Today is my buddy Katherine Carter’s 100th birthday. And I’m headed over to her house for a celebration, small one, this afternoon. Taking flowers and a 1/2 gallon of vanilla strawberry ice cream, her favorite. She still lives alone. God, I love this woman and her strength and sense of humor. She is still so clearheaded and her memory is better than mine.
Just three days ago she was talking about Pres Hoover and some not very PC things he did. Her husband had been a longshoreman and was paid to burn piles of food in an abandoned field or lot near Baltimore under Hoover’s directive, even though it was the early Depression and so many were going hungry. She talked about some other business leaders – orange orchard owners in the 30’s who dug up trenches and buried all the surplus oranges instead of letting the pickers take the oranges home to eat. Some of her siblings went to Florida from South Caroline (where they grew up) to work in the orange plantations. I could go on and on… (I blame the “Capitalistic” mindset for those actions, not so much the individuals. But what do I know?)
She also told me last week about how she and her brother would go and pick buckets of wild berries from the edges of fields in NC, and they would be paid $.50/bucket (a bucket!) for the berries. And how when her mother died, when Katherine was really young and all the younger ones of the 12 kids or so were farmed out to other family members, her stepfather sold the farm and never gave a penny to any of her or siblings… She has such a memory. She’s African-American and I will never forget the joy on her face when Obama was elected. Still today… she’s ecstatic that Obama is president. But she shakes her head at the news these days and states: “Everyone’s goin’ crazy out there…”
(The photo above is one that I had to sneak. I used to take her to the doctor’s and had just bought a new digital camera and was playing with while waiting for her in the waiting area. I got this one shot but she would not let me take any others.)