Monday, December 31, 2012

The Help

For a Christmas grab bag I bought The Help along with popcorn stuff- my poor brother in law, Mat, chose the gift and we found out he really didn't like the movie. Matt of course asked him what the best line was- my brother-in-law just shrugged his shoulders. Matt was so enthused when he said "Eat my s$#!". I felt sorry that he was stuck with a movie he didn't like and I love the movie so I swapped him gifts. (Matt is my husband and Mat is my brother in law. Mat is married to Sara- to funny, right?)

As a family we sat down and watched the movie, again. If you haven't seen the movie I'd recommend it. So the movie is based in the 60's but as I was watching it I started thinking about my grandmother- while she grew up in the 1940's and 50's she had a black woman take care of her. (( I'm saying black woman because she was black, she wasn't African American-she wasn't from Africa. If this is wrong please correct me but I do not mean it in any negative way at all- it was the color of her skin)) My mind was racing to think of her name. My grandmother would light up when she was talking about the wonderful lady that cared for her!

I sent messages out to my mom, aunt and uncle asking if they remembered her name. I was pretty sure her name was Minnie but I didn't want to throw that out there- you know once someone mentions a name that's all you can think of, at least that's my problem. My aunt responded that she had a book of stories that my grandmother had written down!! What?!?!? How sweet is that!?

Last night we had our family Christmas party because it was postponed due to last week's blizzard. Anyways, my aunt brought this little book and I couldn't put it down!

I read the story of Minnie. Because everything had to be ironed my great grandmother hired help, Minnie. Minnie was born into a slave family in Alabama on a cotton farm. She would tell stories of helping her mom in the fields and stomping on and killing the insects that would destroy the cotton plants, with her bare feet at a very young age. Minnie got married and had a baby, her baby died shortly after birth. Minnie decided she wanted to move to Iowa- she thought moving North would mean a better life. Her husband didn't want to move, so she traveled by herself.

My grandma said Minnie would take care of her, as well as iron. My grandmother wrote about going to Minnie's home- which was in a segregated part of Des Moines. She said it was then that she realized that Minnie spoke differently around her friends than she did while working. They went to a tent revival with shouting, praising and a few people fainting. Grandma Sue seemed to adore Minnie. My grandmother said she kept in contact with Minnie until her 3rd child was born.

Reading more of my grandmother's stories reminded me of how different the world was 70 years ago! My grandmother spoke of a wonderful party she was invited to- she wore a beautiful silver gown, a coin purse with money for a cab, and "a pound of her mother's make up". She rode in the cab all be herself- at the age of 8! It's crazy how things change in such a short time.

 I'm glad we don't have slavery around, at least in the U.S., at least of the type of slavery we had back then. Now I pray for those in slavery around the world. Those in bondage everywhere. The sexual slavery going on today breaks my heart.

Well, there you go. I wanted this written down for future reference. I need to keep track of these wonderful history lessons. I wish I had grandparents around to ask more about their lives. Life was so different!

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