Katherine Brant, And so...

Welcome to the life and times of Katherine Ione Brant, born June 7, 1909. These stories appear in no particular order; however, the first couple of stories will give a little background and information concerning the storyteller. From time to time, I will write information and stories about Miss Katherine from my perspective. Most of the stories are related to me and recorded by Miss Katherine. Hopefully, by the end of this year, there will be a book ready for publish. If you know Miss Katherine, have photos or stories to add to this collection, please send an e-mail with the information. Miss Katherine would love to hear some comments from you. Thanks and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happy 101st Birthday!

      What kind of fun would you like to have when you turn 101 years old?  You stretch it out and have a little fun several times a day and for several days.  Too much fun, at one time, is too much fun.  Now, I'm really not sure if it is too much fun for the Birthday Girl or for the people around her having the fun.  But, anyway, we have celebrated for two days and there's more to come
      The house is filled with balloons, singing balloons, dancing balloons, floating balloons, still balloons, balloons with her picture on them.  
     The mantle and tables are filled with birthday cards.  Tall cards, short cards, double folded cards, triple folded cards, 'store bought' cards, 'home made' (computer) cards, homemade-store bought cards, sweet cards, funny cards,  serious cards, glittered cards, cards that have little things inside that fall out when you open them , (confetti all over the floor, I love it :), cards that have money and checks inside that fall out when you open them, a card, like a banner, that opens out about 5 feet that has pictures of Miss K, starting when she was a baby and ending with a current photo.
     The spaces that are not filled with cards are filled with vases of beautiful, fresh flowers and house plants. Please don't forget about the cake and ice cream.  We have a six (6) layer yellow cake with chocolate icing, yellow sheet cake with fudge icing, blueberry muffins with no icing, homemade, banana-nut bread, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate candy and special chocolate candy that has the Birthday Girl's picture on the label with a special message for her.  To top all that, we have vanilla ice cream in the freezer.  So, when you walk into this house, you get the idea that someone is having a birthday.
     And so, after you wade through the floating balloons, visually see the cards all over the room, then you can smell the lovely mixed floral fragrances and this is all mixed with the sweet smell of chocolate, I ask you, "What's not to like about a birthday, even if you have literally had one hundred of them, before this one?"

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Seven Year Itch

Did I ever tell you how I got the seven year itch? (giggle, giggle) The doctor lived right across the street from us. He and I were good friends. I used to drive him and his wife to Charleston once in a while. They had to go down there to get drugs from the drug house because we didn’t have a drug store at that time in Yemassee. He said that he and his wife would go to sleep if they drove down by themselves. We always went to a big seafood place to eat and they always had what they called soft shell crab.
Well, Dr Rivers was just like a member of my family and I would run over to him every time I thought I had an ailment.

I had been having some dates with a young man who was a surveyor and he was out there surveying the country for the power company, South Carolina Power Company, to come through. He, and the other men, members of the crew, were boarding there with Mama. He asked me for some dates. Well, he would take me and some other girls to a place not far from us, to a swimming pool and we would go swimming, or maybe sometimes go to a movie.

And so, he had a beautiful Citadel ring he got when he graduated from the Citadel in Charleston. He asked me if I would like to wear it. Well, you know I said, “Yes, I would.” I had to wrap it, oh, I don’t know how many times with twine so it would fit. And I was wearing his ring. Then, I started to itch.

You remember Leonie, the barber, well, this boy went to him to get a haircut and maybe a shave, I really don’t remember. Leonie heard him say, “You know, I did something I shouldn’t have done when I was going to college. I was out on the street one night and I felt like I’d like to have some sex. And I saw this girl and I asked her and she said, ‘Yea, come on and go home with me.’ {She was one of those kinds of girl}(Miss K.’s side remark). He said, “After that, I felt like I had caught something from her. Sure enough, I went to the doctor and he said, ’You’ve got gonorrhea.’ I said, “Well treat me. So the doctor treated me several times and finally told me, ‘I think you are well now. I think I got you better.’ And so, he said I didn’t think I had it, but now, that I’m out here I felt like I might be getting it again.”

Well, Leonie heard him say that in the shop. So he came home and told me, “I don’t want you going out with that fella any more. 'Cause I’m going to tell you what I heard. And so, he told me what he heard in the barber shop that day. And so help me, the next afternoon, I was itching under that ring on my finger. I mean really itching. I said “I’ve got gonorrhea!” And so, I ran over to Dr. Rivers and I said, “Dr. Rivers, I’ve got gonorrhea.” He said, “My Lord, what have you been doing?” I said, “Nothing.” He said, “Well you had to do something. What did you do? Who you been going with?” I told him. I had taken the ring off and carried it over there to show it to him. He said “You don’t get gonorrhea that way.” I said, “I heard if you sat on the toilet after somebody that had it, you could get it, too.” He said, “You can’t get it that way. You only get it one way.” And he told me how. And I said, “I sure haven’t done anything like that!” He said, “Well, tell me what you have done with him.” I said, “Well, we went swimming, and we danced up on the pavilion.” “Well, what else have you done?” I said, “He has kissed me, but that's the only thing.” He said “You had to do something else.” “I don’t know what the something else was, but I knew I hadn’t done it.”

He checked me then and he said “You’ve got the seven year itch.” I said, “Did I get that from the ring?” He said, “No, I don’t know how you got it, but that’s what you’ve got.” He gave me a jar, a nice size jar, of a black looking ointment. He said, “You had to get it from somebody, who have you slept with?” I said,”My niece and I slept together one night.” He said, “Well, find out if she is itching. If she’s itching, she’s got it too.”

And so, I went home and found her and I said, “Are you itching?” She said, “Yea, I am.” And so, I told her, “You got the seven year itch, too. Dr. Rivers said I did and he wanted to know how I got it.” She had spent the night with some girls that came up from Savannah and they lived across the street from us. The Williams family, and I said, “That’s where you got the itch from.” We found out they had the itch, too. Several of the girls at the school had the itch.

