Sunday, March 20, 2016

Summer of 1960 When I Was 7... chapter 20... I never got to say goodbye

Summer of 1960... chapter 20...    I never got to say goodbye

I didn’t get to start school on time that year.  Daddy came home with a surprise. He had borrowed a truck and both of our parents were packing up everything.   My mother told us excitedly, “I’ve quit my job and we’re going to go be with Daddy!”  Life had gotten too hard for her and she was anxious to move to the town where my father was going to school.  He still had a year left, but he found an apartment for us.

  “What about Irene?  Momma, what about Irene?” I jumped up off the chair.

“Irene won’t be coming here anymore,” Momma said.

“What?!  I didn’t even get to say goodbye.” 

“She’s gone, Honey.  She went to live with her sister.”  I barely heard what she said as I raced out the back door and down the street.  Tears blurred in my eyes and streamed down my face. My breaths heaved in my chest as I passed Carolyn’s house, Scranton’s store, and the church.  I ran down the street while the people who lived on this side of town just stared at me, a little white girl slobbering with tears, as I ran by.  I turned down a road, trying to remember which house was Irene’s.  Then I saw it, the small, broken house but it didn’t have a rocking chair on it anymore.  I jumped the steps onto the porch and cried “Irene” as I banged on the door.  No answer.  I looked in the window and it was empty.  Momma drove up then and we sat on the steps.  Momma held me in her arms and let me cry. 

“She’s already gone to live with her sister.  You were the last children that she took care of. You will always be special to her.”

“Where is she?”  I asked.

“I don’t know, Honey.”

“I want to go see her.”

“No, we can’t, Sweetie, it’s just not done.”

I never got to say goodbye.

Fifty years later, I walk down that road again.  How does the saying go?  You can never go home?  But, I have returned.  There are changes but much is the same.   The pole barn is gone. Our little house is still there, with the same white siding, tin roof, and a faded, red concrete porch with a swing on it.  It seems smaller.  The fig tree is smaller too.  The pines are still towering.  The old dirt road is paved now and all the houses surrounding it are filled with black people.  The town still seems separated, but all of the homes and the lives are in much better shape than before.  I parked my car and re-trace my steps walking toward the little general store.  I draw a lot of attention as I am a blond, curly headed, old, white lady, still out of place in that part of town, but I smile and the smile is returned.   As I come up near to Carolyn’s old house, an older black lady looks out her screen door.  I smile at her as I wander on down the road caught up in my reminiscings.

            “Marilyn?”  I hear my name!  I look at her again as she opens the door and steps onto the porch.  “Melly!!  That IS you!” she exclaims.  Carolyn and I finally embrace as friends.

                                                                   The end
                                                 my house in 2006
                                My momma, Carolyn's mama, Carolyn and me
                                        cypress trees used for pole barn
                                        This is a waffle with hot chocolate gravy
                              me standing at the bottom....tall Georgia pine trees
Thank you for reading my story and allowing me to share this part of my life. I appreciate the support more than you can ever know.  Please drop me a line to let me know your thoughts and comments.  Tomorrow I will post recipes and answers to questions.  Thank you for being a part of my life today!   Mia (making up names still!)


  1. It was a great story! I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm glad you were able to go back and actually see Carolyn and her mom. Great job!!!

    1. I've gone to see Carolyn a couple of times, and I talk to her on the phone often. I'm the one who is blessed!

  2. It's so hard not being able to say goodbye! I'm glad you got to go home again!

    1. Thank you, Michelle, for following me throughout this story! And thanks for all the comments!

  3. Somehow I missed all of the first part of this story. I need to go back and read all of your previous slices. What a powerful story! I loved seeing the photographs that went with the story tonight.

    1. Oh, please go back to the first "chapter"... that might explain the purpose of the story and help with context! Thanks for your kind words!