Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This blog is dedicated to my mother, Pearl Weaver. Pearl was born on October 28, 1912 in the mountains of Arkansas. My grandfather owned a 25 acre farm up in the mountains a round St. Paul. There were no close by neighbors. My grandmother had five children born on their mountain. They built their own log home from trees my grandfather cut down without electricity. Can you image that! . They had no electricity or running water. The water came from a well and springs. They didn't have a washing machine so they washed clothes in a buckets with soap my grandmother made. My grandparents grew all of their own food. My grandmother, made flour and corn meal from scratch. They grew angora goats that were used for wool to make clothing. They grew cotton and my grandmother made cloth from it and all of their clothes. Their only form of transportation was the horses and wagons they owned. They were completely self sufficient and healthy, except for one child that contracted anthrax and died. My grandmother was a midwife and deliver babies for women who lived in the mountains. There were no doctors or hospital so people doctored themselves with herbs and home remedies. The first time my mother saw an automobile she was 10 years old. The car was a novelty at a carnival.

My mother had a large extended family that also lived in the mountains. My great grandfather who fought in the civil war lived close by and had a large and prosperous farm.

The kids in the mountains attended a one room school for three months out of the year. My grandfather was on the school board and had idealogical difference with the rest of the board members. He believed school should last more than 3 months out of the year. This didn't set will with some of the other members. They attached him and beat him up one day when he was riding his horse through some woods up. it was probably this event that lead my grandfather to move his family to Gonzales, Florida so his five kids could go to Tate High School.

My grandparents suffered much misfortune when they sold all of their animals and farm and moved to Florida. Grandpa didn't know how to grow food in Florida's sandy soil, so he ended up working on farms owned by others - something that must have been humiliating to a experienced farmer.
My grandparents lived in a tent for several years in Gonzales. They didn't have electricity and had to cut trees down by hand and build a house without all of the high powered tools and prefabbed stuff we have now.
Grandpa never complained for he had accomplished what he came to Florida to accomplish
- his five kids when to Tate and graduated from school with a high school diploma - a big deal back then.

During the time my grandparents lived in Gonzales, the depression and world war II started. Life was extremely difficult. There was rationing of food and products. Both my grandparents caught Malaria. My grandmother never recovered and caught TB. She died without medical attention in the log house my grandfather and great grandfather had built. Oh, there was no air conditioning back then, but they had trees - lots of them that keep the property cool. Three of mama's sisters also came down with TB.

Within five years of moving from their mountain sanctuary my grandmother died, one of the sisters died, and my mothers cousin Hattie died at age 29 of some unknown disease. Hattie's parents both died shortly afterwards. Mama said it seemed there were always coffins being taken to the cemetery and the revenue boys coming into the Gonzales woods and arresting moonshiners. I really think my family died from drinking well water as their property was in walking distance to the Chemstrane Company, now Monsanto.

After taking care of sick relatives who were dying, my mother had two children whom she reared without any assistance from my father. We were always poor. We never owed a car. We had two modes of transportation - leather sole express and the bus.

My mother was a hard worker. Working is all she knew. She worked until she was 88 years old. She always took the bus to work and then walked where she needed to go. She had an incredibly strong body ,and while she was well up in her 80's could out hike me.

My mother loved nature. She didn't have a desire for material things. She just wanted a little shack in the woods. She wanted to go home - to the mountain top where there are no city lights and the stars are infinite in a black sky. When mama was a child her mother entertained the children with star gazing. My grandmother took her children out in the night and spread a blanket on the ground to lie on and look up at the heavens. My grandmother taught her children the location and names of stars. My mother did the same thing with me.

My mother loved all life. I never heard her utter an unkind word about anyone. She saw animals that shared our space as equal to humans; that embodied the face of God and who had rights that required protecting. She would often go on missions to disrupt fox hunting, pigeon shoots, and demonstrated again wearing furs and animal testing. When she was confronted with cruelty and mistreatment of animals and people, she had a simple solution. She would always say, "That's why Jesus had to come".
When she was 84 years old, she meet Al Gore at an earth day event in Nashville and he assisted her into an air balloon. She loved reggae, Lawrence Welk, Keeping Up Appearances and other English comedies. I think her favorite movie was The Full Monty. She never developed even the slightest bit of dementia. She was an inspiration and the wind beneath my wings. She taught me compassion, a strong work ethic, a faith in God and Jesus, and a deep love for God's creation.
This blog is for my mother.


Frances Weaver said...

This is a great idea.

Sherri Myers said...

Thanks you for this inspiring blog. Roxie

Diane Mack said...

Thank you so much for this blog and most especially for sharing your family story. It is truly inspiring, indeed!