9 February 1917 - 23 July 1997
Evelyn Lambert Phillips, my paternal grandmother, was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. She loved me, and all of her grandchildren, very much and never failed to let us know it.
As her oldest grandchild I felt very special indeed. It is a joy to remember the countless Friday nights I "spent the night with Mamaw Phillips", the Saturday lunches of fried chicken because it was my favorite, the afternoon trips to Earline's store for the coca-cola that was Mamaw's treat for herself. There are the memories of the wonderful smell of her "dusting powder", the many bobby pins I sneaked out of her long, dark, curly hair. I can still see her smiling down at me as I measured my height against hers to see if I were getting taller, and it seemed I would never grow fast enough to catch up with her, a giant at four feet and ten inches tall. I can almost hear her voice calling me her "oldest grandbaby". I remember the day I was finally taller than she, the tears in her eyes as she hugged me on my wedding day, and the pure delight on her face the first time she saw her first great grandchild, my daughter.
Three months after the birth of my first child I went away to school. For the first time in our lives more than a day or two would pass between visits to Mamaw's house. She hated to see me leave and take that new granddaughter away, but never once did she say so. She encouraged me to go, to work hard, to finish school, and come home. For those three and one half years she wrote letters to me regularly, whether I wrote to her or not, and every letter began with the words "My precious, precious granddaughter ..."
When did her long dark curly hair change to white, and when did those pretty blue eyes fade to gray? I cannot quite remember, and it is only when I look at old photographs like this one that I recall the changes. In this photograph she was wearing her Easter dress, which can only be described as "a Mamaw dress". My aunts and cousins know EXACTLY what that means. She loved our family egg hunt at least as much as the children did.
Mamaw had good days and bad ones, and eventually she slipped away from us all. I sometimes think she wandered off in her mind to an earlier time, when she was young and her children were small. I do know she's in heaven now, and still keeping watch on her seven children, fifteen grandchildren, and twenty-one great grandchildren. I miss her.
Pam's Mississippi Genealogy
Pamela J. Gibbs | 11 Sandy Run Road | Hattiesburg, MS 39402 | (601) 264-8894 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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