Remembrances of Mother

Remembrances of Mother


by

Alice Reinette Poteete Sullivan

I talked to Grace (Elliott) Purvis and Agenes (Watson) McCutcheon about Mother. She was born in Ivy Log, Union County, Georgia. Grace remembers a two-story house with a "finished" basement, and probably a fireplace down in it. She remembers particularly a big raspberry bush that grew behind the house and she and some of her brothers used to load their aprons and laps with them. Nobody else picked the berries. Mother taught Grace in grade school and she must have been about 12 years older than Grace. Grace felt that she took a lot of pains in teaching the students. She still remembers this particular recitation that Mother had her memorize:

Lord of love look down from above

On us pitiful scholars.

We hired a fool to teach our school

And paid her $50.00.

Agenes said she lived with Mother and Uncle Ed in Blairsville while they all went to Normal School. Grandpa Chapman had a log cabin there in Blairsville where they lived. On weekends a wagon came and took them all back to Ivy Log for Saturday and Sunday. She was enough younger than Uncle Ed and Mother to be warned not to tell when they did anything for which they could get into trouble. This evidently was also the school where Mother trained to be a teacher.

Grace said Daddy would come across the river to court Mother and he rode a big stallion that scared everyone. After they were married they lived in Grandpa Poteete's place in a little house where Monteen, their first child was born. Grace went to stay with them for Mother's confinement.

Mother and Daddy always backed each other in their discipline and I never heard them quarrel. If she was angry with us she would not talk so we knew something displeased her. She didn't gossip in front of us kids, and we never talked back to either of our parents.

There was always a lot of company at Mother's home. The preacher always stayed there–lots of relatives coming and going.

Lots of our neighbors were not "our kind of people", so Mother was very protective of us. We couldn't go "parading down McCord Avenue" to the river to go swimming with them and when they were all having fun in the street after sundown we were safely indoors. We had loads of fresh vegetables and fruit that Daddy grew on his four acres and pork from the occasional pig they raised. Always biscuits for breakfast and cornbread for supper. We seldom had "light" bread. So much milk and cream, and a weekly chore of churning the clabbered milk. And beans–dry beans in winter and green beans in summer. We did have potatoes but not as often as beans.

Mother would send us to the store to get 50 cents worth of round steak and it was a whole round. She would pound flour and salt and pepper and make a wonderful chicken-fried steak. She was a good cook. We peeled fruit for canning by the gallons and stirred jam on the stove in a large dishpan.

Mother and Daddy taught us valuable lessons and also about how to do without and be responsible. We had a very secure, steady, and healthful environment. Mother was very strict with us and had her own standards which didn't follow that which everyone else was doing–even our teachers. Our grade in deportment was much more important to her than our grade in school work–but of course, "F" was not acceptable either.

Willa Mae Bivins Moore told me recently she thought the Poteete family was the most wonderful family she knew. As a girl growing up in the Baptist church she noticed how happy we all were and we were always together, including our parents, at the activities in the church.

Mother was stern with us and kept us in good health. We had everything a family of ten children needed–love, stability, health, discipline and lots of room to grow in.

February 1992