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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mammy, Gone with the Wind, and My Sister Antoinette

Growing up the youngest of six kids in a working class family you inherit many hand-me-downs.

Four older brothers are the reason I am wearing men's underwear right now. I just got into the habit. Men's sneakers, men's sweat pants. My bra is not a man's bra.

Of course when I inherited something from my beautiful older sister Antoinette that was special. It was a certifiably female item!

Antoinette is a passionate reader and I inherited many books from her: Trapp Family Singers, Little Women, and of course the giant, Gone with the Wind.

Antoinette read it first, then I read it. She saw the movie first, then I saw it. We spent about a year wrapped up in it. We would discuss the characters during car rides and before we fell asleep at night.

They say that you should always have the key conversations with your loved ones before time takes them away from you.

So, today, I had to ask. "Antoinette, did you LIKE Scarlett?"

"Oh, yeah, I LOVED her!"



"She was a horrible human being! She married two men she didn't love!"

Antoinette: "Women do that all the time. They're very self-centered. I've never been a real fan of women."

Me: "Melanie was very kind."

Antoinette: "I really didn't think of Melanie much."

Me: "But you loved *Scarlett*!"

Antoinette: "Well, I loved her at first, but then ... you know who was really my favorite character?"

"Who?" I asked, thinking of sensitive but wimpy Ashley, sensitive but doomed Melanie, swarthy and manly Rhett ...

Antoinette: "Actually my favorite character was Mammy. I thought she had a lot of grace and dignity. She was the only one who impressed me. She was a very nice person. She took things in hand that needed to be taken in hand. She loved Scarlett and would do anything to help her out. And she was graceful in doing it. She was a lovely person. She was a rare gem."

"I think she let Scarlett push her around too much."

Antoinette: "Well, what could she do? She was black. That was then. Scarlett was her boss. She was the only one who actually showed any dignity."

My sister and I had this conversation on Monday, March 16. I had my computer in my lap and I was actually transcribing her words as she was speaking. I visited her again Wednesday, March 18. That visit was hard for me. There were people there I would prefer not to have to encounter. Nothing happened, except on the inside. I visited my sister again yesterday, Friday. She was not able, yesterday, to have the kind of conversation we had on Monday.

It's hard to watch your loved ones go through this process.


  1. "It's hard to watch your loved ones go through this process."
    It is, ma'am. It very hard to keep moving when all one wants is to sink in despair and sadness.
    My prayers are with your sister and you.