Well, Dr. Rivers said, “You and your niece put this cream all over your bodies tonight when you go to bed and you put on a gown and in the morning when you get up both of you get in the tub and give yourself a good bath. Put the sheets off that bed in the laundry and the gowns you worn that night, put them in the laundry. You don’t put on anything, but something fresh. You do that and you won’t have the itches anymore.

And so, that’s what we did and I haven’t had the itches since. But sometimes when I get itchy, I think, “Well, I guess I have the seven year itch.” But, I’ve never had it again, I don’t think.. Oh, that was something else.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Friends are like the chocolate chips in cookies. Friends carry us through the day because we can always pull up in our memory bank a pleasant moment, a good laugh, a smile, a hug, fun times, sad times, and times of endearment. Miss Katherine has been blessed beyond measure with good friends. In order to have a good friend, you must be a good friend. You cannot just hang on to a few childhood friends and not continually make new ones.

Miss Katherine, soon to be 101 years old, has out-lived most of her childhood friends and family. God has blessed her with so many new friends who love and care for her. We will discuss many of her friends as we go along. I do want to tell you about her friend “Carolyn from Savannah”.  For the past three years, I have talked with “Carolyn from Savannah” on the phone. The only face I had to put with the voice was a photo taken maybe thirty five or forty years ago. “Carolyn from Savannah” called last week to tell us that she was coming to Jacksonville for a visit. Miss Katherine was so excited she could hardly sleep the night before she came. It was a dear sweet time for two long-time friends to get together. They talked about everybody from Yemassee, SC to Early Branch, SC.

Carolyn was from Early Branch and Miss Katherine was from Yemassee, two small towns about 6 miles apart.. They sounded like little school girls, giggling, recollecting and sharing family news. You can span many years within a few hours. I have talked on the phone with Carolyn for three years and it was so nice to finally put a face to the name and her sweet southern accented voice. (Of course, people say I have an accent, but I don’t think I do.)

From what I understand, Carolyn is a talented pianist and she must be able to sing a little bit because they let her sing in the choir at Skidaway Island Baptist Church in Savannah. Carolyn is the perfect picture of a ‘southern lady’, with all the grace, charm and smile that I’m sure would set Rhett Butler’s heart spinning. (Of course, that is Rhett Butler [Clark Gable] from Gone with the Wind.) Carolyn is also a good cook. She brought Miss Katherine a delicious homemade pound cake. Yum, Yum! I had to sample the cake to make sure it was OK for Miss Katherine, a cup bearer’s job does have its benefits. When it was time for “Carolyn from Savannah” to leave, they would not tell each other “good-bye”. They would only hug and say, “I’ll see you later”.

As I said earlier, Miss Katherine is blessed with many loving, caring friends. Friends think they are ministering, helping and blessing her, but they always leave her feeling more blessed than when they came. Now, you may be sitting back and thinking, “What kind of ’things’ are people doing?” Please don’t call me Forrest Gump, but here goes a list: send a card, call on the phone, mow the grass, bake cookies (she only needs a couple), come to visit, pray with her, pray for her, come sing to her (it doesn’t matter if you are a bit off key, her hearing is a bit off key as well), house repairs, painting, grocery shopping, bring her home cooked meals, balloons, flowers, plants, help with house chores, help with yard chores, remember her on holidays, invite her out to lunch when she is feeling good, listen to her talk as she tells her stories, smile gently and listen intently, even though, this is the tenth time you have heard the same story, tell her how nice she looks, bring her ice cream (don’t forget the cup bearer), bring her CD’s or cassette tapes, bring children to visit with her, bring your grandmother to visit with her, bring someone who can play the organ and sing for her, give her a manicure, a pedicure, talk about the 'good old days', let her know you love her.  I could go on and on with this list, but I think you get the general idea.

You are  probably saying, Wow!, I don't have time for all this.  It doesn't take but a few minutes of your time.  In fact, when you come for a visit, don't stay too long.  Short, sweet visits are better than long, tiring visits. This list is not just for Miss Katherine.  It is for anyone who is elderly, sick or disabled and not able to get out much, someone who is lonely, or recently widowed.  Look around you, it could be your neighbor or one day, it could be you.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Eyes Were Opened

When I was working at the vitamin place in Orlando, I met this woman who came in to buy vitamins.  We sold to the vitamin stores, but they would let people come in to just buy vitamins and other stuff.  One day this woman came in to buy vitamins and she asked me if I knew about the spiritualist at that place out there by Orlando.  I told her I had heard about it but I never was able to go out there. Well, if you believe in that, then you come out to my house for supper.  I would like to cook you a very nice supper, you come out and eat with my husband and me and we will have a nice spiritual time.  I said, "Oh, that sounds  interesting."  I had never been invited to anybody's house like that. 

So, she told me what night to come and I went.  We had a nice supper, and when we got through, she said, "Now you and my husband go on out into the living room while I clean up the dishes and things and I will be right on in there."  I went in the living room, and she came in a little while, and she turned out the lights.  I said, "What did you turn the lights out  for?"  She said, "We can't get the spirits in here with the lights on." I said "Will I be able to see them?"  "Yes, I don't know why you can't," she said.  And so, we hadn't been sitting there but for a few minutes, then she said, "Do you have a brother in the spirit world?"  I said, "No, my brother is very much alive. Why do you ask me that?"  "Well, there is a boy standing right beside you and he looks so much like you, that is his coloring of his skin and hair."  I said,  "Did he say anything?"  She said "No, but he is looking at you and smiling and oh, he is smiling like he loves you to death."  I said, "Well, how old does he look to be?" Well, she couldn't tell exactly, but she did think he was just a young boy.   She thought he was my brother.  She didn't know how old I was.   Anyway, she said, "Well, you don't know who that would be?"  I said, "Well, it could be, I thought, Lloyd,  Jr., but she didn't say anything.  In a few minutes, she said,  "Now I see an old lady sitting in a little church up next to the alter.   She's got on a bonnet."  I said "What?"  "Yes, she 's an old lady sitting up next to the preacher.  I guess she couldn't hear so well."  I said, "I don't know who that could be unless it's my grandmother."  "Well, that was what I was wondering." the lady said.  And that's all she ever showed me in the spirits. I don't guess she was hunting anybody else. She soon turned the lights on and we went on talking about other things.

