Thursday, August 2, 2018
Susie Geneva Hawes Harris, THE mother-in-law
And then there was Susie Geneva Hawes Harris
The best mother in law in the world. One of the wisest women I knew. Such a woman others dream of being. She knew the value of silence (there are people who will never know that). She worked in tobacco fields until she was 12 and then cotton mills from 12 years old.
She knew poverty & sadness. If she ever knew her father, it wasn’t for long. He deserted a wife and 8 children in the tobacco farming country of eastern NC. The family was allowed to live in a tobacco barn before Susie’s mama made her way to Gaston County to find work in the cotton mills (leaving the oldest 3 in Eastern NC working in tobacco)
Yes, Children worked in the cotton mills just like they worked on the farms. Because just like on the farms the labor was needed to survive and survive they did.
I am a fan of ‘Sean of the South’ (thanks to Sheila). I read his blog today about meatloaf and since that used to be a staple (and my specialty) in GITMO, I mentioned it to my Sherry. I was shocked, she said “Meatloaf is not one of my favorites.” Hey, I did meatloaf at least once a week aboard GITMO. Usually before putting it in the oven I wrote DARNELL across the top in ketchup! I thought that was cool, she had to like it.
Sherry (who remembers EVERYTHING) said, “Mama fixed meatloaf and then cut Mark and Daddy’s hair the day she died.” That sweet woman died in my arms later that day as I was performing CPR until the medics arrived.
A woman named Susie only lived 61 years. Sherry was a mama’s girl. Susie came to Mississippi for Jack Jr’s birth and also to Missouri for Mark’s birth.
(Picture taken on one of their walks along the beach in Biloxi, before jack jr)
Susie in our trailer in Missouri. Mark was just home from the hospital and jack holding him, hey, we even had a dial phone!)
She and her husband Wiley worked in the cotton mill on different shifts so one of them was always home with the family. BUT Susie was determined to have something. She managed the finances. On cotton mill wages she birthed 7 kids and had three houses built. They were debt free before her death. Sherry & family loved Wiley but they adored Susie she was a gem.
Leaving family and friends Susie headed west with the family in 1916. That was a BIG step it was about a 200 mile bus trip. Then arriving in the area of Belmont the year of the great flood that took all bridges and RR trestles out on the Catawba the last few miles was not easy for the family and especially an 11-12 year old girl named Susie. She learned to be tough.
I am blessed in that Sherry brought into our family that frugality and determination. I was raised the same way holding to the philosophy, try to owe no man.
All that came from the standard meal featuring Meatloaf!