“I’m 97 years old. I grew up in Schlater, Mississippi on my granddaddy’s farm on the Quiver River. My granddaddy owned 80 acres, and my dad and uncle farmed it. I helped them clear the land. We poisoned the trees so they would die and fall. We plowed the land with a mule. I hoed and picked cotton. We worked on the farm and swam in the river to cool off. I never knew anything except work. My daddy was also a fisherman. When I came from school, my brother and I sat beside the fireplace and knitted his nets. We didn’t have much money, but there was always plenty to eat. Granddaddy grew things or hunted and brought food home.
Rex Trammell was from Holly Bluff and farmed for his first cousin at Schlater. I saw him coming down the road. He was a good-looking man. We courted by sitting on a cotton sack and talking. We always had plenty to talk about. We were good friends and got married. I loved that man. Anyone who met Rex loved him. He made you feel good about yourself. We didn’t have much when we started out. We used logs for seats in our house. That is all we had for furniture. We put newspapers on the wall to keep the cold out. I didn’t care where we lived or what we had, I was just happy to be with Rex.
We bought our own 80 acres of land after Rex came home from World War 2. He worked as a foreman in Yazoo City to make more money for us. I stayed home and took care of the farm with our four children. We still hoed and picked the cotton. I drove the tractor. I cooked breakfast in the morning then worked in the fields. I fixed lunch then went back to the fields. Then I cooked dinner. Whatever needed doing, I did it. Back in those days, there wasn’t much time for fun, but we enjoyed getting together with our family. They loved to hunt or play music and sing together. I am proud of what we built and that my children got an education.
Rex died in 1993. I still miss him. I kept our land and didn’t sell it. I may not look like it, but I am pretty sharp. I have something to pass down to my family.”