Well, when my brother died, we couldn't find his money.  He had taken it out of the bank.  He had sold some cows and made some money on them. He had quite a bit of money from that and we couldn't find it. We were afraid his wife had checked out some of it from the bank.  Daddy said, "You know, he was pretty good about burying things."  My Daddy went all around the lot looking for places he might have buried some money.  I said , "Oh, I don't think he did that. But, I don't know what he did with it."  And so, I said,  "You know what I'm going to do?  I'm going down to Orlando and see that lady and see if she can find him in this spiritual world.  And, maybe he will tell us, through her."  Now, isn't that something? I went down there to see her and she tried her best to contact him in the spiritual world.  She couldn't get him. And so, I said, "Well, I don't guess anybody else in the spirits could do it either.  So, I went back home.  We finally found out where the money went.  His next door neighbor told me and Daddy, "I know where Lloyd's money is. He let this friend of his from Augusta have that money.  This friend said that he  knew how to  invest it and make more money.  Lloyd listened to him and let him have that money for a while to find  out if he could make more money."

And so, I said, "I still want to go to that spirit world when I get a chance."   Well, I finally went out to Cassadaga, me, Julie and another friend went.  We went to a meeting in this big room.  There were a lot of people there. The people that were running things,  got up and said, "We are going to pass around some little slips of paper and we want you to write your initials, that's all, just initials on these little slips of paper."  Then they came around to pick them up.  They are going to bring them up here and the  spiritualist would be able to give you a message. 

The spiritualist was from somewhere in Canada, and came down here every winter.  I guess he wanted to get out of the cold.  Well, we didn't know how in the world he was going to be able to do that with just  our initials.  Well, sure enough, we put them in the plate when it came by and I wondered how in this world is he going to know anything about that.  When they took them up there to him, he put them on something that he could burn them.  He burned up every one of them. And then, he look at them, the ashes, and he would start announcing to everybody, calling their initials and telling them things.  Then he said, "KIB."   "Oh, that's me, K.I.B.," I said.  He told me, "You are going to be taught something to do that you are going to be very happy about.  Someone is going to be very nice and kind and  he is going to help you."  I thought, "I  don't know what under the sun, that could be.  I don't know anybody like that."  I didn't think any more about it after that night. 

After that time, Julie and I were going to some services at the Lutheran church and heard the minister, and he starts talking about the spiritualist and he said that was nothing but the work of the devil and he said I should never go to one of those. He told me don't you never ever go to one of these people. And so, I've never been to one since. That cured me. I never did think of it that way, but I can see now, that something, well, I don't know, it's just not right. I never went again. Isn't that strange, I go down there to that place and the spiritualist told me, just with my initials, that somebody was going to teach me something. I don't know how he knew that.

Cassadaga , Florida is a weird little town in Volusia County.The town or ‘camp’ as it is referred to, has a population of about 100, most of which are mediums, psychics, spiritualist, fortune tellers, astrologist, palm and tarot readers, etc.
Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums or seek spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God,” is one of many verses condemning this type of activity. We are warned by God’s Word to stay away from the dark side and the evil one, Satan. Open your eyes to the wrong things you are walking into.
A lot of people go to Cassadaga out of curiosity and fun or with hopes to help heal a grieving heart. No matter what the reason, it is still Satan. How does foolishness come in and good sense leave you? Dabbling and entering into devilish territory. 

When we came back to Jacksonville, my niece said, "Katherine I want you to go out to 18 th Street with me.  I want you to see something that  I found, that I didn't dream was here, until somebody took me out here.  You can by these nice things that this man makes and you can paint them yourself."   I said, "What?".  She tried to explain to me and I said, "Well, I would like to go and see what this is all about."  We went out there and the man, Mr. Johnson, wasn't there. His wife was in the garage, an older lady who looked like she must have been his mother.  And so, we went in there and my niece said to her, "Oh,  Mr. Johnson isn't here today?"  The woman  said, "He's not my son, he's my husband. He had to go to the bank to take our money.  Now, if there is anything you would like to have, you can see it all here."  My niece said, "Well, we wanted  to see Mr. Johnson.  I guess we will have to come back."  The woman  said, "Yes, if you want to see him, that is what you will have to do. But, he will be back in a little while if you would like to wait."   But, we left because my niece didn't want to wait.   I said to my niece, "I don't know what this is all about."  She said, "I think we need to go back and see him".  And so, we did, I think it was another week before we went back, but we went back.  I met  Mr. Johnson, and,  oh-h-h, he couldn't do enough for me.   I said, "I would like to know how you make this stuff."  He said, "I would be glad to show you.  I'll help you if you would like to know anything about it."   I said, " I really would, I think, but I don't live here, I live is South Carolina,   I'm just down here on a visit.  I really would like to be able to make this stuff myself. I believe I could sell it up there. He said,  "I'll teach you and I will let you have some of my molds and I will tell you what kind of stuff you use to mix and pour in them and I will show you the whole thing."  And he did.   He taught me to make plaster molds and that's what  the spiritualist told me.  Someone would teach me something and he would be very nice to me.  Now, that makes you wonder, doesn't it?
After that time, Julie and I were going to some services at the Lutheran church and heard the minister, and he starts talking about the spiritualist and he said that was nothing but the work of the devil  and he said I should never go to one of those.  He told me don't you never ever go to one of these people. And so, I've never been to one since.  That cured me. I  never did think of it that way, but I can see now, that something, well, I don't know, it's just not right.  I never went again. Isn't that strange, I go down there to that place and the spiritualist told me, just with my initials, that somebody was going to teach me something.  I don't know how he knew that.

Mr. Johnson was so helpful to me.  He taught me how to paint the plaster thingd.  He even taught me how to make my own molds. One time I came to see him to bring some of the molds back that he let me use.  He told me that his wife had breast cancer, in both breast, and that she would not live much longer.  He asked me if I could take his wife somewhere, to a restaurant, to get some shrimp.  She loved shrimp and they didn't have a car.  I told him I knew just the place to go get good shrimp.  And so, his wife and I went to get shrimp for lunch.  She told me, as we were having lunch, when she died, she wanted him to get married again because she knew he needed to, and that I was the woman she wanted him to marry.  I said, "Oh, Mrs. Johnson, I can't do that.  I couldn't marry anybody that I never had gone with and hadn't been with and learned to love them." 

