Category Archives: Wednesday’s Woman

Wednesday’s Woman: Beulah Thompson Stanley

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My paternal grandmother, Beulah Thompson Stanley, was born May 30, 1888 in Oxford, Calhoun County, Alabama to Alex Thompson and his wife Martha Able.  While living with her sister, Essie Thompson Wall, Beulah first met her husband, Wesley Birdwell Stanley.  He was in Huffines working in logging and came riding up on a big white horse named Eli.

Beulah and Wes were married November 13, 1908 from this marriage there were six children, two of which died young.  All of her grandchildren referred to her as Granny however Wes most often called her “Miss Hootie”.

Wesley and Buleah Thompson Stanley
Wesley Birdwell Stanley and Beulah Thompson Stanley

Granny was petite, always wore starched ironed dresses, liked her nails done, and always wore her hair short. She loved pretty jewelry and while she didn’t have, she particularly loved diamonds which she referred to as “di-monts”. She was a member of the Purity Chapter Order of the Eastern Star in Ida, Louisiana and enjoyed the social events of the order.

She was a talented musician and she and Wes could play most any instrument. They taught their children well and the group often played at family gatherings or when others came to visit.

Wes worked mainly as an over-seer for many plantations in Caddo Parish and I suppose you could explain Granny’s life as privileged. She had a maid as well as a man who came in daily to build a fire before she got up, put a pan of biscuits in the oven and milk the cow. I don’t recall her cooking too much, but she really knew how to make fried apple or apricot pies!

Wes pampered Granny all of her life, especially in her later years after she suffered a stroke. He did everything for her including adapting a chair with wheels so that she could move around in the house.

Wesley Stanley and Beulah Thompson Stanley
This photo was made when they lived on Annie Burney Means’ plantation.

When we went to visit the silverware would be in the center of the table covered by a table cloth. If you spent the night you could barely turn over for all the handmade quilts piled high on the bed. She dipped snuff and could spit into the fireplace from half way across the room. And of course she had that special snuff brush made from a black gum twig, carefully chewed until it became soft enough to be dipped into the snuff.

One of the favorite things we grandchildren loved most about being at Granny’s was playing with a big brass bowl someone had brought her from Mexico. It was large enough for one child to sit in it with legs crossed. Your brother, sister or cousin would wind you up and spin it around. I suppose maybe the Stanley grandkids invented the Sit and Spin we know today.

Recently while visiting with cousin Neva Stanley Thomas, she gave me a most prized possession of Granny’s….. a collection of shoes from Petty Pottery in Ida, Louisiana. I am told that at one time Granny owned almost every piece of pottery that Petty made.

shoes 1
Petty Pottery Shoes made in the 1930s

Also, a special thanks to Neva for giving me the doily crocheted by her mother, Oneta Tolleson Stanley, for the Petty Pottery shoes to sit on.

Beulah and Wes were married sixty years before her death in 1968. Both she and Wes are buried at Munnerlyn Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: ANNA PEARL MARTIN DODD DODD

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Anna Pearl Martin, the second daughter of Walter Houston and Emma Pearl Bain Martin, was born September 10, 1910 in Ida, Louisiana.  Anna was named for her grandmother Anna Lyle Mangham Martin and her mother.  She was blonde with brown eyes and attended school in Ida.

 

Anna Martin Dodd

On March 10, 1928 Anna married Clell Dodd in Miller County, Arkansas and that same year their daughter Margaret Janice Dodd was born. The 1930 census for Madison Parish, Louisiana dated April 16, 1930 states that she was seventeen years of age when she married. According to a newspaper article from the Madison Journal dated July 4, 1930, Clell was killed by a freight train. The story states that he had been employed by Sondheimer Lumber Company however the saw mill had recently shut down. It is believed he was trying to board an Illinois Central train bound for Monroe, Louisiana where he was to look for a job. According to by-standers at the depot, he slipped and fell beneath the train and was badly mangled. Apparently the train crew did not realize the accident had happened as the train never stopped.

Anna Martin Dodd and daughter Margaret Dood Gray
Anna Pearl Martin Dodd Dodd and Margaret Dodd Gray

On March23, 1936 Anna married Clisto Dodd, a cousin to her first husband. Of this marriage she had a son, Bobby Ray Dodd. Bobby and Margaret were cousins and half brother and sister.
By the 1940 Census for Caddo Parish she is once again back in Ida, divorced and with two children to rear and educate. In need of an income, she worked for her grandfather, Benjamin Noel Bain after her grandmother, Margaret Price Bain died. She was his housekeeper and cook.

During the 1940s she moved to Doyline, Louisiana and became one of America’s Rosie the Riveters at the Army Ammunition Plant.

Daughter Margaret married very young and by the time Anna was 32, she was a grandmother. Margaret and her husband, Harry Gray and children, Harry Lynn, Janet and Clella Anna moved to California. Anna did not get to see them often however she did ride the bus to Vacaville a few times to visit.

In 1946 she is listed in the Shreveport City Directory as living at 1516 Jordan Street and was employed by Shreveport Garment Manufactures. Sometime thereafter she moved back to Ida where she worked as a cook in the local café. Bobby attended school there and was constantly into mischief however he and some other boys from Ida formed a band and thus began his love for music. Bobby served in both the Army and Air Force and later was a studio recording musician in Nashville, Tennessee.

1957 found “Aunt Nan” (as my siblings and I called her) back in Shreveport working at St. Vincent Convent where she cooked. The nuns loved her and were very kind and supportive.

