What My Mother Said About Her Relatives & The Dancing at Their House

Several times, my mother spoke to me about the old Victrola in her childhood home and how people gathered there to dance. I asked her questions about the dancing and the people who came. What follows is some of what she said to me.

From the Memoir of Laura Mae Dunscombe Baker,
Born December 6, 1926

Recorded by Jacki Kellum, Born 1950

If you have read other of this series of posts, you will remember that my mother actually said what I will share:

“I’d say the dancing time was about 1930-1931 or 1932 and on a few more years. I was born in 1926, you see. Knowing Dad, we might have moved back and forth a few times. He was a will-o-the-wisp, to say the least. He always just sharecropped for Grandpa Dunscombe so he went wherever the crop needed him….No real ambition. Just happy to be alive with good friends and a wife who did his calling….Goodness, life is just what you make it, isn’t it?

“As for what they wore–I don’t know. The women wore dresses, you can bet on that. Common gingham and calico type, I would guess. Some they made themselves.

“For instance, mother’s brothers were always there….All the ghosts of Christmas past….all the bunch were party people. Mother’s brothers especially….[One of mother’s sisters] always ran and told her mama, and…[one sister] was too little to cause much flap….[One of mother’s sisters] married early and was gone. But those boys….

“I would guess the men mostly wore overalls, but I don’t know. You see, that was Depression times and there was just no money. That they even accomplished what they did is amazing to me. Probably on nickels and dimes that they all pitched in….[The family of one of my mother’s brother’s wives] lived close by…and she had several siblings, mostly beautiful girls. They always joined in the parties and they were so poor as to be almost disabled. But they had fun! Isn’t it great, really? That people can rise above crushing defeat to still laugh and dance?…All of them getting up in time for breakfast that was usually cooked outisde, for whomever. I was too little to enjoy this, but I can sure see the beauty of it, especially for those times.”

More about the Dancing: https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/what-my-mother-said-about-her-1920s-linoleum-rugs/

More about the Victrola: https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/what-my-mother-said-about-her-1920s-victor-victrola/


Copyright Jacki Kellum October 17, 2015

As I have also said before, I have begun a 3-Way Memoir, where I’ll record some of my mother’s responses to some questions that I asked about her life.  I hope to have the memoir published for my mother’s 90th birthday on December 6, 2016.  It will be my grandmother’s story, my mother’s story, and mine–all told about our lives in the now very dusty and boarded-shut Bootheel of Southeast Missouri.

You can find excerpts from that memoir in various places on my blog, by searching:

What My Mother Said, Calico Cotton, Cotton Child, and When Cotton Was King.

All Rights Reserved

More about the upcoming book: https://jackikellum.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/it-is-time-for-the-world-to-hear-from-3-strong-women-from-the-missouri-bootheel/


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