Well, after telling me she wanted me to marry him, and  I told her I couldn't do that and so, when we got back, I guess she told him to go ahead and have their picture made.   I don't know why they thought they had to have that picture .  Then he keep begging me to marry him.   When I knew she was going to pass away anytime,  I said, "Mr. Johnson, you wouldn't want me.  I wouldn't be a good wife. I don't know how to be a good wife."  He said, "Well, I could show you."  I said, "Not me!"  And so, she passed away and he kept after me to marry him.  I kept telling him, "I couldn't do that". 

He met a lady that lived over on Riverside. She was a nice looking lady and he started talking to her about getting married. He asked her,"Would you marry me?"  He said later that  he shouldn't have told her all that he did.   He told her, "I have plenty of money in the bank, I don't have a car but I got this little place here and I don't know why in the world you wouldn't want to be my wife.  I could put your name on my bank account."  I don't know what all he told her, but she thought, this is my chance.  They said, "We will have to go up to Georgia to get married, because we would have to wait a couple of days if we got our licenses down here.

 And so, they went up to Georgia and she married him. They came back down to Florida that afternoon.  I think they might have gone up on the bus.  Anyway, they came back down and he said, "Now, you are going to stop off with me and spend the night with me at my house?"  "Oh,no," she said,  "I've got to go to my place on Riverside, because I got some dogs I have to feed.  They wouldn't know what to do if I'm not there to feed them."  "Well then," he said, "you can come back after you feed the dogs."   "Not tonight, I couldn't come back," she said.  He said, " Well how about tomorrow?"  "Well,  let's see about tomorrow," she said.

He had already bought her a nice, big diamond ring.  Oh, yes, she wanted that pretty ring.  The next day, she checked out his money from the bank and left town.  He didn't know that until she had already gone.  He had no way to catch her.  And that's what she did to him.  She got all his money that was  in the bank, and I bet he had a lot.  I don't know how many thousands, but I know he had several thousands.  There's no telling how much he had.  I finally told Mr. Johnson, I was awfully sorry for him getting into something like that.  There was nothing I could do to help him.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bootleg, Moonshine and White Lightening

In South Carolina, a lot of people were making bootleg whiskey with a homemade still.  Well, I guess some are still doing bootleg whiskey.  There are doing it everywhere.  I think they are still doing it around Jacksonville.  But anyway,  I had this good friend, Pearl Hydrick, and her husband, Tom Hydrick was a revenuer and he searched for people who made that bootleg whiskey.

 My Daddy was mayor of  Yemassee and every now and then his policemen would get some bootleg whiskey and bring it in.  Somebody said that Tom who use to get it, too, decided he was going to use it in the radiator, in his car. And so, he poured everything out of his radiator and he poured that bootleg whiskey into the radiator of his car.  I mean he filled it up.  Well, when I heard that, I said,  "Daddy,  can't, you get me some of that bootleg whiskey to put in our cars, in the radiator?"  He said, "I  never heard of such a thing."   I said, "I just heard that Tom  got some and put it in his and it is working fine."  

And so, he did get me some and I was out in the yard pouring it in my car, mine and my mama's car,  when this man came down from Augusta,  pretended to be a good friend of my brother.  I don't think he was such a good friend, well anyway,  he said, "What are you doing?"  I said. "I'm putting some bootleg whiskey in my radiator."  He said, "What?"   I said, " Bootleg whiskey."  He said, "Give me that whiskey.  I like bootleg whiskey."  I said, "Well,  you're not going to get this."  He said, "Give me that bootleg whiskey.  I'll go over to the whiskey store and get you some good whiskey."   I said,  "I'm not going to put some of that in the radiator."  And, he couldn't get me to give him that bootleg whiskey.  (Where I'm from, that is also called moonshine or white lightening. )

So, he liked that bootleg whiskey.  He said,  "Where did you get it."  I said, "I got my Daddy to get it for me."  One of the policemen brought some in.  They found a fellow who was doing some bootlegging.  I guess,  I don't know really how he got it, but, they got it and brought it in.  They had a place they stored it.   And I asked him  to bring me some, because Tom put some in his radiator and it was working fine and I wanted to try it, too. And so, my dad got me some.  I don't know, maybe a gallon or so, I don't remember.  (giggle giggle) That fellow sure wanted that whiskey so bad.  I said, "You're not going to get this."  "Well, tell me where you got it, I want to try to get me some," he said.   I  said,  "You're not going to get it from my Daddy, cause that's where I got it.  He's the mayor and he knew the policeman, he was working for him, and he found the bootlegger with the whiskey and he's got it stored somewhere,  and he's not going to give it to you to drink."  

I can't imagine, putting bootleg whiskey in the radiators on the car.  But that's what we did and it worked jut fine. When it  got freezing weather that radiator didn't freeze.  I guess it worked like antifreeze.

I said to my friend at the barber shop, Leonie,  I said that if you ever see anybody with a mark across his nose, you know that he has been drinking bootleg whiskey from an old  fruit jar.

Well, Miss Katherine, you have a mark on your nose.  Have you been drinking bootleg whiskey from a quart jar?  Miss Katherine quickly retorted, "I don't know what that is on my nose, but I never did drink any of that whiskey."

Amazing to think the turn in American history had "bootleg whiskey" been used for antifreeze instead of consumption.  If, Miss Katherine had patented the idea of antifreeze for use in automobiles.

