My Grandparents. I’m not sure of the date, but believe the building behind them was the “old house”. When my father and his brothers came back from WWII, they built them a new one. James and Mary. To me they were Mamaw and Papaw Yates, and if he looks less than cheerful to you, that’s the only way I ever saw him. By the time I was old enough to notice, he rarely spoke, ate little more than cornbread soaked in buttermilk, and had violent spells. Truth to tell, no one seemed heartbroken when he passed, least of all my grandmother, who had been putting up with it for too long.
My grandmother was very short and round with thin hair she never cut
yates-cake-sm.jpg because “hair is woman’s crown and glory”. She always said she was Dutch, but even excluding the wars with the Deutsch folk, there is a lot of variation among the people labeled Dutch. She worked. Hard. Liked to read when she could. There were always farm magazines around, and Reader’s Digests and the Digest joke books, but she stashed novels in her little bedroom off the back porch. Named her two daughters Carmen and Harriet Arlena Maria. She milked by hand, churned, cooked on a wood stove, drew all her water from a well in the front yard, gardened and canned, raised and killed and plucked her own chickens, and would make a special jam cake for me in a little heart-shaped pan–no icing. The cake in her lap is probably coconut.

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