Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Help - Childhood memories

My mother didn't like this portrait of my brother and me because Mrs. Patilla fixed our hair in such an old fashioned way.

My sister-in-law and I went to see the movie The Help the other day. I loved it. I haven't read the book yet but Mary said it was great. We go to the movies together sometimes and occasionally we take my granddaughter, Jill, too, on a girls' outing to the mall. Seeing the movie brought back some of my earliest memories.

My mother was a working mom way back in the 50's. We had an older lady who came to our house to watch my brother and me. She cooked and cleaned and ironed for us as well as baby sitting. I know my mother didn't pay her very much. She was such a great help to my mom. I think it was when we lived in Russellville, Arkansas before we moved to Oklahoma when I was 7 years old.

She used to take us to her church which was across the street from our little rental house. I have a few old pictures of us when she took us to her house one time to meet her grandchildren. Her granddaughter's name was Naomi. Once she took my brother and me to a photograher appointment because my mother had to work. Mom was upset because she fixed our hair in such an old fashioned way.

I have two very clear memories of her cooking. One was a pecan pie and the other was rice pudding. She made it in the oven with a thick layer of cinnamon on top. My first experience with cinnamon. I remembering it bubbling in the oven and the aroma that filled the kitchen was amazing. I have never tasted rice pudding like that since and have never been able to duplicate the recipe. I loved you Mrs. Patilla!

Later on we had a teenage baby sitter in Oklahoma. Her name was Twila. She watched us in the summer. I don't think my mother knew that Twila's boyfriend used to come to the house sometimes. I remember bologna sandwiches or beanie weinies and Kool Aid for lunch. Twila was kind of mean. She made me watch American Bandstand every afternoon instead of cartoons. Thank you, Twila!


  1. I have a very s similar Olan Mills and your's is so cute -- old fashioned hairstyle and all.

    Get the book! I am listening to it on audio tape and it is wonderful. I don't want it to end!!!

  2. Great memories. I think the older ladies that used to help out the working young moms were awesome. The cooked from scratch and they usually taught values. Not many cook from scratch today, and we won't go to the other place. Grandma KC will have to look into the book.

  3. I loved the book but haven't seen the movie. My family didn't have "help," but some family members did, and it was much as the book portrays it. My aunt would feed the handymen who helped around the place, but they ate outside, under a tree, and they wouldn't have dreamed of presenting themselves at the front door.