Summer of ’32

Fairgoers flock to see Sara's and Mamie's quilts

“Mama had to stay in bed for awhile after she came home, and a black woman named Ruth helped out around the house. We stayed at home a lot that summer, had a lot of tea parties, and when she was able, Mama made homemade ice cream in the afternoon. We had attended Bible School at Calvary Baptist Church, and they had let us make a quilt square, a Sunbonnet Baby in my group and an Overall Boy in Mary’s, so she and I spent a lot of time using the scraps left over from our dresses to make quilt squares. Mama showed us how to put them together, and that fall we entered them in the exhibits at the State Fair. Mine won a blue ribbon. Mary was competing in an older class so she did not win a ribbon.”

A Sunbonnet Sue design from the 1930s

Somehow it just makes me sad that Mamie didn’t win a ribbon. She was the most artistic of the three oldest Evans children, the one who crafted incredibly intricate Christmas packages and decorations and hand-painted Christmas cards each year. She could sketch off any subject you asked her to draw, without blinking an eye, just to delight you. Tiny was a talented artist as well, especially in her later years, and Sara was remarkably creative in many, many ways, but it was Mamie who strived so hard for perfection. And usually achieved it.

As the Summer of 1932 drew to a close, and Fall rolled around, the sheltered, almost fairy-tale life of the Evans children was soon to change. And maybe a blue ribbon in a keepsake box would have helped just a little.

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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