Cary James and Jesse Woodard

Recorded July 24, 2009 Archived July 24, 2009 40:49 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: DDB000524


Cary James by Jesse L. Woodard. Cary (21) and Jesse (25) remember their grandmother, Mary Alice James a.k.a Nam Ma. Cary and Jesse remember visiting their grandmother and the delicious food she made for them.

Subject Log / Time Code

Cary remembers going to their grandmother’s house for chicken dinners. He recalls how she would make her broccoli.
Jesse describes their grandmother’s home.
Cary recounts two of the stories their grandmother told him about growing up on a farm.
Jesse remembers the day their grandmother died.
Jesse talks about the lessons their grandmother passed down to him and Cary.
Cary and Jesse talks about how the will along their grandmother’s lessons to their own children.


  • Cary James
  • Jesse Woodard

Recording Location

Akron-Summit County Public Library

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type

Fee for Service


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00:02 My name is Jesse Luther Woodard. Actually I get my middle name from Luther Grandpa was married to my grandma was your day today to discuss. I'm currently 25 come up to my 26 birthday. That's July 24th 2009. Where in Akron Ohio and I'm here with my cousin today to talk about her grandma. Although I she's affectionately known as mamaw.

00:30 Cary James, I'm 21 years old finally, it's July 24th has was said I'm here at Akron Summit County Public Library and I will be talked with my cousin today. That's what's sad about our grandma. You called me and just what two hours ago was kind of a last-minute things that hate me. How can you come down to the library we're going to this recording is part of this big National Archives thing and I'm talking about, which which is funny cuz I sat there at the coffee shop for an hour just kind of jotting down notes and I think the epitome for her would be to say if you looked up grandma in the dictionary and be her pictures next to a flute without a doubt. I was glad that you you decided to come because my mom and I are but it's all in the same. I mean you and I will live there with her.

01:30 Relationships at United so just spoiled us we are royalty there Tuesdays and Thursdays after Squires. Look forward to Springfield. Oh that blue car. We had we go there for we go there after I just said that we'd also on the floor of the table and eat her food and it was always dealer deep-fried are covered in butter uses Southern thankfully Alicia and my mom actually learned the the subtle art of her fried chicken. I hope someone is looking for going from Terrell Fried Chicken the other day and the whole time eating and I'm just thinking about her grandmother's Fried Chicken must have been a magic pot or something. I don't know. I was thinking about that. I'd like some magic in her kitchen. I was just made with love conscious food actually ironic cuz you know, I was thinking about him first thing. Like I said comes to mind was her just for her food and her care for you and I happen to be reading this little magazine.

02:30 Before we came here and New Age magazine, they're talking about actually food and how can our current current environment our current culture? It's so you know, we get food on the go it's shove in your mouth and just move on and it was some kind of magical and it was just get out the loves you put in the absolutely. I mean, you know, how is always the same scenario? You walked all the lights were on the kitchen the smell of fried chicken was you smell that before you walked in the door and then she had the countertop right next to the stove where that's where she would put the food. It was almost like she was teasing you with it. Like she took all there and you weren't even yet but you were still run by and grab a friend who I feel like a piece of the skin or something like that and she knew what she was doing, but she did on purpose and yeah, it really does come down when they say something that's exactly what I'm always doing the making free with love and she has some weird things though.

03:30 Fried chicken or wasn't nachos and she made like spinach noodles or something with chicken. I remember you being like me. I can't do this like me to make me matches my notes I have here is a broccoli yuck butter. Good day. I don't know how I can even stomach eating broccoli. But the Furs in a bowl just covered and butter sitting in a thing of butter is good for you, but the butter just completely negated that that coke Coca-Cola dolls. We need to watch she just spoiled it for breakfast if 15 strips of bacon and toast with a quarter inch of butter on it. Yeah. I've loved staying over at her house.

