Inez Walsh in 1978 in Mississippi.
My memories of my Aunt Ned are my favorite memories as a child. She was a wonderful woman. She would have given me the world if I would have asked. She was the most kind-hearted and understanding person I have ever known. She used to live in Walthall County, Mississippi. She had a big house on a farm. She lived there since before I was born and until awhile after my Grandmother passed away.
Every time we would go to Uncle Kermit's diner she would buy me a coke out of one of the old coke machines (the one with the glass bottles). Which I remember enjoying very much.
At the house on the farm their were maypops growing on the fence and we'd go out and pick them. We'd bring them inside and put them on the kitchen table and stick toothpicks in them.Then they were no longer maypops, they were now farm animals.
Two of my favorite memories out in the country are the time we caught my pet bird. It was during the summer and this bird was just hopping along the drive way cause he was too young to fly. So we caught him and put him in a cage. I would feed him dog food soaked in milk, which he loved. When we had him for awhile and when he was old enough to fly Aunt Ned said it was time to set him free, I didn't want to but, did what she told me. I still think about that bird sometimes. She said that even after we let him go, he would come to the patio and want to be fed. I always like to think it was because he missed us and he wasn't just there for the free meal.
She would take us to Topisaw Creek to go swimming. We always had a good time there. She would bring watermelon to munch on and I would swim in the creek and collect tadpoles and clay from the bank of the creek. When we would get home I would make "beautiful" sculptures out of the clay and watch my tadpoles swim around in the cup I had them in. I don't remember if any of them turned into frogs or not.
Brenda and I would play "The Dukes of Hazzard" in the empty pond by the house all the time, I guess that was fun to us.
Most of my memories come from when she lived in Summit, Mississippi, when I was a couple of years older. On weekends, we would go to all the garage sales that were listed in the paper. We would find all kinds of treasures.
One time my Aunt Ned gave me a pet cow. We were going to see Uncle Dewey and we were passing his pasture where the cows were grazing, she said I could have any cow out there for a pet, as long as I chose a girl cow, because the males got eaten. So I did pick out my cow and named her "Buttercup". I'm the only one I ever knew to have a pet cow.
One night we were coming home from a poker game at Ray and Fay's house. It was real late at night and extremely dark. I was laying on the front seat because I was tired. All of a sudden Aunt Ned slammed on the brakes and when I looked at her she had a shocked look on her face. She said "I think we hit a dog". We both felt really bad, but there was nothing we could do.
The tea parties were the best, she let us use the real china and drink real tea. It was mandarin orange flavor. The tea cup were really small, so they were the perfect size for me. She taught me "how to drink like a lady"; she would say "ladies stick out their little finger when they drink". I still do that.
She would make turkey and ziti in the middle of the summer, just because it was my two favorite meals. It didn't matter how hot it was, as long as I was happy, so was she.
Aunt Ned had an eight track player in her living room and she would let me play it all day long if I wanted. I would listen to the same songs over and over again. The one I remember playing the most was "They are coming to take me away, ha-ha" -- she probably wished that they would.
One time me, Chantel, and Angie went to the five and dime store. I saw this stuff for your hair and the girl on the box had a zillion curls from using this product. I was in awe. So I bought it and brought it home to show my aunt. She then had to explain to me what Jeri-Curl was and that it wasn't for me and my blonde hair.
When ever I would have a bad dream, Aunt Ned would let me sleep with her. In the morning she would say I beat her up again in my sleep by kicking her. She must have really loved me cause no matter how many time I did that she still let me sleep with her.
On one occasion I was supposed to go live with her for a school year. I was really going to go but then my parents bribed me with a kitten. Needless to say, I took the bribe and didn't go live with her. I always felt guilty for choosing a kitten over her.
The first time I shaved my legs, I went to visit her. I was sitting on the bar stool in the kitchen and she had touched my leg. She Said "Rebecca, you started shaving your legs", I was like "yes". Then she said "now you'll have to shave them for the rest of your life". She was right.
When Aunt Ned and I were in New York, we went upstate to go stay at a camp in the woods, we had a nice time but, I mainly remember the ride home, I had some nasty stomach virus, I thought I'd never get better, it was pretty bad. Another time we went to Vermont and Pennsylvania, I went horseback riding for the first time and Aunt Isabel took me for a canoe ride which was really cool.
The one thing Aunt Ned refused to believe was that I was ever bad. My parents would argue with her, and she would say "oh no, not Becky, she's an angel." Then they would say "just tell her no, just once and you'll see that's she's bad". She never did tell me no, so I guess I was always a sweet angel in her eyes.
I remember I used to think she was a nurse in World War II, and one day I was talking to her about it and she said she never did that. I said that I had told somebody that she was and she said that was perfectly alright if I wanted to tell everybody that.
I'll never forget that phone call, I know my Mom was probably there but, I only remember me and my Dad. The phone rang and when Dad got off of it, he told me Aunt Ned had cancer and they gave her six months to live. I was in shock to say the least, this could not be happening, God wouldn't do this, I loved her so much, she was my best friend, and she was dying. My Father grabbed me and just held me. That's the only time I remember seeing him cry.
She lived for a few more years. During this time, I pulled away from her, I don't know why, maybe to protect myself from being hurt. The last time I talked to her, I was home visiting my parents in Kenner. She asked me to write her a letter, but she couldn't write me back. She was too weak to write anymore. I told her that I would. We said our "I love yous" and "goodbyes". I went back to North Carolina to stay with my boyfriend, which was the only thing I had ever done that I can remember Aunt Ned not approving of. Every time I would go to write her that letter, I could not get passed "hello", I couldn't think of anything to tell her, because she didn't approve of how I was living and I didn't want to upset her by telling her about it. I never did send her a letter. That's all she wanted was a letter and I didn't give it to her. I'll never forgive myself for that.
Brenda called me in North Carolina and told me Aunt Ned had passed on. I was very depressed, but I didn't cry until after I moved back home in the summer. I was in my bedroom thinking about her and wrote her that letter explaining everything to her. I'm sure she got it and understands. I think about her a lot and miss her even more. I imagine her now, sitting on her cloud watching over me, like she's my guardian angel. I never will forget my loving Aunt Ned.
Written by Rebecca Jones Doster, August 1999, at Kenner, Louisiana.