The first commercial plant in the US was in South Charleston, Va. in 1925. US Patent 1,213,308 was issued to Hibbert for the use of ethylene glycol for lowering the freeze point of water in automobile cooling systems. Following its first manufacture of glycol in a large commercial scale in 1925 Carbide sold small amounts of uninhibited glycol. Three years later research revealed that untreated ethylene glycol could become corrosive to the cooling system metals. From this time on the major participants in the antifreeze coolant market place adapted the corrosion package to meet the changing engine and cooling requirements.(http://www.acustrip.com/)

The first commercial plant in the US was in Yemassee, South Carolina, way back in the woods on the north side of town, off a small dirt road. 
the "still", made of copper tubing and huge vats, distilled the "antifreeze".  Even though, the vats and cooper tubing had been mutilated by the revenuers, a good welder got them back to working condition. The US patent was issued to Katherine Brant for the use of bootleg whiskey in automobile cooling systems.  The "antifreeze" can be purchased in quart fruit jars or gallon jugs.  She doesn't know how or why this works, but it does.  And so, you had better use it to keep your radiator from freezing up in the winter time.

Lloyd, Jr., My Nephew

This was a difficult story for Miss Katherine to talk about.  She still keeps the baby picture of Lloyd Jr. on her dresser, as she has done for the past seventy-four years.  Among her memories, I think this is one of the most upsetting for her to talk about. 

My brother, Lloyd Sr., had a son, Lloyd, Jr., and he was the prettiest little boy.  He was 13 years old when he and a friend were building a tree house.  His next door neighbor, I can't think of his first name, his last name was Gibbs. Jesse Gibbs, that was his name.  Jesse Gibbs lived next door to Patrick, well Patrick's father, because Patrick was a little boy when Lloyd, Jr.  got killed. Patrick was 4 years old and so, I doubt if he hardly remembers him.

When Jesse asked Lloyd, Jr. if he would he like to help build a house in a tree.  Lloyd, Jr. thought, Oh, that would be something else!  So, they went right up there, across the street from the school building to the tree that Jesse  thought would be nice for a house.  And so, they went down there and climbed up the tree and cut out the limbs they didn't need. They found an old door.  I don't know where, but they dragged it up there and put that old door up in the tree to make a floor for the tree house.  Jesse told Lloyd, Jr. to walk out on that door.  And so,  he  thought he knew what he was doing, I guess.  He walk out on it and Jesse said,  "Lloyd, Jr  said,  I sure hope this limb doesn't break."  And,  just as he said it, it broke, he fell to the ground and broke his neck.

Well, somebody got in touch with us immediately.  I had to get in touch with my Daddy for him to go get him,because there was no funeral director in Yemassee.  And so,  he called Jesse's daddy and he, and my Dad went up there to where they were building the tree house and they picked up Lloyd, Jr. and he put him on the back seat in the car,  and he was bleeding something awful.  And got blood all over everything.  Well, my Daddy said, when he came up to the house, "What do you want me to do?"  

My Mother was sick at that  time.  Not anything serious, but she had to stay in bed for a few days.  She couldn't do a thing, so she told me," Honey, this is something you are going to have to do.  Because I can't do it."   I said,  "Mama, I haven't done anything like this in my life.  I've never even gone with you when you had to do it." (They are making reference to funeral arrangements) Daddy and Mr. Gibbs had to go, but I didn't go, I couldn't go.  They took Lloyd, Jr. up to the funeral people in Walterboro, and they came back and my Daddy said to me, "You are going to have to see about getting new upholstery in the car."  And I did. I had to take that car to Savannah and had to spend the whole day with those people, because they had  to upholster the front and back so that they would match.

My mother said, "You know, I bought a funeral lot, or something in Walterboro in this big cemetery there.   I bought a place out there because I knew we would all have to go one day. I thought that would be a nice place for us to be buried.  Then after Lloyd, Jr. died, she said, " I'm not going to bury him in Walterboro, I going up to the cemetery here, it's a nice cemetery, and buy some grave sites there.  And so, that's what Mama did.  "She said. " I'm not having him buried in Walterboro,  and so,  she said, "We are going to have the funeral right here in this house, too.  She had him brought into our big room, living room and some people call hotel lobby.  She had his body brought in there and she said, "We are going to have his funeral right here.  Oh, Honey, I didn't think I could stand it.  I didn't sit out  in the room.  I couldn't.  I went into the bedroom, right next to the room, and I cried the whole time.

 One of my best girl friends, she lived a few miles away, we called her and she came and sat here with me. And so, they had the funeral.  Mama went up there immediately and had gotten those grave sites, one for each member of the family.  That's where she had Lloyd, Jr. buried.  Right there in that lot in Yemassee.  Oh, Honey, I will never get over that.  I can't,  he was such a sweet little boy.  I think he would have been so wonderful if he would have gotten to be a man.  Oh, I tell you.  He was so cute.  

He called my mother, Mamaw.  He said, "Mamaw,  you know what they are doing? They are getting rid of the  horse house where they sold horses and they are tearing that place down and they are building a place where they have movies. The man from Beaufort is doing that.  Don't you think that is wonderful?  We are going to have movies in our town."  That was one of the last things he told us.  But, he was so cute about that. Oh, man.  

And his daddy, his daddy was out fishing when Lloyd Jr. fell.  He fished every chance he had.  He had a business, but when he had somebody running it for him, he would go fishing.  He was down there  fishing when that happen.  When they called him and told him, about Lloyd, Jr.,  he came up there and saw me.  He said, "You are going to have to go up there and do that, I can't.  (take care of the funeral arrangements).  I didn't expect him to.  He said, "His  mother and I  are not going to be able to do a thing but stay in the house and you go do it, because I can't do it."  And I did.  I had to do it because mama was sick and I had to handle it all.  I'll never get over it.

