These blogs , THE WAY IT WAS , are simply my perspective of the 40s and 50s in a small town in the South.  No fiction.  Just one story after another on a very personal level…….because I lived it.

Following are more childhood stories of those years in Lavonia when the nation , especially the South ,  was deeply divided by race.  As I stated clearly in my  ” nanny story ” , I know there were unspeakable situations and incidents throughout our country, but my  very own memories  show another side.  A side that now seems strange, but at the time, was a true bond between many white and black families and individuals.

And so I move on with  Bill  Thornton , whose given name was Mildred ,  I believe.    Bill  was Mother’s go-to help when Sarah Lou gave birth to each of her 5 boys.

Bill  was young, probably only 17 or so when she first filled in and , oh, so much fun.  She laughed  about almost everything and treated me as an equal.  I always felt like a teen when she was at our house.

She let me “help” her with her chores which was different from Sarah Lou , who took pride in her work and kept me out of the way as much as she could.

I remember , in particular,   Bill  putting me on a stool in front of the sink and allowing me to help with the dish washing.  She taught me that all glass and crystal should be rinsed in cold water so that it sparkled.  My job then was to make the glass and crystal sparkle.

I don’t know what happened to Bill  .   But I do know this :   she was my friend.


Back in the 40s and early 50s, there were identical male twins,  black,  who worked for the Haley family,   Whenever a Haley needed help , the twins would be called on.  They were quite skilled and much appreciated .  They even were called on to babysit on occasion.  Such was the trust.

Mother had inherited sterling silver grapefruit spoons from her grandmother, and they were displayed on a rack in our breakfast room.

One day they were missing !

When told, Daddy said that he was afraid the twins had taken them , simply because they were in and out of our house at odd and unpredictable times.

Mother’s approach was perfect !   She very casually mentioned in front of the two that the spoons were missing, that they were special to her, and that her heart was broken.

The spoons came back , one at a time, and never went missing again,  nor anything else.   I now have those same spoons, thanks to the relationship between our family and the twins.  The incident was unfortunate, but the outcome a testament to the bond that had been in place for years.  These brothers meant no harm to our family.

Was the culture ideal ?   Absolutely not, but it was ALL we knew at the time………………. Years of seeking the right answer can perhaps show us a better way , but that is now and that was then.  We did our best.

………………………………………TO BE CONTINUED…………………………..