Friday, January 8, 2010

Little Lulu talks about Gee's Bend, and Leaving It

I'm happy to welcome Ludelphia from Gee's Bend to tell us more about how life is there. Lu is only 10, and she wears an eye patch but that's no hindrance to her! She's gone through a lot in Leaving Gee's Bend, and here she is to give us an insight into what it is to be Lu.

Hi Lu! Will you tell us more about your family and friends?

There’s Mama, whose belly is full of baby... and she’s got a mean cough that’s been keeping us all up nights. Then there’s Daddy – he’s the one that started calling me Lu. And my brother Ruben – he’s got a secret I can’t tell you. Then there’s our next door neighbour, Etta Mae. She just came back from Mobile, and she’s wearing this new yellow dress. Dear Lord, would I like to have a piece of that shiny cloth to put in my quilt!

How’s it like living in Gee’s Bend?
Ain’t no place in the world like it. For one thing, you can’t hardly find it. It’s like a little island sitting just about in the middle of the state of Alabama. Only instead of ocean water, it’s caught up on three sides by a curve in the Alabama River. Ain’t noplace in Gee’s Bend you can’t get to by setting one foot after another into that orange dirt that likes to settle right between your toes.

How much has life changed since you decided to leave Gee’s Bend to save your mummy?
I got me a pair of shoes, for one thing. A pair of high-heeled ones with little straps, just like in the picture on the cabin wall. But they cramped my little toes and rubbed raw spots on my heels. But I’m holding on to ‘em, because Mama said I might change my mind.

That Mrs Cobb sure is nasty.
Mrs. Cobb done had her some hard times. Her mind ain’t quite right. It don’t excuse what she did. But I reckon if I’d lost the things she’s lost, I might do crazy things too.

What do you usually do on a usual day?
Mama says them fields ain’t a place for me, on account of my eye patch. Ever since the accident, I only got one eye that works. So I tote the water up from the spring. And feed Delilah. Daddy says he ain’t never seen a mule disagreeable as Delilah. And during the winter months I go to school up at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

What’s your hobby?
Ain’t hardly a day passed that hasn’t found me with a needle in my hand. I mean, I love making quilts. Mama always says I was born to stitch.

Who taught you how to quilt? Do you still quilt?
It was my mama that first taught me how to stitch. Just like her mama taught her. I don’t reckon I’ll ever stop. I got too many stories to tell.

How has Dr and Mrs Nelson helped you out in the days after the Red Cross came to Gee’s Bend?
They stop by from time to time, just to check up on us. Last time Mrs. Nelson brought us some of that pound cake she makes. You ain’t never had a slice of pound cake so light and fluffy. I mean that cake will fall right to pieces in your mouth.

Cross-posted at: LiyanaLand! on 6 January 2010.


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