“I went back to Jackson that summer of 1937 and again had some of the most fun of my life. The Taylors were such a fun family and did everything to make you have a good time. In the fall Mary went to Delta State Teachers College in Cleveland and Tiny stayed at home and worked at Chassaniol Cotton Office.
“I began my junior year of high school in September, 1937 and became inseparable with two friends, Marion (Mack) Standifer and Lucille McAlexander. We double dated a lot and I spent the night with them real often. Mama said we could not have anyone to spend the night at our house because she was afraid we would disturb Uncle Roy and Big, who went to bed very early.
“They both had cars and we rode around a lot. Mack’s mother was a widow and had a very old car which sat in the garage most of the time since they could not afford to buy gas for it. She was renting rooms and trying to make ends meet but also trying to do everything she could to make us have a good time. We would pool our nickels and dimes to buy fifty cents worth of gas and ride until it gave out. Lucille’s folks had a nice car, and she always managed to have gas so with the two of them we could usually ride. I did not know how to drive, and of course we did not have a car, so I had to depend on them for a ride.”
There’s just a hint of the Depression left here in Sara’s writings, an offhand reference to taking in roomers and scrabbling together nickels for gas money. These three girls look like they had weathered one of America’s most disruptive periods, the beginning of which had found them barely school aged, with a great deal of optimism and a sense of unlimited futures. If you lived in your aunt and uncle’s house and couldn’t have company over, that’s fine. If your widowed mother has a car but keeps it parked for lack of gas money, that’s just a challenge to be met. You’re seventeen and the world is your oyster, even if you’ve never seen an oyster in Greenwood, Mississippi. Just wait.