he was a strong man; yet, he was always so kind
and gentle with all of us. Grandaddy was never idle, he was always
building something in the old garage, whittling out a toy for one of us,
or tending to his garden. Grandaddy built many things, but the one
thing I most remember was a big pink sewing cabinet he made for
Granny Pearl. She was so proud of that! Grandaddy loved his garden,
I'm sure it had quite a variety of fruits and vegetables, but I just recall
the Peach Trees and the watermelons. Grandaddy was also quite
a fisherman, you always knew when he was going fishing, he'd get
his pitchfork and the old coffee cans he kept sitting on the fenceposts.
I'd watch him turn the soil in his garden to find big, juicy worms for
bait and he'd throw them into those coffee cans. There were some
evenings we'd just sit out on the front porch of their house on
4th Street and listen as Grandaddy played the harmonica or fiddle.
As he bounced his leg to the music, Granny would clap her hands and
sing. She had such a sweet little voice. The first song I can remember
hearing Granny Pearl sing to me was "Go To Sleep My Little
Pickaninnie". Seems not so long ago that she sang that same song
to my now 19 year old son, Steve, when he was just a baby. I
have a wonderful picture of her rocking Steve and singing to him in
what must have been the same sweet gentle way she rocked and
sang that song to her very own children.
After Grandaddy died, Granny spent more time at our house, especially
uring the stormy season. If there was a storm brewing, my daddy
ould go get her and bring her over to spend the night. She had an
overnight bag that she kept packed and was always ready to go. Her
bag contained her worldly treasures and she always wanted to show me.
She kept a belt buckle of Grandaddy's, a few pieces of jewlry and
Grandaddy's harmonica. Her very special pictures and important papers
were wrapped in plastic for protection and secured with a rubber band.
When my family moved to Arkansas my Senior year in high school, I
got to live with my Granny Pearl. For several months, I turned her
back bedroom into a teenage girl's domain and she never once
complained. I remember how she loved Saturday's. Every Saturday
morning she prepared a grocery list, called the store and they had
her groceries delivered by 10:00. Then she'd get ready to meet my
Granny Francis downtown...They'd eat lunch at the drugstore and
walk and talk and windowshop and visit with everyone they passed
on the street. Then mid-afternoon, they'd go back to Johnston's
Drugstore, get a cherry Dr. Pepper, hug each other goodbye and
walk home.. She was always home in time to fix her supper and
watch The Lawrence Welk Show.
I guess it was during the year that I lived with Granny Pearl, that I
realized what a Saint she really was. I'd always loved and respected
her, but now I truly knew her..She loved life so much and was the
absolute happiest when someone came to visit. She certainly
enjoyed being with them but never liked saying good-bye. She always
followed them to the car, gave a big wonderful hug and kiss and
said, "GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN", then she'd turn
and walk away as she wiped the tears from her eyes, usually with
the apron she was wearing.
THE ONE THING WE CAN ALL REMEMBER ABOUT OUR
GRANNY PEARL IS THAT SHE LOVED LIFE AND SHE LOVED
EVERYONE!!!!! BUT ABOVE ALL ELSE, GRANNY PEARL LOVED
HER HEAVENLY FATHER. AND ON THAT DAY IN MAY WHEN
GRANNY LAID HER TIRED LITTLE BODY DOWN AND PUT HER
BIBLE THAT SHE HAD STUDIED FAITHFULLY UPON HER
BREAST, SHE THOUGHT OF ALL OF HER CHILDREN AND
GRANDCHILDREN AND ALL OF THOSE SHE LOVED SO DEARLY
AND SAID "GOD BE WITH YOU TILL WE MEET AGAIN". AND THE
LORD KNEW SHE WAS READY TO BE HOME WITH HIM AS HE
LOOKED DOWN AND SAID "WELL DONE, PEARL, MY GOOD AND