Aunt Sally was beginning to repeat herself and I began to suspect she was talking just to please me. So I arose to go.
“Lawsy mercy, chile, you sho is sweet to set here and talk to a ole ’oman lak me. Ah sho is glad you come. Ah tole my son you wuz a bundle of sunshine and Ah felt so much better the day you left—and heah you is again! Chile, my nose wuzn’t itchin’ fur nothin’! You come back to see me real soon. Ah’se always glad to have you. And the Lawd’s gonna sho go with you fur bein’ so good to me.”
My awareness of the obvious fulsomeness in the old woman’s praise in no way detracted from my feeling of having done a good deed. Aunt Sally was a clever psychologist and as I carefully picked my way up the weedy path toward the street, I felt indeed that the “Lawd” was “sho goin’” with me.
Julia bunch, Age 85
John N. Booth
Federal Writers’ Project
Res. 6 & 7
[May 10 1938]
Seated in a comfortable chair in the living room of her home, Julia Bunch, Negress of 85 years, presented a picture of the old South that will soon pass away forever. The little 3-room house, approachable only on foot, was situated on top of a hill. Around the clean-swept yard, petunias, verbena, and other flowers were supplemented by a large patch of old-fashioned ribbon grass. A little black and white kitten was frisking about and a big red hen lazily scratched under a big shade tree in search of food for her brood. Julia’s daughter, who was washing “white people’s clothes” around the side of the house, invited us into the living room where her mother was seated.
The floors of the front porch and the living room were scrubbed spotlessly clean. There was a rug on the floor, while a piano across one corner, a chifforobe with mirrored doors, a bureau, and several comfortable chairs completed the room’s furnishings. A motley assortment of pictures adorning the walls included: The Virgin Mother, The Sacred Bleeding Heart, several large family photographs, two pictures of the Dionne Quintuplets, and one of President Roosevelt.
Julia was not very talkative, but had a shy, irresistible chuckle, and it was this, together with her personal appearance and the tidiness of her home that left an indelible impression on the minds of her visitors. Her skin was very dark, and her head closely wrapped in a dark bandana, from which this gray hair peeped at intervals forming a frame for her face. She was clad in a black and white flowered print dress and a dark gray sweater, from which a white ruffle was apparent at the neck. Only two buttons of the sweater were fastened and it fell away at the waist displaying her green striped apron. From beneath the long dress, her feet were visible encased in men’s black shoes laced with white strings. Her ornaments consisted of a ring on her third finger, earrings, and tortoise-rimmed glasses which plainly displayed their dime-store origin.