My father’s mother said:
Every day she needed, had to eat some fish. ‘Cause she couldn’t eat pork. Good as she loved ham and stuff, and Papa always raised a pig every year. She had a bad heart. And so she wasn’t supposed to eat no pork. And so that’s what she had, fish. Fish and beef. Fish and beef. … Well, she raised chickens. But she got to put the chicken in a coop. Even if it was running ‘round out there in a bigger pen. She put it one of them little coop places where was built up like that, and let it stay a week, cleaning it out. That’s what she said to do. I reckon you let ‘em run ‘round in the yard eating dirt, so she was gon clean ‘em out. She would get her about five or six biddies out the bunch, and she just put them in that coop, and by them being out there in the back yard fenced in that part, picking up all the gravel and everything else they want … Put ‘em in that coop, let ‘em stay a week, clean ‘em out. So, I said to Mama, “Why you got to take ‘em out the yard and put ‘em in a pen? And then feed ‘em nothing but corn in there?” She said that cleans ‘em out. At the time, when she was telling me, I didn’t know what cleaning ‘em out was. Wonder, “Why she talking ‘bout cleaning ‘em out?” I wanted to ask her again, but she would scold at you. She done called herself telling you what to do. But she didn’t tell you the whole thing. So I’d just hush. And then go and try to get it out of somebody else.
She weighed 200 pounds. She was fat. But she wore dresses longer than what they’re wearing now. Just like, that one up there, that skirt she had on, she made that. And she, it was blue silk. And then she made a ruffle, that ruffle that was ‘round that skirt, she took and sewed all ‘round it…. Her hair was shoulder-length, but she always rolled it, always turned it up and pinned it back there and had this part that come around. She didn’t never cut it real short. And it didn’t, I don’t never remember seeing it when it was real long. But she was always tucking it in and trying to make a ball back there.
She didn’t have but one child. But she raised 13. Papa’s children, and then my mama Bessie and Jack, and me and Mamie. Her own child was named Hattie Mae, too.
Sarah Daisy Henderson Jacobs Silver was my great-great-grandmother’s sister.
Photo of Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson. Interview of Hattie Henderson Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.