Before leaving Aunt Bert’s, I have to back up for maybe a quarter of a mile. There was another small house between our house and Aunt Bert’s, as the crow flies. Grannie’s was set off the road…ours were all visible as you drove past.
It seems in retrospect, that Granddaddy helped each child, except Daddy to build a house on their land. This house, which I remember, was occupied by the sharecroppers, ancestors of the slaves once owned by Grannie’s grandfather. I remember Mrs. Annie because I played with her children and “Big Head” was my brother’s best hunting buddy.
However, this house was built for Uncle Lucius and Aunt Myrtle. At this time, Dave and Mother were living in what would become Aunt Bert’s house (from my time of remembering) and Aunt Bert and Uncle Claude lived on the other side of my mother’s parents, making a left hand turn off our road and then making a right hand turn from the road you turned on in front of Aunt Dee’s. The house was on the left behind Uncle Ernest and Aunt Annie Mae whose house sat in the corner of these two roads. Down the road from Aunt Bert’s was where Aunt Dee and Uncle Gene lived in this beautiful old home owned by Clinton Hunt also on the left hand side of the road. I remember this house vaguely. My sister relayed all this information to me in one of our nightly conversations.
Now, if any one out there has more or better information, then please chime in here. I shall draw a map and insert to try to show how all these houses were located around the parents homes.
In the meantime, I would walk from Aunt Bert’s about one half mile up to Aunt Dee’s. Our road ended there and another road, running both ways started. Aunt Dee lived right across the ending of this road on a little hill. The pond was down the hill from her house. It was a very pretty setting.
At one time, Grannie Maggie and Pop Luther lived in a big house on the left at the crossroads. I vaguely remember this house. It burned later. They moved from this house because it was on sixteen section land and they owned I think about 120 acres of 17 section land, not school land.
I think Aunt Dee was glad to see me. Mavis and I played together but not always. She was a year older, but that was not really the problem. The problem is something I still ponder. I don’t think we really liked each other and yet I don’t know if that is true or not. It seemed she liked everyone else but me.
Mavis was a cheerleader; and I think maybe she was one of the most beautiful….she won the popularity contest hands down. Even though my brothers played football no one was about to have me as a cheerleader and I was far from beautiful….red hair, freckles, and thick lenses. What I fought about and raged against was the others talking about me just to make me mad. This behavior would be call bullying in today’s world. And one wonders why I don’t go back for high school reunions? Am I paranoid? No, I finally find I can tell my truth as I perceive it.
So, Mavis and I were not close. Bobby and I were. I think he took pity on me. He was a year younger. Aunt Dee and Uncle Gene were always kind to me. When they took Mavis and Bobby to the movies in Durant, they would often ask Homer and I to go. We did not have a car. They did. Daddy had loaned his money to Uncle Claude to buy a car but he never bought his own for some time.
Aunt Dee and Uncle Gene were kind to Mother during her downward spiral into the black hole of Alzheimer’s. They were always there for her. This is enough to say today.
I was only going to write about houses first before I started with the intricacies of living so close to all your relatives. Today with fractured families, it is often difficult to know if living close to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins is a good thing or not. I do not have any family living in the state where I live now and I wonder if I am not happier. I cannot know because there is this absence of a standard.
Perhaps, you, the reader, knows. What would you argue for? against? Life is short. Should we live it close to family in physical spaces or in mental spaces only?