Sunday, March 6, 2016

Papaw Waters And My Memories

LENGTHY POST WARNING.....pardon, but I was in a writing mood today. I think some of you might enjoy. smile emoticon
Papaw Waters and my memories: Today, March 4 is "Papaw" (Joseph Oliver Waters, Sr's) birthday. He has been on my mind this week and so Sam and I did a rummage through some photo albums to find the following photos.
Maybe some of you don't know. But, my full name is Miriam Annette Shippey (Whitley). So, why then did I get the nickname, Nettie? When Papaw saw me and realized my name was Annette, he just simply said, "Well, I finally got my little Nettie." The name stuck. (Nettie Elizabeth Ann Waters was his mothers name). I was called Nettie until my 9th grade year at which time I though Nettie was a country girls name. I was going into high school and though Annette more sophisticated. So told my classmates, I'd ignore them if they called me Annette I soon became. Today, I prefer Nettie! HA! Oh, the antics of my youth! How sweet to have been given such a special name, Nettie.
You know, I was one very lucky kid because Mom and Dad were going to school and work and my daycare was at Mamaw and Papaw's house. I spent a LOT of time with them. A LOT of time! I am so thankful for those times now because I have lots and lots of memories. So many they overwhelm me today. So, I decided I'd share a few.
One day a week it would be Papaw's day to drive to Atlanta in his Big White Delivery Truck and pick up furniture for the store. It was always a bumpy ride for some reason. Mamaw would be crocheting. Papaw usually quiet then out of the blue a song or two or a rhyme we grandkids can all remember he did quite well. It was sometimes a 2 hour drive to get there. HOT in summer and the truck didn't have A/C I believe. But, I was happy as could be. I knew somewhere along the way Papaw would say, "Mamaw, let's stop and get a burger. That place is coming up and I'm hungry for a burger." Those burgers were big to my little self but it and the fries I'd gobble up were delightful. Sometimes, he'd get us a milk shake we'd all share. Chocolate. I'd be standing between Mamaw and Papaw the whole ride. After picking up furniture, Papaw would say, "I'm going to go stop at "such and such auction" and see what I can sell and get". He'd often tell me to stay in the truck with Mamaw. But, I'd sneak out of the truck and walk around until I found him. He'd scold me, "Nettie, you shouldn't be in here with all this cigarette smoke and spitting. But since your here hold my hand." And, I would. My small fingers usually wrapped around his big ole pinky until he would want to make a bid then I'd stand next to his leg until business was done. It was always dark night when we would come home. I would usually have to be awakened or carried in to one of their beds. I think most of those nights I just stayed with them and got picked up the next day by Mom and Dad.
Any of you grandkids remember the white station wagon we'd all crawl into. Who's going to ride with Mamaw and Papaw? And off we would run.
Do you remember when Sunday would arrive and after church meeting we'd all go for dinner/potluck at Mamaw and Papaw's? I remember running into the house trying to beat every other cousin to Papaw first so he could scratch my back before the others. Oh, the lap competition. HA! Crazy how much we would love that. I don't think any back scratch lasted over a minute but oh we would vie for that time. I'm next one would say! Then another, well, I'm next!
Papaw's favorite cake was coconut cake. He LOVED homemade best. I think I learned to like the flavor just because Papaw loved it. When a homemade one wasn't available, he'd buy Pepperidge Farms frozen coconut cakes. Mamaw would have to scold him because he'd sneak in and take some slices before dinner. She probably knew I use to sneak in and get a tiny slice myself...but she never scolded me.
Papaw bought Mamaw a brand new black stove. Papaw thought he would surprise her but when she saw the black stove she told him he'd just have to take it back. Why?, Papaw asked. Mamaw said, "I hate a black stove. Get me a white one instead." Papaw in return said, "Well you could have fooled me! Your white stoves always turn black." OOOOOooo boy! He had to run from the room on that one! (Mamaw knew two levels of cooking; High and OFF! Her burners would be so black. One time I asked her why she kept the singing tea kettle always on high. She said because I hate warm tea/coffee. And if anyone comes, I have hot water ready for them.) By the way, the black stove did get returned and replaced with a white one.
