Just going through my luggage, clearing out some things to make way for enlightenment
Friday, April 07, 2006Great Aunts - Beulah
I can't believe that I've come to the end of the great aunts. It's appropriate that I end with Beulah as she celebrates 81st birthday this week.
Aunt Beulah Mae was born on April 10, 1925 in Mount Vernon, Georgia. Like her sisters, she had a full head of thick hair, but hers was different in that she had soft "indian" hair like her father. All the other girls had thick, coarse "nigguh" hair [I'm quoting my grandmother]. Beulah's hair never needed a straightening comb. Her scalp was greased weekly with castor oil by Cousin Annie Julia Byrd, who nicknamed her "Pretty Coo." Her sisters, however called her "Pooda Coo."
Beulah's time in Georgia ended in the ealy 1940s when Aunt Letha brought her to New Jersey. It's a good thing because my grandmother says she spent most of her time drinking and going to parties with her good friend, Earline. When my grandmother arrived in New Jersey in 1946, she says she didn't recognize Beulah. She had cut off all her hair and was wearing a short bob. My grandmother was mortified. It was just what Beulah wanted. She was cute and cosmopolitan.
She was always somewhat of a party girl and fancies herself best-dressed among her sisters. One of her most-asked questions: "You think I look good?" My canned response: "How do you think you look?" She probably does spend the most for her fashions, but they are often not coordinated very well. I have seen her rock some items that had no business appearing on the same frame.
Back in the day she could always be found with a beer and a cigarette. She could put away some brews too. She would come to the function, drink all the beer and then dance the Camelwalk to Jr. Walker's, Shotgun. "Shoot 'em 'fo he run now!" She still attempts to shake her ass a little and remains faithful to her Newports.
For most of my life Aunt Beulah lived in the projects with her three "beautiful girls." She would often refer to them as her beautiful girls. It's a good thing they were genuinely well-liked, despite their crazy mama bragging around the neighborhood. And she is just a brick or so shy of a porch step. She is the only one of the great aunts that we have been granted permission to shut down.
Her big problem: SHE'S NOSY AS HELL!
She will ask you questions that she has no business asking and will expect you to answer. Often she will ask things to which she already knows the answer. Her questions are usually met with silence, but if they are particularly probing, she may get cussed out. That means nothing as she will ask the same question again. But don't ask her anything about her or her children because she will offer nothing, yet she expects you to spill all your business. I was grown [I think most of us were] before finding out she wasn't married to her children's father. I think the children were surprised too!
What had happened was... She met a man and had children with him. He already had a wife and family, but that didn't stop him from claiming his children with her. They grew up with his last name and, for whatever reason, Beulah decided she would use it too. It didn't become a problem until she went to collect social security. This chick had worked for damn near 40 years under an assumed named. Social Security Administration looked at her like Squeek from Color Purple and said, "Who dis woman?" Her face cracked! Eventually she got it straightened out, but I remain confused. I don't know how the hell to address cards and letters. Which reminds me that it's time to buy mother's day cards.
The great aunts have been so much fun to write about. They have provided me with years of entertainment and I am so excited to be able to share memories. There is so much more to tell, but I'm saving it for my book. I need to get paid for the manner of dirt I have to spill.