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Linda's Story

Story by Linda Ragle, 2009


I want to tell a favorite story of mine while growing up in Lake City .  When I reminisce of this event in my life I laugh out loud every time.


I don’t want you to think bad of either of my grandmas.  My Mammy which was my Dad’s mom and my Moma Mick which was my Mom’s mom. ( I know I am spelling Moma wrong but that is how we always spelled Moma for Moma Mick.)  Neither one of my grandmas were mean or would do anything to hurt me, their oldest granddaughter so here is my story.


I and Brenda Walker who happens to be Beth Hurd’s sister had spent the night together at my home at Mammy’s.  We were about 8 or 9 years old.


The next morning we told Mammy that we had decided to go to church.  This happened probably in June around 1958 and the only church holding services was the Presbyterian Church.  My Moma Mick belonged to the Presbyterian Church.  My Mammy was Catholic.  Mammy thought it was a good idea, us girls going to church, and she said she’d dress us all up.  So upstairs we went to Mammy’s bedroom.  Mammy started pulling out these old beautiful bar room dresses.  They must have been hers when she and Grandpa Mick had a bar, a restaurant and gambling back in the late thirties and early forties in the building that is now the Art Center Building.


These dresses were beautiful and Sexy and funny thing they almost fit us little girls around our waist.  My Mammy was awfully tiny.  Naturally they hung were there should be some breasts and they drug the floor.  Next Mammy got out each of us a garter belt and we put nylons on and had them bunched up at the top to clip onto the garter belt.  Brenda and I each got to pick out a pair of Mammy’s high heeled shoes.  Again they fit us.  Mammy wore a size 5 shoe.  Oh those high heels were beautiful.  Brenda and I were feeling Gorgeous.  Mammy looked us over and decided we needed some make up so she took us over to her vanity and she began to apply rouge to our cheeks, lipstick of bright red to our lips, dark brown eyebrow pencils to eyebrows that didn’t even show up until our eyebrow pencil and black mascara to our beautiful eyelashes.  Thank God Mammy didn’t wear eye shadow!!


Brenda and I are absolutely thought that this is the prettiest that either of us have ever been.


Mammy is having so much fun dresses us up and when I look back I now know it is because she never had a daughter, she raised four boys.  Mammy looks us over laughing and making over us like we had never been.  She says we are missing something and with that she goes to her closet and pulls out two big, wide, and white Easter Bonnets.  They are huge and beautiful.


Mammy decided we are ready, and we believe her so two little girls that look like miniature hookers try to make it down thirty stairs, holding our dresses up so we don’t trip on them, holding our hats from falling off, and wearing high heels.  Somehow we make it down the stairs and we are so tickled with each other, laughing and so proud of ourselves.  We begin our walk of two blocks down the street to the Presbyterian Church.  I can still picture that walk, our little ankles twisting with each step, trying to hold those dresses up so we wouldn’t trip, and hanging on to those huge hats.  I truly don’t Brenda or I ever laughed more or had more fun, feeling so Beautiful, walking to Church.


When we entered the Church everyone turned around to see who had come in the door, Church had already started.  Everyone stared and more than a couple laughed out loud and a few winked at us.  My grandma, Moma Mick, was sitting towards the front of the Church and who ever she was sitting with elbowed her and had her turn to see what had come in the front door.  I’m telling you Moma Mick about fell out of her pew, she probably wished she could hide.  She did not want to acknowledge that she even knew us let alone have to claim Me as Her GRANDDAUGHTER!  She acted like she did not know who we were.  She turned back around and I’m sure she started Praying.  She had also given just a slight glare to me so we did not sit with her.  Through out the Church service my Moma Mick turned around and looked, slight glare, turned around again, stared, hoping against odds that she was hallucinating.  I know now that this was a time that I really embarrassed her, and she wasn’t the only one that kept checking us out, in fact I don’t think anyone there that day heard the message that the preacher gave.


Well Church ended and Brenda and I did not stand around for any more gawking.


We got back to Mammy’s and removed all the gorgeous clothing and neither Brenda or I said a word about what a Shock we had been to the folks at Church.  We did not want to hurt Mammy’s feelings.  I know in my heart that Mammy did not send us to Church thinking we’d be the laughing stock of the Town, or to get back to those Presbyterians, or to get to my other grandma.  She had dressed us up in her finest with nothing but the thought of having Fun behind it.   This childhood memory has brought me so more joy and laughter than almost any other event in growing up and when Brenda and I get together today sooner or later we are laughing anew about the time we wore Mammy’s dresses to Church.