I have a lot of wonderful memories of Mother's Day celebrations throughout my life.
As long as my mother’s mother, Beulah Phillips
, lived, Mothers’ Day was spent with her. Butler
Beulah [“Granny” to her grandchildren] was born in 1870 and married in 1888. She went to, what back then, was called Belmont "finishing school,” in Nashville, Tn. She was an exceedingly well educated person and strong in every way. She was about four or five inches taller than me so about 5’8” or 9, I suppose.
Most often in my memory, the day was at my Aunt Hazel and Uncle Gan [
] Awtry’s home in Orlando Aunt Hazel was my mother’s older sister. Mother also had a brother, Carl Butler and his wife, Aunt Fannie Mae, who lived in Acworth so sometimes we went to their house. Acworth, Ga.
Mother and her siblings, six sisters and three living brothers, and all their families got together for almost all holidays and most birthdays. My grandfather died when I was about four as did my other grandfather, within about two weeks of each other. My Grandmother Hasty died before I was born but we’d have visited her had she been living. My mother was quite fond of her.
So the seven sisters and three sisters in law had a well practiced routine when it came to get togethers. There was no pussyfooting around when it came to what they were to bring either. One aunt was a sorry cook so she most often was told to bring something “bought” or paper products etc. When you count it up, there were twenty adults and about seventeen kids. Also, Granny had two unmarried sisters who lived in Acworth and they often joined us. It was quite a crowd and we ate at the big, round dining room table plus the very big kitchen table and the men often carried their food out to the porches – front, side, and back. Granny had the place of honor at the dining room table and the women sat with her. Sometimes, my aunt’s cook, Oradee, was there and she mostly stayed in the kitchen, riding herd on all the kids. Oradee was lots stricter than the aunts and we had to mind our manners when she was supervising and wielding her long handled wooden spoon.
So as long as Granny lived, Mothers’ Day was mainly about her. After the midday meal, the table would be cleared and all her presents would be piled in front of her and it was fun to watch her open them.
Granny and her children and grandchildren around 1921.
Me and Dee, about 1962.
Mother’s Day at our house was a far less grand occasion. We gave my mother whatever little presents she received at breakfast before packing up the car and driving to Acworth.
I have several fun memories of Mother’s Days with my own children.
One Mothers Day I especially remember was when my Bruce and Dee, small at the time, decided to make me breakfast in bed. They got up early, slipped downstairs, and made my meal. I seem to remember scrambled eggs and toast and awful, pale beige, cold coffee. They were about four and six years old and I don’t know how they carried the food up the stairs. Then they watched every single bite I put into my mouth so I couldn’t fudge. The problem was that the eggs were full of shells and I finally just swallowed the entire bites without chewing. By then, my teeth were full of shell anyway!
A few years after that, when my parents arrived on Friday before Mothers’ Day, Tony met them at their car and suggested they just bring their night clothes and toothbrushes inside as he had a surprise for Mother and me. He had made reservations at a beach new to us over in
. It was a place called South Carolina Hilton Head Island and our reservation was at a rather new, raw looking motel on the beach. We traveled to the island over a rickety, wood, draw bridge .We had Saturday night dinner at the rather prissy dining room in our motel, the Adventurer. Tony lived in suits and ties all week but hadn’t thought to bring a suit to the beach. So he had to borrow a suit coat from my dad who was 4 or 5 inches taller and lots bigger. It didn’t bother Tony at all and he and Daddy joked about that.
beaches truly are the widest, prettiest, I’ve ever seen. We used to go to South Carolina every summer with Tony’s brothers and their families. We rented a house there way before Kiawah became so upscale and fancy. Good memories! Kiawah Island
Another year, a day or so before Mothers’ Day, Tony came home and said he hadn’t yet bought my present. He proposed a trip to beautiful
Highlands, and wondered what I’d think of that? Of course, I was delighted. Like all Hastys, I love to “hit the road”. “Well,” he said, ”See if you can get reservations somewhere……… and oh, by the way, one of my Brigham cousins who is /was there, died . So be sure to take church type clothes for everyone!” Oh, OK, a funeral for Mothers’ Day, how original! Actually, we laughed about that one, years later. I’d never even met the lady and her family who had a beautiful, summer home in the mountains. North Carolina
The first Mothers’ Day, after I married, we went to
to be with my mother. I’d gone to Rich’s and bought nightgowns for both our mothers’ presents. I’d never seen my mother in law in her night gown but I was fairly certain that she wouldn’t be caught dead in a filmy, sexy gown! On Sunday evening, we drove from Atlanta to her house, in Atlanta Hephzibah, Ga. To say she was startled to receive her gown is an understatement. “Why,” she said, “No one has ever bought anything personal for me like this before.” She had all sons so I guess they bought things like cooking pots etc. Two years later, on the Thursday before Mothers’ Day, she died holding my hand. I am so very grateful for the time I did have with her.
My own mother taught me that any excuse for a small, family celebration is very welcome. We celebrated every holiday; made Valentines, colored Easter Eggs, made pinecone turkeys, cakes for everything. Why, one Halloween, Mother and a neighbor friend, Mrs. Cook, went Trick or Treating with our three and the Cooks’ four kids. The moms dressed like tramps in men’s clothes and did all kinds of nutty things. One thing they did was drag a fat, heavy rope across the sidewalk, in front of walkers, then yell, snake. Of course, we were hiding in the bushes laughing like everything! I could not have been over six years old but remember it vividly.
I have often thought Dee got her acting ability from my mother. She was a character.
I firmly believe that building happy memories and experiences is valuable for the good growth of children. All the electronic devices cannot take the place of a family sharing gentle, good times together. I tried to do this with my children, growing up and now
Dee continues the tradition.