Affectionately called Granny Grunt by everyone that knew her, my maternal grandmother Alice Davis was one of the best people I ever knew. Born in 1905 I remember her telling me what it was like seeing her first car, and how it had scared their mule haha. She also said when she was 13 she went to several dances with a man who was 30 cuz he had his own team of horses and a wagon. She married as a teenager and gave birth to her last and 9th child, my mother, when she was 40. I still remember everything about her…she always wore dresses, never pants unless she went fishing which was quite often. She also never wore underwear except on Sundays when she went to church. She had very long hair that she always wore in a bun hid under a hairnet. She carried a rather large purse she called a “pocketbook”…she had osteoporosis so she walked slightly hunched over and carrying her purse clasped in her hands behind her back it would constantly bounce against her butt. She’d dipped snuff almost her entire life…I remember the little brown crust that would sometimes form at the corner of her mouth.
As you can see from the second pic her & my PawPaw were country folk. She told a story of how she learned she was gonna have my mom…they were out in the woods by the house hauling logs. She bent down to pick up a log she felt the baby kick…until then she figured she was going through “the Change” so she went to my pawpaw & said “Tucker I’m gonna have a baby” to which he replied “How do you know?” she said “I felt it kick” and he said “How do you know it’s not just gas?” She said “I’ve already had 8 kids you think I don’t know the difference?” to which he said “Ok then just pick up the small logs let the kids handle the big ones”.
My mom & dad divorced when I was 3…he was pretty much an asshole that cheated the whole time they were married & mom was pregnant the whole time…they had me in 1968, my sister in 1969 and my brother in 1971. He was just a baby when they split and we went to live with my granny…pawpaw had died several years earlier & she was by herself. Her house was right off the main highway but had very few modern conveniences for the time. There was no indoor plumbing…the outhouse out back was wasp infested which meant we had to use the bucket that was kept under the bed OR go out in the field which was full of high grass. We were just warned to watch for snakes if we went there. There was a well out back where we got all our water & gas heaters in the house. To wash dishes or take a bath meant time heating up water on the stove. And the TV only got ONE CHANNEL! One of my aunts lived directly across the highway…now THEIR house had plumbing and running water. ?? My aunt had 8 kids so we had plenty of cousins to play with just had to watch for cars when crossing the highway. I remember when the army convos used to drive thru we spent hours just standing by the road waving at them as they drove by.
Granny had a small garden directly behind the house and a larger one out behind the field. One really funny story I remember her telling was one day when my mom had gone out (I think I was with her) she was in the garden out back with my brother & sister. She was bent over pulling something out of the garden when a plane came flying over the house really low and very loud. It scared my brother & sister who jumped up and both ran screaming to her. My sister got there first & dove between granny’s legs. My brother had nowhere to hide so just ran around her crying. This just tickled her and she started laughing so hard she peed on my sister (remember she wore no underwear). Of course my sister got up & said “Granny why’d you do that?” to which shie replied “Honey I’m sorry that plane just scared the piss outa me!” and continued laughing.
Mom re-married when I was 7 and we went to live with my step-dad…his house was inside the city limits of Waldron; 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms… we’d hit it big! Granny liked him but not the fact he had a mustache. She hated facial hair of any kind on men…said it looked like they were too lazy to shave. He was a salesman at a Chevy dealership and eventually bought it from the owner when he retired. He was also a single dad with 4 kids…his ex was a bad alcoholic and he had custody. He was almost 15 years older than my mom & his 2 oldest were out of the house already. The youngest 2 girls had their bedroom which meant we 3 kids shared the other room. It was a bit cramped but we liked it. My granny moved into town after the city built a low-income housing project across the street from our house when I was in high school. The lady that lived there had a bunch of land they bought from her and my granny moved to a small apartment there. It was really nice having her so close to us…we would just walk over & spend the night sometimes. She would also go with my mom & her brother sometimes shopping in Fort Smith. As my mom tells it, one time they had been shopping and were getting hungry so they stopped at the Furr’s Cafeteria inside the mall because my granny wanted some “smashed taters & gravy”…unfortunately they got there right after it closed for lunch. This was back when they’d close between 2-5 in the afternoon. My mom & uncle were talking to the guy who was sweeping up the front & as they turned to walk away granny made it to them & asked what was going on. Mom told her they were closed & granny said “What?” the employee explained what was going on & said he was sorry they had just closed & weren’t seating again til 5. Mom said granny just looked at him, frowned, turned around & walked off. He apologized again when my granny turned around looked him right in the eye & said “well I’m sorry too…cause I’m as hungry as a bitch wolf!” & walked off leaving my mom & uncle stunned until they both started laughing.
Granny passed away at the age of 83 when I was 19…she’d been very active until the last couple of days when she was hospitalized. I remember going to the viewing & everyone commented on how they did such a good job it looked just like she normally did. Only thing missing was that small crust of snuff in the corner of her mouth. Would have made it all perfect.