Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Help - A book, A Movie, and Friends

When I was a little girl we were very poor.  I know a lot of people say that and a lot of them were far worse off than we were.  We had a house to live in and I remember well when we moved into it - my sister was 4, my youngest brother was 5, I was 6, and my oldest brother was 11.  It was a four room house having a living room, two bedrooms and a kitchen.  Oh and a bath.  One bath.  My sister and I shared a bedroom, my two brothers shared a bedroom, and our living room was also my parents bedroom.  I'm almost 65 years old and I can still tell you the address (I lived there until I got married at 18) and I can still tell you the telephone number we got when I was in the fourth grade.  Sometimes my grandparents lived with us.  The first time that happened Grandpa and Daddy built two rooms plus a big storage room on the back of the house.  Then my sister and I moved back there and our parents got a bedroom of their own!

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.


33 comments:

Gail said...

What an amazing post!!! And so very true...beautifully written.

Arkansas Patti said...

This is just a beautiful post. Thank you so much for writing it and for sharing it with us. You really were quite rich weren't you.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I agree - a beautiful, amazing post from the heart. Money isn't always the riches we remember or treasure.

Tracy P. said...

Love this. Someone said the movie is excellent. I was so happy to hear it. Looking forward to seeing it!

Rose Mary said...

Wonderful post of your memories! I haven't read the book or seen the movie, but several women in my family are recommending it.

karenfae said...

wonderful! I had seen previews for this but hadn't seen it.
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Michelle said...

Beautiful post, and I am so glad....I feel blessed, that you are on of the women in my life...even though we have never met. Bless you, sweet soul!

Jayne said...

Isn't it great to recall so many wonderful memories - even the painful ones - all because of reading a book? This is a wonderful post to make us all take a few moments to reflect. Thanks!

Cheryl said...

My Dear Maurene I had to stop and come back after collecting myself after reading your post it has touched me like no other post I have ever read. It makes me want to read more and more. I can see the vision of everything you have written just beautiful I just can not tell you how much your post has touched me. I am so happy you love your doll. Have a Wonderful evening
Peace and Blessings
Cheryl...Snatch JOY~!

JCnNC said...

What I remember most about then (I am 70) is the simplicity of life back then. Aunt Janie and then later on Aliese were our helpers. I could always count on them being there when brother and I came home. What a joy remembering - we taught them how to read and they taught us how to live. Thanks for sharing your memories and prompting ours. Beautiful post. Judy c in NC

JCnNC said...

Silly me - I forgot to add that the movie "The Help" will not disappoint - it was delightful and I loved seeing the styles and hair. It is a must see. Judy C in NC

Diane H said...

Amen. Thanks for such a lovely post.

Lindah said...

Lovely post! Women friends are so important to a woman's well being. I believe Scripture encourages we older women in particular to mentor/nurture the younger women. What a privilege, both to mentor and be mentored.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

You post made me want to read it more. I am cleaning my sewing/craft room today. What a big mess. Am going through every drawer, box, bag ect. Getting ready to win something.
Loved your reminising. I will get the book soon.

Colleen said...

What a great post!

Deb said...

Your post was so touching it brought tears to my eyes. Living in a small city in Ontario I never saw a black person except on TV until high school.Even then there was only one black student in the entire school. Reading The Help was a real education for me. I laughed at times and was sickened at others. My Mom (82)and I are going to see next week. She is still the women in my life who takes care of me.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh Marlene, What a beautiful touching post. Thank you......

Gmama Jane said...

My Dear Dear Friend,
You never disappoint when you write and especially something so heartfelt and emotionally exhausting for you to recall. I think more than anything else you've written, this post reveals more about who you are and your true character than any other. I marvel at how we as women can support one another and yet tear each other down. I only wish more people could read this post... I loved every word. Although I was not poor money wise, I endured a different kind of poverty that perhaps is even more damaging. I'll share at some point but today is not the day to take anything away from your powerful words!
Blessings from my heart to yours
Jane

Anne said...

A beautiful message. It brought tears to my eyes. I remember a special woman named Truly. I can still recall her soft face and how secure I felt nestled in her arms! I loved her. What a "truly" amazing influence she had on my life. Thanks for sharing your story.

Lori said...

What a beautiful tribute to all the women who mentored and cared for you in the past. Thank you for sharing.
I read the book as well and am anxious to see the movie.

Busy As Can Be said...

What a wonderful post. Memories are all so special. I could tell by your tone in writing you have wonderful memories of these times so I would say you were very rich in memories!
Debbie

Wendy said...

Marlene ... you are a true wonder!!An amazing post and thank you so much for sharing your stories and yourself, my life is truly enriched for having you in it!

Madame Samm said...

First your Rag Muffin Mammy is beautiful set in her bed...I loved your story Marlene...I think we sometimes forget how other women can certainly shape our lives to become the women we are today...I just knw your Mammy will bring you delight for years to come

Sheila said...

Thank you for an interesting story , very well written and touching. I will watch for this movie it sounds wonderful. I have heard amny times that people come into our lives for a reason and this post proved that to me , Bless you.

Carol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol said...

The sentiments in this post illustrate one more time why I love you.

Pots and Pins said...

What a beautiful post - thank you so much for sharing your story...it's nice to have a few years on us to look back with "educated" eyes, isn't it? I'm glad you read the book, it spotlighted such a stain on our country's history! Go see the movie, it's sweet and touching and you'll like it! xo, Nsn

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing your memories...I enjoyed this post very much. I have not seen the movie The Help, but I loved the book. I am a firm believer that we should always take care of one another and to have a grateful heart.

donna a said...

This is a great entry. Very true and encouraging. And one of the best examples I know of these kinds of relationships is Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth. If you haven't read it yet, read Carolyn Custis James' book "The Gospel of Ruth". It's fantastic! And in turn, I will read "The Help"!!!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thank you for this wonderful tribute to the older, caring women in your life. Those of us of 'a certain age' can recall similar women in our own lives, if we were fortunate enough to have them. I was "on the fence" about The Help, but now I can't wait to read it.

Glenda said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing a little of your memories with us. Women truly do have a gift for nurturing and it appears you were blessed with some wonderful ones in your life!

Shari said...

Incredible post - very well said. What a wonderful legacy of love - and great to be reminded that we are all sisters in this life...

Adrienne said...

A beautiful tribute to women who care and love us and give us help when we need it most!
~Adrienne~