A little over two years went by, then on
Hattie began living in Jackson, working, in order to provide for her children. In
Hattie had a fine rhythm going, girl-boy, girl-boy, girl-boy. And, you will notice that as time went by, she got better and better with the names. About two years after # 6,
Hattie tried to get back on track with child # 8, May 16, 1959, a girl who she named Dwana Denise. Dwana was always the funny girl of the family. She told funny stories keeping us entertained. Two years after Dwana,
After giving birth to boys back to back and girls back to back, Hattie decided to just quit, her rhythm was forever broken. She had learned in Sunday school and church that God said "Be fruitful and multiply" and she had only been trying to do her part, one child at a time.
She was now the mother of nine. She was a great mother. She cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed, helped with homework, attended PTA and school programs. She didn't allow her sons to play football; it made no sense to run around hitting each other. They could however play in the band, three of the boys played drums. Three of the girls played basketball; one was a Lanier Rancherette. She never attended the games or the band performances. She worked during the day and she couldn't attend night games or functions, it made no sense to be out late at night and besides that, she needed her rest.
Soon the children were in various stages of growth, but there was no baby to hold and rock and sing to and she missed that dearly.
In 1966, Mr. & Mrs. Ben Puckett acquired her as an employee or she acquired them as employers. That is still open for discussion. At that occurrence, something just short of a miracle happened, she became mother to six additional children, Carol, Richard, Little Ben, Helen, John and Todd. Now she was the mother of 15 children. She had 15 to love, 15 to pray for, 15 to agonize over, and 15 to help make sound judgment. Todd was a newborn, that meant her arms were no longer empty. She had baby to hold, rock, sing to, diaper, feed. She was simply ecstatic. Life was good.
Just when she thought life couldn't get any better, something happened on
After she became a grandmother, she insisted on being called "Grandmother" exclusively, even by her children. Her greatgrandchildren, our grandchildren, call her Grandmother also. When our grandchildren began arriving, we had to get creative in what name they would call us. We knew for sure it would not be grandmother, there was only one Grandmother, that fact had already been clarified. Every time she signs her name, she signs it Grandmother. It is amazing that she hasn't had her name officially changed to Grandmother.
As time went on, the trials and tribulations of life began to occasionally wreak havoc on her nerves. She has perfectly good medical coverage, but she wouldn't allow her doctor to prescribe Valium, Lithium, Ritalin or any other sedative known to mankind to help her relax. She developed her own remedies. She takes four hours of Isle of Caprice, or Harrahs or Rainbow or Ameristar and after that, she is as strong and as sturdy as a rock.
In the past few years, she joined a Senior Citizen Group and has been having the time of her life. She calls it her Wisdom Team. She is the Photographer of the group. They take overnight trips; they sight see and go out to lunch and/or dinner. She dearly loves her Wisdom Team. She has been many places she would never have gone were it not for the Team.
She is an active member of
In addition to being the mother of 15 children, she is the grandmother of 39, the great-grandmother of 14. She is Nana to Bill, a cat whose favorite pass time is lounging near the fireplace. She is also Nana to 2 ducks, 2 roosters, a dog named Spike and a beta fish named Pete.
Her hobbies are working word puzzles, working jig-saw puzzles, watching the Soaps, watching football, basketball, tennis, golf, and baseball on TV, and of course "relaxing her nerves" in Vicksburg. The greatest loves of her life are her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. On a good day, she even loves her children, but mostly we are just the vehicles by which she became Grandmother.
Grandmother, you are the matriarch of the family, the very glue that holds us together. You are so loved, admired and adored by your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, friends and loved ones. You are and have been Grandmother to the entire neighborhood, from
(Written December 2002)
* Now, there are 40 Great-Grandchildren.