Thursday, August 07, 2008

Memories of memories

Seguin Photo Blog has been posting some photos of cotton bolls, growing in the field.

I remember once when I was a kid and we were going to visit my aunt who lived in Corpus Christi, we passed some cotton fields. It was the first time I had seen cotton actually growing, so I was interested in it. But for my grandmother, it sparked other memories.

She told me how she and her family had worked as cotton-pickers when she was young. Back then they needed money, and they had to work hard for it. Her father was a carpenter by trade, but he couldn't bring in enough to support the whole family. She was the youngest of her family, but even she wasn't spared in the cotton fields. She told me all the details of picking cotton by hand as a child, and there wasn't anything good about it. She wasn't reliving pleasant memories of childhood, but memories of back-breaking, excruciatingly hard, hot labor under the south Texas sun. When she became a teenager, she said, she was able to get a job working as a maid for a "rich family in San Antone." She said she promised herself that she would never pick cotton again.

And one of her duties as maid was to have a mint julep ready for the man of the house when he came home from his job every day. That was a much more pleasant memory, and she told me how to make a mint julep.

1 comment:

  1. My mother in law picked cotten for an entire summer at 8 years old to pay for a bedroom set she wanted.

    She talked about how her hands bled and about never ever doing it again.