From Hell to Breakfast Page: 21
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CARRIE DYKES - MIDWIFE
By RUBY PICKENS TARTT
C ARRIE'S HOUSE is a dilapidated affair; the roof
leaks in bad weather, the gallery needs patching in a
dozen places, and the rickety front steps give under
the slightest weight, but her yard is aglow with flowers. She
has made the place cheerful with zinnias, marigolds, peren-
nial sunflowers and verbena; and their bright pattern some-
how reflects her attitude toward life.
Carrie was a child when she first went to work, and from
childhood work is all she has ever known. Now at sixty-
eight, she finds herself with a "house full uv motherless
chillun," and an old Negro woman, a former midwife (no
relative of hers, but simply a helpless old woman she has
taken in) to provide for.
"I was born in Belmont," said Carrie, " 'bout ten miles
from Coatopa, and I growed up in de white folks yard, an'
I ain't never got very far from 'em. When I warn't more
than knee high I come to stay wid Miss Helen Mitchell an'
her sister Miss Minnie Gillespie, but Miss Minnie was sick
all de time an' couldn't take a step by herself, an' I slept
right 'side her on de cot an' nussed her day an' night. My
Mammy was a slave an' b'longed to Mr. John Morley, an'
Aunt Creasy, my grandmammy, b'longed to him too, an'
they lived so close us didn't never git lonesome fer one
another. The Mitchells, Miss Helen's folks, was good to
me, an' give me a heap of things jes' lack the white chillun
had an' that's how come I always had plenty of dolls to
"Speakin' 'bout Miss Minnie, she couldn't walk nowhere
an' us had to ride her in de wheel barrow, an' pull her
through de garden an' down de road a piece to git her air.
One time she was settin' on de gallery, an' I was on de floor
'side her playin' with us dolls. I 'members hit jes' as good!
Miss Agnes an' Miss Jennie come callin'. They lived 'jining
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. From Hell to Breakfast, book, 1944; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67649/m1/29/: accessed February 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.