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More Than Just 'The Help'
By Phyllis Prather Hicks
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
At 30,000 words, Mama is a heartwarming and poignant novella. My mama cleaned the houses, raised the kids, and counseled the families of the white folks she worked for, but she was much more than ‘The Help.’ She was a wife, mother, gardener, spiritual adviser, and teacher who had more formal education than many of the women whose homes she cleaned. She taught me more than could be found in any book – the importance of faith in a loving God, the priceless value of family, honesty, loyalty, hard work and education, and the unquenchable strength of hope - and raised a family of five children by squeezing a dollar to the last penny, recycling and reusing everything from paper to plastic. Mama lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, segregation in the deep South, and the Civil Rights Movement. Then she learned to use the internet. Georgella Prather lived to be eighty-five years old, and she was many things to many people. But first and foremost, she was my Mama.
Mama said that Alec Jones never changed his mind. When he spoke, the words may as well have been written in Georgia stone. I guess that explains how she got her name. It’s said that, my mama’s mama, Hezzie Lindsey was sickly , always to the first to catch anything going around. Fortunately, her grandmama, Grandma Marshall was a full blooded Cherokee who knew how to live “literally” off the land. So, when Hezzie missed her courses a few months in a row, Grandma Marshall started making her drink a ‘root tonic tea’ every day. Mama said her mama (Hezzie) didn’t tell her papa (Alec) until the day he noticed she was “getting a little round.” After that, the word was out. Mama said papa walked around like a banny rooster after that. He even spent a week’s worth of wages to buy cigars for all his friends, to celebrate the birth of “his son.” No one could tell him otherwise. It was definitely going to be a boy, and he was going to be a boy named George, after his father.’ Grandma Marshall (Mama’s great grandma) would lift one thick eyebrow and look down the nose that spoke eloquently of her Native American ancestry and remind him that God rarely consulted humans on the matters of “ His bizness” So, one unbearably hot late summer day, early in the afternoon, in a little house that her husband had built, Hezzie Lindsey Jones, formerly of Chewala (locally pronounced as Che Wa Lee) Tennessee bore down and pushed. Grandma Marshall caught a squirming, “not quite high yellow” girl in a cotton towel, just before she landed on one of her ‘good’ aprons. The story goes that Alec heard the baby’s wail and pushed open the door just as Hezzie was being handed her daughter . Alec strode over to the bed where his wife lay holding the now bundled baby and proclaimed “George”. To which Grandma Marshall promptly added in her matter of fact tone without even looking up from the washbasin, “Ella”. Eventually, mama would run the two names together and be Georgella, but today, she was George. Ella. Jones.
Phyllis Novella Prather Hicks carries on the tradition of her Mama, by being a wife, mother, nurse, teacher, gardener, fiber artist, and friend. You can contact her by email: Jonesgirl365@gmail.com
I knew you were blessed with multiple talents but this newly discovered, for me, writing talent is wonderful.
The Overview and Preview is warm, loving and a book I want to read more of.
I wanted to rate your book a ten but it only goes to five. Know you are always a ten in my book! Grandma is SO very proud of you and so are we.
Love your niece and great nephew,
Tesha and Christopher
Wow, Such a great storyteller!
Its amazing way to read the American history to which I'm connected :-)
I learned so much!!
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