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It Began With A Little White Table

I will identify this writing as "It Began With A Little White Table" because this is where I suddenly realized that it was time to search into the lives of my family, those who came long before me, and those elders whom I simply looked as just ordinary people who sat around on the porch and talked and dipped snuff or chewed on tobacco.

I was born in Rowan County, N.C. to Felicia House Belser and to John Evans, however neither one of them were married to each other. John had already had two women, and two children, a child each. My mom was still married, separated, raised three daughters, one of which was already married and whose son was born about the same time as I. To make that part of the story short, my mom eventually took me when I was little to live in Washington, D.C., and there I was raised. Of course there were times when I would come across these relatives, some of whom were older, and many of them still lived in the small town of Salisbury, N.C., and that's the way I saw it...simple.

Yet, there were stories. Once in a while, I could see her in the kitchen of the house that we lived in in South West Washington, D.C.. She sat at a little white table in the kitchen. It was not the exact table everyone sat at to eat, but somehow that little white table seemed to be some type of altar, a place where you went to meditate, and that's what she did. Of course, she would begin by opening up that can of Tube Rose Snuff, pinch a little bit of that brown powder stinky stuff and place it somewhere between the inside of her mouth and her teeth. When that snuff got really to the point of being liquid, she would then get a bottle or a jar and spit in it. That was when she would start talking about this person, and that person, and she would talke about some of them as thought they were still living. No, she was not crazy. Perhaps I may have thought it was weird, but each time she would sit at the little white table, there was something magic, and I felt that I knew these people. I heard the stories of the favorite brother, Eugene House, who got himself shot to death in Cincinnatti, Ohio; story about a niece of hers who choked on a chicken bone; and stories of the time my mother's mother along with my mother's mother's sister used to spend time teaching school. I will only close this chapter just to say that much of my research began at a little white table. Joseph

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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