Mama and My Grandma Beady

Mama and Beady

This is my mother, Eva, and her mother, my grandmother, Beady.

Grandma Beady’s parents had been born slaves. By the time she was born, slavery had ended, and her parents were sharecroppers or tenant farmers who gave a part of each crop back as rent. Beady married Walter Davis. Beady and Walter had two daughters. Their firstborn was named Thelma, and the second and last child was named Eva. Eva is my mother. Grandma Beady was tall and rail-thin. She had high cheekbones, and smooth skin and was gorgeous.

One of my most special memories was watching Grandma Beady, Aunt Thelma, and my mother getting dressed for church. They were dignified, strong, beautiful, stubborn, and incredibly stylish. They made their own clothes, styled their own hair, and wore red lipstick. To this day, I buy and wear only red lipstick. To me, lipstick is not lipstick if it’s not red.

They smelled good too. Before leaving for church, they would gently spray me and my sister Roberta with cologne. For the longest time, I thought the name for perfume and cologne was “to a wild rose.” It turns out that was just the name of the Avon cologne that my mother always bought. Before church or any other special occasion, she would ask, “Do you want a little ‘to a wild rose’?” So, I thought anything that sprayed and smelled good was called “to a wild rose.”

--- Except from ---You Don't Know Crazy