His name was Woodrow (named for the President, Woodrow Wilson). He was a city boy from Meridian, Mississippi, and came to Alabama as a part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, founded as a relief to unemployment during the Great Depression. Later, our father would tell us how he had helped build some of the shelters for tourists on Cheaha Mountain. This mountain was our claim to fame and we often drove the tedious, winding roads to have family gatherings there.
Mama was a country girl. Her family heritage was of plantations run at the expense of slavery, but she grew up poor. She met our father at a dance in Anniston, Alabama. She was healthy and athletic, but, shortly after my sister, Jane, was born she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and put in a sanitarium. Our grandmother, Mammy, and our father raised us during our formative years. Daddy cooked a large breakfast every morning. He tucked us in at night with stories of his childhood. On weekends, he took us to see Mama, who could only wave to us from the upstairs window of her stone and vine encrusted confinement. I do remember the day my mother came home when I was about six years old. She was crying and telling my Aunt Frances that she had been sent home to die. One of her lungs had been collapsed, which was a treatment in those days. She was confined to her own room with a lavatory and we had to keep a distance. With the warmth of home and family and my grandmother’s good cooking, my mother did recover and lived to be 92.
This artwork is about my childhood. In Eastaboga, Alabama, our social lives revolved around the church. Most children I knew, said their prayers at night, and blessed all the loved ones that they could recall at the moment.