And so, I got the boy I told you about, Leonie Crosby, that had the barber shop, I got him to take me.  I said, "I can't drive up there.  I've got to go up there and pick out a casket for him.  Will you take me?"  "Oh, you know I would", he said.  So he got off from work and Little Patrick was 4 years old and he said, "Can I go with you?"  I said,  "Yes."  So he rode up there with us, but he didn't know what he went up there for.  He didn't realize what was happening.  And so, I picked out a nice little casket and had him brought right down to the house and Mama said, "We are gong to keep him right here, right here in the house until time for the funeral."  And I mean, she did.  And so, oh, Honey, and there I had to do all that.   I had never had to do anything like that before in my life.  Mama said, "Well, you are going to have to do this."  And his daddy said, "You are going to have to do it, because I can't do it."   And so,  I had so much to do and I had to take the car to Savannah and get the upholstery done.  Oh, that was a bad time.  I don't have a good picture of him as he was growing up.  I have the cutest baby picture of him. That's the only one I have.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Can Do It

As I mentioned previously, Miss Katherine is a versatile and talented woman. Both her parents seemed to be talented and resourceful, as well. Her mother, Winifred Mozelle Brant, was talented in the kitchen, taking care of the house and hotel, sewing, crocheting embroidering and she was called upon by the local mercantile store to decorate and trim ladies hats. All this, plus running a small farm, working part time in the mercantile store and Post Mistress (mail at this time was delivered by postmen on horseback) and she still had time to read her Bible and teach Sunday School. She was a devoted Mother and taught her children morals and to love without prejudices.

Her father, Angus Hamilton Brant, was a carpenter, a farmer, owned and managed a turpentine still, managed a mercantile store, deacon in their church and the mayor of Yemassee for many years. He, also, was devoted to his children and took time to teach them the skills he was taught and had learned through the years.


When Miss Katherine needed her fence repaired, she repaired her fence. When she needed cement slab poured for her driveway, she poured the slab. She needed a mail shoot installed on the front on her house for mail delivery. Yes, she installed that, too. Well, I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. She has been in the attic, under the house, on top of the roof, up the ladder, down the ladder. She added a bathroom and extended a bedroom; she added a garage and enlarged her kitchen. I have a few photos, but you will have to use your imagination for some of these.

Miss Katherine did not wear pants, jeans, slacks, shorts or pedal pushers. Her Mama told her that ladies did not wear "britches". And so...she always wore dresses, just like her Mama told her to do. Her "work clothes" were dresses and stockings and she probably had on earrings, too. She did work for a time at the Naval Air Station and HAD to wear pants and a brogan type shoe. She tried to argue with them that she only wore dresses and I think they told her that if she wanted the job, then she would have to wear the "uniform" of slacks and brogan shoes. Boy, her Mama was not happy about that. But, she wore them to work and changed immediately when she got home. She tried not to let her Mama see her in pants.

She loved and respected her parents and tried to live by the morals and work ethics they instilled in her.
Even today, at the age of 100 and 10 months old, she still wears dresses, stocking, shoes, all the undergarments and please don't forget her earrings.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

President and Mrs. Roosevelt

Miss Katherine loves to tell stories, especially of her childhood and the way things were in the early 1900's. Her mind is sharp and she is always thinking, or some people may call worrying, about things that may or may not happen. She likes to know all the details. If you are telling her something and you do not tell her all the detail, who, what, when, where and why, then she will think about the details she does know and "suppose" the unknown facts. For instance, Sunday she asked me, "Did you see Bill and Carol Monroe in church?" I told her that I did not see them. "Well, I wonder where they were. I know if Bill had been in church he would have come over and spoke to me. He sits not far from where I sit and I know he would have stopped by to say 'hello'. I wonder if his back or his knee was bothering him again. I told him what to take for the back and knee problem. If he took it like I said, he should not have any problems with that. I don't think he would be flying this weekend because it is Easter and I don't think anyone would be wanting to fly this weekend. He didn't mention anything to me about flying this weekend. I hope Carol is not sick. I bet they went to pick up Jason and to bring him home for Easter weekend. They will probably keep Jason for a few days and then they will have to take him back to Ocala. Yes, I just bet you that is what they did. I bet Carol will help Jason color some Easter eggs and he likes to help her make cupcakes, too.
And so...the saga of Bill and Carol Monroe, MIA from church, has been solved. She couldn't stand it any longer and I had to call them on Tuesday morning. The mystery has been confirmed. They had gone to pick up their son, Jason, and kept him for a few days. Just like she had figured out. She likes details and she wants to know them all.  I guess that is a trait of a good story teller.  Every little detail adds interest to your story.

A story she tells from 1933, reiterates the fact that she likes to know all the details.
"President Roosevelt was coming to Savannah! My Daddy was invited to come and meet the President and he asked my Mama and me if we wanted to come, too. Well, of course, we said yes we would. We were all at the train station waiting for the President, but for some reason the train was running late. They tried to find out if the train had an accident. They said they did not know why it was running late. There was a big crowd of people there that day. The train was the way people traveled back then. They didn’t fly in airplanes like they do today. But, anyway, after a long, long wait, the train finally arrived. They announced President Franklin D.  Roosevelt. And a man stepped off the train and was walking with a crutch. I said to my Mama and Daddy, Oh, look, the president has been hurt. They must have had a train wreck, that’s why they are so late, and the President was injured. My Daddy laughed and said, no, the President has always walked with crutches or a cane.  I read about that in the newspaper. He had polio, or something like that, and he has braces on his legs to help him walk. I said well, why didn’t you tell me? I didn’t know that. I really hadn’t seen him much because we didn’t have televisions like we do today. I had seen him several times at the movie theater in the news reels that they show before the movie. Well, we went into this big place and we had a nice dinner, that’s what I call the meal you eat at 12 o’clock noon. Some people call that lunch. And so…the President spoke, I don’t remember what he spoke about, and then my Daddy told us he had been invited to go out to the air force place for another meeting and supper with the President later on that day. My Mama and I couldn’t go home and leave him there in Savannah, and so, we stayed, too. My Daddy was asked to give a speech when we got there. I don’t know if he knew ahead of time that he had to do that or not. And so, he got up and gave a speech for President Roosevelt. I guess they asked him to speak because he was mayor of Yemassee. But, I sure didn’t know the President had to use those leg braces to help him walk.

Through research from his journal, President Franklin Roosevelt visited Savannah while on his trip to Warm Springs, Georgia. He often went to Warm Springs because he thought the springs that were there were therapeutic. This occurred in November 1933 and the main purpose of this trip was to commemorate Georgia’s 150th anniversary of statehood.

