Friday, September 3, 2010

Aunt Zadie and Uncle Joe

Zadie Alice Sloan was my great-grandmother's sister.  Zadie and Dee lived within "hollering" distance of each other in Peaceful Valley in southern Itawamba County.   Dee's husband, William Hugh Pennington, was a quiet man and very even-tempered while Zadie's husband, Joseph Griffin Blake, was a gregarious, outgoing person.   Dee and Hugh's daughter, my great-aunt Tootsie, remembers as a child that she would accompany her Uncle Joe to "town" (Amory) on his logging truck.   If there was no room in the cab, she said she would crawl on the back of the truck and ride on the logs, holding onto the chain, and barefooted at that!   Sometimes he would give her a few cents to buy some candy, but most of the time she was just along to see the goings-on in town.   Tootsie said she loved her Uncle Joe.

When Aunt Zadie needed to talk to her sister, Dee, she would holler out from her side of the valley.   Dee could tell by the way that Zadie hollered whether or not there was an emergency or just a friendly call to talk.  Sometimes Zadie would holler, and Dee would tell  her daughter, Tootsie, come on, let's go, Aunt Zadie has something she needs to tell us.   Dee would start walking, and Zadie would start walking, and they would meet somewhere around their brother Luther's house.

Above are colorized portraits of Zadie and Joe Blake.   They were married in 1901 and had six children:  Hudson, who represented Itawamba County for one term in the state legislature; Ada May, who was married to Keith Cathcart; Jodie, who worked as a cook on a riverboat in Missouri;  Davannah, who was better known as Tibby and was married to Cecil Hood; and brothers Herman and Hershel, both of whom lived practically next door to each other in Peaceful Valley.   Herman and Hershel were regular visitors in Fessie and Beck Pennington's living room, just down the road, for many years.  It was some time before I realized that they were my grandfather Fessie's first cousins!

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