My dad is a wonderful storyteller because you never know when he is kidding. As a young man, he had a heat stroke which paralyzed the lower left side of his face. He has always worn a mustache so that you can’t tell that his whole mouth isn’t moving when he talks. He also received shrapnel to the upper left side of his face during Vietnam so his left eye was left in a permanent squint. All this makes my dad look very serious all the time. You just never know if he is kidding or not.
This is the story he told when I asked about his mother’s family – the WRIGHTs
We all worked in the cotton fields of my mama’s aunt. She was a mean old woman that we all called Aunt Joe. I know that wasn’t her real name but I can’t remember what it was. Anyway, we worked picking her cotton and she would pay my mama and us kids for working. She also had a store that sold planks and other candies and damned if she didn’t make us pay for the stuff too. Then she had a big pear tree and wouldn’t let us have any of the pears off the tree.
Well, I was a bad kid and didn’t do half the stuff I was told to do and didn’t care that I was going to get a beating. So one night, I’m out doing what I want to do and I hear my daddy talking to my mama about Aunt Joe’s land. My daddy said that it wasn’t right that we were working land that my mama had as much a right to as Aunt Joe. That was all I needed.
The next day after picking cotton for a while, I went to Aunt Joe’s store and took a candy plank and walked out of the store. Aunt Joe was screaming and coming after me. I wheeled around and said “I can take what I want. That’s my mama’s land too!” Aunt Joe stopped and walked back to the store. There were plenty people standing around the store. Church folks.
That evening Aunt Joe came to our house and told my mama and my daddy what I did. Daddy gave her money for the candy and walked away. Aunt Joe started yelling at him and Daddy said, “I paid you for your candy.” That was all he said. After Aunt Joe left, my mama beat the Hell out of me. That was the only beating I think she ever gave out. Like I said I was a bad kid.
Mattie Wright was my grandmother. Her parents were James “Mann” Wright and Sallie Seals. James Wright’s mother was Annus McBride. Annus McBride married John Wright after 1880 (after James’ birth). Even though, James Wright’s death certificate lists John Wright as his father, I can’t verify it. Maybe that’s the reason Aunt Joe felt that the Wright’s land was hers alone.