My mother wasn't always well. And when that happened there wasn't always food in the house. But we were always surrounded by women who loved us and watched after us in one way or another. Grandma was one, neighbors were others, and once there was Miss Mary who came to iron. I have no idea how Daddy managed to pay her anything at all on the little he made but I remember well her setting the ironing board up in the living room and ironing all those 100% cotton shirts and pants of Daddy's. I didn't appreciate it then but I sure did later when my husband and I married while he was still in college. Money was scarce for us then so I ironed shirts for guys in the dorm for ten cents apiece. You read right - $.10 apiece! Miss Mary ironed and watched tv and loved on us all at the same time.
When my second daughter was born, and the first was four years old, I was blessed with a second Miss Mary. She came to my house to keep my kids, she cleaned, she ironed, and she mothered me quite sternly. She taught me how to clean a house because that wasn't something my own mother ever learned. She worried over my husband's health if he got sick, and she disciplined my children as if they were her own. That was in 1968 and I paid her $25 a week.
From the beginning of time women have been caring for others. A woman rarely cares if it's her own child or someone else's who needs something; they just do what needs to be done. From breast feeding to caring for the deceased women in times past did it all. And as a matter of fact still do.
I put off reading The Help for a long time because it is painful for me to read of injustice, but when I finally gave in I was glad. I hated the reminder of cruelties that took place, but I loved the memories of women who loved me that I revisited. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.
And when I visited Cheryl's blog called Mammy Stitches recently and saw this:
I couldn't resist buying her. She is completely hand made, hand stitched and precious to me. The details are amazing - bloomers, petticoats, skirt, apron, crocheted shawl, bandana with hand-sewn white hair peaking out, and ya'll she's piecing a quilt!
Maybe it's my age - I'll be 65 on October 1 - but even though times were hard, so hard sometimes I thought I couldn't bear it one more minute, I remember the safety I felt when I was with one of the many women who cared for me. I remember my grandmother sewing on the treadle machine making my school clothes, I remember a neighbor giving all the neighborhood kids Kool Aid on a hot summer afternoon, I remember Miss Mary teaching me to iron, and another Miss Mary showing me how to get old wax up off linoleum. Women need women. And I thank God for those women friends He placed in my path both then and now.