Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day (Frances, Iris, and Norman)

Happy Fourth of July everyone! I know you all probably have barbecues to prep and fireworks to launch, so I'll keep this short and sweet. We have two new older buds, RC and and Kafi Zola, so keep an eye out for their works. Several older buds are excited about telling their stories at The Moth, and I'll be posting about that in two weeks. We're powering along with our 10th Anniversary Celebration on November 8th, but we're always looking for local donors. If you want to make our tenth anniversary the Best Tenth Anniversary of Our Lives (So Far) then go to and make a contribution. We have special rewards for groups and families who contribute, like handwritten stories, family photos, sponsored tables, and free lunch!
You can also check out our YouTube page, which is going to get a lot more video in honor of our 10th Anniversary. Our newest video features a "terrifying yet miraculous" WWII from our newest site in Murfreesboro, TN. I thought in honor of our first ever Southern site, I'd share some stories about the South.

Frances Bryce
Southern Norms and What I Like About the South

I was born in the South (Laurens, SC) with a population of approximately 10,000 people at that time. The population has increased, [though I’m] not sure what it is at this time. The growth has been due to favorable tax breaks granted to companies moving south, among the big companies, BMW and Walmart distribution centers among lesser known companies. The customs of the people remain intact.
The first time my husband visited my hometown, I stopped at a store to ask where my brother lived since he had moved since I visited last. The owner came out to the car and offered to drive me to my brother’s house. My husband was amazed that not only did he know my family and the courtesy that was shown. I said everybody knows everybody in this town.
The not so good practice is to feel free to call and ask if they see a different car in the driveway, someone will call and ask who is visiting.
Gossip often takes unfavorable tell on the people who now do not like this practice that some people haven’t decided that this practice should have been abolished years ago.
The good thing that still exists is the community responding to any event with help in sickness, celebrating any happy event and responding in an appropriate manner.
Southern charm rings out to this day.

Iris Wildflower 
The Best Thing I’ve Ever Learned in My Life

The best thing I’ve ever learned in my life is there are certain conversations not to have with my mom…because she will send you to another state…
When I turned 18 years old, I had graduated from high school (early 17 years), got accepted at Fisk University, and [worked] at the IRS for the summer. One day, I came home from work and told my mom that I was grown and about to leave for college in August and that I could stop by the bar for happy hour after work…
I waited for the good talking-to or the words, “What’s wrong with you?” but alas, nothing happened. Mom just sat there quietly. “Ok” she stated… Wow, that was easy, I thought I should have done this a long time ago…
For two weeks, I went as I pleased, happy hour, parties, staying out until the sunrise in the sky, even skipped church a few times…
Dad was waiting at the house when I came in hung over and with bloodshot eyes.
My dad said, “See you in church!!” Church? I thought, look at my condition… How?
Dad spoke, “You don’t answer back with a ‘why.'”
“Yes Dad.”‘
So I began to get ready for church. Dad then said, “When I turn around, I want to see you.”
“Yes, Dad.” I was hung over.
Later that week, my parents gave me a one-way ticket to Greensboro, N.C.
The dean’s phoned and advised me to call him and let him know what time my train would arrive. I would be attending Bennett’s Women’s College in Greensboro.
“But why mom?”
“You’re grown, remember?”
“No, I’m not grown, mom.”
“Two grown women cannot live in my house.” Thus I learned there are certain conversations not to have with my mom. She don’t play and will send you to another state. And set up everything for your arrival.
Thanks, Mom.
Norman Cain
My Grandmother's Laundry Room

My grandmother’s laundry room was not located in a finished, attractive basement. It had no shelves (containing detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners) that hovered above a modern washer or dryer.
And when clothes were washed, there was no humming coming from a washing machine. Likewise, there was no humming coming from the dryer and there was no choice about the drying cycle. No hot. No warm. No delicate.
My grandmother’s laundry room was located in the back of the family house, in-between the well and smoke house and chicken coop and cotton field. Instead of a washing machine, there was a big black cast iron pot filled with hot water that was mounted by fuel chopped wood. There was no detergent in the water, but rather home-made brown lye soap. The clothes were stirred with sturdy ax handles.
There was no modern dryer but there was a natural drier – the sun, which beamed down upon the clothes that hung absolutely dirt free from clothes lines.
My grandmother did not have a modern laundry room, but her wash was always 100% clean.

  As always, we're still on the lookout for stories from the older buds in your lives. If you have any you think would interest us, then send them our way through Happy Fourth of July!

Curated by Caitlin Cieri