Friday, 19 June 2020 11:38

COLUMN: Stories of my Aunt B - Part II

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Aunt B's flowers. Aunt B's flowers. J.A. Bolton

Last week, I told you a little about one side of my family— how growing up in Depression times were tough on just about every family, but most families endured and became closer. I also introduced you to my Aunt B and told you about her taking over the household chores after the death of her mother and then became a mother figure to her younger sister.

Aunt B stayed at home on the farm helping her Papa and the rest of her family until she was in her early 20s. Then she got a job at a mill in Mount Gilead.

Soon afterwards, she got married and continued to live in Mount Gilead. She and her husband had two children, one of whom died at an early age. After the death of their child, she and her husband soon got divorced.

Working at the mill and raising a child on her own was tough on Aunt B, so she married again. She and this husband had a daughter of their own. One day her husband said he was going to walk to town. He never returned to his family but just kept on walking.

Aunt B now had two daughters to raise on her own, so she kept on working in Mount Gilead, but visited her family in Ellerbe as often as possible.

Sometime in the mid- to late-'50s, she got in touch by mail with a man who lived down close to Milledgeville, Georgia. They corresponded by mail and sent pictures to each other for a while. Then her future husband drove up to North Carolina to formally introduce himself to his future wife. They found they had a lot of things in common, but the balance of children was a little off — Aunt B had two children, while he had 12.

The couple soon got married, so Aunt B moved to Georgia with her husband. Things went about as well as could be expected with yours, mine, but no ours. Aunt B was already used to cooking for a large family since there were 12 children in her family when she was growing up.

Aunt B made several Trailways bus trips back to visit her family in North Carolina. When she got back home from one of those trips, she couldn’t seem to find a single clean plate, bowl, glass or pot in the house. She finally asked her husband where all of the dishes were. He said they were all outside soaking in two tin tubs up under the storage shelter. He said he could do a lot of things, but washing dishes wasn’t one of them.

Aunt B and her husband moved several times around the Central Georgia area. One of those times they lived in a trailer at the end of a long chalk-clay road. There were two young men staying in a trailer about halfway down that same dirt road. The two men seemed to be nice enough and Aunt B said they must be growing a garden at the edge of the woods behind their trailer. Shortly afterwards, the two men moved away.

One day while she was out walking, Aunt B decided to check out those beautiful green plants that were growing out behind the trailer where the men had lived. She pulled up a few of the plants and then planted them along the front borders of her trailer. Well, having a green thumb, fertilizer and water, the small plants took off and soon grew to about 6 feet high.

It just so happened, that a friend of theirs (who happened to be a local deputy sheriff) was patrolling in the area and spotted Aunt B’s nice, tall green plants. He drove up in the yard and asked Aunt B if she knew what she was growing in her front yard? She said she didn’t know what they were, but thought they were right pretty.

The deputy kinda smiled and said, “Mrs. B, those beautiful green plants are marijuana.”

Well, after that, Aunt B was a little bit more careful about what she planted in her yard.

Aunt B had a good relationship with all of her stepchildren but, when her husband died, she returned home to North Carolina to live out the rest of her life surrounded by her family. With all of her life experiences, Aunt B was a wonderful storyteller but could also pray the most beautiful prayers you’ve ever heard. Why, I believe her prayers could make the angels in heaven perk up and take notice.

J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and recently released his new book, “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories.” Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..