04:30 Remember the ritual waking up and kind of quietly sneaking down. I'd sit at the top of the stairs. I'd see her watching TV and I wouldn't say anything. I just sit there for maybe five or 10 minutes and she look up see that I was awake just kind of smile more to the kitchen first thing. She always got was the wake-up juice which you know, I probably wouldn't have an addiction to coffee if I could have maintained drinking wake up juice from you know, we thought was magical and special cuz it really had a kick to it. But all it really wasn't songs juice. They're concentrated orange juice. I love pancakes and bacon and just way to Waffle. I don't know how she does waffles like that. I think it's because she hates her every little hole with no butter.

05:18 He's certainly about food, but I remember to store whole house being a big playground. Remember all the all the rooms that was interesting with with my memories. They're all the room still had a bed ready to be slow. Even though it was just her at that point cuz you know Papa passed away and she lived for 15 years and that house was like she always made sure every room was ready for any of her children and grandchildren to stay at the house. It was definitely in order. I was definitely in order and she kept the place your smile is always claiming. It was who it was pretty impressive despite the fact we go down in the basement and Ro take away everything in build a giant for working out back to memories of her when I was really little I can still remember and Chic lady sex when I was little I was eight years, so she was still in her.

06:18 She would play with me when I was a kid that we would if she would babysit me and we would get climb into and do like a laundry basket together and play 10. Like we were like going down the river what river are that was I don't know. She had like an idea if there was one place in the bayou or Sofia, but a good time.

06:43 I think my notes a lot.

06:51 Oh, I die. I certainly remember her living situation like a true Southern woman. She was stubborn to a fault and then when she lived in that neighborhood when I first moved in hours of 60s by back when she just stayed here worked at in the you working good your plans to have a good reward halving tides of the city is slowly kind of turn into more poverty rate, but she wasn't leaving because of crime or scary this or scary that I remember our parents are staying here at the house. This is my house. And I remember their instruments that scared me when I was growing up and she would only ever Resort I think to call the cops and something was extremely bad fight or something and I remember that the time she get the response of the, you know, chopped up tree limb or something like that, which was just always funny drama. What I remember distinctly was the amount of respect.

07:51 The neighbors have for her from sharing with all the kids. You know, she knew they were many times you lack a lot of resources in love and she trained extend that to them locking the doors. You're not allowed to come back until I was eating out two popsicles and things stay there for about four or five months after she passed while we can run it a law to sell the house. And I remember the first few weeks how many people came up to, you know Express their, you know loss and sorrow and prayers for us for going out with Pastor message James and she was effects on them with them.

08:32 But that was just now I was kind of person who she was. She just spoiled at least as far as marbridge. You never got the bag these people of this neighborhood that hang out of her. It was just now she didn't want to leave and things like that happen, but she done with it.

09:11 Who's all the way here from Mississippi? St. Louis eat their farm farm girls think about all my memories with her trying to come up with like I want to take advantage of this this elder person my family in our memories of history of the living history what's going on with this whole point of this this project is and and I signed, you know, I suppose that be regret but I know it's too young to tell us about the war tell us about the 50s or your childhood of the farm yet knew she'd rip the farm knew she worked and and served in a during World War II, but really I don't think she was about that with us with the grandkids. It was all more about right now, you know, I'm loving and

09:53 And then she really did a job. Probably a decent job with our parents cuz yeah, we lucked out with them though. It's like the stories about it. I mean, I do remember a couple of her story. She told me about the farm because I do remember that one was she fell asleep in a bale of cotton with her only toys you ever have I almost positive for marijuana to me but I might be mistaken but she had the rubber doll was the only choice you're having you and had a lot of toys Christmas than consists of like an opening a hundred gift a Christmas was hopefully you got something that was with her into the cotton job at a stop the machine. They found it not true stories. Your mom told me that that kind of dog was decapitated man while so that the doll was okay, but who knows I mean and then the other one

10:53 Mini was going to do the Cotton Pickin. Ninny is Mamaw's sister by the way mini. She did the cotton picking. She was good at it. I guess mamaw. Didn't, wasn't good Cotton Pickin. It hurt. Your fingers shouldn't like if they had her cook. She would cook all day, The lashes with gas came from but I guess there's one store where she spilled hot grease all over her feet accidentally her bare feet. So she had to take the biscuit dough and put that hundred feet liked and then but because of that there was no food for him.

