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                   I'll Always Think of Biscuits

When ever I think of my maternal grandmother Irma Wiese Ladner, I think of biscuits. She could bake the best biscuits ever. I would sit down and eat a dozen or more which always amazed her. They were that good.  Especially with good butter, and a cup of milk coffee.

She was a fantastic cook, mother, grandmother, and friend. All who knew her adored her. She was also a fantastic story teller. She told the kind of stories I liked to hear most, real stories, about her life as a child, and beyond.  What follows is just some of the stories I heard from her about growing up in New Orleans.


                        Who She Was

Maw Maw was born in New Orleans, La. Her father owned a grocery store. She was the second of three girls, Laura Edith, (De De) the oldest and Ednamae (Nanin) the youngest. 

Maw Maw married William Victor Ladner, and moved to Ms, there they raised four children. Kenneth Ladner, Roger Ladner, Gaynelle Ladner Saucier, and Janice Ladner. Maw Maw worked in the school cafeteria in order to be able to send her four children to the Catholic School of St. John's in Gulfport. I'm not sure if this is where she perfected her cooking or not, but she is one of the best cooks I know!

     


               My First Memory of Maw Maw

  My first memory of Maw Maw is standing in her living room, with her and Aunt Janice dancing around me with their arms linked, and singing, 'Here we go round the Michelle bush.' I was so mad! Momma had left me with them while she went somewhere, and I didn't want to stay and had been crying. They were so silly, that I eventually had to laugh. This was typical Maw Maw! She could take something bad and always turn it around with laughter and love. Thank God, she passed this on down to my Mother, and now I use the same Maw Mawissms on my children.

                  Things Maw Maw Told Me

Maw Maw always had wonderful songs to sing and stories to tell. Many of them handed down from her childhood growing up in New Orleans.
Often she would annoy me by waking me up singing this one:

Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
So early in the morning?
No, no Mother, I won't get up,
I won't get up, I won't get up.
No, no Mother, I won't get up,
So early in the morning.

Lazy Mary, will you get up,
Will you get up, will you get up?
Lazy Mary, will you get up,
So early in the morning?
What'll you give me for my breakfast,
For my breakfast, for my breakfast?
What'll you give me for my breakfast,
So early in the morning?

A little bowl of bread and milk,
Of bread and milk, of bread and milk.
A little bowl of bread and milk,
So early in the morning.
Then, no, no Mother, I won't get up,
I won't get up, I won't get up.
Then, no, no Mother, I won't get up,
So early in the morning.

A nice young man with rosy cheeks,
With rosy cheeks, with rosy cheeks!
A nice young man with rosy cheeks,
So early in the morning.
Then, yes, yes, Mother, I will get up,
I will get up, I will get up.
Then, yes, yes Mother, I will get up,
So early in the morning.

But one of my favorites by far was the next one, I still find myself singing it today.

Twelve o'clock is striking
Mother may I go out
Mother may I go out
Mother may I go out
A nice young man is waiting to take me all about
Mother may I go out
Mother may I go out
Mother may I go out
Hand me down my bonnet
Hand me down my shawl
Hand me down my walking stick
Umbrella and all

She had a cute little one we used to do together. It used to tickle her that I could remember the answers to say to her each time I was the only one who could remember.

Good Morning Glory
How to dew berry
Fine Comb
Good bicycle
Tomato can shoe string do whop

My daughter reminded me the other day of this one. She said Mother I sure hope you don't terrify my children with that old scary lady story like ya'll did me.

Soapy Sally was an old lady who lived out on the streets, and she always knew when a little boy or girl was naughty. She would come and get them and make soap out of them. Better be good or Soapy Sally may come get you.

Just think back in the day no one thought anything of telling their kids such things, now a days parents would probably get in trouble for saying such a thing.

Many of the little tunes were right from the streets of Old New Olreans, such as the rag man song.

Any rags,
any bones,
any bottles today?
Rag Man,
Rag Man


                        Colored Sand

Maw Maw told me once a story about how when she was a little girl she and her sister's colored sand and put it in glass bottles with a wax topper and then sold it. She said they would make patterns out of the sand. In the heat of the summer she used to sit under the house where it was cool and the ground was sandy, that is where she got the idea.

I of course had to try it. The sand just clumped and didn't look so good, and none of the kids in the neighborhood wanted to spend their snowball money on clumpy half colored sand.


                      Nanin and the Flood

Everyone knows of couse that New Orleans floods. Well Maw Maw told us about her younger sister Ednamae, (called Nanin by her family) and one of the times it flooded in New Orleans.

It seems that there was to be a birthday party at one of Nanin's friends house and the day before it rained and rained. Their mother said, looks like know one will be going to a party if this doesn't let up. Well, it didn't until the next day, and when they got up the streets were so flooded that people were using small boats and pirogues to get down them. Nanin insisted that she still wanted to go to the party. Her mother said no. Well, a few hours later they noticed that Nanin was nowhere to be found. Apparently she took the washtub and a wood slat and used it as a boat to get down the street to her friends house. Maw Maw said they were all so scared because there were snakes in those waters, and the current was fast, and they did not know what had happened unitl her mother was able to stop someone with a boat and get them to take her to the party to see if Nanin was there. Sure enough there she was at the table eating cake. Maw Maw would laugh then and say, her mother was so mad, but Nanin really didn't get into any trouble over it all.

I always thought that I would be like Nanin, and go in a washtub, it sounded like a big adventure.
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