"His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt was a fine lady. She was traveling around making talks to groups of people. She went to a hotel to spend the night and she had a little black girl with her. I guess she was there to help her with her things, I don't know exactly why she was with her. But the hotel said that she could have a room but the colored girl could not stay there. Mrs. Roosevelt said that if she couldn’t stay there, then she wasn’t going to stay there either. And so, she gathered her things and left. I don’t know where she stayed, but I’m sure they found somewhere to spend the night. Mrs. Roosevelt was a nice lady. She did a lot of nice thing for people."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Leonie Crosby, the Barber

One thing about Miss Katherine, she always had good advice to give. One day when my husband came to see her, she said, "Raymond, do you keep your money in your back pockets of your pants?"
Raymond, slightly perplexed, said, "No, why do you ask?" Miss Katherine, giggled a little then said, "Well, let me tell you about a friend of mine who stayed at my Mama's hotel in Yemassee. You know my Mama had the hotel, but she also had some people who boarded there, too. That’s what Leonie did, that was this boy’s name that had the barber shop, Leonie Crosby. And he used that kind of razors." (She is referring to some antique straight edge razors that she had.  She used to shave her Daddy and brother using these straight edge razors)  "I used to let Leonie pluck and shape my eyebrows.  He was good at doing that kind of stuff.  One day I was in the little office room at the hotel and Leonie stopped by and had his barber stuff with him and I asked him if he had time to shape my eyebrows. He said he sure did, so, I tilted my head back so he could see what he was doing and he started shaping them.  About that time my daddy walked by and saw him standing right there over me and he said 'What are you doing to my daughter?'  Leonie said that I wanted my eyebrows shaped.  My Daddy said that if I wanted that done, I could do it myself.' You stop that right now and get out of here!' And so...he got his stuff and left.  My daddy was upset.  I think he thought something else was going on.  But, from then on, I would go down to Leonie's barber shop and get in the chair and he would do anything like that I needed for him to do.  I think one time he gave me a facial.  He was a mess.  Leonie, was a good friend to me.  He was like a big brother. Leonie made good money as a barber. You know, he even had a shower there in his barber shop. He said that some guys who worked in jobs that you get really dirty, they would come by and shower and sometimes he would shave them, too, before they would go home to their wife and family. Now wasn’t that nice.
Well, like I said, Leonie made good money at the barber shop. One morning he had a lot of money. He had $90 and he put that money in his back pocket.  And so, he was dressed and ready for work.  But, before he left the hotel to go to work, he had to go to the bathroom. So he went up to the bathroom and took care of nature’s call. As he was getting up from the john, and pulling up his pants, that $90 fell into the toilet and he flushed it. Now, I don’t think he saw the money fall into the john. Anyway, when he got to his barber shop and was going to put the money in the cash box, the money was missing. Well, he thought back and tried to remember what could have happened to that money. You know $90 was a lot of money back then. It’s a lot today, but back then it was really a lot of money. And so, he hurries back to his room and looks around, and he remembered that he put that money in his back pocket when he left his room then he went to the bathroom. So he figured that the money fell out of his pocket and into the toilet. So, he called my Daddy and asked him if he could take the lid off the septic tank so he could look for his money. My Daddy said, yes, he could remove the lid. So, Daddy removed the lid to the septic tank and gave Leonie a rake. Leonie raked and raked and raked. And you know, finally he found that roll of money. It was still rolled up as he had it and it was soaking wet and it was quite messy as well. I guess you could imagine the mess it was in. So, he washed the money in some clean water, and spread it out on a clean board that my Daddy got for him. It took several days for that money to dry out. That money was a mess. And so, after the money had dried out, some of the ink had washed off. Leonie took the money down to the bank and told Mr. Loren Terry what had happened to the money. Mr. Terry was president of the bank and he gave Leonie some clean money for the dirty money. Mr. Terry said that he would have to send the money to Washington to get them to replace the money. And so, that is what he did. From that time on, Leonie never did carry his money in his back pocket.  He always put it in his front pockets.

