My name is Bettye Jones-Westbrook. I was born in a family of ten siblings. Six sisters and four brothers. My parents did the best that they could to raise us with God’s help. My parents were not educated. My momma learned to read when my oldest sister started school. They learned together. My daddy never learned to read. Education was important for his children though, so we had to go to school. Daddy was the first-born out of his siblings. His father’s name was Matthew, and he was born during slavery. When slavery ended, my grandfather had no family except his father and mother, because his two brothers were sold during slavery.
Daddy worked hard farming, and at the end of the year, he would just break even. One day, Daddy came home and said to my mother that they did not make it. Because he did not break even, they lost the farm. But he had an option to stay on the farm and continue work for the person that he was share chopping with …but God.
I can remember how Daddy would only buy what they did not raise on the farm. He came home with a barrel of flour, sugar, salt and the major items. Momma would use the flour sacks along with some cloth to make our dresses. I can remember momma looking in the Sears catalog to make our dresses, and that was a gift from God. Daddy was the best dad. He would take us riding in the horse and wagon. He owned a horse named Bob, and a mule named Ole Jim.
At the age of twelve, I can remember my daddy saying, “Yes sir” to a white boy my age. I stood there feeling so awful, and I think the young guy was embarrassed too. But that was him, and the time he was from. You see, Daddy was born July 3, 1903. My parents bought their first truck in 1953, and my brother was the driver.
My daddy loved God above all. He was the janitor at our church. He also served as a deacon. I can remember momma telling us that she taught daddy a verse in the Bible each week, so when he helped with the devotion, no one would know that he could not read. What love!
My Daddy would take us to Church every Sunday. Ironing, playing ball and cards was not allowed because Sunday was Holy. With the help of God, my daddy kept his family together. He was a family man. God blessed him to see six of his children grown and doing well and a host of grandchildren. He had one son in college, and two in school when he went home to be with the Lord. I loved my dad, and I thank God for him. When up against the odds, he didn’t give up. He made a stand and trusted God for everything.
About Timeless Memories
For centuries, we have used story telling as a way to maintain our traditions, values, and history. As we have transitioned to the 21st century, we use the internet and social media to share who we are -creating a gap in our story telling traditions for those that experienced some of the most prolific events of the last 100 years. The Great Depression, two World Wars, miraculous medications and awesome inventions mark some of the incredible happenings witnessed first hand by today’s seniors, many of whom do not use email or the internet. The stories of how we lived life before computers may be lost in the shuffle from paper and pen to bits and bytes.
Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation is a compilation of stories, poems and reflections of the seniors participating in our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy Program. This one of a kind program offers a platform for our writers to leave a footprint of their history to this generation and beyond.
A portion of all sales benefit St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Waco, Texas, provider of Writing for the Soul Workshop Legacy.