Welcome to Day Three of the tour through Miss Pookie's grandfather's house on Gwynn's Island. Mathews Mark was kind enough to show me around the place last Saturday.
This is a shot of the staircase which leads up to the third floor of the century-old house. It's taken from the same spot as the one below, but I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so here they are, both of them.
Yesterday I showed you a picture of the staircase from the front door as you walk in. Mathews Mark was busy looking through boxes and telling us all sorts of things about the house, but all I could think about was going upstairs. After snapping some photos downstairs, I cautiously put my foot on the first stair and said, "Do you think this will hold me?" "I don't know," said a very wise Mathews Mark.
The very silly Chesapeake Bay Woman, figuring a fall from a couple of stairs could only hurt so much, placed the other foot on the step. She grabbed the railing and gave her a shake. Solid. Then she gave a little hop followed by a stomp. Nary a budge. With that, she scampered up the stairs, two children following her, while Mathews Mark was left wondering what clause of a home insurance policy would ever
cover three people falling through the second floor of a great-grandfather's old house.
But come to find out, the second floor was solid too. Not even one place was unsafe, unless you want to count the hole in the floor where the chimney used to be, which we didn't
Around the corner was yet another
set of solidly built steps in almost immaculate condition. Up we trotted to the third floor, where this gorgeous wallpaper had been waiting for years, hoping someone would come along to take its picture. Isn't it beautiful?
The third floor was practically untouched, other than by a few raccoons. Unlike the first and second floors, the walls were still intact, and perfectly usable furniture adorned the two bedrooms. One room overlooking the
back yard and the chicken coop must have been for children. The wallpaper was very playful.
There are other pictures of the interior, but it's time now to take a walk down the road to visit with Miss Pookie, who is the mother of 4 sons, including Mathews Mark and Mathews Mountain Man (MMM in the Comments). She also takes care of her 98-year-old father, the oldest living resident of Gwynn's Island. (He may be 99, this is an important fact, but there was some debate between Mathews Mark and Miss Pookie and I can't remember who said what. Pookie said he was 99, I think.)
Miss Pookie is the hardest working lady I've ever met. In addition to raising 4 boys, she worked as a postmaster (postmistress?) for many years at the tiny little Hardyville post office, where she was once approached by a man who had landed his ultralight airplane in the field out back. He wanted to know if she would close up the post office for 30 minutes so he could take her up for a ride. "I told him no siree there wasn't aaaaaannyyy way!
he was getting me inside one of those things, thank you very much!"
Mathews Mark then pointed out that one of our former postmasters would shut down the post office for a week to go on vacation. Can't do that any more without getting in a little bit of trouble, so imagine what they'd say about the postmaster shutting down for an airplane ride, not that you could pay Pookie any amount of money to go.
Miss Pookie's at once funny, brilliant, brutally honest, beautiful, sarcastic, caring, opinionated, playful, old-fashioned, youthful, loving and stubborn--but in a good way.
Here she is. Can't you feel the personality coming through? She has a wonderful southern accent which sings in the background as she tells her stories.
Notice behind her on the kitchen wall, there's a rotary phone. That's her primary phone, and when it rings, she comes to the kitchen and stands there to talk (or sits at the kitchen table). Much like my parents, who don't even own an answering machine, she's not worried about whether she makes it to the phone in time or not. If it's important they'll call back.
As I was explaining to the Chesapeake Bay Children how a rotary phone differs from a push button phone, and how rarely they were used today, Miss Pookie chimed right in.Miss Pookie:
"Those people will call up and tell me to push 1 for this or 2 for that! They don't understand I don't have any buttons to push
"No, they probably don't. Most everybody has those push buttons now."Miss Pookie:
"So sometimes when they tell me to push 2, I'll dial the 2 on the phone, but nothing happens."CBW:
Yes, you pretty much have to have a newer phone to do those sorts of things."Miss Pookie:
"You wouldn't believe it. Just here recently I got a call, and the lady on the other end told me to Press 1 without even telling me what I had to press it for."CBW:
"I hate those calls."Miss Pookie:
"She kept repeating, Press 1 now. Finally, I told her I didn't have any buttons to push since all I had was a rotary dial.CBW:
"You told this to the recorded message?"Miss Pookie:
There was a brief moment of silence as she paused to reflect upon this. It probably had not occurred to her that the voice on the other might not be a live human being. Then she said, confidently and proudly, "Why yes I did."
She also told us how Grandma kept a shotgun in the kitchen and threatened to shoot if the boys didn't shave according to her standards - no beards or five o'clock shadows allowed. It sounded an awful lot like Miss Pookie threatening to take off her shirt at the dinner table if her boys ever showed up to eat without theirs on. As Mathews Mark told us several days ago, one time they forgot her threats and showed up shirtless to eat. She proceeded to take hers right on off
and ate in her bra. She's a woman of her word.
In Chesapeake Bay Daughter's notes she quotes Miss Pookie as saying, "Mathews Mountain Man would say 'Mumma, don't tell it, don't tell it!' (presumably talking about the no shirt story, although CB Daughter says it was about any story)
, and Miss Pookie would say, "I'm going
to tell it! It's my
story and I'm going
to tell it."
There's only one Miss Pookie, and only she can tell her stories. I think the world of her and greatly admire her endurance and stamina. She's really remarkable.
Sorry this is so long, but there's so much to say. Stay tuned for more Tidbits Told by Pookie, coming soon to a blog near you.