Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frosted Helmets, the Garden Club, and the WMU (and a ‘65 Olds)


As often happens, my friend Kathy’s blog sparked a memory. Kathy and I are about 7 or 8 years apart, but we have some very similar memories about small Arkansas towns and the people who populated them. Kathy’s blog post on “A Mema Moment” is here, and is background for THIS post.

Sidney Stella Jones (“Granny” to us) IMG_0009 b didn't play bridge (cards being the Instruments of The Devil, you know), but she taught Sunday School, was a member of the Women’s Missionary Union, and (most importantly) was a proud member (and periodically officer) of the Garden Club. This picture is from Christmas (note my new stuffed puppy) about 1961 or so.

Those Club meetings (which transpired about every other week) were big deals. Everybody got All Dressed Up (I can see her right now in navy suit, white shoes, white gloves of course, white bag, and hat with veil) and went over to each others' homes (you'd think sensible shoes so they could walk around in their gardens, but no, pumps instead) for meetings. Membership was basically unvaried, because as a daughter would become old enough to marry and have her own home, she'd be inducted. Or, a son would marry and his new wife would be inducted.

I think the Garden Club is now history, as they all eventually died off, but I'll always remember those meetings.

Oh, and re: Beauty Parlor. That weekly trip to Morea's House of Beauty was not going to be missed, mmm'kay? Cuban Missile Crisis be damned, the ladies of Malvern were going to have that "frosted helmet". If Mr. Krushchev wanted to put nuclear missiles in Cuba on Thursday, he'd just have to wait.

Granny's fourth and last car was a '65 Olds Dynamic 88 "Holiday" Sedan that had been the pageant car for Donna Axum, Miss Arkansas. Donna had to turn in the car when she became Miss America (she got a Cadillac for that), and Gramp bought Granny that car. She never could drive it (well, she never could drive at all; if you've seen Driving Miss Daisy, you've met my Granny. She got her first drivers' license the way everybody did then: she sent her application and a quarter to Little Rock, and they sent her a drivers' license. She never had a test of any kind. Dad and his siblings had many hilarious stories about her driving, most of them involving the family's 1928 Model T and the various objects she struck with it, or the ditches into which she backed it.).

The bottom line is, I (at age 8) drove her to the beauty parlor and to her various club meetings every week. It’s one of the ways I learned to drive, and frankly, I was a better driver at that point than she was and she knew it.

She hated this picture, but it’s one of the only ones I have:



  1. Thanks for not saying who's older.

  2. I never gave my age either. ;-)

  3. I too write about memories. Your blog came up as an Arkansas blog, but I see you are in Texas. Come visit my little world at
    joy c.