From Always a First Lady, Harriet Noel Jones, have a blessed July 4th celebration.
March and April were eventful times for the Jones family. Why?Read More
January is a special month for me. The blog is 3 years old and the 20th is my 60th birthday. Praise the Lord. Happy Birthday to me and kudos to Always a First Lady.
What’s all this about halftime, you are wondering? Well, I am living to 120 years old and this is the halfway point. As I celebrate 60, I am launching this series chronicling my life.
In sports, halftime is the midpoint of the game. It is an intermission, a place to pause, to rest, to regroup, to be restored, rejuvenated, and revived to finish the game. At halftime, you have a celebration, a show. You don’t want to miss halftime.
This will only skim the surface of the replay of my life. I’ll save the many details for my autobiography to come. Let’s just say this is the rough draft.
Read along as I walk down memory lane and reflect on the years 1959-1974.
When I was born, Daddy, Momma, my brothers, Jimmy and Melvin, lived in Smokey City on Baby Row. The street doesn’t exist now. In 1961, we moved to Shannon Street in North Memphis. The cost of milk was $1.01/gallon, gas was 25¢/gallon, a loaf of bread was 20¢, and a postage stamp was 4¢.
The games I played are not popular anymore, like jacks, hopscotch, jump rope, kickball, and dodge ball. As a family, we played board games like monopoly, checkers, and bingo. We played games with strings like Jacob’s ladder and a cup and a saucer. I went to day camp in Douglass Park, where we did arts and crafts, played hockey, and I was a champion at Cricket ball. Yes! Walking to Douglass Elementary and Junior High School was a neighborhood event until court-ordered busing transported me to Craigmont High School. Amidst the social climate of unrest, I survived and thrived. This surviving and thriving pattern would become a lifesaver to me.
We lived in Douglass but in a smaller community, just 3 streets, Crump. We had 2 sundry stores that we frequented, Ms. Harris and Ms. Cookie’s. And who could forget Ms. Green who sold candy and ice cream cones? Momma was a stay at home mom and licensed cosmetologist. She pressed and curled the hair relatives and those in the neighborhood in our house on the weekend. So, my hair was always done. Thank you, Momma. Daddy worked days at MLGW cutting trees and evenings cutting trees was his side job. They were entrepreneurs Y'all.
We walked to Hollywood for shopping, church and to visit Grandma, Aunt Pat, Aunt Bessie, and family. Hollywood had a movie theatre, post office, grocery store, furniture store, shoe store, department store, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, bank, and bakery. Santa even made his arrival each year for the children to visit. And check this out, Hollywood Feed Store that you see the commercials about started at the Hollywood and Chelsea area. Most everything we needed was in the neighborhood. If you needed more, we caught the bus to go downtown.
Most of our meals were eaten together. We always blessed the food at the table where we also did our mandatory minimum one hour of study time daily. Momma was no joke. To keep this evolving family moving forward, she had to be organized and tough. Everybody had household chores assigned and a certain piece of the chicken. Dusting the furniture was my job and the chicken leg was all mine.
We laid to rest, Granddaddy, Uncles William, John, and Ira. We welcomed me of course. In September 1968, we added one and said goodbye to another. Cousin Van was born on the 18th and Uncle Howard “Mane” was killed in Vietnam on the 21st. Cousins, Debra and Gregory though not legally adopted but nevertheless became a permanent part of the family. Cousin Eric lived next door but was a constant companion in our house.
Some notable history that I recall are the black Monday boycotts for civil rights, the sanitation strike, and the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I pause and smile at my intermission remembering the first 15. I am resting, regrouping, being restored, rejuvenated and revived to finish the 120-year plan God has for me. Selecting from the many, many memories that the Father has shown up in my life is preparing me for the books, lectures, and events to come. I rewind my mind, its only halftime.
Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss it.
Harriet Noel Jones
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