Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Hatfield/McCoy Blog by Edna Ruth Mitchem with commentary from Pixie (Edna is my aunt)

Since it is Hatfield & McCoy Mania recently in the southern part of WV & all over the country. I thought I'd jump on the band wagon & share my thoughts. Well it's really my Hatfield story. I have several McCoy friends, but I feel I have a bond with the Hatfields. Here's my story, enjoy.

As you know my BFF is Pixie, since the age of 12 when we 1st met. As you already know I was raised on a farm up on Main Island Creek from the age of 10. Margaret Jane Browning, better known as Pixie, moved from Logan up to the farm across the road from me. She was the youngest child of a family of 8 & I was the oldest child of a family of 4. Her Dad was a Trailways Bus Driver. They used to have hourly routes from Logan, (the bus terminal was where Wendy's is in Logan now). to the top of Mt. View Inn. My Dad was a Police Officer & also worked part-time as a Electrician @ # 15 shop @ Stirrat for Omar Mining. Our Mother's were both housewives. Our Mother's were both short, but Pixie's was shorter then mine. Her Mom "Ocie" sat on a cushion to drive. My Mom Ann was 5'2" but didn't drive. Mom did get her operators when I got mine, @ the age of 16, just to prove she could, but very seldom drove. Pixie got hers before I got mine. She is 26 days older then me. Pixie comes by her nick-name honestly. She is tiny & petite, I'm not sure, but I'd say she's near 5ft tall. Mom always said, "She looks like a Cupie Doll." I was tall 5ft 7&1/2in & of average wt, (but I always thought I was fat). Pixie & I had a agreement when we went out, the tall guys were mine, & the shorter guys were hers. Guess what? She married a tall guy. Don was taller than me by abt 3in.

Pixie's Grandmother lived with her. She was her maternal Grandmother, & just so happened to be Anderson (Devil Anse) Hatfield's Daughter. Her name is Elizabeth (Betty) Hatfield Caldwell. She was the "only" Grandma I have ever known. Both my Grandmothers died before I was born. Pixie & I spent most of our teenage life together @ each others homes. I went to church with her, her Mother, & Grandma. The best I remember Pixie called her Grandmother, & her Mom Mother. My family called them, "Mrs Browning & Grandma." Pixie always called my Mom Mrs Farley.

I never thought of it @ the time, but it was nice of Pixie & her family to share Grandma with me & my family. My whole family called her Grandma.

Grandma shared a bedroom with Pixie right off from the living room. There wasn't a door to the room, but there was plastic curtains up @ the doorway to allow for visual privacy. There was 2 beds in the room side by side. At the foot of the bed, Grandma had her homemade trunk with a lock & key. She had a wardrobe to hang her clothes in @ the foot of her bed along the side of the wall. There was a corner fireplace, & I mean a real fire place that burned wood & coal, with a hearth that you had to shovel out the ashes daily. We used to stand in front of the fireplace & it would burn our legs, then turn & burn the other side. Back then we wore dresses & skirts to school. The girls never ever got to wear dungaree's to school when I was in school. We very seldom wore dungaree's as they were called back then, & now of course it's jeans.. They came in style later. Eddie Fisher became popular with a song called, "Dungaree Doll." He became a heart-throb & ended up marrying Debbie Reynolds. In later years Elizabeth Taylor split them up & married Eddie. Back to my story. When I would spend the night @ Pixie's, we would sleep in the bed with Grandma. We'd cuddle up on each side of her on her feather bed. She had one of those feather pillows that went across the whole head of the bed called a boaster pillow. She would tell us stories we believed to be true, in a low voice that made us get closer to her. I remember her saying, "loong looong time ago, you could hear the churn tops rattling in the kitchen.......".

Grandma would always tell us, "Girls don't ever let anybody say bad things abt my Daddy, he was a good business man."

