A Day with Dot
I was going to call her Ms. Dot. She suggested that Aunt Dot would be better. I obliged. She is 99 years old after all. She has lived in the house in this small Mississippi town for 40 years. Built in 1900, it exudes craftmanship. The distinctive wood trim around the entry ways, doors, and fireplaces is stunning.
On the wall in the central hallway are family pictures. Her husband’s side on the left and her side on the right. There is a picture of her husband’s great, great, grandfather who was born in 1819. We were in the kitchen, and she brought in two three-ring binders stacked on her walker. They contained family information. I was both impressed and a little sad. I now know more about her distant kin than my own.
She was a teacher, and her husband had a dry cleaner business. In 1965 they began integrating the schools in her town. Her husband was mayor and was law abiding. The law said integrate. The Clan had different ideas. She woke her husband because there was a cross burning in the yard. He investigated and told her to go back to sleep as it was not near the electrical wires. The next burning cross was at the dry cleaner business, and it damaged the building.
We drove up her road until it turned to dirt. On the left was a long two-story white building which is now part of a YMCA camp. In the early 1860s it was a hospital for Confederates injured at Corinth and Shiloh. Further up the dirt road is a cemetery with roughly 100 Confederate graves. None of Dot’s Confederate ancestors are buried there.
Aunt Dot is sharp and full of life. Even with the cane or walker she makes me uncomfortable with how quickly she moves. She is a proud American and reminded me that she and her Marine Corps husband were part of the greatest generation. She also made the point that it was a different country then. Next time I see her I will have better questions and a notepad.