I had a good childhood. I started cooking when I was nine. I worked hard, came up rough—nine sisters and four brothers. I went to the field at about ten years old. No favorite thing, just had to do it all. I knew I had to do it so I didn’t mind doing it. I stayed in the field more than I did at school. We stayed in the field from March until the last of June. Then we go back to pick in August. And gather the crop until December—millet, corn, potatoes. I had a hard time but I made it.
My older brother Ebenezer, if he picked two hundred pounds, I’d pick two hundred, too. But he plowed. He and my daddy did that.
I was never alone working; all kids worked together. When I married, my children kept me company—I had twelve. We went through a hard time but they were and are a blessing. Thank God for them.
I come up quilting, too. My mom is Allie Pettway, father was John the Baptist Pettway. Mom had me quilting. We had to use four frames and hang up in the loft. I pieced some quilts but I’d rather quilt. Rather quilt than put it up, ’cause there’s so much beating on the cotton to spread it out and then whip it onto the frame. Set the frame on blocks to whip it in. Piecing and quilting takes a lot of sitting down. I don’t like to be sitting down too long a time.