Living To Tell Your Story

August 1952, the Korean War was in its second year. Granny stirred the pot on the stove as the image of Andy getting on the bus headed to the army base crossed her mind; she heard a noise then looked toward the front door. Momma looked up as she sat at the table shelling beans, impressed at the two men in uniform as they came in. They paused for a moment as they removed their caps. Her brother Andy was home on leave, bringing along a buddy of his, Clive, to enjoy a home-cooked meal and spend a few days on the Gulf Coast along the Long Branch River.

Andy had spun many tales of his time along the river, and Clive was eager to see for himself. Their daddy was at the store working alone; usually they all would work together, allowing his wife and daughter to be at home when they arrived. Clive was immediately attracted to Momma: slim build, long black hair, and hazel-green eyes. Momma was swept off her feet, and she and Clive married nine months later. Daddy had to force Clive to marry and face his responsibilities. Granny never did like him very much because he was much older than her daughter and there was always strife between them, but she was pleased the children would have a daddy. She turned fifteen ten days after giving birth to her firstborn.

By 1960, Momma had five children and a husband who was abusive and too interested in other women. Near year’s end, he decided to leave once again, never to return. He left the family car, but Momma could not drive. Granny was living with them since her husband passed, and she could not drive either. They met Allen Stone, who lived in their neighborhood, who agreed to drive them to Machanna, which should have only taken about four hours. Several months later, their kidnapper Allen Stone was arrested along with Momma. They were placed in a foster home until she was cleared of any involvement with him in his crime-ridden trail across the country. She remained there with them working in the foster home until she paid them back for their care and raised enough cash for the trip home. Almost a year later, they made their way to Uncle Andy’s house in Machanna.