The House on Mississippi Avenue

Photo: 

This is a picture of the front of the house on Mississippi Avenue. Robert and Lizzie Jim Farmer lived here (need dates) along with Shirley. At various times, Robert's brother Charlie lived there, and so did Hub and Alma Sanders and their son, Billy. The tall boy in the picture is Leslie Phillips. The smaller boy is Glen Gowdy. When I asked Mama (Shirley) about this picture, this is what she told me.
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Leslie Phillips swam across the Mississippi River. He lived down the street. He was probably 7 or 8 years older than me. He was Jimmy Shane's cousin. Mimi and I went to his funeral at Forest Hill Midtown, and the preacher said that when he was 18 he swam across the Mississippi River.

On the porch, just to the left of the column next to Leslie, is the glider that is currently in my back yard. The columns on the porch were made of wood and were hollow. The one at the end had a hole in the bottom and the bees got in there and made a nest. I don't remember how we got rid of them. Someone is sitting on the porch - probably Papa or Charlie.

The porch wrapped around the corner to the right, and there was a door at the end that went into where Hub and Alma lived. There was also a door on the side that went into the room where Charlie lived. In the beginning Charlie and Thelma (his wife) lived in all the rooms on that side of the house. There was a kitchen with pocket doors between it and the first bedroom/living room. Then there was a second bedroom behind the kitchen. Charlie caught Thelma running around with a bus driver so he divorced her. Mimi and Papa had to go to court and testify.

After that, Hub and Alma moved in. Charlie had the front bedroom and Hub, Alma and Billy had the back bedroom and kitchen. Mimi and Papa and I lived on the other side of the house. We had a kitchen, a bedroom, a big wide hall, and a living room. Mimi kept the door closed between the hall and the living room, so it was cold in the living room. I had to practice the piano in the living room, wearing gloves because it was so cold. We went out to the Pink Palace and this lady looked at my hands. She said, "Look at those hands - you'll be good at playing the piano." It took nine years to prove that she was wrong.

The only heat we had was a coal stove in the kitchen and a gas stove in the bedroom. and once in a while they would put a fire in the fireplace. It was a pretty fireplace. It had marbleized tiles and round posts going up. The man that owned the house was Mr. Sanders - no relation. He had a monument company and there were 2 or 3 pieces of monuments in the back yard. The side door on the left was extra wide. Probably in the beginning, he had his business on one side and the monument company on the other side, When he moved into a two story building down the streed, he rented the house.

There was a big attic with permanent steps and a basement. From our kitchen, steps went up to the attic or down to the basement. The basement was where the car was parked. There was also a shower in the basement under the right side of the house in a little room. Hub and Papa and Charlie rigged it up so in the summer time we could take a shower. There was no hot water though. There was no bathtub and no indoor toilet.

We raised turkeys one year and they all died. We had a mama sow and a litter of pigs. We butchered the sow and sold the pigs. I had a goat and when I came home one day they had taken it to Leonards and had it barbecued. We had a lot of chickens and Papa had a good garden there. This was mostly during WWII. One day I was out in the front yard and saw an airplane crash. Mimi wouldn't believe me until she heard it on the radio.

The yard was big enough that we laid out a miniature golf course with 9 holes. We sunk tin cans in the ground. I loved to play golf and they called me Putter. Somewhere there's a picture of me with a golf club in this yard.

Where was this?: 
1749 Mississippi Ave, Memphis, TN
When was this?: 
1940s

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