Lucy with her daughters, Tracy (left) and Marcy (right), circa 1964.
When I think of my grandmother, Lessie Lucille Taylor (or Lucy, as she prefers to be called), I think of biscuits and gravy—something that fills you up, satisfies your soul and that a lot of Northerners don’t quite understand. My grandmother, my Gammy, doesn’t think she is anything special; in fact, most days she disagrees with the notion that her life has been anything but boring. I smile at her when she says this, because rarely is she wrong.
Born in the poor, rural mountains of Rabun County, Georgia, she lived in a modest home set on acres of sprawling land with her mother, father, and older sister. This was a town whose soundtrack was peppered by lone gunshots, the forlorn howls of dogs, and swift moving creek water. They spent their days keeping the livestock alive and usually ate homemade bread for supper. It was not glamorous or easy. Going to the bathroom required bringing your own light and the prayer that no creature was waiting to greet you in the outhouse. But it was their life and all she knew.
Loss first greeted her when she was six, the embers of resiliency sparking within her blood. Her mother was milking the cow when she noticed their house was on fire. It burned to the ground but not before my grandmother ran inside to save the three dresses her mother had ordered for her from Sears. They were thankful their cow did not burn, too. A cabinet filled with dishes also survived, and they rolled it down the hill, dishes and all, to be saved. Not one dish broke.