You know, he was engaged to marry one of my girl friends that I grew up with and went to school with. And she lived not very far from me. There was a man boarding with my mother at the hotel, and he had a very beautiful diamond ring, it was more than a carat. It was a gorgeous diamond ring. He needed some extra money.  This man, he was working at the sawmill, said that he  didn’t need to keep this diamond and he ask Leonie if he would like to buy it. He said, yes I would. I would like to buy that for my girl that I’m engaged to marry. You know he bought that ring.  I don’t know what he paid for it, but he paid that man and got the ring and gave it to his girlfriend. And, oh, she was so proud of it. And she would come over, she lived about 10 or 15 miles I guess from Yemassee, every now and then when she could get a chance.  She would come over and see me. She would stay with me until he would get off work, then he would come and visit with her, then later on he would take her home. There was a girl teaching on an island near Charleston. And she met and fell in love with Leonie and she decided that she was going to get him. She was not gonna let him marry this girl that he was engaged to. This girl that he was engaged to was Thelma Litchfield. Now, this girl on the island off from Charleston, was a  school  teacher at a school on the island.  There were boats running back and forth from that island to Charleston . The end of the school week she would get on the boat ,and come over, then get on the bus, the greyhound bus, and come to Yemassee.  And so,  she told my mother she would like to have a room and spend the weekend there. What she wanted was to get her hands on Leonie.  And you know she kept working at it until she got him. I'm not sure what she did to get him, but I can imagine. He didn’t marry Thelma, he married her. And you know, I could have kicked him, I could have beat him for doing that. I don’t think he was much in love with her. I think that she just had, well, I don’t know what to get him. And ,she didn’t get that diamond ring.  She didn’t know about that diamond. I know she would have told him to get that diamond from Thelma. But, she didn’t know about it and I was glad she didn’t find out.
I asked Miss Katherine, did Thelma keep the diamond? Oh, yes ,Thelma had the diamond, but she was so broken-hearted when she found out that he was having dates with this girl. when she come over from Charleston. Every weekend, every Friday she’d come up on that greyhound bus and get that room from my Mama in the hotel. Well, Leonie didn’t have a lot of time. Just only the evening when he closed his shop. I'll tell you and he didn’t stay open very long. And Leonie use to tell me(giggle, giggle) , oh, did I ever tell you about the nudist island, where people came from up north or from any where that they liked to run around in the nude. No, you haven't told me that story. Every body would take off every stitch of their clothes.  You've heard of those island haven’t you. Yes,  but where where was the island? It was out from Beaufort not far from Paris Island. But any time anybody wanted to go over there for a visit the only way they could visit was to take their clothes off. And so, Very few people did that. Some men once in awhile . The only time they had to put clothes on at all was when they went to eat at a this place there.  The women would wear a bra and some panties, and they had to do that when they were serving dinner. They had a place there, on the nudist island, that they served meals. Of course , when you went over there to live a nudist life. You had to pay money, they gave you a place to sleep. And so, Leonie use to tell me about the men that would go over there and spend a couple of weeks at a time, cause they get off work and come on their vacation. Leonie used to tell me about how many men he would get during the week come up from the train from the nudist island. They hadn’t had a shave and needed a hair cut. And he said they were a sight, when they had grown all that beard and their hair had grown so long. The first time he had seen them in his shop, he didn’t realize where they had come from. He soon found out they had been over there on that nudist island. He said  he didn’t know what was going to happen when one came in and he had to cut his hair and shave him. And did you know... and how they did it, I’ll never know (tsk, tsk, tsk). Somebody went over there and got pictures of them in the nude and made a little catalogue. And I had one of the catalogues.
No you didn’t.
Yes, I got one . I had it in a little shoe box in the hall up in the hotel and that show box was made out of, I can’t remember the material , and you could buy that from  shoe store people and put your shoes in it, that’s the way you would care for your shoes.
(Check later to see what happened to the nudist catalogue)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010. Today was a special day and if all possible Katherine Brant was going to Sunday School and Church at the First Baptist Church Downtown Jacksonville.
We were so happy that she was able to go to church last Wednesday night, March 31,2010. This was a special and exciting time for her because on Wednesday nights our church meets in the smaller sanctuary, The Ruth Lindsay Auditorium. This was the church Miss Katherine went to for many years. She was a member of the choir and attended church regularly. When our congregation out-grew this auditorium, the new, larger auditorium was built across the street from the Ruth Lindsay. So, just to return to the smaller church to worship, sing and take part in the Lord's Supper was a delightful treat for Miss Katherine. Many of her friends came over to speak to her, and of course, hugs and kisses were aplenty. I told her that I thought she looked like someone important, maybe like a movie star or Mrs. Vanderbilt. The couple sitting behind us must have thought so, too. They didn't know her, but they sure wanted to shake her hand, introduce themselves and tell her "hello". I'm surprised they didn't ask for an autograph.
Miss Katherine 'hinted' all week that she sure would like to go to the Sunrise Service. She remembered years ago she and her dear friend Julie would always go to Easter Sunrise Service. The last one she could remember going to was in Green Cove Springs, at the park by the beautiful St. Johns River. I told her to just keep that memory because I was not getting up well before daybreak, get dressed, get her dressed and go to the Sunrise Service, then go to regular Sunday School and Church, then go out to lunch. I didn't know about her, but, I was too old for that much going, and so early in the morning.
Easter morning, resurrection day for our Lord and Saviour, was a beautiful morning. The sun popped up with all splendor and glory and majestically announced the day proclaiming God as the Creator of all things. The Sun and all the universe knows that God created them and the Creator is in control. On this day over 2000 years ago, Jesus, by way of His crucifixion and resurrection, was victorious over sin, death and Satan. It is because of this, Miss Katherine prayed for strength to be able to get up and go to Sunday School and church. The Lord was willing and she was able to get dressed and get to Sunday School and church. It has been almost a year since she has been able to attend Sunday School and church. I think the last time she went to anything at the church was a special candlelight service December 24, 2009. Easter Sunday, she wore a bright, red silk blouse, off white suit, off white shoes and a red hat with red spangles on top. She was absolutely stunning. After she got home and had lunch, I tried to remove her hat so she would be more comfortable and she would not let me. She said that she was fine just the was she was. And so...I left her just the way she was, hat and all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time Marches On

Katherine Ione Brant
Born June 7,1909
Colleton County, South Carolina

Daughter of
Angus Hamilton and Winifred Mozelle Brant

Currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida

With every tick of the clock we are drawn closer to our final destination. Some have a very short ride while others have a ride that seems to go on forever. We do not know the time nor the hour our clock will tick for the very last time.

God knows the exact year, month, day, hour and minute that we will breathe our last breath here on this earth and cross over into our eternal resting place. And so...since we do not know the date nor time of this glorious event, we must make the best of what time we do have. Every minute is precious and should be spent for something worthwhile.

If you want to know how to do something, either get with someone who can teach you, read a book (definition of a book, a collection of information printed on paper very useful in gaining knowledge before the computer age), or take a class at a community school center or college. If you are not doing something to improve your own knowledge base, then you should be teaching someone the things that you know. Knowledge kept to yourself and not used is wasted knowledge. Keep yourself busy by doing nice things for other people. And that, my friend, is what this blog is all about.

This is a story about the Life and Times of Katherine Brant. A special Lady who has kept herself busy learning the things that made her complete, sharing the knowledge with others and doing nice things for other people.

I met this special lady in March 2008 who was 98 years and 9 months old. She is a fascinating woman with an incredible memory who loves to tell about her life adventures. I'm using the title "And so..." because her stories never end. One story or adventure just leads into another and she can go on for hours remembering her past. She is truly a woman who has 'been there, done that'.

The stories and information from hence forth will not be in any specific order. Sometimes the blog will be about the things we are doing around the house. We are geting ready for a yard sale and you would be surprised at the interesting things we find. Other days will be just stories from days gone by.

The names of the people she mentions will be spelled to the best of my ability. The names will not be changed to protect the innocent or the guilty, which ever the case may be. Some words or terms may be offensive to some people, but you must remember, she is almost 101 years old and words were not so politically correct in the early 1900's. I will try to keep the verbiage as close to her actual story as much as possible.