Thursday, July 14, 2005

City Personals
Mary Clay Brooks

Visitors here to escape Hurricane Dennis

Jeff and Lisa Thompson and children, Randy and Brittney, and Lisa’s mother, Jean, arrived Saturday from Ocean Springs, to stay with Gene and Mary Clay Brooks and children, Caitlyn and Grady. Lloyd Thompson, also of Ocean Springs, travelled north as well to stay with his aunt, Claiborne Thompson, and her family. They were escaping Hurricane Dennis.

Ann Pringle of Biloxi, left Tuesday after a long visit with her sister, Caroline McCrosky. Caroline Brooks and her son, Kendall, also of Biloxi, drove in over the weekend to avoid the hurricane, as well, and will be staying with Caroline this week.

Ben Martin, David Person, Kay Wheeler, Becky Cupp and Ben and Robin Seale travelled to Clarksdale Friday night to dine at Morgan Freeman’s restaurant, Madiri.

Emma Reed and Ellis Farese of Oxford, were the weekend guests of their grandparents, Vivian and Smitty Smith.

Hubert McAlexander is enjoying the beautiful scenery and accommodations at Strawberry Plains Sanctuary.

Austin Thomas of Olive Branch, was the Wednesday night guest of Caitlyn Brooks. While here, the duo enjoyed swimming. His grandmother, Constance Ann Lanier, joined everyone for dinner on Thursday.

Becky Cupp and Billy and Tammy Cupp went to Collierville, Tenn., to spend the Fourth of July with Walker and Heather Cupp and their children, Cade and Lexi.

(To put your news in City Personals, please e-mail; mail to City Personals, The South Reporter, P.O. Box 278, Holly Springs, MS 38635 or call 662-252-4261 or e-mail:

Reception planned to honor couple

James and DeVetta Bell of Holly Springs were married on May 5, 2005. A wishing-well reception will be held in their honor on July 30 at 7 p.m. at The Shriner’s Building on Salem Rd. in Holly Springs. All family and friends are invited to this semi-formal celebration.

James is the son of Frankie Bell of Holly Springs. DeVetta is the daughter of Sammie and Ruth Greer of Holly Springs

Couple to wed July 23 at Anderson Chapel

Walter and Phyllis Mason of Lamar announce the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their daugther, Ayesha, to Jimmy R. Brooks Jr. of Ripley. The couple will be married on Saturday, July 23, 2005 at Anderson Chapel CME Church in Holly Springs.

Ayesha is the granddaughter of the late Earlene M. Naylor and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Naylor of Holly Springs and the late William and Dora Mason of Lamar.

Jimmy is the son of Marilyn and James Colyer of Ripley and Jimmy and Patricia Brooks Sr. of Okolona. He is the grandson of Annie Prather and Curtis and Erma Brooks Sr. all of Ripley.

Ayesha will complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi this coming December with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She plans to work as a Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist.

Jimmy will also complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi this coming December. He is a member of the Ole Miss Rebels football team playing tight end. He will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and plans on becoming a state trooper.

Lois Swanee
Museum Curator

Recalling fond memories of Aunt Lizzie

Growing up in Holly Springs was truly a privilege, but I didn’t know it at that time. Born to great parents, reared in the First Baptist Church, educated with incredible dedicated teachers, exposed to good extended family, I was the most fortunate child on earth. I was lucky, too, as I got to know two of my grandmothers. I never had a grandfather. My great grandfather lived until I was eight months old and he was 96. One of my older cousins said I might not have liked him anyway, as she didn’t.

Our house was heated with fireplaces, which were gathering places in wintertime. Folks would gather around the fire in a semi-circle and lots of good family information was passed on in this manner. My great Aunt Lizzie lived with us, too. There weren’t great opportunities for old ladies then. She was born in 1849 in South Carolina and was orphaned at age five. That would limit her opportunities for ladies then. She never married. She grew up to be a “spinster lady;” a nice word for an old maid. When my sister, Christine, was to be born in 1913, my mother invited Aunt Lizzie to come live with us in Waterford. She was to visit for a while but stayed the rest of her life. She had nowhere else to go. She lived to be 87. She helped around the house, including the kitchen but mainly she did the mending. (How I’ve wished for a modern day Aunt Lizzie when I can’t keep up with my mending.) Imagine a person ready, willing, able, and even joyful about doing the mending! She was handy with the needle in other ways, too; I still have some of her tatting and embroidery but whatever was knitted is gone forever.

Aunt Lizzie was my grandfather’s sister. They were born in South Carolina. He was born in 1851, seven months after his father died. Everybody thought that he had a special breath of life and whenever anybody got sick, he was asked to come breathe on them. Can you imagine! What a job! As Aunt Lizzie grew older, she grew deafer. She had a big horn that you could talk into so she could hear.

At our house on College Avenue, the house had a cellar, where originally the clay had been dug out in 1840 to make the bricks to build the house. The house literally rose from the soil on which it was sitting. One day my mother was in the cellar where she kept her canned goods that she had grown in her garden the summer before. The cellar temperature was like a cool cave, always 56 degrees year-round. So things down there didn’t freeze. The door to the cellar was a trap door that lay flat and was part of the floor in the hall above. To enter the cellar, the door was lifted and hooked to the wall. When my brother Jimmy was a little boy, Mother had gone to the cellar for something. He unlatched the trap door and put it down. Then he realized Mother was in the cellar. Thinking he had locked her in the cellar forever, Jimmy started boohooing as loud as he could and since Aunt Lizzie was in the next room, he went to her trying to tell her that he had locked Mother in the cellar. He was wailing, “I’ve locked Mother in the cellar and she can’t get out!” to which Aunt Lizzie was replying, “That’s all right honey, that’s all right!” Being stone deaf and with his loud wailing, Aunt Lizzie had no idea what the little boy was saying. Of course Mother just pushed the door up when she came out. She wasn’t there forever like Jimmy thought.

Hobos were a way of life during the Depression. Over the nation men woke up one morning to discover their assets had disappeared. Since my house was on the same side of town as the railroad, none of the hobos missed our home. My mother fed every one of them that came by. It is said they would put a mark on the curb for the good houses that were generous in giving a helping hand. However, I never saw any marks on the curb. The men would come to the back door but not all hobos were men, some were women. (The women came to the front door.) One day a black girl from Chicago came for food and a helping hand. She asked my mother to let her work. My mother took her in and moved a cot on top of the cellar door for her to sleep. My, how times have changed! She helped for a few days and moved on. Once a white girl came looking for food. I was four and was playing dress up, wearing my sister’s new pink pumps, which were little and beautiful in the Art Deco style, of course.

I was very timid but Mother left me standing at the front door with the beggar or tramp woman hobo, whichever category she fit into, while my mother went to the kitchen to get food so that person wouldn’t be hungry. Hobo woman said to me, “Do you like dolls?” I nodded yes, (I adored dolls, they were my favorite thing on earth.) Then she said, “Would you like a doll that’s big with open and shut eyes that cries ‘momma’?” I nodded yes. Then the hobo said, “If you give me those pink shoes you are wearing right now, I’ll bring you back a big doll. But don’t tell your mother or I won’t come back!” I nodded yes and handed her the beautiful pink shoes. She grabbed them and hurriedly left. When my mother came back from the kitchen with a big plate of food, there was nobody there except me. I didn’t tell her about the shoes or the doll. I stood at the door all day waiting (I told my sister about it fifty years later.)

Reckon how those shoes looked at hobo camp?

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