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Pitts, Roxy

(Butler County, Alabama, Preston Klein, Opelika, D. A. Oden, Editor)

"I don't know 'zackly whar I was born," said Aunt Roxy Bitts "but it was summuz 'roun Youngsboro, Alabama, en it was in 1855, fo' de wah started, dat Cle Marster said I was born. How ole dat make me? Eighty-two, gwine on eighty-t'ree? Dat's right, en I be eighty-t'ree year ole dis time nex' year, iffen I lives.

"Yassum, I goes to church putty reg'lar, iffen it don't rain; coz de rain makes de mizry in my hip en lays me up. I belongs to de Baptis' church en was baptize wid Jesus when I was twelve year ole. I'se a foot-ashin' Baptis', I is, but dey ain't none of dem kind er Baptis' 'roun' were, en I jes goes wid de udder Baptis' en sets in de amen corner, en iffen I wants to shout, I shouts, en nobody ain't gonner stop me, bless de Lord!"

"My fu'st marster was name Sam Jones, but I don't 'member him. My marster, de one what I 'members, was name Sam Peg, en us lived lost to a little town name Limekiln. My mammy was part Injun, en Ole Master cudden' keep her home ner workin' needer; she alluz runnin' off and stay out in de woods all night long. When I was a little gal, she runned off agin en lef' a teeny little baby, en nebber did come back no more. Dey said she gone whar de Injuns is. Dat was atter de wah, en pappy had to raise dat little bitsy baby hisse'f. He tuk it en me to de tel' whar he workin', en kep' a bottle of sweeten water in he shirt to keep warm to gib de baby when it cry. Den Pappy he mai'ed Aunt Josie en dey had er whole passel er chilluns, en dey was my brudders en sisters."

"'Member 'bout de wah? Sho', I 'members 'bout de wah; but us can't hab no wah whar us was. Ole Marster got kilt in Virginny, dey said, en he didn't nebber come back home, en dem what did come back was all crippled up en hurt. Us didn't see no Yankees 'twel dey come along atter de wah was gone, en dey tuk Ole Mistis' good hosses en lef' some po' ole mules, en dey tuk all us's co'n en didn't lef' us nuddin' to eat in de smokehouse. Dey runned off all de chickens dey cudden ketch, en jes' fo' dey lef', de ole rooster flewed up on de fence 'hine de orchard en crow: 'IS-DE-YANKEES-G -O-N-E-E'? En de guinea settin' on de lot fence, say: 'Not Yit, Not Yit,' en de ole drake what was hid under de house, he say: 'Hush-h-h, Hush-h-h.'"

"Us chilluns sho was mischus. One time, atter a big rain, us foun' two hens swimmin' aroun' in de tater house, en us tuk en helt en under de water twel' dey's done drownded dead, en we tuk 'em to Mammy en she cooked 'em in a pot en shot de kitchen do'. When dem chickens got done, us went under de flo' en riz up a plank en got in de When en stole one ob dem chickens outen de pot en et it smack up. When Mammy foun' dat chicken gone, she tuk er brush broom an wo' us plum out. But us didn't keer; de brush broom didn't hurt nigh lak de chickens taste good." Aunt Roxy nodded her head and rocked back and forth, as if she enjoyed recalling those youthful escapades.

"Yassum, I kin see plenty good enough to sew, cep'n' I can't tread de needle, en I has to keep atter dese triflin' chilluns to hep me. You see dis quilt I'se piecin! Miss Lucy gwine gib me tree dollars fer it, coz she say it be made right, en dat's de way I makes em. Miss Lucy know she got er good quilt, when I gits t'ru wid it."

"Is yer got enny snuff, Missy? You don't dip snuff! No'me, I didn't tink you did."

(Wash. Copy, 4/27/37, D. H.)

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