I remember sitting on Papaw's lap and he'd give me a big ole hug and that large hand of his would come up and caress my cheek. His hands were usually rough but the tenderness and love he conveyed in that caress made me feel I was very special to him indeed.
Papaw would come home for lunch every work day. He'd eat and then say, "Mamaw, It's nap time." He would go lay on their bed on top of the covers. Mamaw would quietly lay next to him. She was the "timer" you see. She was not suppose to ever let him sleep over 15 mintes. Papaw always said that 15 minute naps were power naps. Any less or any more would make you sluggish for the day. But, just 15 minutes and "boom" Papaw was ready to get back to the store. Me, I was suppose to be laying down on my bed in the guest room but I didn't want to be too far away. So I'd sneak to the door but not enter. I'd just sit on the floor right where the door was cracked open a couple of inches. I'd hear them talking about something or someone then Papaw would start to snore. Mamaw rarely ever slept for she was the 'timer' and I KNOW she had to realize I was not in my bed but she rarely scolded me. Thank goodness Papaw's naps were only 15 minutes!! Ugh! I hated when we would have to nap for longer.
Mom was at Emory Hospital in a coma. She was there nine days. Papaw hadn't been able to get down to visit her and was anxious to do so. I don't remember who all came with him. But, I remember people coming into the hospital room door until finally Papaw was at the door. He took one step inside and froze. His arms went up to the door frame as if to hold himself up and the words he spoke were this; "OH Nita! My Nita! You're gone. I know your gone! My Nita, your soul is no longer on this earth. I can feel that." He broke into tears but kept his composure as much as possible. He went to her and caressed her cheek just like he had mine so many times as a child. He said, "A parent isn't suppose to outlive their child. Oh, how I am going to miss her." And then he cried hard. Me, well, of course, I bawled. I knew in my heart then that Mom was gone. They hadn't taken the two test necessary at that point to determine if she was brain dead. So, she was still on a ventilator. But, his words I knew were true. And within a day or so we found out he was correct. That day so vivid and emotional to me even today.
We took Sam to their house for a visit. Papaw was sitting next to Mamaw who at this time could not speak due to her strokes. I asked Papaw, "What kept your marriage so strong throughout the years?" Papaw got quiet for a few moments as he turned and was looking at Mamaw. Then his hand went up and caressed her cheek and said, " Love. Simply, Love." It was all that was needed to be said. He loved Mamaw so very much. The story of how they met is quite entertaining but too long for this post. (see photo entitled Last photo).
As life got more full and busier I found myself going less and less to their home for visits. The ones I did make were special. But to this day I wish I had of made more visits as an adult.
I remember the day I got word that Papaw had the stroke. Seeing him lying in bed not knowing whether or not he could hear and understand because he couldn't speak, broke my heart. The big burly full of life Papaw that I'd always known was at deaths door. I tried not to cry as I leaned down in his ear to tell him something personal, but I cried anyway as I spoke into his ear. I had my hand in his and I felt him squeeze it after I had my say. It was the last touch of that big burly hand yet soft touch of affection I ever felt from him.
In MY eyes, he was always kind. He tried to make people laugh. His Faith and Truth meant the greatest to him. He loved his family! He loved his Grandkids! He loved his Great-grandkids! I wish I could remember all the stories he told. The ones about the gospel and the different meetings he and Mamaw would attend all over the world on their various trips. The talks he'd give of his time in the military. The funny tricks he'd play on relatives. I don't remember him being unkind to anyone. And, he always tried to help out where he could.
He helped forge a path in my life and a sensitivity to people. I treasure his example, the time he had for me, and the lessons learned by just being with him in my youth.
We may not realize the effect with have on someone else's life. We may not realize just how closely someone is watching us.
Oh, how I was lucky! I had the best Mamaw and Papaw, ever!
So, take heed....