She was a very intelligent Lady. She out-smarted Pixie & I several times. You know how girls are giggling & talking especially @ bedtime? Well we did our share of it too. Grandma wanted to go to sleep. She once ask us, "Girls do you want to know who you are going to marry? Of course we did. Up outta bed we got, & off to the kitchen we go. Grandma boiled 1 egg. We could not figure out what she was gonna do with that egg. She peeled it, then cut it in half. She removed the yolk out of each half, & handed 1 yolk to each of us. Then she filled the empty space where the yolk was with salt. She then said, "eat the egg white with the salt in it, & then the yolk. You can not speak a word. Go to sleep, & who ever brings you a drink of water in your sleep, will be the person you will marry." Let me tell you, that is a lot of salt for 1/2 a egg white. We tried hand signaling, but we couldn't hardly see each other in the dim fire light from the fire place. The fires got banked @ night so they wouldn't go out, with what we called slack. That was the little fine pieces of coal, sorta like the crumbs of the lumps of coal. In the mornings you would take the poker & punch around the fireplace, & the grate, then put your lumps of coal on the fire to throw out more heat. We would sleep under quilts @ night. Well I guess you want to know the results of Grandma's plot. Pixie & I both awakened anxious to find out if the other was given a drink of water. I tried my best to remember & I couldn't remember anything, nor could Pixie. Grandma was standing there, as we gave it everything we had, with no success, trying to remember. Grandma said, " Well we'll just have to try again girls, & the next time you got to remember." I don't remember how many times she pulled that on us, before we got wise.

I went to church with them every Sunday morning & other times, when ever Pixie went. We would go to the Nazerene Church up on High St back then. Mrs Browning & Grandma wore hats to church. Pixie & I only wore them on Easter Sunday with our gloves. We would stop, & pick-up Pete Hatfield & take him to church with us. Pete was Pixie's cousin. Once as he was sitting in church, his stomach was doing some big time growling. Pete would shuffle himself around, while squirming around in the pew, & clear his throat loudly, trying to cover up the sound of his stomach. Can you just picture Pixie & I trying to squelch our giggles. That is the hardest thing for me to ever do, is to stiffle a laugh @ an inappropriate times. It really hurts me. I do suffer. I feel like I am going to erupt.

I was Pixie's Maid-Of-Honor @ her wedding. She had a big church wedding. They looked like the dolls a top a wedding cake.She married Boyd James Trump known by many as "Pig." The wedding party was lined up @ the entrace of the church. There was several steps leading up to the entrance. The photographer was taking pictures. Pixie's brother Grant Browning officiated the wedding ceremony. Grant extended his hand, to shake hands with Pete Hatfield coming up the steps. Pete stumbled & fell as the photographer snapped the picture, & caught me, Pixie, & Pig cracking up. Grandma was @ the wedding with her corsage & her hat on, looking pretty.

Grandma was a beautiful Lady, with a stately stature. Grandma was a kind soft spoken woman. I loved her. She had the love & respect of all her family & many friends. Grandma lived with Pixie's parents till she died in 1962. We all lived right above the cemetery where her Daddy was laid to rest @ the Hatfield Cemetery. May the only Grandma I have ever known R.I.P. I do believe Grandma would be proud that Kevin Costner played the part of her Daddy, Anderson (Devil Anse) Hatfield, in the 3part story of the Hatfields & McCoys.

I hope my thoughts did Grandma justice Pixie. I know Pixie reads my blogs. We are still BFF after 60+ yrs. When we get together, we always pick-up where we left off. Pixie & Pig are more then friends, they are family . I loved Pigs family Mr & Mrs Trump also.

the following is commentary by my aunt and Pixie

Edna Mitchem � Top Commenter � Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College

That's what I was waiting to see was your response. That meant more to me then any am't of money. If anyone likes it & wants to read it, feel free to do so, but like you, there's no price tag on our memories. We do go back a long ways. As they say, we've come a long way. Glad you liked it BFF.
Margaret J. TrumpLogan High School
BFF that was a very special blog, thank you! Right now you could probably sell it to The Logan Banner! I will have to print it so Joe & Grant can see it. Thanks again!!

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