11:32 No, I don't know if my baby has private work your magic and came up with something Garden. I mean we weren't just for kids. She also the kids their Jessie's mom started giving children improper and proper environment and she did the pre care and Aftercare and I can always remember that like the older kids wouldn't always be very fond of her mostly because she put in her place and you know, she's still a woman of older values and she's like, I'm not going to put up with you guys don't act inappropriately boys and girls don't touch his liking of these are just her her values, but the little kids though. I mean she still treated them, you know, they could they bring an apple to her and she would skin the app.

12:32 Cut it with a knife should have a peeler and forever remember things like I should bring snacks for the kids. And yeah, she's always good with little ones work. Jobs for Deaf. Yeah. I came out of the blue and basically had a stroke in the kitchen or last and then she was kind of not kind of, like state for interesting ly enough just long enough to get all of her family back driver how everyone came back and then she died within the day or so. Yeah. I remember the day it happen is better and we had she gotten her one. Yell. Timber wants son.

13:13 Guess what the middle child? I who live down in Dallas with his family so they can I flew out and they've been here a few days and is one of the days in our parents were like, okay and we don't want I'll just keep keeping the kids all stuck here. And I know we've been what I think you have been finishing up eighth grade. I was just finishing up high school and I remember it was

13:35 Whole family all the extended family and grandkids were all we're all leaving to go to the movies all the boys. I think my mom or one of them just had that feeling like okay, we need to go into the you know, what the dining room where she was at that burrow into bed. And and it was just like this kind of subtle we knew and she was there and their whole family was there and it's just a really I think I really nice peaceful loving way to have those weeks to say goodbye to her death until her death was pretty amazing because of the amount of a people that affected them and didn't do remember that they close down the school for her, but all the teachers in a lot of students was on the news because the procession was so huge of the footage of that. I'm on the other side, but I think you're on a coffin.

14:35 I remember that because I was giving her her pictures on the news. Oh, yeah, the first time she wasn't the silent hero. He taught the art of of subtle small bits of love is like yeah life are big lessons that I think you and I understand the pictures of Life. We've been blessed to find from a loving family that's provided that that in a framework to foster a child to explore the world and endless. I think those things that the most beautiful things in life aren't the profound changes. It's the small settle things like like the United States use analogy or metaphor. It's the end of the drips of the of the water that slowly over time shape that rock to you know, beautiful smooth circle thing that the Striking of the hammer and I think that's certainly a lesson she she taught us, which was this small little small acts of love that she was ever.

15:34 Yeah, it was it just came. Naturally. There's nothing everything. I'm going to do this big thing. And I want to be recognized for this big thing of love is like no, I'm constantly loving you through constant things. I'm always there. I'm always doing this. I mean, but actually the day the day before or two days. I want to save the day before that. She had the stroke. I've been sick for 3 days. I the terrible flu and she brought me Fried Chicken. She had made some are the way she made it cuz she hadn't she don't have her time to make it takes but she looked up that morning so you can soak in the salt when I could tell if it's always tell when she made the fries and she brought it over to my house like that died and it's like sore medicine. Oh, yeah. It was when you're sick for some reason it seemed like you were special management doctors.

16:29 No, no, she didn't even want to I was funny because she had perfect perfect house until & Beyond on timely Death Around more. I realize that she was eight she doesn't have cuz I have the memories that you and I and is my sister by the way.

16:56 You know what I think is funny nail while I hate to compare to my other Grandma, but it's just it's it's a different relationship with my other grandma lived in Florida. So not as close and it just wasn't you, was the grandma I remember is sitting animals laugh. I was definitely too big to be sitting on the Amazon smile app, but now I was just she was very affectionate. I love my other ground is just not if wasn't there it's not physically affectionate cats similar to Similac for me and my dad would tell me things. I see this with my dad and rice with my mom is that you're my mom said, she only saw her parents hold hands once ever your name on Papa. I guess, you know, they probably have and they were love until the day he died until the day she died with my dad and my mom they're still very appreciate that like that.

