Sunday, June 6, 2010
Here's me and my mom, with Vampie on Bolivar Peninsula sometime in 1960. Granny the Ho had a beach house on Bolivar. It blew away during Hurricane Carla in 1961. The pink bathtub didn't blow away, though, which is how they found her lot once the storm had passed and folks were allowed to check out the damage. She got another house after that, where she lived for a while with her fourth husband whose name could have been Bill. They weren't married very long, and I was little anyway. When I was six, she married another man named Bill who lived in a big, pink house in Galveston. He grew peyote cactus in his garden. They used to set up colored lights on the beach in the hopes of attracting flying saucers. He hated the Catholic church and kept a map of Galveston on the wall of his office where he had marked all the property owned by the Catholics.
Granny was only married to him for six weeks. From what I gathered, he could get violent when his temper flared, so she left him in a hurry. He was her fifth husband, so she knew better than to stick around for that bullshit. At the time, we lived in Galveston too, so she moved in with us for a little while. Then she went out to visit my uncle and his family in Laguna Beach, California. She called my mom after a couple of weeks and said to put all her stuff on the bus because she wasn't coming back to Texas. That was in 1966. I still have the love beads one of her hippie friends made for her.
She died two years ago on my birthday. It's one of my favorite stories because the last thing she ever ate was a piece of my chocolate birthday cake. She was in Houston with my folks, and I was up here in New York - but distance never prevented anyone in my family from birthday cake. This year I had strawberry-rhubarb crisp at Cafe Luxembourg with Gigi.
This photo was taken about the time I must have been bounced on Lyndon's knee when he was sucking up to my great uncle in Beaumont to get votes for some election or another.
I've been wondering what would happen if somebody told all those teabaggers that only people whose families owned slaves would be able to vote in America. It seems to me that if you're going to get all bent out of shape about immigrants and preserving the American way of life as God intended it to be in the Constitution, then we should go back to those rules wherein nobody except white male property owners got a vote. That would shut up Sarah Palin right away since, as a woman, she wouldn't have a vote. Neither would I, of course, but at least there's a black side to my family which means I have more inherent status under Tea Party Rules since my family has been in this country longer.
Years and years ago, at my great-grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party up in NoFuckingWhere, East Texas, I met my great-half aunt, Pep. She and my great-grandfather were siblings via my great-great grandfather. Frankly, I'm not sure that Pep's mother would have been a slave because the timing isn't exactly right - but everyone knows how the state of Texas waited some time to tell the slaves they had been freed. Juneteenth marks the day that the slaves finally learned about the Emancipation Proclamation - June 19th, 1865. Since my great-grandfather was about 70 on his 50th anniversary in 1966 or so, he would have been born in 1894 or there abouts - a full thirty years after slavery was ended, and Pep was about the same age. Maybe she was his Aunt, but I could have sworn she was his sister. Either way, she was Colored, as was everyone on her side of the family.
The Colored side of the family had plenty of land because Big Daddy split the land equally between his white kids and his black kids. These days most of the land in NoFuckingWhere, East Texas belongs to the black side of the family, although the white side retained the mineral rights. It's kind of embarrassing that my great-great grandfather really was called Big Daddy, but it's a fact of life. Somebody probably wrote it in a dang Bible somewhere, and it just goes to prove what my former psychiatrist always said - I don't have to watch Tennessee Williams because I lived Tennessee Williams.
If folks are going to get fired up about immigration, then they better have a black side to their family. Otherwise, they can't be real Americans either. Well, maybe they can be Americans, but they can't be teabaggers.
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