Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sleeping in Aunt Earnestine's Bed, Part One

One memory of my childhood that I now find hovering over me, just above my consciousness is that of sleeping in my Aunt Earnestine's bed. My aunt Earnestine had one of those tall, high backed, old-fashioned beds, the type that if you successfully climbed up into it on your first try you really needed a medal or something. There were two windows surrounding the bed, one directly behind it, where her climbing rose could be seen growing through the pane right behind the bedboard. The other was in the bottom right hand corner of the bed, letting out onto the front porch. The television sat on a separate stand at the foot of the bed. Mounds of Ebonys and Jets sat on the bottom shelf of the stand. A bookcase sat at the direct right of the bed, a buffer between the bed and the wall. There was always something that I might pluck from the shelf to hold my interest while lying in bed--the entire complete series of those children's bible stories that you always find in doctors' offices; anthologies from the Reader's Digest-always interesting reading material; and other books of varied degrees of interest. On the nightstand situated at the left side of the bed, she always kept various copies of The Daily Word, her glasses, and various other items.

In the top drawers of the chest of drawers across from her bed, one could always find sweet, crunchy peanut butter candy or whole sticks of peppermint, or lemondrops. Those drawers also contained thousands of letters, perhaps merely hundreds, but mounds of them--correspondence that she had kept with her relatives, friends, and other people going back for years. Aunt Earnestine was a renowned letter writer Among her most treasured correspondences, I believe was that she kept with our Cousin Cottye, which went on or over forty years. Also in those drawers, along with those letters, were an autographed picture of a 1950s popular do-wop group and hundreds of notebooks, papers, obituaries, photographs of various relatives, and other documents which altogether I'm sure transcribed her years as a teacher and a principal, her two master's degrees, doctoral work, years as a church steward, sunday school teacher, baker of communion bread and steadfast relative and friend. Her papers not only resided in her chest of drawers. They also claimed their own space in stacks against the back wall against one chiffarobe and again against another chiffarobe in the lower right hand corner of the room. Without fail, as one spent the night in Aunt Earnestine's bed, one could retrieve from the stack of papers that stood against the rear wall, either at her invitation, without her knowledge, or to be shared with her, oreo cookies in the blue paper package, in various states of either smoothness or crumble. Sometimes the package, you could rest very assured, had been in that corner for one or more years, however, you obligingly ate the cookies-not only because they were offered and they were good, but because it wasn't so much the age of the cookies as the sentiment behind them that was enjoyed.

To spend the night in Aunt Earnestine's bed, one was either comforted by the warmth of the mounds of quilts that she kept on the bed, winter, spring, summer or fall, or one constantly tried to fight one's way to the top of the bed to have at least your nose sticking out from under the covers so that you might breathe and not suffocate under the mounds and heaps of bedcovers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jennifer Hudson's Christmas Special

Oh my, how I relished and enjoyed Jhud's Christmas special this evening! Talking about nostalgia in high gear! When she went to Evergreen Plaza, I yelped! When I was little, Evergreen Plaza was the place to go! At Christmas, when everything was lit up-there wasn't a better sight anywhere. Oh Chicago, fair city! Kudos to Jennifer for taking it home!