Right now it’s 2:45 in the morning and I’m awake. I figured I would wake up early because I went to bed early. Oh well! Just means I get to drink more coffee.
Whenever I wake up like this I always think of my Grandma Hazel. She is my dad’s mother. She would come and stay with us and always get up this time of morning. She would put on these gold bedroom slippers and clop down the hall. The kind of gold slippers that had a heel in the back. As long as I can remember, she always wore them. We lived in a trailer so they made lots of noise on the floor. She would make coffee and clank her spoon on the cup as she stirred. Then about 6:00, when everyone else was getting up, she would go back to bed. We laugh about this now. Growing up, I was always called Little Hazel. She was my favorite Grandma!
She was born in 1917 as Hazel Irene Talbot in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana to William Talbot and Emma Samantha Hearn Talbot. Her dad worked as a logger. My Great Granny Talbot’s family (Hearn) was one of the original settlers in Jackson Parish Louisiana in 1857. They moved to the area from Georgia.
Grandma Hazel’s dad was killed in a logging accident in 1928 when she was about 13. I’m not sure what happened the next few years after that. In searching for my family, I find my Great Granny Talbot in the census for 1930 but no mention of my grandma. I know that she married Warner Rodgers around the same time when she was 15/16 although I can’t find a record of their marriage.
My grandma and grandpa had six kids. Five boys and one girl. My grandpa worked logging and in 1952, he was killed in a logging accident. This left my Grandma having to raise 6 kids by herself. I remember her saying that when the welfare officer visited they told her that my dad was old enough to go to work. He was 13 at the time. I remember stories she told me about the trouble my Aunt Sherlene would get into to. My Dad told me that once, Aunt Sherlene hit my Uncle Donald so hard that she left her hand print in the middle of his back. Back then, boys were taught not to hit girls. Not even their sister. Daddy said that she ran off in the fields and Grandma told him to go get her. Daddy said that she did the same thing to my Uncle Bruce expect she had a pencil in her hand that tore his shirt. My grandma was poor so that was probably the only shirt my Uncle Bruce had because that’s all she could afford. I think this time she said she had to sit on her to whip her. People were tough back then. My grandma was tough back then. She was a single mother raising 6 kids all by herself. That took some guts.
As life changed and she got older and kids left home she traveled. She loved to travel. She had a son that lived in California so she would visit him. Then she would come back to Louisiana and visit her other kids. She had diesel fuel in her blood. I inherited that part. I love to travel. When I married a military guy and travelled to Europe I wished she had been able to go with us. This was in 1983 and by that time her health wouldn’t let her travel much anymore. Sadly, she made her final trip in 1989.
I have thought about her often as I have travelled around in my life and wished she was here. She would have loved to visit Europe. So Grandma, if you up there listening, I miss you and wish you were here living with me in Arizona. What travelling we could do!