Mississippi Weekend, or, Aunt Carol’s Resume

About 20 of the McLellans got together last weekend in Durant,
Mississippi–from whence we all came, more or less. We wanted to get
together with our aunts and uncles and such cousins and others as could
come, just for a chance to be together for a while. It was a short but
intensely fun time, full of laughter (and yes, since it was a McLellan
gathering, the occasional spells of sobbing) and (ditto) FOOD.

Once, when the conversation turned to unusual jobs some people had
held, I grabbed my journal to document a few of the wackier items.
Herewith, a partial list:

Cousin Margie: tomato picker

Cousin Joe: WHAT A LIST! wedding photographer; pilot; sports
announcer; bus tour guide; pimento pepper grower (total cash outlay,
$200; total gross revenues, $38); sunflower farmer; raiser of goats and
sheep; ambulance driver; proprietor of pickle factory; and last, but not
least, emcee of the beauty pageant “Miss Poke Salad” (better known
generally as “poke salat”), Coffeeville, Mississippi

Uncle Reedy: creator of supermarket games of chance (oh, the memories
of all those stacks of perforated cards!); and a whole lot more goes
here–stay tuned

Uncle Aubrey, aka Dad: solo recording artist of a single (that would be a single single,
methinks), The Tennessee Waltz, complete with entirely new lyrics
composed on the spot and for the occasion; recorded while waiting for a
bus in Florida in 1947 (ditto as for Uncle Reedy)

Aunt Betty Jo: delivery girl, aka Vice-President for Distribution, Jones Hospital Pharmacy, Dyersburg, Tennnessee

Uncle Bill Jones: became a soda jerk in a drugstore at age 12, where
he became enamoured of the pharmaceutical trade; the rest, as they say,
is history

Aunt Shirley, aka Mom: purchaser of the only car sold in High Point
in 1947 (“postwar shortages,” she explained with some exasperation), a
“circus car” (“about a hundred people could fit in it”); bookkeeper and
sales clerk at the Smart ‘N’ Thrifty, for $18.50/week (obviously with
cash on hand like that, she could well afford the car . . . )

Aunt Virginia and Uncle Pug: TO COME!

And this brings us to Aunt Carol, who was very keen, as my British colleagues say, to have her entire
resume documented. I’m sure I didn’t get it all down, but here’s a
start: proprietor and sole distributor of Carol’s Rolls (email me for
the recipe! it will only take me a day or two to write it out); payroll
clerk for the Talon Zipper Company (“no plastic!”); waitress, roll- and
dessert-maker at Ma and Pa’s Restaurant, coincidentally owned by Uncle
Reedy; secretary of the Baptist church in Bremen, Georgia; fashion
merchandiser and window-dresser, Hugh McLellan’s Dry Goods Store;
creator and broadcaster, The Women’s Radio Show, Bay Minette, Alabama;
proprietor of Carol’s Fashion Hut, downtown Durant; and last, but hardly
least, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Grower (“I grew beautiful ferns
and beautiful poinsettias”), Chief Financial Officer, Head of
Purchasing, Vice-President of Mergers and Acquisitions, and
Vice-President of Development, Seven Oaks Nursery, Highway 51 (near the
scene of the tractor-trailer incident!), Durant.

Now you can see why we all had to go lie down for a couple of days after spending the weekend with this crowd!

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2 Responses to Mississippi Weekend, or, Aunt Carol’s Resume

  1. Shirley says:

    I forgot to include on my jobs that I suckered and wormed tobacco on a
    tobacco farm and I loved to sling those worms to the ground watching
    them fly into little pieces. Does that say something about my
    personality??????

  2. Tomato Picker says:

    Shirley, I can not believe you touched a worm. All for the greater good
    of the NC tobacco farmer. Ivy used to “prime tobacco” in her early days.
    So, let’s not forget Ed Atkinson, prosperous fifth generation tobacco
    farmer who inherited his family’s tobacco growing business in Surry
    County. He had many fields under cultivation and the finest equipment.
    On a fateful day in the late 1970s, Ed lost all his sizable tobacco
    allotment. (Farmers cannot sell tobacco without a US government
    allotment.) He could not tell his family or the many whom he employed.
    Facing ruin, he hung himself in the barn. Don’t forget Ed.

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