Aunt Nan made it on her own through all the hardships life had dealt her. She never complained nor said an unkind word against anyone. For years she either rode the city bus or walked to work. She never owned a car until she was about sixty-five years old when she bought a little black Ford. Bobby taught her how to drive and she was off and running!

Anna Pearl Martin Dodd

This photo was made at the 1984 Martin Reunion held on Caddo Lake when we honored her as the oldest surviving child of Walter and Pearl with our version of This Is Your Life! She was humbled and embarrassed but enjoyed each person recanting their memories of her and what she had meant to them through the years.

She had the best hugs and always had time for all her nieces and nephews. She was a wonderful cook and in the kitchen something delicious was always ready for whoever might drop in. She had a large collection of frogs of all kinds; in what-not shelves, on the porch and other places around the house. She had a warming smile, a big heart and loved her family dearly.

With aging came failing health and Bobby moved her to his home in Conroe, Texas where she lived with him, his wife Jean and their children Michael, Tammy and Matthew. Anna passed away on July 20, 1992. She is buried at Bethsaida Baptist Church Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Anna Martin Dodd

WEDNESDAY’S WOMAN: MAMIE LOUISE MARTIN STANLEY

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My mother, Mamie Louise Martin, was born October 21, 1914 in Ida, Louisiana to
Walter Houston and Emma Pearl Bain Martin.

Mamie Martin Stanley

Mamie Louise Martin

She lived in Ida all of her childhood years; attended school there; played basketball on the school team; and along with other siblings, hoed cotton during the depression.

At the age of nineteen she and Clyde Henry Stanley married and remained so for forty-seven years until he passed away.  Of this union there were six children, namely Jimmy Clyde (also known as Coot), Thomas Neil (better known as Winkie), Charles Edwin (referred to as Ed), me (and you know I go by Kookie), Judy Faye (JuJu) and lastly Linda Kaye (who we affectionately call Kitty).  We all knew her as loving and kind but also a strict disciplinarian.  Let one of us act up and we promptly felt a keen peach tree switch across our behinds.  She lived by “spare the rod and spoil the child” so it is safe to say none of us were spoiled!

Mother was a fun loving, quick to laugh person.  She was a great cook and at one time owned the Belcher Café in Belcher, Louisiana.  She loved her family, to fish, and to play games.  Rook was one of her favorites and she took it seriously!  This photo has Jim Stanley, Mamie Martin Stanley, Johnny Hemperley and Steve Hemperley playing Rook with Sybol Hemperley watching.

 

Rook party (2)

On her 75th birthday all six of her children and many of her grandchildren and a great grandchild spent the entire weekend celebrating at Kitty’s house in Lafayette, Louisiana. One of the highlights was playing Pictionary with her. She also liked playing Trivial Pursuit with her grandchildren and often would surprise them with her knowledge of events.

Mamie's 75th Birthday Party

Today, I don’t want to tell you about what records I have located on Mom, but rather another side of that we, the children, knew and loved. You see, Mother had a different way of expressing herself while getting her point across. She could tell you how the cow at the cabbage or to kiss my grits and you would like it. I’m not sure what language it was but I’m sure it was not the Queen’s English. It wasn’t Redneck or Southern style filled with “dawlins’, sugar, or sweetie pies.

At one time, I thought she had made it up but came to the realization that it was the jargon she grew up with and most probably had been handed down from one generation to another and so I dub it Martin-ese. An example would be if any one of us children was wasting time she might tell us we were burning daylight by lolligagin’ around and that we better get it done before quick got ready.

The weather could be hotter than a fox in a forest fire or a depot stove, or colder than a well diggers’ grave. When it rained she would say it was coming down like a cow peeing on a flat rock. And if the roads were icy, they were slicker than goose hockey or snot!

If someone was putting on airs or living beyond their means she would say they were living high on the hog, or that you couldn’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. To her, some were just plain highfalutin’ or howling at the moon. Many looked like they had been rode hard and put up wet. Sometimes she would say a person was older than dirt, crazier than a road lizard or Betsy bug, not worth a hill of beans or they might be a whippersnapper.
When times were hard her remarks would be that something needed was scarcer than hen’s teeth, harder than pulling teeth, higher than a cat’s back or that she felt like a pup sucking hind tit. And of course in a household of two adults and six kids, she never had room to cuss a cat.

She always taught us that anything worth doing was worth doing right or not at all. How many times have I heard can’t never could or that can’t killed himself chasing couldn’t?

That old adage about if Momma ain’t happy nobody’s happy applied in our household because if she got her bowels in an uproar, you had better hide and watch! Of course there were many times she had reason to be unhappy because one of us kids was always having a hissy or conniption fit. We never really knew if one was worse than the other but we always knew the cure was a peach tree switch!

As to her health some days she felt bright eyed and bushy tailed, hush mouthed, nervous as a cat in a room full of rockers or had just run out of gas because she was all stove up. Some nights she would have the big eye and not sleep much. Most days she was happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

Visitors were always as welcome as the flowers in May and it didn’t make no never mind who dropped in, you were always invited to sit a spell and have supper (you know, the meal that’s served at night). One of her favorite sayings was whatever melts your butter, meaning whatever makes you happy.

Mamie  Martin Stanley 1980

It will be twenty years this October since Mamie Louise Martin Stanley passed away. There is only my brother, two sisters and I left of the six children. Sometimes when talking, one of us will unconsciously use one of her phrases. Realizing what just happened laughter breaks out. She would be proud that we have managed to keep Martin-ese alive. She would be happy to know that we were melting butter.

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