Love. Simply love. 
It's something we can all do!

Written By: Annette Shippey Whitley

Today Would Have Been My Dad's Birthday

Today (March 4th) would have been our dad's (Joseph O. Waters Sr.) Birthday. He was the best dad that anyone could ever have.
He always liked his Coconut Cake, but he wouldn't complain if another cake was served.
He liked it whenever the family could come home and we could all spend time together.
He loved to get up early in the morning and play his only song that he knew on the piano to let us kids know it was time to, "rise and shine."
As I look back now, I am thankful for all the stories he shared with us of his childhood and his experiences as he grew into a young man. Now whenever I face an obstacle in life, I remember something he would have told us, and it makes the experience easier.
In the evenings after supper you would find him laying on the Living Room floor, he said that he was realigning his back after a day of work.
I remember that every Tuesday he went to Atlanta to buy stock to replenish stock that had been sold the previous week at the store. We would first go to Crosley and later it was Norge, Hotpoint and then Westinghouse to get our appliances. Whenever we needed an appliance he would buy for our home the model of appliance that had been in, inventory the longest because he wanted their customers to get the newest appliance.
I ask my brothers and sisters do they remember some of these appliances. We got the refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom and the shelves were counter lever so that you could crank the shelves up or down according to the size of the item on the shelf. We also had the ironer that looked like a chest freezer with a lid like a file box that covered the ironer roller and the heating press. It was fun to use and we kids wanted to iron everything. (even our underwear) You would sit in front of the Ironer and insert the garment into the back of the Ironer and use the press to iron that part of the garment (much like a Cleaners would) and as it came down the roller it folded the garment. It was pretty neat. I was glad that no one wanted to buy it because we loved it.
We would go to Atlanta Stove Works to purchase Wood Stoves and Wood Heaters as well as gas heaters. They also sold Porch furniture like cast iron yard furniture in the Grape Pattern and Gliders for the yard or front porch as well as yard furniture. These were sold in colors of, red/white, green/white, yellow/white and blue/white. I remember many a Summer day of assembling of these items.
We would go to Lee Products to get cookware, pressure cookers, and other household appliances. Lee Products was owned by a Japenese Couple, that had no children, but loved children very much. I remember our dad telling us we could look at the toys in the showroom but we were not to touch them. This was a paradise for me as a young lad. They had all kinds of toy trucks and cars, bikes, trikes and everything that you could imagine. I remember I got my first bike here. (It wasn't new because my dad said I needed to appreciate it and later when I worked to earn a new bike I would appreciate it more.) And as always he was right, when I got my new bike here, I did appreciate it and it lasted me for many years.
We also went to Woodalls, which was a repair shop for small appliances. We would take toasters, frying pans, pressure cookers, etc.., items in for repair for our customers and pick them up the next week for our customers.
As a child, I loved to rummage in the dumpsters of these companies that we would go to each week and it was like a treasure trove of what they threw away.
When it was time to return home from Atlanta, dad would let us ride on the back of the truck home. We would build us a spot to hide in if it rained on the return or we would climb to the top of the load to feel the wind in our faces as he drove down the road. We knew that if we ever misbehaved we would get punished when we got home.
It's hard to believe that mom and dad have been gone for twelve years. There are days when you want to call and then remember that they are gone.
I guess what I'm trying to say is "Thank-You," for all of the love and care while growing up. "Thank You," for lifting up Christ before us, and being and example by showing us how to live our life for Christ. We are so glad for experiences that molded us in to what we are today.
Love Forever Your Youngest Son,

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In Memory Of My Mother

Mother bring me home from the hospital and my big sister seeing me for the first time.

In memory of my mother, Sara Juanita Waters Shippey who would have been 70 years old today. I hear her voice in my head so often. I have used the guidance she taught me all my life. I can hear her playing the accordion out on the deck in the wee hours of the morning, still. I can remember a time I made her cry and to this day I feel awful I did. But, I can remember her forgiveness and her constant love. I'm glad we were an affectionate family for there are times when I can remember her hugs and feel the warmth yet again. The pain of her loss has lessened over time because I've come to understand why God called her early. How she would love her grandchildren!! So proud of them. So proud of her son for all his accomplishments. I imagine if she were living she and Dad would have traveled the world over by now. This morning, what I remember most was her faith in God. She loved Truth, our fellowship meetings, singing the hymns. Most mornings I would see her sitting in her living room chair....knee highs with knit bootee socks Grandma would make us with her sweatpants stuck inside them...her pj's...sometimes shirt inside out...and a blanket wrapped all around her as she would be reading her bible...or kneeling over the ottoman praying. She was a powerful influence in my life. And, over the years I come to realize the influence she had in other peoples lives., as well. Remember the school plays she would have her kids perform? Her walks around the school with the kids mimicking her every move. The stories she would tell us of "funnies" the students would say. I remember after her death cleaning out her classroom and just sitting and crying on the floor not wanting to pack up. The reality of her death hit so strong. Yet, the memories of all the beautiful times flooding my head. I didn't have my mother for very long in life. She died at the young age of 47. I'll be 47 this year. But, she made an impression on my youthful heart and spirit that I am so very grateful for. One of her favorite hymns from our hymn book is title A Tender Heart. "Give me a heart that's tender true...." "Take out the stony heart, take out the bitterness: Give me a gracious heart that's full of tenderness, A heart that understands, that will not fret or pine: Give me a tender heart- a heart like thine."...and one verse in particular "I want to feel the pain my neighbors often know And lend a helping hand if he be friend or foe. I want to share the loss in every weal or woe And have a tender heart, wherever I go." I think she had this kind of heart. She loved people. She told me one time she didn't know if she could "want to feel the pain her neighbors often know" but she wanted God to work with her heart so that she would be willing for such. I think she had a wonderful heart. But, then again, she was my special Mom. Her kindnesses inspire me to be kind. Her own heart encourages me to this day from her own heart. The loss of a loved one is just plum...hard. But, memories of that loved one feed us when we need them and warm us to continue on. She would often tell us children before we would leave the house to go spend time with friends, "You are our children, but remember whose you are." Love while yet you can be loved. And when the arms of that loved one are no longer available, love the memories that can be loved. - I just felt a need to share. Love to all! Those who knew her, I hope you have special memories of her as well.

Written By: Annette Shippey Whitley