Mary Malissa Autry Leverette (My grandmother)
By Robert Michael Leverette 2 Feb 2006
Transcribed & php scripting added by Jeff Leverette 12 Nov 2020

 Grandma always had a milk cow in a small barn on the left rear of her house in Hinsonton which she milked every day for fresh milk and for  butter. When the cow went dry, grandma would trade her for another wet cow, generally from one of her brothers. She would never get a wet  cow that she did not know the history of, or from someone she didn't particularly like. When Janice and I were kids, mom and dad would send us  down to spend a week or so with grandma. During these times she would take me to the barn to help milk the cow and always allowed me to  have a cup of fresh warm milk straight from the cow, delicious. Later she would get the churn out and make me sit there and churn butter under  her constant watch of course. She would often scold me (lightly scold) for not churning fast enough or either I was churning too fast, I never  really got the hang of it. Often grandpa Autry would scold her for making me do the churning; you know, woman's work!

 Grandma always kept a huge wooden bowl filled with flour and this is where she mixed the biscuits; she would scoop a shallow hole and pour the  milk in and mixed the biscuits, or dumplings, or cake batter, etc. This was unlike Jeannette and I who have to get measuring cups and measure  out the exact amounts of every thing. Grandma would simply rake in a little more flour if she had to much milk and continue mixing until the  dough was to her satisfaction. Those were the best biscuits I have ever eaten. While Janice and I was down there grandma would keep biscuits  made and covered with a dish towel made from old cloth flour bags. When we wanted a biscuit all we had to do was go get one out of the  basket, punch a hole in it with two fingers, put fresh butter and jam in the hole and off we went. Again delicious.
 Once while grandma was living with Aunt Hilda in Sefner Florida, and I was down visiting, I asked grandma to make me some of those marvelous  biscuits, she replied that she would like to but couldn't, for she no longer had a wood stove nor could she get proper flour, in her words, "they no  longer made the flour right!"

Back before her children bought her a washing machine, grandma would wash clothes outside in a black cauldron she kept in the back yard. Some times she would use ready-made soap but more often she made the soap as she needed it. She would build a fire under the pot and let the water come to a boil and then add a little grease from her cooking grease, add a little of the ashes from previous fires (for the lye) and stir the cauldron until a soap was formed. She would then take a ladle and scoop out the remains of the ashes and place her clothes in the pot of hot water. With a scrubbing board, grandma would proceed to wash the clothes and when I was there she would get me, usually made me, hang them on the lines. Again, this would upset Grandpa Autry.
Some times when grandma didn't need to wash, or had some spare time, she would make the soap for later clothes washing or for the various usages in the house.

Once during the time Aunt Velma Lee was bed ridden before she died, Uncle Luther Leverette called and said grandma would be staying with them for several days and come down and visit with her. I can't remember if Jeannette was with me or not but I went down to visit and during one of our conversations, I mentioned that momma had died from breat cancer. WOW! Grandma hit the ceiling, very angry, and told me that I was being crude, "you do not say "breast" in mixed company, it is very rude. In mixed company you refer to them as "tits" or "bosom" but never breast."

Needless to say, I was very flabbergasted. Grandma went on and on about it for at least twenty minutes explaining the difference in the terminology. I/We were down there for about three hours and as I was leaving grandma scolded me again about using the word "breast" in polite society. I do believe that this was the maddest I have ever seen my grandmother.

I wonder how she would react today with all the posters around requesting people to help fight breast cancer?

Some of her favorite saying were like: "When he/she was still a titty sucking baby" or " He/she is as worthless as tits on a boar hog."

Once after I started researching the family, I asked grandma about the different people and she said, "Son, my memory is so bad that I doubt if I can help you any, I do seem to remember---," For over two hours, we sat there with her telling me stories and with me writing as fast as I could. I wish I had used a tape recorder for I am sure I missed a lot while trying to write her tales. After the two hours or so, she said, "I am sorry but I just can't think of anything that would help you!"
It is from this session that I have written the stories of Jasper and Nancy Leverett, my great-grandparents.

Aunt Hilda was born February 25, 1911 and herein lies a mystery. Henry Calvin Leverett's and Mary M. Autry's official marriage record in Mitchell County Court House states they were married in Dec. 1910. I asked grandma about this and she said "NO, they were married Dec. 1909." Uncle Enoch and Aunt Bernice also said grandma was married in 1909. The 1910 census of Mitchell County list Henry Calvin Leverett as single and living in a boarding house. However, it appears that the Census takers for Mitchell Co. started taking their portion of the Census in 1909, So!

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