Ms. Annie

If you lived at Brownville Alabama, during the forties and fifties, you probably knew my Grandma. Most people called her "Ms. Annie". She was a unique small lady only five feet tall. Her seventy years of life was spent doing things for her family, friends, or anyone who needed help. She was a proud mother of nine children and lots of grandchildren.

Back then Grandma had a part-time job as a saleslady. She sold "Blair Products", door to door. Her selling was done by walking. One of the hot items was liniment. This was a item that everyone needed. It would cure everything from an insect bite or bee sting to a scraped knee. Another hot item was vanilla flavoring or lemon flavoring. These were her best sellers. Grandma would take the orders, then go to the post office and mail them off. It would take a week or so to get the orders back. Then she would deliver the merchandise. She didn’t make much money. The company would send her premiums or sample products for pay. These were picked from a catalog that was sent to her. Grand ma was so proud of the gifts. These were given to family or friends as gifts.

I can remember Grandma sitting at the table with mother as I left for school. She had stopped by to see if mother needed something. As she took orders or delivered the products, she would run errands for people. There was an elderly school teacher in the neighborhood who wasn’t able to go to the post office for her mail. She would pick it up and take it to her every day. Another neighbor was sick, dying of cancer, her mail was picked up too. If they needed something from the store, she picked that up too. The packages were carried in her arms. I know there were times when she got awfully tired. But she never complained as she went on her way.

She walked everywhere she went and always wore high-heeled shoes. In the wintertime she would have socks on. Can you imagine wearing high-heel shoes, walking on gravel roads? She was never paid for running errands. Her pay was the joy she got when she helped someone.

Ms. Annie is no longer with us. She’s been gone for several years. In my memory I can still see her, with those high-heel shoes on, walking up and down the hills at Brownville.

Written November 15, l999 By Doris Odom