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Listen closely and write about what you have heard

I know most people have regrets in their life, especially as one gets older. One of my big regrets is not listening more closely to my elders and not keeping a journal. Like today Jane and I were talking about the kind of liniment that Mama used to make. All I could remember was it had aspirin in it. Mama talked about it but I didn’t pay enough attention to her to know how to make it.

I know nothing about my Bolin Kin. Why did I not try to find out about the family while there was someone still alive who could have told me some of the family history be it good or bad? Most of the family members went to California years and years ago. Very few trips were made back to Arkansas. When my Uncle George and Aunt Zetta Bolin came for a visit I was too young to care about the family. When Connie was a baby Aunt Zetta came to Arkansas wanting to stay with me as I was the only Bolin living in Greenwood at the time. Having a new baby and a stranger staying with me I was a nervous wreck. I called Mama to have her insist that SHE wanted Aunt Zetta to stay with her. She was almost a stranger to her too. If I had known then what I know now I would have been asking questions about the family.

When I was very small Daddy’s brother Jim and his family did come for a visit and they stayed at our house. All I remember there was a cousin by the name of Charles. After I was big enough to care I never saw them or heard about them again.

Another regret was not writing the things Mrs. Hughart told me. She just never talked about being German as she seemed to be ashamed of the fact since she had had a son who fought in Germany. I understand when the German prisoners were at Chaffee some of them escaped and were captured in Greenwood. The officers brought the prisoners by the Hughart house and asked Mrs. Hughart to interpret for them. The story goes she started to cry and went into the house. She was a very shy woman. One cold winter’s afternoon I was sitting with her when she started talking about her life in Germany. Not one time did I think of writing down her story. She told of herding geese on the hillside as if they were sheep, and delivering bread in an open basket from the bakery her grandparents operated. I can’t even remember the city they lived in. She told of her father homesteading land in Oklahoma and of her having to go after dark to get the cows and how scared she was as wolves ran in packs at that time. She told about one night her father being outside when she heard loud talking of a group of men and how her father came into the house to tell them to get in the wagon as they were leaving. They loaded what they could and ended up in the Fidelity Community. Why didn’t I write all of this down? Thank goodness there are Braden descendants that have kept the Braden history alive.

I can tell you the people I miss the most when I need or want to know something about Greenwood or its people of long ago and that is the late Kermit McNabb, Jake Stewart and Arl McConnell. With their passing a lot of history was lost. Mr. McNabb told me so much about Greenwood and its people. It was so interesting to hear who lived in what house, who was kin to whom, who worked where and bits of gossip that passed down through the years. I used to take Mr. Mac over to Pink Bud once a week to visit Jake and Ark. The three would spend an hour or two together. I didn’t stay to hear what was said nor did I have a recorder to record their conversations. The more I think about it maybe it was a good thing I didn’t record it.

I would like to encourage everyone to listen closely and write about what you have heard as some day you might try to remember things like what your Mother put in her liniment.

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