"Hey! You're back," I said.
"Yes, I just came back to say... I want to come back to tell you this. Just now, in my story, I ended so abruptly with my grandmom, but there was more that came back to me, and I want to tell you."
"I'd love to hear more."
"So we were at the hospital. I was saying something to Grandmom. I don't remember what it was about. She smiled. Then she took a breath, like this," Hattie took a deep breath. "And her dentures slipped out a little. Her mouth softened, you know. I said to her, Grandmom, you aren't dying, are you? You know I am scared of dead people. And Grandmom looked at me and smiled. That was how she died. I cried. I told her I love her. All these years... and I've never been able to talk about it like this."
October 15, 2009
Hattie Lee Ellerbe
PSC Writing Class
On Friday afternoon it was time for Mr. Ferguson to come to our house. He was our music teacher. For $2.50 a week, per household, he taught all of us.
Grandmom was determined to have us all learn to play the piano. Growing up we always had a piano in our house. I never really learned to play but three of my sisters did.
Grandmom was so proud of us; she had us playing at church and anytime we had company at home. I am the middle child of five sisters. I admit, I was different. Grandmom wanted us all to be little ladies. I was a "Tom Boy" and was always having accidents by falling down or hurting myself. I was always on punishment.
Everyone, including myself, thought Grandmom "picked on me" and whipped me the most.
We had sufficient clothing and Grandmom worked very hard as a factory worker to see that we never went to bed hungry. She stressed education and religion. I never missed a day of school in 12 years.
It wasn't until I became a grown-up that Grandmom and I became close.
In later years, November 26, 1974 approximately 8pm, Grandmom died in my arms, with a smile on her face as I tearfully whispered - I love you.