Belhaven.. or Memom


How could a small town have so much soul

especially for those who only visited?

There was and is a dark side.

I lived parts of both

as a child.

I went to Swindell’s Dress Shop

to be fussed over by my cousin,

once removed, Virginia.

I’ve written of her before.

I lost her in August.

And Miss Mary Elizabeth,

who loved her Pomeranians.

They made me feel special.

I hated The Tonight Show because I’d

be left awake after Memom

and her husband, Bob,

had passed out.

I didn’t understand what was so funny

about Johnny Carson,

and I was lonely and afraid.

I loved sipping pepsi on ice-

all that I wanted

while I was there.

In the mornings Memom gave us Tang.

Remember the astronauts drank it?

I remember a fresh tomato,

fresh potatoes & green beans we’d

just picked at their garden over the river.

Bob was a Navy man and wore his pith helmet,

to shield his bare head from the sun.

We had blt’s with potatoes and beans.

Yum.  Amazing to remember a meal so vividly

and fondly.

Memom was brusque most of the time.

She was born on the 27th of February,

in the year 1918, I believe.  So today….

she would be 92.

She’s been gone about 17 years.

She left us years before with Alzheimer’s

or psychosis.  Never sure which.

Both are family traits.

She lived life crazily, but she was smart.

She loved the water, Pisces that she was!

She swam in the creek every day.

It was more like a river if you’re not from there.

She taught me to float in the ocean.

She taught me to play bridge at age 10.

We were at the beach and she needed a 4th.

She was not happy when I made unwise plays

And let me know it!

We must have been partners.

She had a Pekingese named Ginger.

I just realized my dogs have been gingers,

as well as my sons!

Once Ginger was nabbed at the beach.

Bob somehow found out where

she was and took me with him to get her.

It felt like we drove all over eastern North Carolina.

I wish I knew where we went.

We got Ginger back,

and Bob gave the thieves a piece of his mind,

while I sat, terrified, in the car.

So being with Memom & Bob in Belhaven

was quite the adventure.

I wouldn’t trade the dark times,

for the freedom of the fun times.

Bob taught me chess when I was about 6.

I loved the game.

Once Memom threw the board into the air

when he beat her in 2 or 3 moves.

Did I mention Memom could be volatile?

We went fishing in a fiberglass boat

and I was miserable.

I don’t know if it was real or I was

imagining it,

but it felt like little slivers of glass

were getting all over me and chafing me.

And I wanted out of that boat.

Memom was not happy with me.

Bob built a boat that he called Edna,

after Memom.

I don’t believe I ever was in that boat.

He took me some places (like the pool hall,

but I waited in the car) that Granny would have

not wanted me to know of, I’m sure.

She was my other grandmother in Belhaven.

I’ve written of my precious Granny,

protector, gentle soul, soft spoken and


Memom was beautiful. 

She had dark brown eyes

and black hair, gray when I knew her.

She had beautiful nails that were always

painted red.  Her lipstick was very red.

Her life was difficult.

At age 6 she was burned standing

by the gas heating stove.

She was sent home to die

and her mother nursed her through.

She bore the scars of those terrible burns.

She also bore the loss of 3 husbands.

One by desertion, 2 by death.

The 2nd one died while she

was in her 8th month of pregnancy

with her youngest child.

My Mama is her oldest.

Memom was a hard worker.

All of her children were and are too.

Happy Birthday Memom!  Love you!

5 Responses to “Belhaven.. or Memom”

  1. Jingle Says:

    what beautiful story about Memom,
    u have a golden heart.
    bless U!

    enjoy a sunny Saturday!
    I enjoyed your emotions of love and regrets in this art.

  2. Jaymie Says:

    You are so incredible in your tributes to loved ones. What an incredible life full of wonderful people.

    • Julie Says:

      Thank you, Friend. It is healing & ediying to remember some of my loved ones passed in a new way, with a different perspective.

  3. Michael Says:

    Its interesting to read your memories of Memom and Bob. I never really knew Bob since he died when I was just 4. I certainly remember Tang (and somehow had forgotten it at the same time until reading this!). The things I remember most fondly about Memom though was the card playing. I remember watching her at the beach cheating at solitaire why we all giggled. I remember steaming crabs in her kitchen for the first time. I also remember the “kids table” in the kitchen.

    Love you cuz!

    • Julie Says:

      Oh, Michael John, I forgot about her cheating at solitaire at the beach. Was that the time the sofa had a big burn? Do you remember that?

      I was older so I didn’t have a kid’s table that I remember. Preston’s only 10 years older than me so she still had a kid of her own at home when I was born.

      She made good fried chicken. I always loved her cooking but later remember how she’d subsitute an off-beat ingredient for the real ingredient she didn’t have for the recipe? That was soooo funny.

      Wish I could see you. Please let me know when you’re going to the lake, or maybe y’all could come see us.

      Love ya!


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