Mother's and Daddy's Birthdays

Opla Chapman Poteete

November 10, 1988.....Thursday......10:30 p.m.

by

Monteen Poteete Purdie

(from her journal)

Today is my mother's birthday, and what a wonderful, wonderful mother she was. She was small, had an attractive face with a straight nose - high forehead, and in her younger days had lustrous black hair with a natural part so that her hair fell to both sides of her face but was usually pulled back into a bun at the nape of her neck. She had a ready, warm smile.

She was endowed with a great fund of common sense, was an astute judge of character, had a delightful sense of humor, was a highly verbal person - took care of her large family by feeding them well and dressing them with stylish clothes - loved her flowers and garden - and breast fed all of us except Alan. We were all born at home. It was a distinct pleasure watching Mother with a tiny, new baby. She managed us with a firm discipline, never overly affectionate, but we all knew we were truly loved. There was unending work to be done and she kept us all busy helping and doing our part, reluctant as we might be.

Mother was a healthy, happy, people-loving person with a fine memory and a confident way of expressing herself. She never seemed to lose control, seldom raised her voice in admonishing us - but was free in using a little switch, or a hand in spanking us. She was a dedicated Christian woman seeing to it that our lives were anchored in church and the teachings of the Bible. She never made a show of her religion, but looking at her life it is evident that it was spiritually blessed with deep inner strength, that she was blessed with knowledge that the Lord was her strength.

Mother could have been an overworked drudge, but instead she was a happy woman of great ability, admired by all who knew her. People loved talking with Mother for she had great insight and perception. She loved to read, enjoying our library books, or school books, - the magazines that we had. She knew how to make food delicious. She loved to sew and make our nice clothes, and did it with no undue effort.

What an example she was to all of us. How privileged for us to have had her for a mother! Her life was not easy for we had to deal with the Depression which meant very lean times, but Mother and Daddy came from frugal families and knew how to do without and how to manage.

William Lowery Poteete

September 7, 1988........Wednesday........8:30 p.m.

by

Monteen Poteete Purdie

(from her journal)

Today is Daddy's birthday - also Krissy's (Kristin Johnson Casparie). I miss my father, although we never had conversations of any depth - he was not a verbal person and usually seemed to see more of the negative aspects of a situation rather than the positive. He had great energy and used it for his home and working for his family. He was very tenderhearted and loved us deeply although he was not one to put it into words. I wish now, that as a teenager I could have been more mature and understanding as we children were growing up. I would have expressed my affection for him more readily - but he was always so busy or tired. Now for me, it's "so old so soon and smart so late." He gladly gave us all he had to give - a good man even though Mother would scold a bit when he was frustrated and profanity would spew out.

Grandpa (James Allen) Poteete had a farm of considerable acreage and nine children: Dillard, Lowery, Nola, twin girls; Bethenia and Marcenia, Lattie, John, Tascol and Lowing. The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia have some of the prettiest scenery I've seen...red soil, piney trees, lots of water and lots of grapevines growing everywhere. Grandpa Poteete passed away at the age of 58 because of pneumonia. During my fifth year Grandma Poteete became gravely ill because of a ruptured appendix. Daddy made the long trip back arriving the day she passed away. I remember that because while he was gone Mother took Reinette, Max and me to visit with Uncle Ed(Chapman) and Aunt Cliffie in Goshen. We went on the bus. As a child I was proud to learn that Daddy had received a Bible when he was in fourth grade for his good behavior.

I always thought Daddy was a handsome man, on the slender side, 5' 8" perhaps, wavy brown hair and always so clean and well groomed except when he was working in the barn or doing the hot, heavy duty work that he had to do around the place. He always walked straight with shoulders back until the near tragic episode with the bull that caught him at the barn. Daddy yelled for Mother who was feeding the noisy geese and she didn't hear him but he managed to get his fingers in the nostrils of the bull and save himself someway. His back was hurt and he spent a short time in the hospital; after that he never held his shoulders back as before. That was just before Linda was born when Bob and I lived in North Hollywood for a short while. Daddy was fortunate - we were fortunate having him for a father.

Daddy met Mother at church. So often I've heard mention of the social times spent singing in church which was the center of their community life. Before their marriage Daddy worked in Colorado for awhile and I remember reading some of their correspondence while he was away in which Mother ended her letters "Affectionately". Mother was telling about fixing her box lunch for a church social; she had picked some violets to help decorate it and was looking forward to a happy evening but that was the day that Daddy's little brother, John, had fallen on a knife receiving a fatal injury and that spoiled the anticipated happy evening. Daddy was quite friendly but did not have a best friend. At various times some of his co-workers came to visit us bringing their families. He didn't like to have his time taken up with neighboring men who wanted to stand and talk when he wanted to get on with his work.

He had great pride in his four and one-half acres, the big white house among the walnut trees behind the two large Chinese Umbrella trees, all alongside the emerald-green alfalfa field, and with tall corn growing in the summer. I once measured a stalk of corn - 14 feet high. The barn was painted white and had grapevines trellised on it, with a white-picket fence all around the property. Mother loved growing flowers so our place looked good among the very modest houses on McCord Avenue. So often I've seen Daddy come in from his work at the oilfields, put his lunch pail on the table in the kitchen and immediately get busy outside - irrigating the alfalfa field, the corn, or pasture, or shoveling the pungent, steaming mulch from the barn stalls and transferring it to the fields. And I can still hear that noisy gasoline pump that worked hard to keep everything watered and green in that hot, dry heat of Bakersfield. He was a man of considerable ingenuity which showed in his buildings of things and mechanical devices for his irrigation, haying and fodder. For years he used a 1913 stripped down Model T Ford on which he had made a platform to carry the hay to the barn.

He had warm Southern hospitality. So often I've heard him invite some visitor to stay all night. He liked Amos 'n Andy on the radio - also liked to listen to ministers on the radio. He did not like butter, cream or mayonnaise and did not eat chocolate because he believed it was not healthy. He ate plenty of eggs, bacon, ham, biscuits and gravy however, and usually took a couple of biscuit and egg and bacon sandwiches in his lunch pail to work. Mention must be made of Daddy's kitchen accomplishment - making biscuits. They always turned out beautifully ...really superb and he had justifiable pride in this endeavor. We all loved his biscuits and he was happy in our praise. One last building pleasure he had was to build the barn at Grass Valley. He had the timber cut from some of the trees growing on the property there and Mother, Ruth and Art helped him to get it constructed. Now it is a much loved playing area for the young great grandchildren.

He lived to be 87, was active, clear minded and well until November of his 87th year when he was in the hospital for awhile. I don't remember the exact trouble - a type of heart failure. He returned home there in Grass Valley. At Christmas Ruth and Art were there when he had sort of a stroke and was back in the hospital . They took him to the hospital in Bakersfield where he died January first, in the early evening.

His funeral was at the First Baptist Church attended by a large gathering of relatives and friends. He was laid to rest alongside Mother's grave there in Greenlawn on a clear, cold day with the Ridge mountains clearly defined - blue, and beautifully capped with heavy snow.

I am deeply thankful for my mother and father. We were richly blessed.