My stories about Winslow are intertwined with Muren, Maryville, Turkey Hill and thereabouts.
Ma and Grandpa Bolin in their yard at Muren, Indiana
I loved my great grandma, Margaret Sophire Dixon Bolin. Neighbors in Muren knew her as Maggie Bolin. To all of us, she was just Ma. She died in 1968 at the age of 87, when I was just eight years old. I have fond memories of her. I can’t remember her voice, but I think it must have sounded quite a bit like the gentle quiet Alzheimer’s voice that her daughter, Barbara (my Mammaw Evans) , uses now. I remember Ma being soft. Her hands were wrinkly and soft. Her old worn cotton dresses were soft. Her hair was soft. She even smelled soft, if that is possible. Grandpa lived there too, but my only memory of him is laying on an old couch, chewing tobacco and eating horehound drops. It was always Ma’s house to me.
Muren Indiana. We used to live in the one with the lighter roof. Then my grandma lived there. Photo courtesy of David Young.
We lived just a few houses over the hill from Ma’s house on Muren Road. My dad would put my brother and me in a red wagon and pull us down there. Sometimes he would let us “drive” ourselves down to Ma’s house halfway down Muren Hill. I would be thrilled and screaming at the same time. Dad would always be right there running beside of us ready to grab us.
Ma was always happy to see you. She would stop what she was doing and go inside to find you a sweet. I remember following her into the kitchen of her little house to the old Hoosier cabinet she had. You had to walk past Grandpa lying on the living room couch, who would offer you a nasty chew or a nasty horehound drop and then laugh. Most times, Ma didn’t have candy. She would pull down the canister and give you a lump of brown sugar. To this day, forty years later, I eat brown sugar lumps when I bake and think of Ma. They had a persimmon tree in their back yard and she always had persimmon pudding in the early winter. I tried that, but never liked it.
At Christmas, on the old Hoosier cabinet, there would be a little Christmas tree. I was about eye level with the countertop of that cabinet at the time. The little tree would have little aluminum foil balls and stars on it with red yarn. There may have been a few ornaments, but the foil decorations are what I remember. She would have thumbprint butter cookies then. I tried those and I liked them.
Family at Ma and Grandpa's House In Muren
Ma came to my birthday party at my Mammaw and Pappa Evans house in Maryville. For some reason, I think I was turning six. I remember running out to the porch to greet her and her hugging me. She gave me a quarter and a little Tinkerbell doll. I still have that little doll.
My toy Ma gave me
Ma moved to town in Winslow sometime after Grandpa died and lived in a little trailer by her sister, Lula Jones and son, Denver. She still kept brown sugar lumps there. But the little house in Muren is what I remember most.
When my Mammaw Evans was still at home and at herself, she would give me things. I collected teapots. She had an old Blue Onion teapot I had always wanted. She gave me that one and told me to go in the cellar and get that old green one of Ma’s too. I cherish both of them now.
Ma Bolin's teapot that Mammaw gave me.
She had a little box of Ma’s old stuff. You know, the box of stuff you get when the family gets together and splits up everything your loved one considered worthy of keeping over 50 years. She had Ma’s old sunbonnet. Yes, Ma wore one of those old tie under the chin homemade sunbonnets. And there were some old war bonds, notes and other things. I scanned some of the old papers she kept. Some are kind of funny, some are obituaries and some are just downright sad tales.
Our family completed the packing of boxes and splitting up of my Mammaw Evans’s stuff when she went to the nursing home and sold her house. I can only hope my children will have the same memories of her, their great grandma, someday. Maybe when they see the old orange cookie jar with the big yellow flower on it‘s front. My brothers and I pooled our money and bought her that for Christmas around 1972. She kept it on a little table by the window with cookies in it. Every visit consisted of grabbing a cookie, no matter how old you were. Just like at her mother‘s, you were always welcome at Mamma‘s house. She would just be sitting at the kitchen table and say “Come on in hon and sit down”. She was happy to see you.
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