"If it took a scoldin'," Jessie was saying the other day about the way she raised her children, "they got a scoldin'. If it took a spankin', they got a spankin'.
"We didn't have any problems with 'em. We're a God-fearing family. We were God-fearing parents. My husband and I united together. We were Christians, and that's the way we raised our family. " They raised it well. From the oldest to the youngest, "we never have been put in jail, girls or boys," Jessie said. "With nine children, I think that's pretty good. " She taught her kids with simple wisdom. Stealing was no good, because once you get things "with a clear conscience, you won't have to look over your shoulders. " She told them that smokers and drinkers, "when they get through clownin', what have they gained? Nothin'. And maybe they've lost. " Jessie was born 79 years ago in McIntosh County and didn't move away until all nine children were grown and gone.
She went to school at Huttonville, a rural settlement out west of town, and there she met her future husband. Going to church and picnics and ball games, "I guess we just got started liking each other," Jessie said. "He was a nice man. " And so began their simple life that to this day lives on in later generations. Nine children, 24 grandkids, nine great-grandkids. "It's a credit to the foundation," she said. "It's followed on. " It was a life built around family, church and the farm.
A life void of big-talkers and self-promoters. A life void of luxuries, but also void of wants.
Years later, one of the younger boys would call it "a quiet approach to life. You were busy, but it was a peaceful busyness. We had food, we had shelter, we had each other, we had church and God.
We didn't look for much more than that. " The farm had horses, cows, pigs, mules and chickens. Jessie never went to a store for vegetables or milk or butter.
Her husband was quite the working man. Early in the morning to late in the evening, on the farm.
The farm helped raise the kids right, Jessie figures. "There was always something you had for them to do. If I did it over, I'd be right out in the country, bring those children up, learn 'em how to work. We started out early learnin' 'em how to work. " At the Huttonville Baptist Church, Jessie was a deaconess, her husband was a deacon and the kids were so involved that some of them were Sunday School officers - superintendent and secretary - before they got out of high school.