17:52 But yeah, I never knew, you knew Papo better than I did. Yeah, but my memories with that too with me or Grandpa were pretty limited. I remember after he had had a stroke. So his Mobility was limited. That's when I got that awesome chair that you hit the magical button that would rise up and you know play with the watching cops on and it was a jet engine plane your flying a $3,000 salary after you had the stroke because she comes running in I'm a probably one of my many sick quote-unquote sick days when I woke up and didn't feel too well to go to school really just going to send me the name on it and she just comes running in and and yells at me orders me to get you know Papa and help me out on the porch cuz there was a small opening please fire kitchen fireworks ended up being nothing but

18:52 That's one member. I have a hammer or helping an exercise be no pushing against his leg and things like that, but my memories of him are fairly limited, but I mean I was to know I once I was through with Papa, so my memory is when I remember the funeral but I don't remember knowing where I remember knowing why I was there ever being at a church and I remember running around like a little kid runs around and being told that I needed to sit down but you know, I was three I didn't know it was going on. I mean, I barely understood and I can remember because I think he I think he died in the same room. I think I remember going in and being held up to a person on the bed and then realize the things I remember but you know three you're not really understanding anything is Zach Ramirez believe she was because that was probably about 3, and she was explaining to Zach on the way over your name on died. She left she's gone you go to heaven or wherever she explained it.

19:52 And actually all okay and then the man is a cat from the house. Where is Mamaw, you know is that I haven't written a memory of our childhood ever. Do you have a store or maybe you do? I don't think we have it in my mom your mom as well as it was in the corner over by the back sun room in the kitchen. She would sit over there in the corner with a can of canned peaches never fresh everything. It was healthy was healthy food made bad for you. But so we would run in a circle like airplanes with her arms round booty.

20:52 Children running and whoever got there after the last speech got to drink the juice and like I remember was always have there's always a little fight about like we need to drink the juice. Oh, yeah. This is how I'm going to get them to eat fruit is by having them pretend the airplanes would like to be a mother sugar peaches to do a wrestling with the Bell. Remember like I could I can anytime put myself in that house and go step-by-step. Remember every painting everywhere both put a carbon dream you handling on the wall.

21:52 Effects or affects but hadn't been on the garden very small lot. I know you're talking about I mean front lawn that was the equivalent of this room is now ten by ten or whatever and that the back backyard. She just turned it off patio and the garden was it but I suspect with you when we were going out there and looked around some of the houses that when I had no cards whatsoever. No living grass, which her neighbors always had lemongrass cuz she turning water their yard and the backyard and there was no grass right now. There was just a lot hours and feel like the circle mad with chairs that would go over and sit and eat food and drink your tea with a tea bag in the US who have

22:47 I hate to say this because it still tastes better coming from the Marcus you use the mint leaves and what not and I had like the McDonald's sweet tea the other day and I was like, that's why I tasted you get bad. They're older age because like most elder people they they lose some of their taste buds so she can get salt off but now they're still right before we order food the food. She doesn't waste food at all. I can remember her picking out leftover chicken and then I can use this for myself later even feel like a bite at the farm room for wasting food. I can remember her.

23:38 She starts me this chicken and rice dish or something like eating this chicken and I'm realizing they're still bones. Attach this chicken. I'm realizing this is our Fried Chicken from two nights ago. Hope you did not eating and telling my parents are kind of like so about 11 and I was weird about that like them chicken wings.

24:01 She always she always had the ocean always had the things that you know, like when we knew there was something you don't she still make you a Nachos. I have memories to keep made me try not to feel so terrible that you felt terrible for not in a while. She forget that I didn't want to remember. I like this guy always felt so bad cuz now I actually do like sauce on my nachos and sometimes she'd even burn a little when there's a little black crisp and now that's how I like my girls a little bit early, but at that time you brought out of train at results, it was like and I felt terrible because I knew what would happen which end and looking back. I know she didn't care. She wanted me to be happy. She said you don't want to lose salsa. All right now he thinks and she go right back in with me up at REI.

24:51 That the ancient cable TV. That was like we still probably can go to my house that we salvaged or she wouldn't she would make things for you and she does she want for her. She'd lots of houses. Like I have these things because I have people enough gas to me on one or two of the areas are out her house for a little bit, you know questionable. I remember walking from my house, which was a block away and I were the first time I did I was scared because of the neighborhood bar.

