Monday, May 25, 2009

Part 6 - Mother



Mother, Leanora Forest Wright, was born in Walnut Lake (now Pickens), AR to James Lee and Clara Alretha Miller Wright on August 2, 1903. She was their firstborn child and only daughter. Therefore, her mother (Mama Wright) called her "Daughter".
Later she had an only brother, James Albert Wright, appropriately called "Son" by Mama Wright.

Walnut Lake was a farming community, primarily owned by Mother's great uncle, Doff Pickens. He had hundreds of acres that he farmed. A large part was planted in cotton. He owned his own cotton gin and store. Granddaddy Wright was managing the general merchandise store for him at the time Mother was born.

When Mother was a year old, they moved to Yellow Pine, Washington County, AL where Granddaddy Wright ran the Commissary for E. W. Gates Lumber Company for eight years.

Mother was a teacher all her life. She taught first grade at Deer Park while making tenth grade in Chatom. Then, she taught at Yarbo for a while. She went to Daphne Normal School and Livingston State Teachers College for a while. She continued taking courses by correspondence and going to summer school at Livingston until she finally graduated in her mid-fifties.

She didn't teach for a long time while Claire, Sylvia and Joe were coming up and until I started to school.

The year I started to school, Mr. Green, the principal at Millry School, asked her to teach second grade. She agreed to do so, and taught second grade and one year in first grade, until she retired at age 65.

She was one of several teachers in our family. They were Mother Minnie, Mother, Claire, Dick, Dianne and Debbie. June, Cathy, Don, Joey, Karen, and David and Tonya are also teachers. Sylvia has taught teens in Sunday School for years and I have taught Sunday School on several occasions and a number of Construction Safety Courses. Andy has taught several courses for Samford University, Wayland Baptist and Regency University

Mother taught Sunday School Classes for years at Millry Baptist. She also played piano for the church for a long time. She dearly loved to sing, especially church music. She sang many solos, duets, and trios with Claire and Sylvia in her later years. Many's the time she would play piano, and she and I would sing songs from the old "Golden Key" gospel hymn book after the others left home and Daddy would be away at work.

She, also, loved flowers, pretty things and to fish and paint. She once told me that she was happiest when she had one of two things in her hands; that was a fishing pole on the bank of the pond or a paint brush painting anything from the barn or fences with a 4" brush, or an artist's brush painting pictures.

Lots of times, she'd just be walking through the house and she'd sit down and play the piano for a while. Her most favorite song was, as is mine, "Amazing Grace".

She had pretty good hearing for quiet things and not so good for loud things, depending on what it was. For instance, if I was out a little late at night and tried to ease in very quietly, as soon as I tiptoed in the door, she'd say, "Where ya been?" If I came in fast, bamming across the cattle gap and slam the car door; I'd never hear a thing. The next morning, she'd ask me what time I got home!

One night, she told Sylvia and Joe not to leave the house. Well, it clouded up and they thought about something down in the little flat that didn't need to get wet. They got on the tractor and took off. For some reason, they went down to CB’s house before coming back home. When they got back, Mother was waiting for them with a switch. She got Sylvia first. While Sylvia was getting her whippin', Joe was stuffing his shirt with hay. Mother caught on right quick and just switched him on his legs. Then he had to get all the hay out to stop the itching.

She remained in very good health through her mid-eighties. Then, she began to "show her age" by not being able to do things she used to do and began to show senility. In later years, she had to have someone stay with her at all times to see about her, and to bathe and care for her.

She died, in her chair, in her house on Saturday, December 5, 1992. Sylvia and I had gone to Waynesboro to get a suction device to help her to breathe better. Claire had come over to the house. A few minutes before we got back, she died.

There were people from all over the area that came to her wake. She had taught so many of them as children, and they came by to offer their respects.

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