Monday, May 23, 2011

"I'll Give You a House and Three Rooms of Furniture if You'll Marry Me"

That's what my Pepaw Farley said to my Granny the first time he ever saw her. She was living with her brother, Sherman, and his family. (this was in 1938) It was winter and she had no where else to go. She was walking to the outhouse, barefoot in the snow, when my Pepaw, who was living in the boardinghouse next door saw her. She told him that if he would let her sister live with them that she would marry him... and that was that. They got married and he bought her 3 rooms full of furniture and my Granny and Aunt Edna had a home for the first time in their lives.

My Granny Farley, Anna, became an orphan when she was 5 years old in 1925. Her mother died in childbirth. She was not married and she had 5 kids by 5 different men. (My Granny didn't like to discuss her mom because she was a loose woman. My Aunt Edna Ruth told me these things about a month ago) There was nowhere for the 5 kids to go so they roamed southern West Virginia and lived with whomever would take them in. (Usually they were separated) They would work helping to plow gardens in the spring, hoe gardens all day in the summer, harvest crops in the fall and help can vegetables or whatever other work could be done. Usually they would get kicked out of the house in the winter because nobody could afford to feed an extra mouth back then.

One time when Granny was 12 years old, she and her sister Edna were living with a family. Edna was younger than Granny, so she looked out for her. They had worked hard all day as they always did and Edna was crying because she was hungery. Granny went into the kitchen and took a biscuit and 1 piece of bacon and gave it to her little sister. The next day the woman kicked them out for stealing. She knew Granny had taken the bacon because there was a mark in the fat where the bacon had been laying.

Granny used to speak kindly of a black woman who lived on Hart's Creek. She let her stay with them longer than anybody and Granny appreciated everything she ever did for them. She worked hard but at least she had a roof over her head.

That's all I know about my Granny's early life. She was an Aunt Bea kind of Granny and I was lucky to have her.

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