25:51 But yeah, man, I was member member leaving and ride my bike over to meet you on the front porch for the kids and everything else matter real early memories man. She could she could give you a shampoo never been like three or four a rubber tube. Yeah, and it was almost one of those those types of shampoo massages at like after I would you like whole scalp is tingling and you will you were royalty around when we were little though. I think we would take bad so I can order one time that we like ruined her ceiling cuz they're we got water all over it was bought for

26:51 Bought for a bathtub. This is like someone to take a rubber hose and shoved it on the end of your faucet forever ever that rare memories and something spilling expensive perfume in the world is there to her house took a lot of the beating from little kids like my sister plugged up the sink one time and it overflowed and they left it overflowing and I guess that night she was two or three my mom and ask her and and I heard you had an accident over at Nana's house. Then she said Kerry do to it.

27:45 And mama said no and you know, that's not true. And then she said Jessie do that. She's like 3 years old and she's already lie when I was just fight at pee. No, cuz we were there we would have been the two second. I wanted to make a point about nachos nachos aren't chips covered in like melted cheese. It's a special dish with refried beans and it's quite a process that our grandma's room to make those and I've kept that tradition and I have you have pretty much your staple food in french fries or french fries the other day. I met him the other day that is a longest process ever to cut a whole potato into the tiny little man with a knife. I mean you can get a price and do it easily what you heard.

28:44 My tire mart she would come super thin smells would be so crispy. I just I've made him the other day. I was like that took me like 45 minutes to make enough for making I mean when she ever chicken Doner she must have been working with her checking now and it was so I can explain it was just really like fatty and not in the way. She cooked it was going to try to magic magic magic magic magic peaches.

29:38 Play some Joe have some money to stay in the family like the big cast iron pot. Yeah, it's funny. Cuz a lot of this stuff get rid of it. Whatever. It was like a claymore and everybody want me some piece of of memory table that was in the living room that we sit and eat our food out of Seattle lokai coffee table. My brother does which I wish I had cuz you know, I think I think I kind of Market actually if you look underneath their handwriting cuz I would crawl into that and that it would become a spaceship and I need it so I can I think you're you're in my memory has been probably the most connected though of the rest of family cuz we were the closest in age when you and your brother who are the closest agent. We were kind of the ones who are named.

30:38 Babies around the same time then you've always claimed that you can communicate with me before everybody else could communicate with me was that you were probably one or try that new to shoot you get forms of expression interaction. You can understand that and I was pretty like 5 6 and I do my thing like I could I could pick up subtle even if it was just Behavior or sure you and I always had her problems. Everything was house. Are you definitely sure we fought of brother you act like I got to keep the stuff down Alicia tortured Aaron Aaron tortured you and then you done to me.

31:38 Problem and you did want to be here today. She doesn't know if you have much to say, was a matriarch of the family has some of the eat her children stepped up when when she had passed away to keep that kind of cohesiveness and we were very much your family about, you know, using any holidays and she's just get together eat good food share good time all the time and that's that's generally special. It was the meeting place mean when your mom's brother, when do they would come to town? And that's where we go. What time is it at that was where he always had this bedroom. The meeting place and it was funny as it's funny cuz your house is so much bigger and that's how we do Thanksgiving and Christmas, but

32:25 It's still it's still seems it still seems too small for all those people in a way, but Nana's house was so much smaller, but we crammed everybody on there so many people there and what we still have circuses real cozy and that was all that was best. I almost I almost Stole Christmas day is great, but it's always exciting to be going over to see the rest of the family at Nana's house. That was really the same with the Thanksgiving vacation with her best vacations. The first of all we had can I cook with us the whole time we were giving me foot massage in the car, but it was like we said earlier just a small subtle acts of love and in some ways wasn't she didn't do anything. She didn't do anything profound and yet and yet what she alternate Lee did was most profound job. Anybody could do she helped raise a family with with love and guidance and and small sacrifices and small little

33:25 UPS near me she is without a doubt the most important at all figure out what we wanted the most important because I love her and that ain't what I'd love to do one of these for her to do. I have to lose a little bit more at little bit more and later that night those as listen to a song and like most males were raised with me enough to just be very stoic and everything and I don't think I could even remember the last time I cried but some song that came on. I was graduating high school getting ready to see you then. I'll go out the College of the big world and I remember it did really hit me during the song that was that kind of thing about losing your childhood and and you have to come that way.

