“In the spring of 1927 there was a terrible flood on the Mississippi River at Greenville, and thousands of people had to flee their homes. Much of the Delta was under water. They put up large tents down the street from us toward the Buckeye and moved the refugees into them. They would walk past our house every day going to town, and we seized the opportunity to set up a lemonade stand. I don’t recall how good business was, but I don’t imagine folks who had had to leave their homes under water were willing to spend even a nickel on lemonade.
“We did not see much of Daddy’s relatives as we did Mama’s because they did not live in Greenwood, and traveling in the 1920s was not easy. His sister, Aunt Bonnie, lived in Sledge…..we made one trip up there in the car, and it took all day going and coming though it probably wasn’t more than 75 miles from Greenwood.
The old cars didn’t have windows, and you had big sheets of celluloid, something like plastic, which you snapped on the sides to try to shut out the wind and the dust. The roads were dirt and gravel, and the dust was horrible. You would be filthy when you arrived at your destination. You could count on at least one and probably more than one flat tire on any trip, and Daddy would have to get out and fix it. There were very few service stations (we called them filling station since that was where you filled up with gas). We would find a country store somewhere along the way and stop for a soda pop, usually a strawberry or orange crush.
” “I was impressed on that visit to the little village of Sledge that no one had indoor plumbing and we had to go outside to the privy to use the bathroom. Since traveling was so hard we had few vacations and those we had stand out in my memories. I wrote about our trip to the Gulf Coast and to Memphis for at least six years in school when we were told to write a story about our summer vacation.”
Isn’t it odd how one side of your family (usually the maternal side, at least in our family) comes to dominate your memories and remain in your life forever? All of our lives, we’ve heard tales of Jessie’s family: Bigma, Bama, Big and Uncle Roy, the Stott cousins, etc. Howard’s family is like a shadow, flitting along the corner of Sara’s awareness and now lost for good. Until I read this part of her memoirs, I had no clue that she had five first cousins in Sledge. Where in the world did they go? And where was the house pictured above? The Evans girls certainly look as if they had endured a harrowing road trip and Sara seems downright dyspeptic, probably because Jessie had lined them up for Syrup of Pepsin the night before and the facilities in Sledge were not up to the standards of Strong Avenue.