About me

Friday, June 4, 2010

Finding Miss Nannie

My mother was a beautician, and Saturday was her busy day in the shop as she worked to get all the women in the community ready for church.

You might find permanent solutions stinky. I think they smell like good eating. When Mama gave a couple of permanents, we would be eating better during the following week.

Pavlov's dogs had nothing on my nose.

Every Saturday morning, Miss Nannie visited the shop. Mama would stop what she was doing to drive over and get her. Sometimes a neighbor would drive her. When I was able to drive, it became my job.

No one ever seemed to mind fetching Miss Nannie. She was always grateful for what she received. Contrast that to Tink and Addie who always required more, and did so with rarely a word of thanks.

We often visited Miss Nannie on Sunday afternoon. Well, Mother, Brother, and me. My dad never went. Mama and Miss Nannie would sit on the front porch of her huge farm house while Tim and I crawled through the magnolia trees like a couple of monkeys.

Those trees were ancient then and filled with cicada shells.

Miss Nannie died on my birthday in 1979. Mama and I visited heron the hospital just the day before. She slept through our visit. Mama cried on the way home from Smithfield because she heard a death rattle in Miss Nannie's breathing.

We buried her a few days later in Smithfield with a fresh hairdo from Mama. I wonder how many women in that community went to their eternal rest with a head full of Mama's curls.

I had not visited Miss Nannie's grave until yesterday when I went to tour the Ava Gardner museum. I started at the gravesite.

I needed the better part of an hour to find Nannie's grave. After circling the entire property, I found her about 20 steps from Ava.

She was by a tree as I remembered. I had just remembered the wrong one.

Very few were at the funeral. I recognized no one but Mama. Standing there yesterday, I wondered if anyone ever visited her. Do they even remember?

She lived alone. She outlived most of her family. This gentle soul left this earth a better place, and I doubt now six people remember her name.

That would include the ingrates who live in what's left of her house.

Who besides me remembers where her brother buried his beloved dog in that side yard?

I shouldn't wait 30 years for the next visit. This world needs more memories of good people floating around.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States


The Crow said...

I should be so fortunate as to be this fondly remembered by someone 30 years after I'm gone. A lovely, heartfelt tribute, Jim, and I'm so glad you posted it.

(BTW, my grandson calls me Nanny.)

Dragonfly said...

Beautifully written, Jim. The world also needs heartfelt remembrances such as these...