34:25 Reminiscences. That's when it really hit me then. Yeah, I had lost her. But at the same time that that blessing of thinking that that's an influence that we had in our lives and Steiner and Waldorf education. There's this idea that matter being before it incorporates and it's me a new body. Is that a baby can see the first seven years of of it's life or whatever that would be maybe it's 10 years or what? I mean, it's the whole life. I definitely understand why we we chose our parents and and and them on that situation that pay me to come into cuz that was that was a big line for a signature line to get to get the tickets and to get that be lucky if I break or not. I mean, these are the things I can pass down then we will we will behave differently towards our children and our grandchildren for that matter.

35:25 Pictures of a bunch of sugar in fruit and cokes today so much coke over there and you know, I was allowed to behave like our parents Network. Are they knew that? This was this is how I met a man loves and misses the O her loving us know they weren't going to deny that you and I'm glad that there was never don't let it carry up too much coke today my mom with cheese become a grandma now and everything they want and then you know when you're done go, okay. Hey Mom, I come back and do your job. We have her her Shea's Lounge from the other guy smelling smell being so bring back some memories of the I really was with us a really appropriate time to do this cuz I was really thinking with me and my sister day she was

36:25 She was pretty incredible. I think about released anytime I do think about you feel a presence. I really do enjoy because after she died you lived there for months and then I came and then I can cuz my freshman year of high school. I spent almost every weekend. So we are activities were probably not the same as we were doing an animal is there we have to live in our grandma's house has a lot of nice little to say that our Detachment was slow but it wasn't just like ripped away at the house is gone is gone. I was like we had time to say goodbye to Mamaw and then we have time to say goodbye to the house anytime if you're ever on Unix Jane passing by Gordon still alive in the front lawn. I member when we were staying there if you never tell my friend to come over like a house is it but it's the one that has a yard on a mature gay men.

37:25 That you got really can't miss it right at the moment. She put that plastic siding on to the house still looks nice and Breezy painted, but I remember feeling so clever when I was little cuz I would I would describe Mamaw's house is like a tooth and a toothless mouth or something like as a little I'm sure I heard that somewhere back at it. I don't even know why anybody bother she was going to leave that house. There's no way back when we lived there for a while. It's like she doesn't care what we're doing here. If anything she's just going to just do the dishes Namo Namo loved her grandchildren regardless of what?

38:17 What they did tell me we could we could have done in the world. I could have murdered someone and still looking like that's my grandson. You don't speak badly about him. Yeah. Yeah, that's how she was completely not judgmental and it has good grandma. I would say the same thing but I know ours was and we're allowed to believe that is Office of the night sound.

38:40 But yeah, I guess I can think of

38:43 I can't think of anything but positive memories with her a healthy childhood good job with with your dad went with my mom because now they've offered us and sacrifice and then everything they could to get emotional issues at points, but it didn't matter. She didn't she never liked it or not, and she still has like as soon as she was back on the horse. She was back there with my father and then you are right, but it's always try my love. I don't think there was ever a time. I was not

39:26 Now is not someone who if she could be there would be like, I don't know. I'm tired. She Sweet Sacrifice pretty much anything. Like says being look up Grandma and I'd be her picture next to right there. Vice food love entertainment. Whatever grandkids want to give back to the parents.

39:54 But I'm just trying to think of what else you can say. Like I said you think of her and you think a good food and love and a home and it's it's the small things. It's the small, you know mundane things in life that I think when you really gain wisdom me look back you go. That wasn't just something small. That was really important. Shaving how I am and how I view the world and other people, you know, I want to think about I can still think about you he displayed in like you in the way she could hug you have bugs been kind of backbreaking remember the double wave away with both your hands away with both your hands when you were mine and even their hugs bear hugs,

40:41 She was pretty impressive.