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Remembering Momma

Posted by blamethebanjo on Sunday, May 3, 2009

She was born in Western Kentucky in January 1916. A cold harsh winter during a harsher situation. Born in the middle of seven sisters to a poor share cropper and his wife. These were days of dirt floors in cabins with no screens in the windows in a place known for it's mosquitos and many other biting, disease carrying pests.

Included in that group were mice and rats who roamed everywhere searching for some scrap of food often finding that there was nothing to be found. During the night it was not uncommon for a baby to cry out having been bitten by one of these rodents.

You see, the only way to survive the stifeling heat in the summer was to leave the windows open hoping a slight breeze might blow in the house.  But living in the woods meant a lot of things could come in the house. Today It seems impossible to believe people lived like this. They did and my father grew up close by under the same circumstances.

The so called Roaring Twenties went unheard in Hopkins County Kentucky and while the world started driving automobiles and enjoying modern convieniences things were bad in their little community and soon to become even worse.

The Great Depression roared in making earning a rare dollar even harder. A nickle bought a lot and unlike today, a lost penny wasn't ignored. My grandfather Daugherty managed to come up with enough money one year to buy my Grandmother a used Sears Supertone guitar. I still have this little guitar today. It is the guitar my Mom and her sisters all learned to play on.

Mom and my aunts had angelic voices and were known by all the locals as The Singing Daugherty Girls. My Dad was one who heard the beautiful harmony and no doubt was impressed with Ella's (mom) guitar playing.

What a bright and cheery distraction this music must have brought to a settlement with almost nothing colorful to be found. My Dad sat on his horse listening and watching with his handsome smile at times catching Ella's eye but never distracting her from the flowing notes that made a wave of wonder that travelled far from the source bringing others in toward it.

Had this place been somewhere someone wanted to be rather than had to they might have been discovered and sang on The Opry in Nashville. God knows they were that good. Some of the greatest talent goes unnoticed even today but in their time they were quite disconnected from the outside world. A fifty mile trip was considered a very long one. A trip seldom made.

Mother Maybelle sang on their little radio powered by a car battery and the girls would memorize Wildwood Flower and other Carter Family songs. A close cousin lived in  the Madisonville area and indeed did get discovered and is the very famous and talented Dottie Rambo, her voice and style being much like that of her cousin.

Though The Daugherty Girls would never record or sing on the radio the local churches were blessed by their songs of praise as they lifted their voices to Heaven making the angels take notice.

As they all married and started moving away to areas where jobs were easier come by the gatherings became fewer but when they did assemble it was wonderful to behold.

 Last Wednsday my dear Mother passed away leaving only two of the sisters surviving. One Aunt, Cora is confined to a nursing home while the youngest, Rachel lives in Indiana. So many of the loved ones from my life have gone on but not forgotten by any means. Every day I look at this little guitar and remember those days under ancient oak trees where The Daugherty Girls sang You Are My Sunshine and made the sun shine a little brighter.

The people who heard their singing would have to pay for tickets to hear anything near the talent they possesed. They gave it away freely as they obtained it with glad hearts. God bless you Mom and all the other Daugherty Girls who molded so much of what I am today. You will live on and on.



14 comments on “Remembering Momma”

u k sandra Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @2:03:58 PM

I`m so sorry Darrell. I was always told that when you loose your mother, you loose your best friend. Mind you, I think it was my mother who told me. She was right. 25 years ago and I still think of her every day, I`m sure you will too. My thought are with you.

PruchaLegend Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @2:30:45 PM

What a wonderful story! A true American saga. The experiences were tough but the heartiness of the people was even tougher.

PruchaLegend Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @2:30:54 PM

What a wonderful story! A true American saga. The experiences were tough but the heartiness of the people was even tougher.

PruchaLegend Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @2:31:06 PM

What a wonderful story! A true American saga. The experiences were tough but the heartiness of the people was even tougher.

PruchaLegend Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @2:31:48 PM

Sorry! My computer went berserk on me!

nick556pm Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @4:18:01 PM

sorry for your loss Darrel ,what is it about music that gets people through hard times? I was raised in a one room flat in glasgow with 4 sisters, mom ,dad, and a cat my mum played mandolin mouthorgan .gran, piano aunt accordian, uncle ,gautar, drums  & piano sundays after kirk. AND this was just after WW.2. this was in my grannys flat it had 2 rooms!!!! no wonder Hitler lost with folks like ours.  regards Nick.

blamethebanjo Says:
Sunday, May 3, 2009 @5:21:55 PM

Thanks to you all for your comments. Yes, it is difficult but bittersweet knowing how much she was ready to move on to the next phase. I get overwhelmed when I think of her voice raised in song now as it was in the old days. God bless you all.

kcjc69 Says:
Monday, May 4, 2009 @6:40:01 AM

Thanks for sharing some sweet memories with us. Monetary items fade but memories are indeed the precious gifts we are given.  

rinemb Says:
Monday, May 4, 2009 @7:39:12 AM

Its a blessing to grow up with all of that music around you and in your earlier generations.  Her spirit will continue in you.  Brad

blamethebanjo Says:
Monday, May 4, 2009 @10:43:43 AM

Thank you my frirends.

Jane C Says:
Monday, May 4, 2009 @3:08:51 PM

Very sorry to hear your sad news Darryl.

blamethebanjo Says:
Monday, May 4, 2009 @4:04:38 PM

Thank you for the kind thoughts.

Banjoist Says:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 @6:13:47 PM

Great story - thanks for sharing!  It reminded me of my own mom singing Amazing Grace in her last days, years ago...

blamethebanjo Says:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 @7:17:35 PM

Thanks Tom. Mothers are the most special people aren't they?

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